Asparagus is known as a healthy vegetable all around the world but is it safe for your bearded dragon to eat?
And if so, does asparagus even offer your bearded dragon any health benefits when compared to other readily available greens and veggies you could be offering?
In this post, we will answer all your questions by researching the work of reptile nutritionists and experts.
This will leave you with just the facts you need so you can make an educated decision before feeding your bearded dragon asparagus.
So can bearded dragons eat asparagus? Bearded dragons can safely eat asparagus in their diet. Many reptile experts recommend that you don’t feed asparagus to your bearded dragon as a staple part of their diet. This is largely due to the low amounts of calcium and moderate amounts of oxalates it contains.
Read on to discover…
- The nutritional data for asparagus
- The benefits and health concerns of feeding asparagus to your beardie
- If you should offer asparagus raw or cooked?
- What oxalates are and why they’re harmful?
- How often you should feed asparagus?
- 5 other greens & veggies that the experts recommend!
Asparagus | Nutritional Data
When thinking about feeding any new food to your bearded dragon it’s important to get an understanding of what to look out for in the nutrition it offers.
Taking a look at the nutritional data from a chart like the one we provide below will help you quickly and easily understand if a food is healthy for your beardie or not.
In this post well will take a look at the key nutritional data for asparagus. Please use the chart below as a reference to the points we make throughout the post.
The info in the chart is sourced from the USDA.
Nutritional Information Of Asparagus Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.12||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||3.88||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Asparagus? (The Facts)
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, asparagus is considered safe for bearded dragons to eat.
When we conducted our research we found many experts to echo this information.
One such expert is VCA-Hospitals, who clearly list asparagus on their list of foods that bearded dragons can eat in a recent article they posted.
Even though asparagus is listed as a safe food for bearded dragons to eat by many experts, there are still lots of things to consider before you add it to your beardies salad bowl.
Let’s take a look and see if there are any benefits and even health concerns of feeding asparagus to your bearded dragon.
The Benefits Of Feeding Asparagus to Bearded Dragons
This may surprise you when reading this but there aren’t actually many real benefits of eating asparagus for your bearded dragon.
The nutritional needs of a bearded dragon are somewhat different to us humans and feeding them foods that cater to their specific nutritional needs is highly important.
Unfortunately for asparagus, it’s just lacking in many of the key nutrients that bearded dragons need to be healthy.
Having said this, asparagus is abundant in vitamin A, C, E and K.
The experts at Healthline talk about how asparagus is high in these vitamins and while it might fall short in other nutrients it’s good to know that it’s still rich in some important areas.
The Concerns Of Feeding Bearded Dragons Asparagus
Ok, first it’s important to remember that asparagus is safe to feed to your bearded dragon, however, you do need to be cautious before filling up the salad bowl with asparagus on a daily basis.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why there are concerns to overfeeding your bearded dragons asparagus.
Asparagus Is Moderate In Oxalates
If you’re not sure what oxalates are, then according to Healthline oxalates organic compounds found in plants.
They can stop minerals such as calcium from being absorbed in the body and therefore rendering it useless even if a high amount of it is consumed.
This is a problem for reptiles such as bearded dragons because they need high amounts of calcium to be healthy and function properly
If they consume foods with high amounts of oxalates then this can stop some or even most of the calcium from being used by the body.
Asparagus is considered to contain a moderate amount of oxalates.
This means that even though it’s not on the high end of the scale it’s still something you don’t want to feed your beardie too much of as the oxalates will soon mount up.
Here’s a chart that puts in perspective the amounts of oxalates in asparagus when compared to other common foods you might feed your bearded dragon.
Asparagus has approximately 130mg of oxalates per 100g when served raw.
Oxalates Per 100g
|Name||Oxalates Per 100g|
|Sweet Potato||240 mg|
|Mustard Greens||128.7 mg|
|Turnip Greens||50 mg|
Something interesting to consider is that when we were researching for this post we found that a study showed that when asparagus is boiled it only has 1.9mg of oxalates per 100g compared to the 130mg per 100g when raw.
This drastically reduces that amounts of oxalates to a level where they are virtually none existent and not even a problem.
This does, however, bring up something else for you to consider.
Healthyearting.com state that asparagus contains water-soluble vitamins.
They also state that this means even though some of the oxalates will leach out into the water, you will also lose many of the vitamins and nutrients in the same way.
This is just something to consider and weigh up if you high oxalates and higher amounts vitamins or lower oxalates with lower amounts of vitamins.
Asparagus Is Low In Calcium
As a bearded dragon owner, you are probably well aware that beardies need high amounts of calcium to be healthy.
