Bearded dragons are omnivores that rely on vegetables, fruits, and insects as the main constituents of their diets. This fact makes numerous owners wonder if they can feed them all types of meat or not. Can bearded dragons eat fish, chicken, and other kinds of meats that we enjoy? Let’s find out!
Like other pets, bearded dragons do not get their ears up or wag their tails to show their love for any food item. However, their readiness to eat any fruit or vegetable will show you if they enjoy it or not. Similarly, if they are reluctant to eat any food, they will delay it till every other item on their palate has finished and they are still hungry. Does the same behavior apply to meats like fish?
CAN BEARDED DRAGONS EAT FISH
Bearded dragons can eat fish, but the real question should be if they should eat fish. In the wild, these reptilians can eat more ‘wildly’ because everything is not served to them on a plate. Many dragons have been seen eating fish in the wilderness, but the truth is that there can be parasites in fish that can be harmful to bearded dragons.
When you have a bearded dragon pet, you take care of their diet and ensure that they have a balance between proteins, carbs, and fat. However, if you add any food that is high in either of these nutritional values, the diet becomes imbalanced. Fish is rich in minerals and protein. Therefore, adding it to the diet would mean that you reduce insects and vegetables from their diet.
PARASITES IN FISH
Fish is not harmful to dragons and you can feed them this kind of meat, however, the parasites in fish meat can be a problem. These parasites can multiply within the digestive tract and create problems over a period of time. Small fish like goldfish and minnows contain thiaminase, the enzyme that breaks down Vitamin B, and in bearded dragons, the presence of this enzyme will mean less to no absorption of Vitamin B1, which is essential for their growth. In addition, you can also check out Can Bearded Dragons Eat Meat.
A regular diet of fish would mean low absorption of Vitamin B, resulting in a deficiency that can cause brain damage. Moreover, fish is rich in omega oils, and these oils are a form of fat. Since bearded dragons have a slow metabolic rate, they cannot digest these oils quickly. The high amount of copper sulfate is another issue as the nutritional requirements of bearded dragons do not allow a large amount of copper or sulfur.
Some pet owners might say that all these problems might occur if their pet dragons consume fish on a regular basis, so why not feed fish once in a while? The answer is that since you love your pet dearly, it is best to not take a risk. These pets cannot express their discomfort and we all must ensure that we feed them what is best for them.
The various parasites present in feeder fish are:
HOW MUCH FISH TO FEED THE BEARDED DRAGON
While we do not recommend fish feeding if you still feel that your bearded dragon deserves to eat whatever is allowed, go for a three-monthly cycle of feeding them fish. So you can say, that within a year, feed fish only four times and observe how your bearded dragon behaves for a few days after consumption. One goldfish-sized small fish is enough as fish bones can be tough to break down and may cause impaction if you feed more than one small fish. Impaction is the clogging of the digestive tract by semi-solid food that will hinder the path and slow down your dragon pet!
FISH FEEDING VS INSECT FEED
Fish is not as nutritious as insects like superworms or dubia roaches. If you are considering replacing these insects with fish, it may not be a good idea because the former do not pose any risk and provide a good amount of protein suitable for the bearded dragon. However, fish only provides protein and that also comes with the peril of thiaminase and parasites.
WHAT TO FEED YOUR BEARDED DRAGON
In the wild, bearded dragons eat all kinds of meat and vegetables but then nobody knows how long they live, and neither is it clear if they grow healthily with this diet. When a dragon is in your care, providing a well-rounded diet is easy and they can become more and more satisfied and happy over time. Moreover, you can have a look at Can Bearded Dragons Eat Frogs.
A good diet for bearded dragons involves a good supply of insects, vegetables, and fruits. Some fruits and vegetables are not suitable, which include spinach broccoli, avocados, and romaine. However, if you stick to the foods that your dragon can eat you will see it grow into a happy and healthy adult.
Bearded dragons can eat fish but the parasites, fish bones, and some enzymes that hinder the absorption of Vitamin B are risky. You may consider insects, fruits, and vegetables for your bearded pet as a balanced diet will help them grow well.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kind of fish can I feed my dragon?
Bearded dragons can have all kinds of fish but if you feed them smaller ones, the chance of impaction due to fish bones will increase. You might try tuna or salmon chunks in small sizes to see if the pet likes the taste, but we have observed that dragons eat goldfish and minnows easily.
If the bearded dragon does not eat fish, will it grow well?
Yes, fish is not an essential food for bearded dragons. They get protein from fish meat, which is also available in insects! You can feed them crickets, dubia roaches, and other insects and they will eat them with more pleasure! However, if you want to try feeding bearded dragons some fish, start with a small one and see how they like it.
Emma is a pet enthusiast, and her way with words makes her an expressive writer. Her interests lie in healthcare and planning nutrition for various pets. She has two girls, and she’s passing her passion to them through occasional volunteer projects in the small neighborhood zoo. Emma joined our team as an enthusiast and has added more years to her experience by researching more about various creatures!