Zucchini is a good vegetable for bearded dragons and they can eat them, but not in large quantities. If you are eating this vegetable and you want to share some with your bearded dragon, sure, give them a tiny amount, but don’t go all out and prepare it for them. Sometimes pet parents like a particular vegetable or fruit and think that it would suit their bearded pets too. However, can bearded dragons eat zucchini? We got the answer, but the reason will only be clear if you understand what is in this vegetable and why it cannot be an everyday food for these reptiles.
Bearded dragons have a slower metabolism than mammals. If you compare a cat or dog to your bearded dragon, you will notice that these reptilians eat much less. Moreover, they need specific nutrients and cannot venture into all food classes. So let’s see what these little creatures require, and how much of it is covered by zucchini.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini? Everything Explained
Bearded dragons can eat zucchini but that is only if you want to add it for a change. This vegetable has many nutrients and is a healthy food, but not for your bearded pet. Zucchini is originally a watery seed-filled fruit packed with many nutrients, health benefits, and nutritional values for humans. Zucchini can only be fed to these unique pets in measured values. Unfortunately, not all nutrients in this green vegetable have proven to be healthy for bearded dragons.
What Kind Of Nutrients Do Zucchini Have
Zucchini is a green plant that has its origin in northern Italy. It is harvested when it is only immature and soft. The famous green zucchini is actually a fruit as it grows on flowering plants and has numerous seeds inside it. However, it is eaten and cooked as a vegetable worldwide. It has dark green and lime green skin and seedy flesh inside. It is very similar to cucumber in appearance except that it is creamy white on the inside. Moreover, you may see woody stems on one side of the Zucchini fruit or a flower on the other.
Below are the nutritional values of Zucchini for 100 grams:
Fiber: Zucchini is a fibrous vegetable but according to human standards. Bearded dragons require more fiber and there are only 1.1 grams of fiber in this green vegetable. However, it is not too low to cause any danger to your pet.
Sugars: The amount of sugar is low at 1.73 grams in every 100 grams of zucchini. This means it is a good choice for bearded dragons. They cannot take high amounts of sugars as their slow metabolism cannot process them and they are stored in the body. This makes bearded dragons obese.
Protein: One of the main nutrients that bearded dragons need is protein, and there are only 1.21 grams of it in zucchini. This amount is not sufficient for bearded dragons. Protein helps develop muscle mass which is necessary for bearded dragons to grow healthy and remain active. Low protein would mean poor muscles that cannot make these reptiles strong and they may become inactive due to less muscle mass.
Calcium: Another primary nutrient for bearded dragons is calcium. There are only 15 mg of calcium in 100 grams of zucchini, which is very low. You would not want to serve your pet any vegetable so low in calcium every day because their bones will become weak. If the bones are weak, Metabolic Bone Disease might set in. This disease causes the bones to become soft. If this happens, bearded dragons find it hard to stand and their lower bodies hurt. Gradually as the disease worsens, bearded dragons become paralyzed and lose their appetite.
Vitamins: Vitamin A and vitamin C are found in zucchinis, which are good for bearded dragons. However, the low calcium and protein make this nutrient a small advantage for your reptile pets. Also, read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots.
Pros Of Zucchini
Firstly, zucchini contains very low calories and therefore it is suitable for adult or old bearded dragons too. It will not cause obesity and hence is a perfect meal for pets kept in closed enclosures.
Secondly, vitamins A and C foster growth, strengthen the immune system, and aid vision in your pet reptiles. These vitamins also work to maintain the internal tissues and organs in their body. In addition, Vitamin K ensures a constant supply of blood cells, enhances circulation, and benefits the bones too. Vitamin B6 is also included in zucchini and it increases energy levels in beardies.
Moreover, folate in the vegetable aids the nervous system and improves overall health. Along with folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, and Thiamine also improve brain and nerve function. The antioxidants keep the immune system in check and manganese enhances the body’s metabolism.
Not only this, but zucchini is also very inexpensive and so can be easily bought and fed to your pet.
Cons Of Feeding Zucchini
On the other hand, there are some contrasting disadvantages of feeding zucchini to these docile reptiles. First and foremost, the calcium-phosphorus ratio of zucchini is not at all balanced. The amount is higher than calcium so it can cause metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons. Eventually, the excess phosphorus will absorb the body’s calcium and make the bearded dragon calcium deficient.
Secondly, zucchini is a water-filled fruit so might overhydrate these small reptiles. The extra water content can cause diarrhea and a disturbed digestive system.
Not to mention that this food is very low in calcium and protein and therefore does not provide the sufficient energy needed by a bearded dragon.
How Often Can They Eat Zucchini
Due to the cons mentioned above, bearded dragons can only be fed zucchini once a week strictly. To avoid any health hazards, feed your dear pet fresh and nicely chopped zucchini. The fresh zucchini will save your beardie from the preservatives and chemicals of processed and stored fruits and vegetables and the finely chopped pieces will save your pet from choking. As a matter of fact, this herbaceous plant has waxy and slippery skin on its fruit and so zucchini can easily choke these innocent reptiles. So better be careful.
How To Feed Zucchini
Before you decide to cut up some zucchini for your pet dragon, be sure to wash it properly. We always recommend using organic vegetables that are free from pesticides and fertilizer use. However, when you get zucchinis from the grocer, clean them properly and use a light brush to wash off the skin. This will remove any unwanted chemicals from the vegetable. You do not have to make any special cooking arrangements for your pet.
Cut up a slice and shred it so that it becomes easy for bearded dragons to digest. If you cut a piece and leave it for the bearded dragon to chew and swallow, it might choke on a chunk of vegetables. Moreover, semi-solid vegetables can get stuck in the digestive tract. This can cause constipation and if it gets worse, the intestine suffers impaction.
Impaction can be harmful to bearded dragons and they get uncomfortable and anxious when they cannot defecate. Moreover, the impaction causes pain in their lower abdomen. The anxiety and pain can contribute to more emotional stress, which leads to a drop in appetite. Also, learn Can Bearded Dragons Eat Corn.
In conclusion, zucchini is a nutritious and low-calorie fruit, but bearded dragons can eat zucchini only once a week. Excess of this fruit/vegetable can cause diarrhea, metabolic bone disease, and other harmful impacts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can bearded dragons eat Zucchini seeds?
No, bearded dragons cannot eat zucchini seeds. The small and slippery seeds are very likely to choke the young and smaller bearded dragons. Although some older or adult bearded dragons can easily eat and digest these seeds, it is best to clean the zucchini from seeds and only feed seedless zucchini to them.
Is zucchini safe for bearded dragons?
Zucchini is safe for bearded dragons only in a well-calculated balanced diet. It will prove to be harmless if it is only fed once a week and that too in little amounts. Make sure to chop the meal into small pieces and take the seeds out to prevent choking hazards.
Are zucchini and courgette the same?
Yes, zucchini is known by a couple of different names in different countries. It is called courgette, summer squash, baby marrow, bottle gourd, and also small gourd. However, these are just different names of the same plant.
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!