Veterinary experts such as Vetmed recommend that you offer your beardie rich leafy greens and vegetables that are high in calcium on a daily basis.
Asparagus isn’t a vegetable that falls into this ‘high calcium’ category.
It only has 24mg of calcium per 100g, which is considered low when compared to other nutritious greens such as kale that offer as much as 254mg of calcium per 100g.
Bearded dragons only have small stomachs and feeding them foods that don’t fulfil their nutritional needs too often can be a problem.
This is especially a problem for baby beardies that are growing fast and need all the nutrients they can get.
In this post, we’ve created a chart that shows exactly how fast bearded dragons grow and the results might surprise you.
Again, this doesn’t mean that asparagus is off the menu, however, it does mean that you need to offer it sparingly and with other highly nutritious and calcium-rich foods.
While on the same topic, something else to mention is that feeding calcium-rich greens and veggies alone still isn’t enough.
Just about all experts highly recommend that you give your bearded dragon a calcium supplement to make sure they reach their recommended daily intake of calcium.
A veterinary expert that echos this point is Tex Vet Pets, who says that calcium supplements are critical to both baby and adult bearded dragons.
We always recommend that you use a high-quality brand such as Rep-Cal.
Take a look at this post where we show you the exact Rep-Cal calcium product we recommend.
How to Offer Asparagus to Your Bearded Dragon
Most foods that you offer to your beardie will require slightly different preparation.
One practice that’s the same for just about every food is thoroughly washing it beforehand.
I know this may sound pretty simple but it’s actually very important.
You never where your food has been or how many hands it’s been through before it ended up in your fridge so giving it a wash is highly important to provide your dragon with clean food.
We always recommend opting for an organic option is there’s one available too.
I know this can get pretty expensive but is your budget allows for it and you can get hold of the organic option then this is much better in the long run as it won’t contain those nasty pesticides.
When it comes to offering the asparagus to your bearded dragon raw or cooked, then we would actually recommend cooked.
As we mentioned earlier in this post, cooked will drastically reduce the number of oxalates in the asparagus but also reduce the vitamin content too.
The bottom line is, asparagus doesn’t really offer too many nutrients for bearded dragons anyway so the moderate amount of oxalates are more of a problem.
We think It’s better to reduce the oxalates and get those nutrients from other leafy greens and vegetables.
(Remember, this is only our recommendation and raw or cooked is fine as long as you feed asparagus as part of a healthy diet)
Lastly, you should cut up the asparagus into small pieces and avoid placing large spears in the salad bowl.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Asparagus?
While there’s no actually definitive answer to how often you should feed your bearded dragon asparagus.
You can look at the research and what the experts are saying to get a good idea to what would be sensible.
If you look at the fact that experts such as VCA-Hospitals recommend a lesser percentage of a bearded dragon’s diet come from asparagus.
As well as the moderate amount of oxalates and low amount of calcium this ass points to the not feeding asparagus on a regular basis.
In fact, we would recommend that feeding a small portion asparagus around once every 2-4 weeks would be absolutely fine.
You should always try and offer a large portion of beardies diet as high calcium and highly nutritious foods and if you do this then offering treat food s once in a while is fine.
5 Alternatives to Asparagus (Recommended By Experts)
We have taken the time to source 5 top greens that veterinary experts recommend for your bearded dragon.
We have researched Texvetpets and cherry-picked 5 of their best greens and veggies from a list provided in a recent article they wrote.
The 5 greens and veggies we have chosen are…
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
- Boc Choy
- Dandelion Greens
We have also included their most relevant nutritional information in a table below…
Nutritional Information Per 100g (Top Greens)
|Name||Dandelion Greens||Mustard Greens||Swiss Chard||Bok Choy||Kale|
|Water||85.6 g||90.7 g||92.66 g||95.32 g||89.63 g|
|Energy||45 Kcal||27 kcal||19 kcal||13 kcal||35 kcal|
|Protein||2.7 g||2.86 g||1.8 g||1.5 g||2.92 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.7 g||0.42 g||0.2 g||0.2 g||1.49 g|
|Carbohydrate||9.2 g||4.67 g||3.74 g||2.18 g||4.42 g|
|Fiber||3.5 g||3.2 g||1.6 g||1 g||4.1 g|
|Sugars||0.71 g||1.32 g||1.1 g||1.18 g||0.99 g|
|Calcium, Ca||187 mg||115 mg||51 mg||105 mg||254 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||66 mg||58 mg||46 mg||37 mg||55 mg|
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