Cilantro is a food that is becoming more common in households throughout the world. This has led many owners to ask if their bearded dragon can eat cilantro as part of their diet.
In this post, we will take a close look at cilantro and see if it is actually safe to feed to your bearded dragon or if you shouldn’t even consider adding it to the salad bowl even as a treat.
We will also tackle all the other important and relevant questions that you will need to know before feeding your bearded dragons cilantro.
So can bearded dragons eat cilantro? Bearded dragons can safely eat cilantro as part of a balanced diet. Cilantro should be consumed in moderation and shouldn’t be considered a staple part of a bearded dragon’s diet due to the fact that it contains only moderate amounts of calcium which is vital to the health and well being of a bearded dragon.
Cilantro | Nutritional Information
We have added the nutritional data for cilantro so you can see just what nutrients it offers for your bearded dragons and also which nutrients cilantro is lacking in too.
Don’t worry if you aren’t too sure which nutrients to be looking out for as we will break down the key nutrients of cilantro shortly.
You can always head back here at any point to check out the numbers if you wish.
Check out the nutritional information for cilantro below…
Nutritional Information For Cilantro Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.52||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||3.67||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin A RAE||337||µg|
|vitamin A IU||N/A||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro? (more info)
Knowing exactly what cilantro is can be slightly confusing for anybody coming from outside of the US as it’s often called something slightly different in other countries so it makes sense to clear this up first.
Cilantro is the herb from a fresh coriander plant. It is sometimes known as Mexican parsley and Chinese parsley, while in the UK and other European countries cilantro is often referred to as fresh coriander.
As we mentioned earlier in the post, cilantro is safe to eat for bearded dragons and this is backed up by many veterinary experts that list cilantro on their list of safe foods for bearded dragons.
With this being said, just because cilantro is considered safe for bearded dragons to eat it doesn’t mean that it should be fed to your beardie as a staple part of their diet even though for the most part it offers some really good health benefits.
Cilantro shouldn’t be considered a staple in your bearded dragons diet due to the fact it doesn’t contain the correct amounts of key nutrients such as calcium that are important to bearded dragons that other staple foods do.
If you are looking for foods that you can offer your beardie on a more regular basis then check out our guides on both dandelion greens and mustard greens below…
- Are Dandelion Greens Healthy For Bearded Dragons? Find Out Here…
- Are Mustard Greens Healthy For Bearded Dragons? Find Out Here…
If you want to know if bearded dragons can eat frozen, cooked and canned cilantro as well as cilantro stems then head right to the bottom of the post where we reveal all…
Let’s now take a closer look at these key nutrients and both the benefits and potential negatives of feeding your bearded dragon cilantro…
Are There Any Negatives to Feeding My Bearded Dragon Cilantro?
Even though cilantro offers a number of health benefits through the various vitamins and minerals it provides, it also has a couple of low or unbalanced nutrients that unfortunately make it a poor choice for a staple food to offer your bearded dragon.
Let’s now take a look at these negatives and see why you should feed cilantro to your bearded dragon in moderation…
Cilantro Contains Moderate Amounts Of Calcium
Offering your bearded dragon foods that are high in calcium is essential for their health as calcium plays a major role in their muscle function, metabolism and bone growth and maintenance.
Cilantro provides 67mg of calcium per 100g which is considered a moderate amount. While this isn’t a negative, it certainly isn’t enough for it to be considered a staple food in your beardies diet.
Other foods such as Kale contain as much as 254mg of calcium per 100g and this puts in perspective just how much calcium is expected from the foods your beardie eats on a regular basis.
Some people suggest kale shouldn’t be offered to bearded dragons and we finally see if this is true or just a pure myth in our new guide to bearded dragons and kale here…
All in all, the levels of calcium that cilantro offers are good enough for you to feed it to your beardie in addition to other high calcium and staple foods but it should never be chosen as the main source of the plant-based diet.
As well as offering plenty of calcium-rich greens, it’s also essential that you offer your bearded dragon a calcium supplement to ensure they consume enough calcium.
We recommend using RepCal as this is the number 1 brand for reptile owners around the world and they offer high-quality calcium supplements.
You can head over to our recommended food and accessories guide to see the exact RepCal supplement we recommend you offer your bearded dragon as well as the best place to get it from.
Are There Any Benefits to My Bearded Dragon Eating Cilantro?
Even though cilantro should be considered a staple food for bearded dragons, there are still plenty of positives to offering cilantro to your beardie in moderation.
Let’s not explore those beneficial nutrients…
Cilantro Is low In Sugar
Like most herbs, cilantro is low in sugar with only 0.87g of sugar per 100g.
Offering your beardie a low sugar diet, for the most part, is extremely important as excess sugar can cause a whole host of both short and long term problems.
These problems can include…
- Stomach Upsets
- Tooth Decay
As bearded dragons don’t digest large amounts of sugar easily, they can often end up with short term problems such as stomach upsets and even diarrhoea which can affect their food intake for the rest of the day.
