Close your eyes and imagine the most delicious fruit that comes with maximum water content. If we’re not wrong, we’re already picturing watermelon in your mind. Well, we can’t blame you for that, as anyone seeking hydration through fruits, they’ll choose this one first. But that goes for humans only. What about bearded dragons? Can they eat watermelon too?
Bearded dragons can eat watermelon, but the consumption level has to be strictly controlled. It’s better not to give them this fruit more than once or twice a month. That’s because feeding them too much of this food can make it miss major nutrients like protein. And without protein, beardies simply can’t survive.
But how much of it will actually be harmless for the beardie? And does this consumption level vary based on their age? Well, that’s what we’re about to put some light on.
6 Health Benefits That Can Watermelons Bring in for Bearded Dragons?
Probably you’re feeling a bit demotivated after learning that you can’t give your beardie watermelons regularly. Well, before you decide anything on that, let us give you some reasons why shouldn’t cut watermelon totally off.
If you’re looking for a fruit with high water content that can be an excellent choice for keeping your bearded dragon healthy and well-hydrated, the count watermelon in. Beardedies actually need constant access to clean water, although they may not drink as much as they need in the first place. So, giving them watermelon as a treat as a part of their regular diet might boost their hydration level.
Watermelon is a great source of vitamins A and C, which are essential for the well-being of bearded dragons. Their immune system basically relies a lot on vitamin C and vitamin A, especially when it comes to having good eyesight and skin.
So, you can assist in increasing your reptile’s vitamin intake by giving it watermelon as a treat. Just don’t forget that it shouldn’t be used as the sole source of vitamins for your beardie.
Bearded dragons need a sufficient amount of potassium to maintain healthy hearts, muscles, and nerves. And guess where to get that? Right, in watermelon. Not only potassium plays a key role in preserving normal blood pressure, but also controls fluid balance and helps to avoid muscular cramps.
4. Low In Fat
It’s already hard to find a healthy treat for bearded dragons. But watermelon can easily fill up that gap, as it’s extremely low in fat. So, there’s no chance of your beardie getting nearly as much fat from watermelon as it would from insects or meat.
Lycopene and beta-carotene are just two of the finest antioxidants that you’d find in watermelon. These antioxidants are amazingly good at staving against cell damage and illness. To be honest, bearded dragons can be benefitted from these antioxidants in a similar way to humans.
It can turn into a blessing if you can make your bearded dragon consume more fiber in their diet, and watermelon is an excellent source of this essential nutrient. The best thing about consuming sufficient fiber is it can assist in the prevention of constipation as well as other digestive disorders.
Why Watermelons Are Not Good as a Staple Food for Bearded Dragons?
A fruit with so many good sides is not suitable to be a staple food – this statement might sound a bit odd. Well, it’s not the benefits but the drawbacks that stand in the way of it becoming a regular food for bearded dragons. All of it starts with –
1. High Sugar Content
Fructose, in particular, can be found in abundance in watermelon. A small quantity of fructose can be metabolized by a bearded dragon, but the reptile’s digestive tract is not designed to handle large amounts of sugar.
Lizards who consume an excessive amount of sugar are more likely to gain weight. This is directly linked to increasing their risk of developing diseases, including metabolic bone disease and fatty liver.
2. Imbalanced Diet
Bearded dragons can only get the nutrients they need from a diet that contains both animal and plant foods. There’s no way to deny that watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
But that’s not enough for it to be used as a nutritional mainstay. After all, it lacks lots of other minerals that we call essential for beardies. A diet mostly filled with watermelon can mess with the food balance and cause deficits in key nutrients.
3. Digestive Issues
Thanks to the delicate digestive system of bearded dragons, overfeeding them with watermelon can easily cause gastrointestinal distress. Yes, we’re talking about diarrhea and dehydration.
The thing is, bearded dragons can have trouble digesting the high levels of water and fiber that watermelons come with. In such kind of situations, their digestive system starts overworking, which ultimately leads to diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Dental Problems
Bearded dragons’ teeth are specially designed to rip and crush tough food, like insects. But constantly exposing their teeth to watermelon might lead to cavities and other dental issues. The credit goes to watermelon’s high sugar content, which contributes to tooth disease, and eventually leads to decay if the fruit is regularly consumed.
5. Calcium Depletion
Similar to lots of other fruits and vegetables, Watermelon too comes with both phosphorus and calcium. But the imbalanced ratio of calcium-to-phosphorus says that the amount of phosphorus is too high compared to the calcium in watermelon. As a result, the calcium gets effectively neutralized.
This means bearded dragons can’t get enough calcium because phosphorus binds with it and blocks its absorption. And guess what comes up next? Right, Metabolic bone disease, what you probably know as MBD. But that’s only when the reptile consumes a diet rich in phosphorus and low in calcium over an extended period of time.
With the progress of the disease, the dragon’s skeleton weakens, becomes deformed, and eventually paralyzes it. Needless to say, if you don’t treat your lizard at that time, it will surely die.
How Much Watermelon Should You Feed to Your Bearded Dragon?
Several factors, like your bearded dragon’s size, age, and health condition, will determine how much watermelon you can safely feed it. It’ll be better if you can just incorporate watermelon into your reptile’s diet sometimes, but don’t make it a staple food.
If you’re asking about the quantity, we’d say you shouldn’t give your bearded dragon a piece of watermelon bigger than the size of your thumbnail. And the frequency? Well, stick to the frequency of once or twice a month.
Bearded dragons have specific nutritional requirements, and they may change as the dragon ages. But when it comes to hatchlings, they need more protein compared to adult dragons; hence a diet heavy in insects is recommended. Once they become older, feel free to make up vegetables and fruits like watermelon a larger portion of their diet.
However, the best way to ensure your bearded dragon gets the nutrition it needs is to work with a vet who has experience with reptiles. As experts, they’ll be able to provide you with precise recommendations after checking your dragon’s needs and health.
Before We Go…..
It’s totally okay if you want to slip a piece of watermelon in your beardie’s mouth, as now you know how to feed them in the first place. But before you do that for any other sweet fruit, such as apple, we say you better know if that’s okay or not.
By the way, have you just popped up with a question – if your reptile can have a bite of an apple? Well, if your answer is yes, then check out the blog – Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples? We bet you’re going to get all your answers there.