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We are often asked, can bearded dragons eat watermelons? And since beardies are one of the few omnivorous pets we can keep, they will eat almost anything as long as they can bite it. But, this doesn’t mean that we can give them just about anything. It is well known that diets consisting of 80% insects and 20% plants are the best for younger beardies, while larger dragons are the opposite. And, since they can eat just about anything, some owners are often confused about what they can and can’t feed these pets.
Among the foods that we are often asked about are watermelons. These watery-good summer fruits are a staple of most backyard barbeque parties and days out on the beach getaways. However, as much as humans and beardies enjoy these fruits, there are a few things you need to understand before giving your dragon this treat. In this article, you will learn different know-how if you plan to give your beardie a bite of this juicy red fruit. So, can bearded dragons eat watermelons? Keep reading to find out.
What Nutrients Can Bearded Dragons Get from Watermelons?
Watermelon is a great source of hydration, especially with its almost 92% water content. But aside from these, here are a few other key vitamins and minerals they can get from eating this sweet fruit:
- Vitamin C and Beta Carotene. These can strengthen the immune system of your dragon, improve their vision, help them reproduce, and encourage growth.
- Potassium. This helps regulate your pet’s blood pressure.
- Magnesium. This helps a bearded dragon’s metabolism and prevents inflammation.
This fruit may have several nutrients mixed in this sugary-liquid goodness, but they aren’t as abundant as you need them to be. If you are looking for other liquid vitamins to give to your beardie, you can check this out.
How often should you give your bearded dragons watermelon?
Like most other fruits, watermelon should be a rare treat for your dragon instead of a staple in its diet. This is because of its low nutrient content. Watermelon has a low phosphorus ratio, low calcium, and considerably high sugar content, making it a bad match compared to their diet in the wild.
Keeping them away from this food might be your first response, but you don’t have to worry. Small watermelon treats once a month will not harm your bearded dragon. You should also know that, like humans, these lizards also enjoy the occasional sweetness and juiciness they provide. As long as you make sure to limit their intake, these perfect salad toppers should be safe and ideal for your pet’s growth.
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What will happen if you feed a bearded dragon watermelon too often?
Because of its high sugar content, too much watermelon can be dangerous or deadly for your pet beardie. Make sure to give your beardies no more than a few bites each time you treat them to watermelons because of these reasons:
- Digestion problems. Since watermelon has a lot of water, despite helping your beardie stay hydrated, it can also cause diarrhea which will dehydrate your pet. If you need a definitive guide to keeping your bearded dragon hydrated, you can check out this article.
- Calcium depletion. Watermelons also have phosphorus and calcium. However, more phosphorus than calcium stops the calcium from being absorbed by your bearded dragon’s body through its bloodstream. Among the long-term issues that this may cause is bone deterioration, making your pet weaker, and can lead to death if left untreated.
- Sugar-related health problems. In their natural habitat, these lizards do not consume a lot of sugar, and keeping them in an enclosure can increase their risk of developing obesity. Diets with a lot of sugar can cause diabetes, tooth and gum decay, inflammation, and bone issues.
With these in mind, as tempting as it may be for you to see your beardies enjoying their watermelon treats, it’s best to keep their fruit intake to a minimum, especially watermelons, since they are less nutritious than other fruits.
How should you prepare watermelons for your bearded dragons?
Watermelons are relatively easy to prepare, especially since you don’t need to cook them at all. But, this doesn’t mean that you can readily give your pet store-bought watermelons. As with most other fruits and vegetables, picking pesticide-free and herbicide-free will always be best. If you can’t find an organic watermelon, make sure to thoroughly rinse off any chemicals that may have been left before cutting it open. You also have to ensure that you’re not giving your pet any seeds because this is a choking hazard, especially the hard black seeds.
You can choose to give your beardies small bite-sized slices of the fruit or mix it in a salad to give your pet’s meal a little color. While some owners use watermelon juice to lure your dragon into eating greens, you have to dilute it in water first to at least cut down on the sugar content in its juice.
Taking these little precautionary steps will help your dragon eat the food easier and allow you to control the amount that they eat better. However, given the few issues that watermelons can cause, sprinkling calcium supplements on their meals will work wonders. You can get one of the best supplements for your bearded dragon here.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon Rinds?
The short answer is no. The rind is too tough and can be difficult to chew for your bearded dragon. However, if they manage to cut through the tough exterior of the watermelon, they risk choking by swallowing it whole and potentially leading to blockage in their insides.
Like other fruits, controlling the amount of watermelon you give to your bearded dragon is essential in keeping them as healthy as possible. Always keep a close eye on everything you give your pets, and remember to consider the pros and cons of letting them consume fruits.
These fruits may be amazing as little treats, but there are other fruits that they can have on a more regular basis and can be integrated into their diets better. Check out this article if you want to learn more about them.