More dangerous and long term problems can occur from obesity and something that’s often overlooked which is tooth decay.
Bearded dragons have teeth that are fused directly into their jaw bone and any rotting teeth from excess sugar consumption can lead to problems throughout the whole jaw and ultimately need extensive veterinary care.
You need to be especially careful when feeding your bearded dragon fruits as they are typically high in sugar.
Strawberries are actually a fruit that is fairly low in sugar when compared to a lot of other fruits.
You can find out all you need to know about feeding your bearded dragon strawberries in our easy to follow guide here…
Balanced Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Another positive about offering your bearded dragon cilantro is that it has a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio.
It’s widely accepted that for a food to be considered healthy for a bearded dragon then it needs to have at least an equal amount of calcium and phosphorus and ideally around a 2:1 ratio in favour of calcium.
As you can see from the table we provided above, cilantro offers 67mg of calcium and 48mg of phosphorus per 100g, which is safely in that 1:1 or 2:1 recommended ratio.
The reason why this is important is that phosphorus clings to calcium and prevents it from being absorbed and therefore used within the body of your beardie.
It’s worth mentioning that if you offer your beardie the odd food as a treat that has an unbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus then it won’t make a great deal of difference to their health.
In fact, you will find that most fruits have an unbalanced ratio, however, if you feed your beardie foods on a consistent basis as the main part of their diet with an unbalanced ratio then this could cause serious health problems such as MDB so it’s something you need to keep your eye on.
As previously mentioned, cilantro gets the thumbs up as it offers a good and balanced calcium and phosphorus ratio for bearded dragons.
High In Other Vitamins & Minerals
Cilantro is actually full of other vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to your bearded dragon.
Two of the most abundant vitamins in cilantro are Vitamin A & K. As you can see from the table above, cilantro contains 337µg of vitamin A per 100g and 3930µg of beta carotene per 100g which is a precursor for vitamin A.
Vitamin A helps the body in a multitude of different ways from supporting a healthy immune system, bone health and promoting healthy growth.
It’s worth noting that even though vitamin A is helpful throughout the body, more isn’t always better and you should always limit the number of foods you offer to your beardie that are high in vitamin A especially if you are providing them with a multivitamin supplement.
The reason for this is that too much vitamin A can cause vitamin A toxicity, which in turn, can cause a lot of health problems if these high levels of vitamin A are offered consistently.
The health issues associated with vitamin A toxicity can include bone pain and liver damage.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop offering your beardie any foods high in vitamin A, but it does mean that you should know what foods are high in vitamin A and make sure you don’t offer lots of them at the same time on a consistent basis especially if you are providing a multivitamin supplement.
Cilantro also contains a high amount of vitamin K with 310µg per 100g. Vitamin K is important for the health and well being of bones as well as helping to heal wounds.
Another mineral that cilantro is abundant in is potassium. This is an often overlooked mineral and is responsible for aiding with a number of complex functions throughout the body including helping the nervous system.
Cilantro offers 521mg of potassium per 100g which is considered a high amount.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
Sometimes foods that are appropriate for adult bearded dragons aren’t always the wisest choice for baby and juvenile bearded dragons.
This is due to the fact baby beardies are growing at such a ferocious pace that their nutritional needs can differ from that of adults.
When it comes to cilantro, baby and juvenile bearded dragons can still eat the herb.
The only thing you have to be mindful of is that baby and juvenile beardies need their diet to be even more on point to support their growth so it’s even more important to concentrate on offering calcium-rich greens first.
This means that cilantro should be fed in addition to a high calcium diet in moderate amounts on occasion.
If You are interested to find out just how fast a baby bearded dragon grows then we have put together a guide with tables and charts that shares everything you need to know…
Raw/Fresh Vs Cooked Cilantro | Which Is Best?
Many owners often want to know if it’s better to feed their beardie fresh cilantro or cooked cilantro?
The answer to this question is that offering your bearded dragon fresh cilantro is better than offering them the same food cooked.
The reason for this is that when you cook food it loses some of its nutrients so it really doesn’t make sense to add an extra step to the preparation just to provide your beardie with fewer nutrients at the end of it.
The only time this would make sense is when you are offering food that is too hard to eat raw.
This isn’t the case with cilantro and for this reason, it’s much easier and healthier to feed it to your bearded dragon in its raw state.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Cilantro?
It’s always a good idea to try and understand if your beardie will even like a food you are wanting to offer them before you take the time to go out and purchase it and prepare it for them.
When it comes to herbs such as cilantro, bearded dragons generally love them as they are easy to chew and they have a distinct taste when compared to other greens and veggies.
This doesn’t mean that all beardies will love cilantro as they all have their personal likes and dislikes and this is something that makes them unique and great to own.
Having said this, the likelihood that your beardie will like cilantro is high and you can even watch a bearded dragon eating cilantro and loving it below…
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
As we have mentioned consistently throughout this post, cilantro has a lot of health benefits for your bearded dragon but having said this, it shouldn’t be considered a staple in their diet.
