Bearded dragons love fruit and bananas are no exception! But can bearded dragons actually eat bananas? Or should you be keeping your beardie away from them at all costs?
In this post, we will tackle this question in full and back up the answers with the cold facts from vets and medical professionals so you can rest assured you are making the correct decision before giving bananas to your bearded dragon.
So can bearded dragons eat bananas? Bearded dragons can eat bananas but only as a treat once in a while. This is largely due to their high phosphorus to calcium ratio which is considered unhealthy for bearded dragons and the fact that they contain a high amount of sugar, especially when left to over ripen.
Read on to find out…
- The nutritional value of bananas
- Exactly how often you can feed your bearded dragon bananas
- The benefits of feeding bananas
- The dangers/concerns of feeding bananas too often
- 5 Other fruits that may be a better choice than bananas
The Nutritional Information of Bananas
Before you feed your bearded dragons bananas it’s important to understand the nutritional value of the food so you can make a decision to whether it’s something you want to add to their diet or not.
Some of the main things to look out for are protein and sugar levels as well as the calcium to phosphorus levels. (We will look at this more closely later in the post)
Take a look at the table below that shows the most relevant nutritional information of bananas from research provided by the USDA (U.S. Department Of Agriculture)
Nutritional Information Of Bananas Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.33||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||22.84||g|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas (A Closer Look)
It can often be hard to know what foods are safe to feed to your bearded dragon as some foods that seem harmless and even highly nutritious can often prove harmful and even fatal to your dragon.
The good news is that bananas are considered safe to feed to your bearded dragon. This is backed up by VCA Hospitals who have listed bananas on their safe foods list for bearded dragons. as part of a varied diet containing other veggies, greens, plants and high protein insects,
Let’s take a look at both the benefits and the concerns of feeding your beardie bananas…
Benefits Of Feeding Bearded Dragons Bananas
Bananas are one of those fruits that bearded dragons often love. Beardies seem to enjoy fruit in general due to its soft texture and sweet taste.
This can often play into your hands when your beardie is refusing to eat from the salad bowl as you can add fruit such as chopped banana to the top of a nutritious veg and green-based salad and your bearded dragon will gladly wander over to devour the banana and end up eating lots of the veggies and greens too.
It’s actually a little known fact that bearded dragons can safely eat the banana skin too, this is also on VCA Hospital’s list of safe food for bearded dragons. This provides less waste and additional nutritional benefits so it’s something to consider when feeding a banana to your beardie.
We will talk more about how to prepare the banana and the skin later on in this post.
Dangers/Concerns Of Feeding Bananas too Often
Unfortunately, even though your bearded dragon will most likely love bananas, they are only good for an occasional treat. This is largely due to the fact that they contain high amounts of phosphorus compared to calcium.
Bearded dragons need a calcium vs phosphorus ratio somewhere in the region of 1.1 up to 2.1. If this ratio is unbalanced and your dragon is consuming too much phosphorus compared to calcium on a daily basis then they can suffer serious health conditions such as MBD (metabolic bone disease).
If you take a look at the nutrition table above you can see that there is more phosphorus than calcium so bananas certainly aren’t a food that you want to be a regular part of your dragon’s diet.
Pet-MD state that poor nutrition is a key factor for the bearded dragons suffering from MBD in a recent post they did.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t feed bananas to your beardie, however, it does mean that you have to provide them occasionally as part of a balanced diet.
In fact, VetMed recommends that you should be providing your beardie with calcium supplementation to ensure that they get the required amount of calcium they need in their diet.
This is because providing the high amounts of calcium to your beardie through their diet alone is extremely difficult if not impossible and using calcium supplements is an easy way to make sure they stay fit, healthy and don’t suffer from MBD.
We recommend you check out our list right here that shares our top calcium and multivitamin supplements. The list also contains great information on where to source live insects, food bowls and more.
The concerns of overfeeding bananas don’t stop there. Like most fruits, bananas are full of sugar and they can easily make your bearded dragon overweight if consumed on a regular basis.
Bananas also increase their sugar count as they ripen and turn from yellow to brown so this is certainly something to be aware of.
There’s also the concern that too much sugar can be bad for your dragons teeth. Just like humans, sugar will damage a bearded dragons teeth if consumed too frequently.
If you want to learn more about your bearded dragons teeth then head over to this post that covers everything you need to know as an owner.
Something else to note is that bearded dragons have small stomachs and you don’t want to fill them up on food that offers little nutritional value.
This is especially true for baby and juvenile beardies that are growing at a rapid pace and every meal counts.
