When putting together a salad for your bearded dragon it can be hard to know whether it’s healthy to add a bell pepper? Or if bearded dragons can actually eat bell peppers at all?
Luckily, We have decided to gather the advice of some of the best known and trusted reptile vets and nutrition experts around and put our findings in one handy post.
So can bearded dragons eat bell peppers? Bearded dragons can eat bell peppers in moderation. Bell peppers contain vitamins and minerals that are healthy for bearded dragons, however, they are also low on essential nutrients such as calcium. This means you should feed them as part of a balanced diet with other staple greens.
Read on to learn…
- Nutritional data for bell peppers
- How often to feed bell peppers
- How you should prepare & offer them to your bearded dragon
- The pros and cons of feeding bell peppers to your bearded dragons
- If baby bearded dragons can eat bell peppers?
- 4 top greens & veggies that reptile experts recommend
Bell Peppers | Nutritional Data
As an owner, it’s important to take a look at the nutritional profile of the food you feed to your beardie.
Us humans need slightly different foods than bearded dragons as our nutritional needs are different.
Even though we need calcium, a bearded dragons need for calcium is much higher than ours.
Getting used to looking at the profile of foods will help you see that not all foods are created equally and some foods that look like they are going to be extremely healthy for your beardie may not and vice-versa.
Check out the nutritional data for bell peppers below. The data is taken from the US Department Of Agriculture.
Nutritional Information Of Bell Peppers Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||6.03||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers? (A Closer Look)
We confirmed right at the top of this post that bearded dragons can indeed safely eat bell peppers.
Many vets and nutritionists also freely add bell peppers in their lists of safe foods for bearded dragons.
One such expert is Vetmed who have listed bell peppers on the list of secondary foods to feed your beardie.
Even though Vetmed doesn’t go into detail why bell peppers only make the secondary list and not the staple list, we believe this to be because they don’t offer enough primary nutrients such as calcium.
Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at the pros and cons of feeding bell peppers to your beardie and why they aren’t recommended as much as some other greens.
High In Vitamins & Minerals
Ok, let’s start off on a good note. Bell peppers or sweet peppers as they are otherwise known are actually really good for offering vitamins and minerals to your beardie.
Although they don’t offer anywhere near the amount of vitamin A as carrots do, bell peppers are still a good source of this vitamin.
Bell peppers are also a good source of vitamin B6, C, E and K1 that is associated with bone health according to Healthline.
Overall the vitamins that bell or sweet peppers offer are a benefit to your beardie.
Low In Vital Calcium
As we mentioned before, in our opinion one of the only thing that stops bell peppers from being a staple food for bearded dragons is the low amount of calcium it offers.
If you look at the table we provide earlier in the post you will see that there is only 7mg of calcium per 100g.
When you compare that to a modest green such as kale that has 254mg of calcium per 100g then it’s easy to see why other greens and veggies are prefered on a regular basis.
Providing a diet that is full of foods that are high in calcium is essential to keep your beardies bones healthy.
Failure to do this can result in many underlying issues such as MBD.
In fact, Vetstream states that a lack of dietary calcium and/or a lack of vitamin D3 is the main cause of MBD in reptiles.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer your beardie bell peppers but what it does mean is that you should offer a larger number of primary greens and a few bell peppers to finish off the salad.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers?
Baby bearded dragons can eat bell peppers or sweet peppers as they are sometimes called.
This doesn’t mean that you should overfeed them to your baby beardie though.
When your bearded dragon is is younger than 18 months -2 years old the food that they eat is probably even more important than when they are beyond this age.
This is because they are still growing and every food that enters their mouth is vital to support that growth.
This post with charts shows how fast you can expect your baby bearded dragon to grow and also what can stop them from growing.
As bell peppers are low in calcium and this is one nutrient in particular that is critical for the long term growth and bone health of your dragon, then it’s wise to provide foods that provide much higher amounts of calcium for the most part.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t feed your baby beardie bell peppers, as the vitamins they offer are still welcomed but it does mean that you should be making sure you get the balance right and don’t just make a salad bowl only consisting of peppers and nothing else.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers?
