You can find cauliflowers in just about every grocery store. And, almost every family in the world enjoys the occasional cauliflower meals. Not only are they healthy for humans, but bearded dragons can have them too. But is it safe? Can bearded dragons eat cauliflowers?
In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about feeding your beardie cauliflower. We will also go over all the health benefits and possible problems that may happen after a dragon eats it. Let’s get started!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower?
Short answer, yes. Cauliflowers are safe for bearded dragons to eat. Long answer, still a yes. But, they can only have them once a month in very small portions. 6-10 grams each month is enough to meet your dragon’s cauliflower needs. Feeding them too much can lead to issues, especially because of the high levels of goitrogens in cauliflowers.
What are healthy for people is not necessarily the same for your beardies. Unlike humans, they need a more balanced diet that coincides better with their diets in the wild. If you are looking for other plants that your beardie can eat, you can refer to this article to guide you.
What Nutrients in Cauliflowers Does a Bearded Dragon Need?
Several nutrients constitute a balanced for beardies. There are several nutrients that you need to keep a keen eye on. Too much or too little of these vitamins or minerals can cause problems for your dragon.
For cauliflowers, here are several things your bearded dragons can get from them. This vegetable has significant amounts of vitamin K and vitamin C. It also has hints of calcium, which your beardie needs. Bearded dragons need a lot of these three to help them grow big and healthy.
These nutrients are necessary for your bearded dragon’s health. However, there are a few issues with feeding them too many cauliflowers. This is the main reason why beardies should only eat this veggie sparingly.
Pro-Tip: One way to give your dragon the extra calcium it needs, you can give them food supplements like this one.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower Often?
While bearded dragons can eat this veggie, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will eat it. Also, despite the several benefits they can get from these things, there are a few issues with eating too many cauliflowers. Here are the three reasons that you need to look out for.
- High Water Content. Each floweret weighs an average of 13 grams, and almost 12 of those are water. This may help hydrate your dragon, but too much can cause diarrhea. And, ironically, this often leads to dehydration.
- Unbalanced Phosphorus to Calcium Ratio. There is two times more phosphorus than calcium in cauliflowers. Too much phosphorus in their diets stops calcium from being absorbed into their bloodstream. Continued exposure to excess phosphorus leads to metabolic bone disease and worse.
- Goitrogens. These are the main cause of iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism for bearded dragons. If fed in excess, obesity will most likely follow.
How Much Cauliflower Can Your Bearded Dragon Eat?
Cauliflowers are safe for your bearded dragon. But, they shouldn’t eat more than one floweret at a time. 6 to 10 grams should be their monthly limit. This may not look like much, but this is more than enough to meet their nutritional needs from this vegetable.
If bearded dragons eat more than necessary, they may end up with the wrong ratio of nutrients. This will lead to health problems that can be dangerous for your bearded dragon. If you accidentally fed your beardie more than this limit, schedule a visit with the vet as soon as you notice irregularities.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower Leaves?
Beardies can eat cauliflower leaves. It’s not a well-known fact, but these leaves or greens are edible. In fact, these are better for your dragons compared to the heads.
The greens are high in calcium and low in phosphorus. But, there are also some goitrogens in these greens. This reason makes cauliflower greens a great addition to your bearded dragon’s meal and can be eaten more often.
Pro-Tip: To make the cauliflower leaf meal better, you can add mealworms into the mix.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Cauliflower?
Technically, baby and juvenile dragons can eat cauliflower. But, it is recommended that you don’t. It is best to keep cauliflowers out of younger dragons due to the imbalance in their nutrients.
The unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio can adversely affect a bearded dragon’s growth in the first year of their lives. It is better to give them a variety of alternatives instead of keeping their meals balanced.
What Alternatives Can You Give Your Bearded Dragon Instead?
While cauliflowers are safe for your bearded dragon, several options are better. Most of these can be given to your beardie more often. These greens and vegetables are:
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Bok Choi
- Sweet Potato
- Bell Pepper
- Butternut Squash
- Yellow Squash
- Green Beans
The greens and vegetables listed above should also be given to your beardies in controlled amounts. As long as you read about the effects of this food on your dragon, your dragon should be safe. There are also a few fruits they can eat. And, if you want to know more about these, you can refer to this article.
Overall, a bearded dragon can eat cauliflowers in moderation. In very small amounts, eating this vegetable is safe for them. However, most owners opt to avoid feeding this food to their dragons. Generally, this is the better choice, especially if you can source other vegetables more beneficial for their overall wellbeing.
Regardless, very small servings of cauliflower will not harm your beardie at all. But, ultimately, there are better choices out there. If you still want to give your beardie a cauliflower, give the leaves instead. And, you should be fine.