We’ve actually written a great post that shares exactly how fast bearded dragons grow at different age of their life and what age they stop growing.
You can take a look at the post here – How Fast Do Bearded Dragons Grow
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas Every Day?
By now you’ve probably realised that bananas shouldn’t be offered to your bearded dragon on a daily basis.
This is due to the factors we have already mentioned, however, this shouldn’t put you off giving them to your beardie as a treat once in a while.
We recommend providing them as a salad topper or in small portions around every 1-2 months.
If you stick to this kind of time scale then the high phosphorus to calcium ratio shouldn’t be a huge problem as long as you are providing a good quality diet as we have already talked about
Remember you can see our recommended calcium and multivitamin supplements here as well as the best places to source live feeders. This will ensure you are giving your dragon the best chance of a high-quality diet.
How to Prepare Bananas For Your Bearded Dragon
When giving bananas to your bearded dragon it’s always best to provide organic if possible.
If you are thinking about letting your dragon eat the skin of the banana then the banana certainly needs to be organic to ensure it’s pesticide and herbicide-free.
If you aren’t wanting to provide the skin then it’s not essential that the banana is organic but it’s always better is possible.
Bananas are obviously a very soft fruit so there’s no need to cook them and doing so will only lessen any nutritional value further.
You should chop up the banana into small slices and them quarter them so they can be easily consumed.
If you want to provide the skin then it needs to be chopped up into very small pieces (almost bits sized) and the skin is much tougher and is harder to consume.
You should always provide any salad in a bowl that is easy for your beardie to eat from. If they struggle to eat anything after the top 3rd of the bowl they will often leave it through frustration and therefore consume fewer nutrients in their diet so keep this in mind.
We’ve created a post here that lists the best bowls to use when feeding your bearded dragon.
5 Other Great Fruits to Feed Your Bearded Dragon
We need to be clear that fruit, in general, is nowhere near as nutritious as veggies, greens and even certain types of flowers for your bearded dragon.
Having said this, there are some fruits that you can feed to your dragon that are much more healthy than bananas according to VCA Hospitals even if the calcium to phosphorus ratio isn’t always at the recommended level.
These fruits include…
Remember these fruits are recommended by the experts over at VCA-Hospitals who list figs, dates, apricots, raspberries and strawberries as their top 5 fruits. Even these fruits should be provided on occasion as part of a high-quality diet but they do offer better nutrition than bananas when it comes to giving your dragon a well-deserved treat.
One of these fruits to note is figs because they are especially high in calcium and make a great salad topper.
Take a look at the table below that shares the most relevant nutritional information for these 5 great fruits.
Nutritional Information Per 100g (Fruit)
|Water||79.11 g||20.53 g||86.35 g||85.75 g||90.95 g|
|Energy||74 kc||282 kcal||48 kcal||52 kcal||32 kcal|
|Protein||0.75 g||2.45 g||1.4 g||1.2 g||0.67|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g||0.39 g||0.39 g||0.65 g||0.3 g|
|Carbohydrate||19.18||75.03 g||11.12 g||11.94 g||7.58 g|
|Fiber||2.9 g||8 g||2 g||6.5 g||2 g|
|Sugars||16.26 g||63.35 g||9.24 g||4.42 g||4.89 g|
|Calcium, Ca||35 mg||39 mg||13 mg||25 mg||16 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||14 mg||62 mg||23 mg||29 mg||24 mg|
What Percentage Of a Bearded Dragons Diet Can Be Protein?
It’s often hard to know what percentage of your bearded dragon’s diet should consist of insect protein and what percentage should be plant-based.
In reality, the percentage should change as your beardie gets older. Bearded dragons should actually have a higher percentage of insect proteins when they are a baby and juvenile compared to when they are an adult.
Take a look at the charts below that give you a visual guide to what percent of your dragon’s diet should be insect proteins and greens at different ages of their life.
The fact that bearded dragons need to eat a healthy and balanced diet containing calcium-rich greens has prompted owners to add both new and interesting foods to their beardies diet. Many owners are now asking if bearded dragons can eat bok choy as part of their...
Greens and hugely important to bearded dragons and many owners like to offer greens such as collard greens to their bearded dragon’s diet. But can bearded dragons safely eat collard greens? Or should you be swapping them for a healthier option? In this post, we will...
Greens and vegetables are an important part of a bearded dragons diet and without them, your bearded dragons would likely suffer from illness and other serious issues. To ensure you provide your bearded dragon with vegetables and greens on a daily basis, owners are...