Bearded dragons will happily eat a wide range of different fruits and vegetables. The greater the range of offer, the better. Feeding a balanced diet in this reduces the chances of vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
But can tomatoes be included on this list of safe foods? Do bearded dragons eat tomatoes?
Bearded dragons can eat tomatoes safely as part of their diet.
However, correct preparation is important. Generally speaking many bearded dragon owners like to carefully slice open the tomato, then cube it into smaller pieces that are easier for a bearded dragon to swallow.
Tomato seeds may represent a choking hazard if you’re unlucky, so squeezing out the seeds and the runny middle can make sense, focusing on the firmer outer area of the fruit for your bearded dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes Everyday?
Bearded dragons should not eat tomatoes everyday.
While tomatoes can be safely eaten by bearded dragons, they do have a number of weaknesses.
For one thing they are a very sugary food. This can lead to problems of weight gain in bearded dragons if fed too regularly.
They also contain high levels of oxalates and a poor calcium:phosphorus ratio (both covered in more depth later in this article).
All these factors combined means that tomatoes are best not fed to your bearded dragon regularly. Instead, they should be fed only occasionally as part of a varied diet consisting of plant matter and live feeder insects.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
Tomatoes should only be fed to your bearded dragon once every week or two at most.
While tomatoes are edible for bearded dragons, their nutritional weaknesses mean that they should only be considered an infrequent treat.
Instead, try to bulk up your bearded dragon’s diet on more suitable foods, using small amounts of tomato simply to add variety from time-to-time.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are a safe food for bearded dragons.
However, they are a high carbohydrate food, so they should be fed in moderation and only on special occasions.
It is also worth mentioning that the seeds of tomatoes can represent a choking hazard. Cherry tomatoes tend to be the “juiciest” of all the tomato varieties, and subsequently have a lot of seeds.
For this reason some keepers prefer larger, thicker-walled tomatoes. These have more flesh and fewer seeds, which makes preparation much simpler.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Puree?
Tomato sauce is a great treat for your bearded dragon! It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C and K as well as iron and calcium. It is also an excellent source of protein (15g per 100g).
Note, however, that great care should be taken when considering the ingredients. Pureed tomato alone should be absolutely fine for your dragon.
Some pre-made supermarket brands, however, add a variety of other ingredients. It is possible some of these ingredients could be harmful for your bearded dragon. Better to take a few minutes to check the pack before giving it to your lizard.
Lastly, of course, ketchup is totally unsuitable for bearded dragons due to it’s high sugar and salt content.
Nutrients Found in Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a very nutritious food, and can provide your bearded dragon with all of the nutrients it needs.
Comparing it’s nutrient profile with other similar foods there are a number of stand-out elements.
The first of these is protein. In comparison to most plant-based food, tomatoes contain an impressive amount of protein. According to research up to 18% of the calories in tomatoes come from protein.
Protein is the “building block” used for your bearded dragon to grow big and strong. Higher protein foods like tomatoes can therefore be particularly beneficial for younger bearded dragons that are going through rapid growth to adulthood.
Tomatoes are an incredible source of antioxidants. These are natural compounds produced by the tomato plant to protect its fruit from the sun’s UV rays.
It is believed that bearded dragons, like people, can benefit from the consumption of these antioxidants. It is believed by many experts far smarter than the author that antioxidants can help to protect against a variety of potentially unpleasant health conditions.
Tomatoes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, of which vitamin C is probably the most notable. Vitamin C plays a huge number of roles in the body but cannot be stored. Therefore a regular intake of vitamin C is essential to maintain good health.
However this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Other vitamins found in high levels in tomatoes include vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6 and folate.
Minerals found in tomatoes include potassium, manganese, iron, phosphorus and copper.
As you can see, tomatoes are absolutely packed with beneficial nutrients, and this helps to make them a really powerhouse for your bearded dragon!
Oxalic Acid in Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain a “moderate” amount of oxalic acid.
This is important because oxalic acid can affect calcium absorption in the body.
Diurnal lizards like bearded dragons absorb UV light from the sun (or from special bulbs in captivity). This allows them to generate vitamin D in the skin, which then allows them to absorb calcium from their diet.
As we all know from school, calcium plays a crucial role in a healthy skeleton. At the same time we know that lizards like bearded dragons can be plagued by skeletal problems like MBD if they’re not given all the necessary ingredients in captivity.
Even with a suitable UV light, and a high calcium diet, oxalates can cause problems by interfering with this careful balance. Now, in truth pretty much all foods contain some oxalates, so they can never be avoided entirely.
Tomatoes are far from the worst of foods for oxalic acid. However they’re also not the best. Studies suggest about 7mg of oxalic acid in a single tomato. Compare this to a whole apple which has around 1mg and the difference is quite significant.
This means tomatoes should only be fed as a small part of your bearded dragon’s diet, and that you should try hard to include higher-calcium foods wherever possible alongside tomatoes.
Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio in Tomatoes
We all know that calcium is crucial for healthy teeth and bones, and this applies just as much to bearded dragons.
Just as important as the volume of calcium in your diet, however, is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. An optimal ratio is generally agreed to be 2:1.
Tomatoes possess a calcium:phosphorus ratio of 0.5:1. This is considered poor.
This highlights another reason why tomatoes should only be fed occasionally to your bearded dragon. It is also smart to mix tomatoes with other foods with a more suitable calcium to phosphorus ratio and/or to sprinkle calcium powder over your beardie’s food to ensure a suitable intake.
How to Feed Tomatoes To Your Bearded Dragon
Tomatoes are best fed to your bearded dragon in small amounts.
Feeding your bearded dragon too much of a single food can lead to health problems.
Feeding your bearded dragon a variety of foods is the best way to ensure that it gets all of the nutrients it needs.
Feeding tomatoes to your bearded dragon needn’t be difficult, but these tips might come in handy for the less-experienced keeper…
Select the ripest fruits – The riper the tomatoes are, the more nutrients they contain. At the same time, don’t go giving your bearded dragon tomatoes that are over-ripe. Only give your beardie tomatoes that you yourself would consider eating.
Wash thoroughly – If you’re using shop-bought tomatoes rather than those that you’ve grown yourself then consider giving them a thorough wash to remove any pesticide residues.
Slice finely – Slice open the tomatoes and chop the flesh into small chunks. This makes the tomato easier to combine with other foods for a balanced diet. This also makes it less likely that your bearded dragon will be able to pick out only their favorite foods, while ignoring other items.
Squeeze out the seeds – As mentioned previously, tomato seeds can represent a choking hazard, particularly for young bearded dragons. For safety many people choose to stick a thumb into the fruit to gently squeeze out the seeds.
Add a calcium supplement – Lastly bearing in mind the poor calcium:phosphorus ratio found in tomatoes you may want to consider dusting it with a reptile-safe calcium supplement.
If you want to give your bearded dragon a treat, try feeding him or her tomato paste. This can be made by combining one tablespoon of tomato paste with one tablespoon of water in a small bowl and mixing well until smooth. You can then use this mixture as a topping on his or her favorite vegetables or fruits.
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