Tomatoes, or you can simply call it the vegetable of appealing red. If you’re going to hit the search button on tomatoes, we bet you’re going to find hundreds of websites uttering the tons of benefits of this food. But that’s for humans. What about beardies? Can bearded dragons eat tomatoes as well?
Bearded dragon can eat tomatoes. Tomatoes even bring in certain benefits for these reptiles as well. But they’re not designed to be the daily meal of beardies. So, the best thing you can do is keep the consumption under moderation.
We guess you’re already wondering – why do beardies have to be deprived of this amazing food like this? Why can’t they just have a bite every day? Well, surely there are some reasons, and that’s what we’re about to unveil.
Why Tomatoes Shouldn’t Be In Daily Meals Of Bearded Dragons?
We don’t know how many articles you’ve gone through so far saying what kind of benefits tomatoes offer. But probably all of them are talking about human health. But for reptiles like bearded dragons, tomato is not such a nice guy. Why? Well, the answer is waiting below.
Oxalates found in tomatoes have been shown to compete with the body for calcium, preventing the mineral from being absorbed. But what’s the problem with it? Well, that causes Metabolic Bone Disease in the first place. In case you don’t know, it’s a potentially fatal ailment that can eventually kill bearded dragons right after making them weak and deformed.
2. Lack Of Calcium
Calcium is a crucial component for bearded dragons, yet tomatoes are rather low in calcium content. The blame here goes to their poor Calcium to phosphorus ratio, which is 0.2:1.
And bearded dragons who do not get enough calcium can develop Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) – their old nemesis. As we said before, this dangerous illness can lead to a weakened immune system, abnormalities, and even death.
Some bearded dragons are sensitive to the acidity of tomatoes. Ignoring this fact might trigger gastrointestinal problems in your reptile, which can even lead to diarrhea and, eventually, dehydration. So, you better avoid feeding tomatoes to your beardie if it has a delicate stomach or battling lately with any digestive problems.
Tomato allergies in bearded dragons are extremely rare, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So, you better stop giving tomatoes to your bearded dragon immediately if you see any strange symptoms, especially swelling, itching, or troubled breathing.
Don’t even think about giving your reptile tomatoes if their quality is not up to the mark. If you want to keep your beardie healthy, avoid feeding it tomatoes grown with pesticides and other toxins. Go for tomatoes only if they’re organic or pesticide-free. But to be on the safe side, give them to your bearded dragon only after a thorough cleaning.
Can Tomatoes Be Beneficial To Bearded Dragons?
Before you cut tomatoes off from your reptile’s diet, let us tell you – they do have some good sides as well. So, if you really want your reptile to have a bite of the appealing red, we guess the following benefits can surely sound motivating enough.
1. Source Of Vitamins And Minerals
Tomatoes are rich in a number of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. So, if you’re planning to add them to your reptile’s food list, then feel free to do so, not in its daily diet, though. Feeding your bearded dragons tomatoes will also improve their immune system and bone health. Thanks to the minerals and vitamins we’ve just mentioned.
2. Low In Sugar
Too much sugar can disrupt a beardie’s digestion, lead to unwelcome gains in body fat, and damage its teeth. But thankfully, tomatoes don’t contribute to any of that as they’re low in sugar.
When it comes to water content, it’s kind of tough to beat tomatoes. After all, they’re a good source of hydration for bearded dragons, thanks to their high water content, which can be around 98 grams. So, this kind of food is essential, especially in hot, arid climates, where dehydration is a major problem for reptiles.
4. Antioxidant Properties
Tomatoes come with a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which has shown an amazing ability to prevent cell damage and lower the risk of certain illnesses. No, there isn’t a ton of data on the effects of lycopene on bearded dragons. But the chance is quite high that they too would reap the same health benefits as other reptiles.
How Often Should You Let Your Bearded Dragon Have Tomatoes?
You already know about the low calcium content and high phosphorus-to-potassium ratio. So, there’s no way to call tomatoes the most ideal food for your bearded dragon’s diet. Although they contain beneficial levels of vitamin A, the drawbacks, unfortunately, far exceed the benefits.
So, the best thing you can do is feed tomatoes to your bearded dragon once a month as a snack. Even the experts believe that a diet that comes from fruits like tomatoes (nutritionists call it a vegetable, though) shouldn’t exceed 10% of a bearded dragon’s diet.
This will allow them to get the benefit from the tomatoes, like vitamin A and sugar content, without having to give up other vital vegetables and greens.
Why Feeding Tomato Leaves And Stem To Bearded Dragons Is A Bad Idea?
Have you ever heard about alkaloids? Alkaloids, especially solanine, are extremely toxic for reptiles, and that’s what tomato leaves and stem come with. So, even if you mistakenly feed your beardie with too much of it, you might have to say goodbye to your favorite reptile.
Tomato plants utilize these alkaloids as a defensive mechanism against herbivores. That doesn’t mean they’re detrimental to humans or other mammals. But if reptiles eat them up, they might experience digestive difficulties and other health complications as a result.
So, the best thing you can do is avoid feeding your bearded dragon any parts of the tomato plant, including the leaves and stems. Beardies need varied food that meets their nutritional requirements, which includes leafy greens, vegetables, and insects. So, it’s better to stick to those safer options.
And don’t forget to seek the opinion of a qualified reptile veterinarian if you have questions or concerns regarding the nutrition or health of your bearded dragon.
Before We Go…..
Okay, that was just one simple vegetable or fruit that you can’t regularly put on your reptile’s plate. But what about something a bit leafy and green? Yes, we’re talking about spinach. Does it too react in the same way as the tomatoes? Well, find that out in our blog – Can Bearded Dragons Eat Spinach?