Kale has risen to fame over recent years in the world of nutrition and is often considered a superfood.
But is kale a good choice to feed to your bearded dragon? or should it be kept out of the salad bowl for good?
In this post, we will look at research and the opinions of vets and experts to debunk all the myths and rumours leaving you with the cold facts regarding kale and your bearded dragon.
So can bearded dragons eat kale? Bearded dragons can eat kale as part of a balanced and varied diet. Kale contains high amounts of calcium which is vital to their health. Kale is also low in phosphorus which is known to be a positive factor as too much phosphorus when compared to calcium is negative to a bearded dragon’s health.
Read on to discover…if kale is actually high in dangerous oxalates as many people say or if this is just a myth!
You will also learn…the benefits and points of concern of feeding kale to your beardie, how to prepare kale, how often you should feed kale and 5 other greens and veggies that the experts recommend!
Kale | Nutritional Data
Ok, before we decide just how good kale is for your bearded dragon and how often you should feed it to them, let’s look at the nutritional profile of kale.
We have taken the data from the U.S. Department Of Agriculture or USDA for short and put the most relevant information here for you in a handy table below…
Nutritional Information Of Kale Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||1.49||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||4.41||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale (The Facts)
It can be quite tempting to simply give your bearded dragon foods that are known to be healthy for us humans as they are sure to also be good for your beardie right?
Not quite! bearded dragons have different nutritional needs to us humans and some foods that are good choices for us aren’t always the same for your dragon.
Kale, however, according to experts such as VCA-Hospitals is totally safe to feed to your beardie and should make up a high percentage of the plant-based side of their diet.
Now we’ve established that kale is both safe to eat and is recommended on a regular basis, let’s look at the individual benefits and any potential concerns of feeding your bearded dragon kale.
Is Kale Actually High In Oxalates?
Ok, let’s tackle the elephant in the room first! There are lots of rumours and myths suggesting that kale is high in harmful oxalates and for that reason, it should only be fed on occasion.
First, let’s cover what oxalates actually are…
Oxalates are a compound that is found in many plants. According to VCA-Hospitals oxalates bind to calcium and other trace minerals and prevent them from being absorbed.
Obviously this can have a major negative effect for bearded dragons because calcium is so important to their health.
The truth is that nearly all plants and greens will have some level of oxalates and not all levels are considered to have a negative effect on your beardie.
But does kale have a high amount of oxalates as many people are saying? Or is this all just rumours and hearsay?
Let’s look at the facts!
We have taken research provided by oxalates.org and listed the oxalate level for 15 popular bearded dragon foods.
As you can see from the list below kale has one of the lowest amounts of oxalates per 100g out on this list.
Spinach is considered to be high in oxalates but all the other foods on the list are recommended to be either primary or secondary foods for your bearded dragon by VCA-Hospitals or Vet-Med.
Oxalates Per 100g
|Name||Oxalates Per 100g|
|Sweet Potato||240 mg|
|Mustard Greens||128.7 mg|
|Turnip Greens||50 mg|
Kale Is High In Calcium
With 254mg per 100g kale is a great source of calcium for your bearded dragon.
Calcium is highly important to bearded dragons and without a calcium-rich diet, your beardie will likely suffer from serious health issues such as metabolic bone disease.
In fact, Pet-MD states that foods high in calcium are essential to prevent metabolic bone disease and also list kale as great calcium-rich food to have in your reptiles diet.
To learn more about calcium for your bearded dragon head over to the recent post we wrote here that explains everything you need to know as an owner.
In addition to feeding your bearded dragon a diet that’s high in calcium experts and vets highly recommend that you use a high-quality calcium supplement to ensure they get their recommended calcium intake.
One such expert who preaches this is Vetstream who said that calcium supplementation is a must in a recent article they posted about metabolic bone disease.
The calcium supplement we recommend is ‘Rep-Cal’ as it’s the industry leader in calcium supplements and vitamins for reptiles.
Check out this post here that lists the Rep-Cal supplements we recommend.
Kale is low in sugar
This may come as no surprise, but just like most veggies and greens, kale is low in sugar.
It’s often overlooked but vastly important nonetheless to feed your beardie a diet that’s is low sugar for the most part.
Just like us humans, bearded dragons can suffer from health problems if they consume too much sugar.
This can often include…
- Digestion problems
- Tooth decay
Tooth decay can often be the worst on this list as it’s the hardest to reverse once the teeth start to rot.
Overall, feeding sugars food items such as fruit once in a while isn’t going to cause too many problems but you can feed greens such as kale with confidence knowing they offer none of the negative effects mentioned above.
What Else Does Kale Offer?
Kale is a great all-round food to feed to your bearded dragon. It’s high in lots of trace minerals and is low in phosphorus.
Phosphorus is harmful to bearded dragons when they consistently consume more of it than they do calcium.
So basically without getting too technical, foods that are higher in phosphorus than calcium should be fed sparingly.
As you can see from the table at the top of this post, there is far less phosphorus than calcium in kale so the ratio is fine.
Other things to note are that kale has a decent amount of both protein and fibre which both contribute positively to their health.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale Every Day?
It’s safe to feed your bearded dragon kale on a daily basis now we’ve debunked the myth of kale being high in oxalates.
Having said this, you should try and mix up your beardies diet and provide different nutrients from different foods to give them a wide nutrient profile.
There are also some greens that have a slightly better nutrient profile than kale and as your dragon only has a small stomach it’s best to try and get as many nutrients down them as possible before they get full.
This is especially important for young growing beardies that haven’t reached adulthood yet.
If you want to know all about how fast bearded dragons grow with data and tables then check out our post here – How Fast Bearded Dragons Grow
This doesn’t mean that you should never feed your dragon kale and it can have a regular place in their diet for all the reasons we mentioned earlier.
2-3 times per week mixed with other staple and highly nutritious greens and veggies should make a great platform for a healthy bearded dragon.
How to Prepare Kale For Bearded Dragons?
When we talk about preparing any veggies and greens for your beardie we always talk about trying to source organic if possible.
This is because organically grown food is free from the pesticides and herbicides that can harm your beardies health.
It’s definitely worth paying the extra money for the organic option if you can find one.
It’s also highly important to wash the kale and any other greens you offer to your dragon.
Even if you can’t see any dirt on the food, it can hold bacteria and dirt that can make your beardie ill if it’s not washed off and for the time it takes it’s worth doing it every time.
As kale is soft there’s no need to cook it as offering it raw will provide more nutrients, however, cutting it up into tiny bite-sized pieces is essential to prevent choking.
Kale like most greens is best served mixed with other greens to provide a variety of both nutrients and tastes to keep the salad interesting.
5 Great Alternatives to Kale
Even though we have established that kale is a great choice of green to offer to your bearded dragon, we have put together a list of 5 other fantastic greens and veggies that are both healthy and delicious.
We have taken the list from VCA-Hospitals list of best greens and veggies to feed to your bearded dragon.
As well as providing the list we have provided the relevant nutritional information so you can see the calcium and phosphorus levels and well as other key nutritional factors such as protein, sugar and so on.
Take a look at the table below and see which of these highly recommended foods you would like to add to your beardies diet.
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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