With all things considered we recommend that if you are wanting to add cilantro to your beardies diet then offering it around once per week is fine.
Ultimately, this will really depend on how often you are feeding your bearded dragon similar foods to cilantro with a similar nutritional profile.
The bottom line is, offer your beardie calcium-rich greens for the bulk of their plant-based diet and secondary greens and herbs to add some variety or both taste and nutrients they may be missing if they are eating the same few greens consistently.
How Much Cilantro Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
As well as knowing how often to feed your bearded dragon cilantro, it’s also important to know how much cilantro to feed them too.
There really is no hard and fast rule here but we feel that somewhere between 5-8 cilantro leaves are ample.
Again, this will depend largely on what other herbs and greens you are offering your beardie and what nutrients they offer.
It’s actually a good idea to add the leaves in your beardies salad bowl both at the top and halfway down. This is because they generally love cilantro and it will encourage them to eat from their bowl even if they don’t like some of the other greens.
How to Prepare & Serve Cilantro For My Bearded Dragon?
Cilantro is a pretty easy and simple herb to prepare and serve to your bearded dragon, however, there are still some steps to follow in order to ensure you are serving cilantro in the best way possible to your beardie.
Take a look at our simple guide to preparing and serving cilantro to your bearded dragon…
Organic – We understand that purchasing organic greens and herbs for your bearded dragon may cost extra but it’s really important to offer your beardie food that is pesticide and herbicide-free.
So providing an organic option whenever possible is what we would recommend.
Wash – The next step is to wash the cilantro thoroughly. Even if you have purchased for the organic option, it’s still vital that you wash all greens and herbs you feed to your beardie.
Raw or Cooked? – As we mentioned earlier in the post, it’s better to feed your bearded dragon raw/fresh cilantro rather than cooking first.
This will save you an extra step and it will also provide your beardie with more nutrients.
How to Serve? – That is really all the preparation you need and then all that’s left to do is serve the cilantro to your dragon.
We recommend adding the cilantro to a bowl with some other high-quality greens that are full of calcium as beardies usually love cilantro and it will often entice them to eat other greens in the bowl.
What High Calcium Greens Can My Bearded Dragons Eat?
Throughout this post, we have talked about how cilantro doesn’t make a great staple food for bearded dragons for a few reasons and one of those reasons is the fact that it doesn’t contain enough calcium.
Here are some handpicked greens that are great to feed to your beardie on a regular basis and most of them are super high in calcium.
All of the greens we have chosen are recommended by veterinary experts and are listed in multiple diet guides.
The 5 high calcium foods we have chosen are…
- Dandelion Greens
- Grape Leaves
- Turnip Greens
You can also see the nutritional information for each of the 5 selected foods below as we have put them side by side in a table with their most relevant nutritional information.
Nutritional Information Of Healthy Bearded Dragon Foods Per 100g
|Name||Dandelions||Grape Leaves||Turnip Greens||Watercress||Collards|
|Water||85.6 g||72.32g||89.67 g||95.11 g||89.62 g|
|Energy||45 kcal||93 kcal||32 kcal||11 kcal||32 kcal|
|Protein||2.7 g||5.6 g||1.5 g||2.3 g||3.02|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.7 g||2.12 g||0.3 g||0.1 g||0.61 g|
|Carbohydrate||9.2||17.31 g||7.13 g||1.29 g||5.42 g|
|Fiber||3.5 g||11 g||3.2 g||0.5 g||4 g|
|Sugars||0.71 g||6.3 g||0.81 g||0.2g||0.46 g|
|Calcium, Ca||187 mg||363 mg||190 mg||120 mg||232 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||66 mg||58 mg||42 mg||60 mg||25 mg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro Stems? Bearded dragons can eat cilantro stems. The stems should be cut short into bite-sized pieces. This is to ensure that your bearded dragon can manage them easily and they don’t cause a choking hazard. As with the leaf, the stems should be washed thoroughly before offering it to your bearded dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Canned Cilantro? Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat canned cilantro. This is due to the fact the canned food usually contains preservatives and far less nutrition than fresh food. If you want to offer your bearded dragons herbs then it’s always best to feed them fresh ones.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Frozen Cilantro? Bearded dragons can eat frozen cilantro but only once it’s been thawed out to room temperature. Frozen food can be bad for their digestive system and even frozen food that has been thawed needs to be offered in very small quantities as it contains much more water which can cause digestive issues.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cooked Cilantro? Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat cooked cilantro. The reason for this is that cooking cilantro will decrease the nutritional value of the herb and increase the moisture levels too. Cooking cilantro also adds another step to the preparation that’s really not necessary.
We would also like to take this opportunity to tell you about a great new bearded dragons colouring book that is now available. It’s been made with love by a fellow beardie owner and it allows you or your child to colour page after of beautiful illustrations of bearded dragons. You can check out the book by by clicking the link here…
The most common food for bearded dragons are crickets and this often...
If you know what to look for, you can tell a lot by the color of...
As diet and hydration is so important to bearded dragons, so many...