Can bearded dragons eat carrots? You know that bearded dragons love eating a variety of vegetables. Vegetables are a good source of minerals, vitamins and water. So, we recently analyzed this – what do bearded dragons eat? But, can bearded dragons eat carrots?
Short answer is YES – Bearded dragons love eating carrots. Carrots are rich in Beta-carotene and vitamin A which are essential requirements in a bearded dragon’s diet. However, carrots should be avoided if the bearded dragon is presently on vitamin A supplements.
That’s because feeding the bearded dragon on carrots while it is receiving vitamin A supplements might lead excess vitamin A. This condition is known as vitamin A toxicity or hypervitaminosis A
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrots?
Bearded dragons will generously eat carrots! With carrots, you have a good chance of enriching your pet’s diet with valuable nutrients.
Carrots contain numerous nutrients which contribute to the overall health of your bearded dragon. Here is the breakdown.
1. Contains Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an essential requirement in a bearded dragon’s diet. Bearded dragons get vitamin A either from plants such as carrots or it can be administered as vitamin A supplements. Read also; Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cabbage?
Giving vitamin A to your bearded dragon comes with three benefits. The main importance of vitamin A in a beardie’s body is vision. Just like in humans, carrots help in maintaining eye health since they contain a lot of vitamin A. A deficiency in vitamin A can adversely affect the beardie’s eye sight.
That’s why swollen eyes are the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency in a bearded dragon. Vitamin A also plays an important role in bone development, skin health, protein synthesis and reproductive health.
While vitamin A proves good for your bearded dragon, it can reach toxic levels if given in excess. If you’re feeding your beardie on carrots, it’s extremely hard for the calcium to reach toxic levels.
However, if you feed your beardie with carrots and vitamin A supplements at the same time, they’re very likely to suffer vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). Therefore, it’s advisable not to feed your bearded dragon with carrots at a time when they are on vitamin A supplements.
2. Contains Beta-Carotene
Carrots also contain beta-carotene which acts as means of regulating the amount of vitamin A consumed by your bearded dragon. Excess beta-carotene won’t have any harmful effects on your bearded dragon as long as it comes from plants including carrots. The only effect is the tendency of their skin to turn yellow.
However, if excess beta-carotene is administered in form of supplements, it is likely lead to hypovitaminosis A (vitamin A deficiency). In excess, the beta-carotene from supplements tends to destroy vitamin A thus leading to its deficiency.
In summary, beta-carotene from carrots will do no harm to your bearded dragon. But it becomes dangerous when you give carrots and supplements that contain excess beta-carotene.
The fiber content in carrots plays a big role in digestion. Without fiber, the outer shell from the insects that you give to your bearded dragon could prove very difficult to digest. Inefficient digestion causes constipation which in turn may make your pet beardie sick. Severe constipation can even lead to death.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrot Leaves/Tops?
You might already be feeding your bearded dragon on greens such as kale, cucumber, celery leaves, Swiss chard and so on. But are carrot leaves also good for them? Read also; Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Well, bearded dragons can’t resist the luring scent from the carrot tops. However, these greens will do more harm than good to your pet beardie. They contain high levels of oxalates which are harmful to bearded dragons and other reptiles when consumed in excess.
Oxalates are associated with calcium binding in the body. With little calcium in the body, a lot of oxalates reach the kidneys which may eventually lead to kidney stones.
Therefore, although your beardie can eat carrot tops, you should give very small amounts and on very rare cases. Give carrot tops as occasional treats.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cooked Carrots?
Beardies readily eat cooked vegetables including carrots. However, cooking leaches out the nutrients that would otherwise be beneficial to your beardie’s health and growth.
When it comes to nutrients in vegetables, fresh is always a factor. So, if bearded dragons can eat raw carrots, there is not benefit of cooking it. You’ll be denying them the nutrients required a healthy life.
How Often Should you Give Carrots to Your Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons require a host of other nutrients which are absent in carrots. In addition, their diet in the wild doesn’t include carrots at all. Therefore, carrots should be given sparingly and not as their staple food. You can make it once every week.
How to Prepare Carrots for Your Bearded Dragon
Now it’s time to feed your bearded dragon with carrots. Below is a step by step guide for preparing a carrot meal for your pet: Read also; Can Bearded Dragons Eat Grapes?
1. Wash the carrots with clean water and peel using a kitchen knife or a mini peeler. Don’t give the peels to your beardie because they might contain pesticides.
2. Chop the carrots into very small pieces because large pieces prove difficult for the bearded dragon to bite and chew. Alternatively, you can shred the carrots to make it even easier for your beardie to chew. Shredded carrots are even better for baby bearded dragons.
3. Place the chopped or shredded carrots in a dish and put it in the beardie’s terrarium. Bearded dragons love the sweetness in carrots. So, even if you’re giving them carrots for the first time, they’ll generously pounce on it with bites.
4. Alternatively, you can prepare a sizeable amount of carrots and keep in the refrigerator. But remember to defrost when feeding your beardie with frozen carrots.
NB: Only give fresh carrots. Once peeled and chopped, carrots will go bad easily. Rotten carrots might lead to diarrhea or other complications. Read also; Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
From the above guide, you can certainly confirm that carrots aren’t a bad diet for your bearded dragon. They are a rich source of vitamin A, fiber and beta-carotene which are all beneficial to your beardie’s health.
However, you should avoid carrots if you’re presently administering vitamin A supplements on your bearded dragon. That’s because you may end up raising the amount of vitamin A in their body to toxic levels.