The exotic beardies have a large menu for themselves. These creatures can eat insects, vegetables, other greens, and fruits. Although protein-rich insects take much of their diet, they also need a good portion of vegetables to live a healthy life. So, Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce too because it is also the most valuable vegetable? Yes! Bearded dragons can eat lettuce to add more to their healthy balanced diet.
However, this green does not have many benefits for lizards and is not one of the most valuable veggies among the others. You must know all about the pros and cons of feeding lettuce before feeding it to the pet. A responsible caretaker must know all about the food he is feeding to his beardie. Here we will enlighten you with all the necessary information about feeding lettuce to a bearded dragon. Including its benefits, health concerns, nutritional values, and feeding facts.
Nutritional Values Of Lettuce
Although lettuce should not be a part of the beardie’s regular diet, it does hold some nutritional values which should be taken into account. The table below shows the nutrients and their respective values that are found in 100 g of lettuce. The data below is authentic as it is confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Health Concerns Of Feeding Lettuce
Lettuce may not be the best vegetable to munch on when it comes to the diet needs of bearded dragons. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of other vegetables on the list that can be more beneficial and can easily replace the benefits of lettuce. Here are some negative effects of eating lettuce for dragons.
If you have analyzed the nutrition chart carefully, you would have noticed that there is 94.98 grams of water in 100 grams of lettuce. That means, there isn’t much space left for other nutrients to add to the overall diet. Not to mention the very small stomach your bearded dragon already has. Therefore, feeding nutritionless food that primarily only takes up space in the dragon’s stomach is not a very smart idea, especially if your beardie is in a growing phase.
Lettuce may be the least beneficial vegetable if you own a baby, juvenile, or even a young adult bearded dragon as it has very small values of other nutrients in it.
Calcium is a very precious nutrient in the balanced diet of a dragon. It is the key component in food when a caretaker is choosing a meal for the growing lizard. Moreover, a majority of caretakers must give calcium supplements to their developing beardies. Growing dragons need calcium for their development, bone growth, and smooth muscle contractions. Therefore, calcium-deficient food is never the right option for your pet.
Low calcium can cause weak bones, slower development, and severe diseases too. Metabolic bone disease or MBD is a result of calcium deficiency when the bones are drastically lacking calcium molecules or ions.
Not only does the excess water take up space in the beardie’s stomach, but it also exceeds the water requirement of the level of its diet. The excess water can give rise to more issues or diseases. For instance, it can cause digestive problems like diarrhea. Therefore, it is best if the lettuce is avoided if your pet is already consuming any other watery food. You may also like to read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Brussel Sprouts.
The Benefit Of Feeding Lettuce
Perhaps the only benefit of feeding lettuce to a bearded dragon is that it will prevent obesity for your pet. Lettuce is very low in sugar and hence does not have the tendency to make your beardie obese. Moreover, lettuce can also save a bearded dragon from other issues that are led by high sugar levels like tooth decay, high blood pressure, and digestive issues.
Alternative Vegetables To Feed A Bearded Dragon
Since it is confirmed that the cons of lettuce outweigh the pros, a smart caretaker must shift to healthier vegetable options for his pet. There are many veggies on the green list that can benefit beardies in many ways and provide plenty of nutrition to the beardies.
However, you must note that a major part of a growing beardie’s diet should consist of proteins and so you should focus on feeding more insects than vegetables or fruits. The only exception here is for fully grown mature or senior bearded dragons who have equal or more portions of vegetables and fruits in their diet.
Below are a few healthy and nutritious vegetables for bearded dragons.
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
- Bok choy
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
- Red cabbage
- Green cabbage
- Swiss chard
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce
Baby bearded dragons need 75% protein and only 25% vegetables and protein. Therefore, the choice of vegetables should be made smartly and tactfully to meet the needs of a rapidly developing bearded dragon. The tiny bearded dragon needs calcium to promote its growth, strengthen its bones, and increase muscle development along with the maintenance of other tissues in the body.
Unfortunately, lettuce is very low in calcium and does not qualify to be baby dragon food. The low nutrients in the vegetable also make it a terrible choice for baby dragons, as these creatures need as much nutrition as they can for their steady growth.
Bearded dragons should not be fed lettuce. They are low in nutrition and only serve to fill up space in the dragon’s stomach. There are many other vegetables like collard greens, kale, turnip greens, cabbage, bell peppers, swiss chard, etc which can add more benefits to the beardie’s diet. Plus, you must never feed lettuce to a baby bearded dragon as it is very low in calcium and does not meet the high demand for calcium in rapidly growing babies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are romaine, iceberg, and lettuce the same?
Both romaine and iceberg are types of lettuce with minimal differences in appearance and nutrition. Both romaine and iceberg lettuce is not suitable for a bearded dragon’s diet.
Can bearded dragons eat Cos lettuce?
Cos lettuce is the British name for romaine lettuce and is named after the isle of cos in Greece. It is slightly more nutritious than iceberg lettuce yet it still does not meet the needs of a beardie. It is not advised to feed any type of lettuce to growing bearded dragons. It is best to feed the calcium-rich alternatives that can offer more to a balanced diet.
Can bearded dragons eat Redleaf lettuce?
Red leaf lettuce holds more nutrient values than the other types of lettuce. However, it is low in minerals and has a very low calcium value. The lack of calcium in red leaf lettuce does not qualify it as a healthy vegetable for your beardie. Therefore, you should not feed red-leaf lettuce to your dragon.
Can bearded dragons eat Butterhead lettuce?
No, beardies should not be fed butterhead or butter lettuce. Although it is popular hybrid lettuce in grocery stores, it does not make a healthy choice for beardies. Like all the other types of lettuce, butterhead lettuce is also low in nutritional values, especially calcium.
Can bearded dragons eat green leaf lettuce?
No, bearded dragons cannot green leaf lettuce. Although it is very popular amongst humans, it does not make a good option for salads for bearded dragons. It is low in nutrition and lacks calcium. The high water content is also not healthy for the beardies.
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!