Whenever we think of salad we think of lettuce and this can prompt us to add it to our bearded dragons salad bowl on a daily basis.
The problem is that lettuce just isn’t a very good mealtimes option for bearded dragons.
We have researched this thoroughly, taking the opinions of reptile nutritionists as well as looking at official nutritional data to give you all the information you need as an owner.
This post will allow you to confidently decide one way or another if lettuce is either on or off the menu!
So can bearded dragons eat lettuce? Bearded dragons can actually safely eat lettuce. Having said this, lettuce isn’t recommended to be a part of your bearded dragon’s diet. This is because it’s nutritionally poor and shouldn’t take the place of other highly nutritious foods that are available.
Keep on reading to learn…
- The reasons why you shouldn’t include lettuce in your bearded dragon’s diet
- If baby bearded dragons can eat lettuce?
- If bearded dragons can eat any other varieties of lettuce such as butter, green leaf, red leaf, cos, romaine and iceberg lettuce?
- 5 greens that top experts highly recommend instead of lettuce!
The Nutritional Date For Lettuce
Before we take a deeper look at why lettuce may not be a great option to feed to your bearded dragon and what other foods to feed instead, let’s look at the nutritional data of lettuce.
We have sourced this information from the USDA which is the U.S. Department Of Agriculture.
Nutritional Information Of Lettuce Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.14||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||2.97||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce (A Closer Look)
As we did our research about lettuce we found that many experts considered lettuce to be a bad food choice for bearded dragons.
One such expert was VCA-Hospitals who clearly advise that you should stay clear of nutrient-poor light green vegetables such as iceberg lettuce and head lettuce.
Let’s look at the reasons why so many vets and reptile nutritionists are so against feeding your beardie lettuce.
Lettuce Is Generally Nutritionally Poor
When you look at the nutritional profile of lettuce in the data we provided above, you will notice that it doesn’t offer much nutrition at all.
In fact, lettuce contains 94.98g of water per 100g. This leaves little room for any other noticeable nutrition.
This can be a bigger problem than first meets the eye because bearded dragons only have a very small stomach and they get full very easily.
Therefore filling them up on foods that offer little to no nutrition as opposed to other nutritionally dense options can hinder their health and limit their growth.
This is especially true for young bearded dragons that grow at an extremely fast pace and need all the nutrition they can get.
Here’s a post that shows exactly how fast bearded dragons grow and what age they stop growing.
The post is complete with charts to and visual diagrams.
Lettuce Is Low In Calcium
Another main reason why lettuce isn’t recommended is that it’s low in calcium.
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for bearded dragons and without a regular supply of calcium in their diet whey would likely suffer from metabolic bone disease and other serious health conditions.
In fact, Vetstream points out that a lack of dietary calcium is a major factor in the cause of MBD.
Because calcium is so important to your bearded dragon’s health we have written a post that covers all you need to know about calcium as an owner right here.
It’s wise to fill your bearded dragons salad bowl with foods that are calcium dense and adding foods such as lettuce restricts the amount of daily calcium they can intake.
We also recommend using a calcium supplement to ensure your beardie gets its required dosage of calcium.
This is also the recommendations of many top experts such as Pet-MD who says calcium supplementation is essential and you should only use high-quality brand.
The only brand we would ever recommend is ‘Rep-Cal’ as they are the industry leader for calcium supplements.
To make it easy for you we have listed the exact ‘Rep-Cal’ calcium product we recommend you use in this post here, as well as our recommended vitamins and other food-related products.
Lettuce Is Low In sugar
The one good thing that lettuce does have going for it is that it’s low in sugar.
This doesn’t mean that you should start adding lettuce to your bearded dragons salad every day, however, it is low in sugar to credit where it’s due.
Sugar can cause quite a lot of problems for bearded dragons if it’s consumed too frequently and in high volumes in foods such as fruit.
Feeding high amounts of sugary foods can cause problems such as…
- Digestion problems & diarrhoea
- Tooth decay
For these reasons, most fruits are typically not good mealtime options for bearded dragons as they offer little nutrition like lettuce but with the added problems of high amounts of sugar.
