Like other creatures, they require a balanced diet for them to maintain a healthy life. However, some foods aren’t good for bearded dragons.
But, can bearded dragons eat tomatoes? The short answer is YES. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, for bearded dragons. But as with any other fruits, tomatoes should not be fed on bearded dragons as the main diet.
Bearded dragons require only a small amount of vitamin A, so feeding them on excess tomatoes can make them sick. In addition, the acidic content in tomatoes can harm your smart beardie.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes? 7 Secrets
Bearded dragons will readily eat tomatoes because they obtain vitamin A from them. Vitamin A has four benefits to your beardie:
- Promotes good vision
- Assists in growth and reproductive health
- Helps in protein synthesis
- Promotes skin development – just like apples for Bearded Dragons and cucumbers.
However, it is advisable not to feed your beardie on too much tomatoes because they are high in oxalic acids. Oxalic acid inhibits the absorption of calcium which is necessary for bone development and in egg production by female dragons.
Although tomatoes contain too much vitamin A, they are not likely to kill your bearded dragon. That’s because, your beardie readily converts the beta carotene in tomatoes into vitamin A whenever their body needs it. If there’re enough vitamin A in their body, beta carotene is excreted as waste.
However, they can easily be poisoned by synthetic vitamin A since they cannot excrete any excess.
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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Leaves or Stem?
Leaves and stems of a tomato plant should not be fed on bearded dragons because they are highly toxic. They are rich in alkaloids (tomatine and solanine) which negatively impacts on the animal’s physiology.
Being in the family of nightshade plants, tomato leaves and stems contain solanine which is a highly poisonous compound. Tomatine which is found in the entire tomato plant tends to be concentrated in the stem and leaves.
Thus, when feeding your beardie on tomatoes, remember to exclude the stem, leaves, flowers and vines. Feeding your bearded dragons on tomatoes will provide them with vitamin A and lycopene.
However, you should only feed them with minimal amounts of tomatoes to avoid stomach complications caused by acidity.
Related: Don’t feed Onions to Bearded Dragons
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Worms (Hornworms)?
Bearded dragons will eat tomato worms because they are soft and nutritious. However, only the commercially available worms are recommended. Do not feed your beardie on wild tomato worms because they are as much toxic as tomato leaves or stems.
Tomato worms feed on tomato plants which are rich in solanine alkaloids. By feeding on the leaves of the tomato plant, they absorb much of the toxins which in turn can poison bearded dragons. They can only be good for your beardie if they are fed on non-toxic plants.
Wild tomato worms also feed on other solanaceous plants like nightshade family and tobacco. Since you don’t have control of the amount of toxins they absorb, it would be safer not to feed them on your reptile.
Tomato worms are available on amazon and will provide your reptile with a good source of calcium and fat. Their soft exoskeleton enables your pet to eat and digest without difficulties.
Related: What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?
How Much Tomatoes Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
Tomatoes are considered to be too acidic for your beardie. Since, they can’t control their junk food intake, it’s advisable to limit the amount of tomatoes you put in their feeders. Otherwise, they will take too much acid which might upset their stomach.
Although tomatoes will provide your beardie with vitamin A and lycopene, they should be given as part of the diet. It’s recommended that fruit and vegetables make only 10% of the diet. To feed your beardie with tomatoes, place a few slices on green vegetables like kales, mustard greens among others.
When you feeding your beardie with tomatoes and other plants ensure that you wash them thoroughly to remove harmful chemicals or pesticides.
The oxalic acid in tomatoes also inhibits the absorption of calcium which is necessary for bone development and in egg production by female dragons.
Bearded dragons also require minimal amounts of vitamin A. So, feeding them with a lot of tomatoes gives body system the burden of excreting excess vitamin A.