Basil is regularly used throughout the world of cooking to add flavour to tasty dishes.
If you own a bearded dragon you have probably wondered at some point if your bearded dragon can safely eat basil in their diet too?
In this post, we will take a closer look and see if your bearded dragon can actually eat basil? And if so, how often?
We will look at both the nutritional data as well as considering the thought of experts so you can decide with confidence if basil is either on or off the menu for your beardie.
So can bearded dragons eat basil? Bearded dragons can safely eat basil as part of a verified diet. Basil offers lots of nutritional benefits to bearded dragons such as providing healthy amounts of calcium. Basil should only be offered around 1-time per week as it’s not considered a staple food for bearded dragons.
Read On to Find Out…
Fresh Basil | Nutritional Information
To fully understand if basil is a good option to feed to your bearded dragon, it’s best to look at the nutritional data.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what nutrients to look out for as later in the post we will pick out the key benefits as well any potential concerns with feeding your bearded dragon basil.
You can always head back to the table below at any point to take a quick look at the nutritional data we are highlighting.
Let’s now take a look at the nutritional data for basil…
Nutritional Information For Basil Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.64||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||2.65||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin A RAE||264||µg|
|vitamin A IU||5275||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fresh Basil? (More Info)
As fresh basil is used in most homes around the world, it only seems natural to wonder if it can be safely fed to your bearded dragon as part of their diet.
As we mentioned above, basil is safe to offer to your bearded dragon and it also provides lots of health benefits too.
Later in the post, we will take a closer look at the main health benefits as well as pointing out any potential downsides of overfeeding basil to your beardie.
Even though basil is considered safe to feed to bearded dragons, it should be offered in moderation as it’s not widely accepted as a staple food.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dried Basil?
Even though bearded dragons can eat fresh basil, dried basil is a totally different substance altogether.
When basil is dried, the nutrients are concentrated so you end up with much higher amounts of vital nutrients such as calcium.
The caveat to this is that it’s not just the healthy and beneficial nutrients that are concentrated and offered in higher dosages.
Dried herbs such as basil will also contain much more fat, sugar, carbohydrates and phosphorus.
On the whole, we recommend that bearded dragons shouldn’t eat dried basil.
Something else to consider is that you will almost certainly offer far less dried basil than you would fresh basil and as a consequence, your beardie will receive more goodness from fresh basil as they will be consuming more of it.
The fact that dried basil potentially contains more of the unwanted nutrients as well as only realistically being able to offer it in small portions means you should keep it off your beardies menu altogether and stick to fresh basil.
What Are The Benefits to Bearded Dragons Eating Fresh Basil?
Ok, so now let’s take a closer look at the beneficial nutrients that fresh basil offers.
Basil actually provides surprising amounts of key nutrients in a balanced way that are healthy for your beardie.
Let’s take a look at these nutrients below…
Basil Is High In Calcium
As a bearded dragons owner, you will probably understand the vital role that calcium plays in the well being of your beardie.
If you want to learn more about the role calcium plays in the health of bearded dragons you can check out this post that shares all you need to know about calcium as a bearded dragon owner…
Basil actually provides a surprisingly high amount of calcium with a 177mg per 100g.
By adding basil to your beardie diet from time to time along with offering your bearded dragon other calcium-rich greens on a daily basis you are giving them a great platform to reach their daily calcium quota.
As well as providing a high calcium diet sourced from greens and vegetables, you also need to offer a calcium supplement to captive beardies.
This is because, for the most part, just relying on the calcium provided by greens in their diet isn’t enough.
Many experts and reptile nutritionists highly recommend using calcium supplement in addition to greens and veggies.
The calcium supplement we recommend is Rep-Cal as this is trusted by beardie owners all over the world as in our opinion, it’s by far the best on the market.
To find out more about Rep-Cal and why we recommend it you can head over to this guide that explains all you need to know…
Additionally, if you want to check out the exact Rep-Cal product we recommend then we have listed it below…
- Rep-Cal Ultrafine Powder Is An Excellent Source Of Calcium For All Reptiles And Amphibians
- Scientifically Formulated From 100-Percent Natural Oyster Shell Phosphorous-Free Calcium Carbonate With Vitamin D3 To Aid In Absorption Of Calcium
Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Basil Has a Healthy Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Something that’s often overlooked when feeding your bearded dragon new foods is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus that the food contains.
Bearded dragons require more calcium in their diet than phosphorus, if not they will become unhealthy.
This is due to the fact that phosphorus has the ability to bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed and used by your beardie.
For a calcium to phosphorus ratio to be considered healthy, it must contain at least an equal amount of calcium to phosphorus or ideally more calcium than phosphorus (2:1 is the recommended ratio)
Basil has an acceptable calcium to phosphorus ratio with 177mg of calcium per 100g compared to 56mg of phosphorus per 100g.
As a side note, if your bearded dragon’s diet contains the odd food with an unhealthy ratio it’s nothing to worry about as long as the majority of their diet follows this rule.