Most vets and experts will split greens and vegetables up into 4 categories.
The categories are usually separated as follows…
- Feed consistently
- Feed regularly
- Feed rarely
- Never Feed
Bell peppers generally fall into the ‘feed regularly’ or secondary category with most vet and reptile nutrition websites.
Feeding your bearded dragon bell peppers on a regular basis certainly isn’t something you should be scared of.
Trusted sites like VCA-Hospitals mention bell peppers in a list of 21 vegetables that should make up a high percentage of your bearded dragon’s diet.
Although they don’t give a specific number of times per week you should offer bell peppers, we ourselves recommend that offering them once a week with other healthy greens and vegetables is a great addition to a healthy diet.
You must always remember that bell peppers should be mixed in with other nutrient-dense greens and vegetables to really give your dragons a diverse blend of vitamins, minerals and health benefits.
How Should Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers?
When preparing bell peppers or sweet peppers for your bearded dragons, there are a few things you need to do in order for them to be able to eat them safely.
You should always offer them in small diced portions. This actually has two benefits.
This first benefit is that smaller chunks are easier for your beardie to munch on and the second is that they will often pick other leafy greens at the same time if the chunks are small enough.
It’s also important that you provide the salad in a bowl that is easy for your dragon to eat from.
Sometimes it can be hard for your beardie to eat the full salad you provide if they struggle to get right to the bottom of the bowl.
Take a look here at the kind of bowl we recommend for both salads and live feeders as we list some of our favourites that won’t break the bank.
There’s also no need to cook the peppers as raw peppers are more nutritious and a lot less hassle to add to the bowl too.
One thing you should never forget to do is wash the peppers and any other greens you put in the tank.
Greens and vegetables go through a number of hands and warehouses before they finally end up at our homes and why knows what dirt and bacteria is hidden on them.
Giving them a thorough wash is vital to help prevent any unnecessary illness.
Finally, if you can find an organic option then we would always recommend purchasing this as opposed to the regular option.
This is because most regular options will contain some level of pesticides and we believe it’s worth the extra money to give your beardie food that’s pesticide-free if possible.
5 Greens Bearded Dragons Can Eat With Bell Peppers
So many you want to learn about some greens and veggies to feed instead of bell peppers? Or you want ideas about more foods to feed alongside them?
Whichever way you want to go, this is the section of the post for you.
We have picked the brains of the experts at Vetmed as we wanted to provide you with other options to bell peppers.
Rather than the usual staple greens and veggies that you’ll always hear about and probably know about, we’ve decided to list 4 options that you might not usually add to the salad bowl.
The list comes from Vetmeds recent article on bearded dragon care and the foods they should eat and shouldn’t eat.
The foods we have chosen to list are…
- Greens beans
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
We have put them in a table with their most relevant nutritional info and also added bell peppers alongside them so you can compare them side-by-side.
We hope you get value from this list and please remember its purpose is to give you more options when it comes to feeding your bearded dragons and keeping them healthy.
Nutritional Information Per 100g (Secondary Foods)
|Name||Bell Peppers||Butternut Squash||Green Beans||Sweet Potato||Turnip|
|Water||92.21||86,41 g||90.32 g||80.13 g||91.87 g|
|Energy||726 Kcal||45 kcal||31 kcal||76 kcal||28 kcal|
|Protein||0.99 g||1 g||1.83 g||1.37 g||0.9 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g||0.1 g||0.22 g||0.14 g||0.1 g|
|Carbohydrate||6.03 g||11.69 g||6.97 g||17.72 g||6.43 g|
|Fiber||2.1 g||2 g||2.7 g||2.5 g||1.8 g|
|Sugars||4.2 g||2.2 g||3.26 g||5.74 g||3.8 g|
|Calcium, Ca||7 mg||48 mg||37 mg||27 mg||30 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||26 mg||33 mg||38 mg||32 mg||27 mg|