The best salad bowl options are greens and veggies that contain low amounts of sugar and are nutritionally high too.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?
Baby bearded dragons shouldn’t eat lettuce for much the same reasons as adult bearded dragons.
Having said this, the need for baby bearded dragons to keep away from nutritionally poor foods is even greater.
Baby bearded dragons grow at such an exponential rate that every food you offer them is vital to their growth.
Offering lettuce will simply fill them up with minerally poor food that won’t aid their need for growth.
We have created a guide with tables and charts that details how fast and big a baby bearded dragon should grow at each stage of its life.
Are There Any Kinds Of Lettuce Bearded Dragons Can Eat?
There are many different kinds of lettuce and we often see owners asking questions regarding the different kinds as they aren’t sure if their beardie can eat them.
Let’s take a look at the most popular kinds of lettuce and see if they are worth feeding to your beardie.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Iceberg Lettuce?
Iceberg is probably the most popular and commonly available variety of lettuce around the world. It’s especially common in the UK.
As with most lettuce, it can be deceiving to think that this lettuce is full of useful nutrients for your bearded dragon.
So can bearded dragons eat iceberg lettuce? Iceberg lettuce is nutritionally poor for bearded dragons and is a food that you should avoid. It’s low in calcium and other nutrients, meaning that you should opt for other vegetables instead.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cos Lettuce?
Cos lettuce is the same variety as romaine lettuce. It’s thought that the British named romaine lettuce ‘Cos’ because it’s thought to originate from the isle of Cos in Grease.
So can bearded dragons eat cos lettuce? Cos lettuce is slightly more nutrient-dense than iceberg lettuce, however, it still offers little in the way of nutrition for a bearded dragon. It’s still advised to provide your bearded dragon with more calcium-rich greens and vegetables.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Romaine Lettuce?
As we mentioned above, romaine and Cos lettuce are the same, they are called them different names depending on which part of the world you live in.
So can bearded dragons eat romaine lettuce? Both romaine or cos lettuce offers more protein and calcium than iceberg lettuce per 100g. This increase in nutrition is only minimal, however, and you shouldn’t give your bearded dragon romaine lettuce to eat.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Butterhead Lettuce?
Butter lettuce or butterhead lettuce originated from the Mediterranean.
There are now 2 popular hybrids in the US that are sold throughout grocery stores.
So can bearded dragons eat butter lettuce? Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat butter lettuce. Like most light green vegetables, butter lettuce has little nutrients and shouldn’t take the place of dark leafy greens.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Leaf Lettuce?
‘Green leaf’ is the collective name given to dozens of varieties of lettuce that share the same characteristics and are popular all over the world including the US and Europe.
So can bearded dragons eat green leaf lettuce? Bearded dragons can’t eat greens leaf lettuce. Even though it offers slightly nutrition than some other lettuce varieties, it still doesn’t compare with nutritious greens such as kale and many others.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Red Leaf Lettuce?
Red leaf lettuce is another variety of lettuce that originates from the Mediterranean and is now popular throughout the US and Europe.
The red leaf can make this lettuce give off the impression that it holds a large number of nutrients like other greens you offer to your beardie.
So can bearded dragons eat red leaf lettuce? Red leaf lettuce is low in vital nutrients such as calcium, which is vital to a bearded dragon’s health. For this reason, combined with the fact that it doesn’t offer others minerals, it’s not advised to feed a bearded dragon lettuce.
5 Recommended Greens to Feed Instead Of Lettuce
Now that we’ve established that lettuce isn’t a great food to feed your bearded dragon, let’s look at some other food that reptile nutritionists and top vets recommend you do feed your beardie.
We’ve decided to look at the advice from Tex Vet Pets who have listed 7 of their recommended greens in a recent article they posted about bearded dragons.
We have handpicked 5 of those greens and listed them here…
- Swiss Chard
- Boc Choy
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
We have also included the nutritional information for each of these greens in a handy table.
This will allow you to take a look at each of the foods side by side and compare the nutrients such as calcium etc to see which ones you may want to consider adding to your bearded dragon’s 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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