Other Nutritional Benefits
Besides being rich in calcium, basil also provides decent amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Among these nutrients are:
- Small amounts of vitamin C
- Moderate amounts of vitamin A
- Large amounts of vitamin K.
Basil is especially high in vitamin K with 414.8µg per 100g. Vitamin K is known to be an important nutrient for bone health as well as blood clotting.
All in all, the nutrients found basil all do their part in keeping your bearded dragon healthy.
What Are The Negatives to Bearded Dragons Eating Fresh Basil?
One of the advantages of adding basil to your beardies diet is that there aren’t any noticeable downsides or concerns to this herb.
Most herbs and even a lot of veggies all have something to be aware of regarding the level of nutrition they offer.
Where basil is concerned, it is a great herb to add some variety to your dragon diet as long as you are offering other staple greens and veggies too.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Fresh Basil?
The personalities of bearded dragons can differ from one to another and this means that some beardies will enjoy a certain food while others won’t.
Having said this, bearded dragons generally like basil and will certainly eat it if it’s offered to them.
Basil has a fresh aroma, is full of flavour and provides some welcome variety to your dragon’s diet.
The only way to truly know if your beardie will enjoy basil is to try them with a small portion.
With this being said, check out the video below that shows a bearded dragon happily munching on some basil…
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Fresh Basil?
Baby bearded dragons need mainly insect proteins when they are young to support the fast-paced growth they experience.
In the period, sometimes the need for high calcium greens is overlooked.
Baby beardies can’t grow properly unless they also have the correct amount of calcium and other nutrients that are provided in their plant-based diet.
The main focus in this time should be to provide staple greens such as collard greens and dandelion greens as they are the best option.
Having said this, baby bearded dragons can safely eat basil as part of a balanced diet containing other greens like the ones we have just mentioned.
The bottom line is that baby bearded dragons can eat basil as long as it’s in moderation.
Have you ever wondered how fast baby bearded dragons grow? Well, check out this easy to follow guide that shares the surprising the answer…
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Fresh Basil?
After reading the benefits of basil for bearded dragons, it’s easy to want to go straight out and feed them a tone of basil every day.
The truth is, that wouldn’t be a good idea. Basil like many other herbs must be served to your dragon in moderation and in conjunction with staple greens.
We recommend offering basil to your bearded dragon around one time per week as a maximum.
This will allow the bulk of their diet to come from staple greens such as dandelion greens as well as providing some variety through basil occasionally.
You can find out why dandelion greens are a great choice of food to feed to your beardie in our easy to follow guide here…
How to Prepare & Serve Fresh Basil to Bearded Dragons
The good thing about serving greens and herbs to your bearded dragon is that they don’t usually take much preparation before they are ready to serve.
With this in mind, you still need to do some simple things in order to ensure that your beardie can safely eat herbs such as basil.
Take a look at this quick and simple guide to preparing & serving basil to your bearded dragon…
Organic – It’s always best to provide your bearded dragon with organic greens and herbs whenever possible.
Pesticides can be extremely harmful to reptiles such as beardies so paying a little more for organic is always best if you can.
The chances are that you will be growing the basil yourself on your windowsill anyway so it should be a problem if that’s the case.
Give Them a Wash – No matter if you are buying basil leaves from a store or you are growing your own at home, you should always thoroughly wash them before adding them to your beardies salad bowl.
No Need to Cook – This might sound obvious but there’s really no need to cook the basil. Cooking will wilt the basil and also reduce its nutritional content so always offer it fresh from the plant.
Give Them a Chop Or Not? – Depending on the size of the basil leaves you have, you can either opt to chop them into small pieces or just offer them as they are.
Some owners actually finely chop the basil leaves and sprinkle them on other greens and veggies (ultimately the choice is yours.
It’s Time to Serve – That is literally all you have to do in order to give your beardie some tasty basil in their diet. There really is nothing to it!
What Other Herbs Can My Bearded Dragon Eat?
As well as basil, there are also other herbs that you can add to your bearded dragon diet to add some variety.
Not all herbs are as healthy for your beardie as basil but they can still be offered on occasion for some much-needed variation in their diet and so they can experience the new tastes and smells that herbs usually offer.
We’ve put together a list of 4 more herbs that are safe for bearded dragons.
The herbs we have chosen are…
So you can decide if you want to feed any of these herbs to your bearded dragon we have put them together in a table along with their nutritional information.
Check out these 4 herbs below…
Herbs For Bearded Dragons | Nutritional Information Per 100g
|Water||92.21 g||67.77 g||87.71 g||92.06 g|
|Energy||23 kcal||131 kcal||36 kcal||23 kcal|
|Protein||2.13 g||5.86 g||2.97 g||3.15 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.52 g||5.86 g||0.79 g||0.64 g|
|Carbohydrate||3.67 g||20.7 g||6.33 g||2.65 g|
|Fiber||2.8 g||14.1 g||3.3 g||1.6 g|
|Sugars||0.87 g||N/A||0.85 g||0.3 g|
|Calcium, Ca||67 mg||317 mg||138 mg||177 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||48 mg||66 mg||58 mg||56 mg|