Bearded dragons love to eat fruit and anything sweet and this includes oranges.
But as an owner should you be allowing your bearded dragon to eat oranges? Or are there better options out there?
In this post, we will look at the opinions of nutritionists and vets as well as nutritional data to decide whether oranges are worth feeding to your bearded dragon.
Before we go any further, let’s give a brief but informative answer to the main question.
So can bearded dragons eat oranges? Oranges shouldn’t be part of a bearded dragons diet. This is because of the high amount of sugar they contain combined with their acidic nature. These 2 factors combined can cause multiple health problems for a bearded dragon including upset stomach and diarrhoea.
Read on to learn...more reasons why oranges aren’t a good food choice for bearded dragons and ‘discover 5 fruits that the experts recommend you feed them instead!’
The Nutritional Data For Oranges
Even though we don’t recommend that you feed your bearded dragon oranges, It’s still good to understand the nutritional value of the fruit compared to other staple greens and veggies.
Take a look at the table below that shares the data for mandarin oranges, which are considered one of the best options if you do decide to feed them to your beardie.
The data is taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Nutritional Information Of Oranges Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.21||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||11.54||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Oranges? (A Deeper Look)
We don’t recommend that you put oranges on the menu for your beardie due to the fact that they are high in sugar and an extremely acidic fruit.
With this being said, some experts do say that oranges are safe to offer to your bearded dragon as long as you only offer them on occasion.
One such expert is Vetmed (The School Of Veterinary Science) who state that oranges can be fed rarely as a treat.
As an owner, you have to weigh up the risk and reward of offering your beardie oranges rather than other option that are available.
Let’s take a closer look at why oranges could harm your bearded dragon’s health and if there are actually any benefits?
Sugar & Obesity In Bearded Dragons
The first thing you need to be aware of is that too much sugar in your beardies diet can easily cause them to become overweight.
Just like us humans, a high sugar diet will cause excess fat and eventually lead to other health problems too.
It’s advised to feed any kind of fruit to your bearded dragon sparingly and makeup 90-95% of their plant-based diet on greens and veggies.
Something that’s often overlooked is that foods that are high in sugar and are acidic too can cause tooth problems for bearded dragons.
The vets at Vetstreet says beardies can get tartar and plaque build-ups that can be much more severe to their health then they are to us humans.
They continue to say that the reason for this is that bearded dragons teeth are fixed directly to their jaw and this can easily cause inflammation or infection to their bones.
Here’s a great post that shares everything you need to know as an owner about your bearded dragons teeth.
Upset Stomach & Diarrhoea
Too much sugar and acidic fruit in a short period of time can easily cause your dragon to have an upset stomach.
This, in turn, can cause them to have a decreased appetite and even diarrhoea.
The diarrhoea can then cause them to become dehydrated and by this point, you’ve got a beardie that’s really not well.
As you can see, what starts out as nothing can escalate quite quickly and all for feeding a food that really isn’t necessary.
Low Calcium Levels
All fruit is generally low in calcium no matter what fruit it is so this isn’t a dig at oranges.
Having said this, the fact of the matter is that calcium is so important to a bearded dragon’s health that you should be aiming to feed them high amounts of calcium through their diet.
Bearded dragons only have small stomachs and they get full easily. If you feed them foods that are low in calcium and generally nutritionally poor then over time this can cause them health problems such as metabolic bone disease.
Vetstream says that a lack of dietary calcium is the main cause of metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons.
As well as getting calcium through a good balanced and healthy diet, vets and experts such as Pet-MD say that calcium supplementation is vital to making sure your bearded dragon gets its required daily calcium intake.
We have taken all the hard work out of finding a high-quality calcium supplement by writing a post that lists our recommended calcium supplements all on one page.
You can check out our list of recommended calcium supplements right here.
Alternatively, we have created a post that shares all you need to know about calcium as a bearded dragon owner.
The post shares why calcium is important, talks in-depth about metabolic bone disease and how to stop it, how to use calcium supplements for the best results and much more.
You can take a look at our calcium for bearded dragons guide here.
5 Fruits to Feed Your Bearded Dragon Instead Of Oranges
Now we’ve established that oranges aren’t the best food option for your bearded dragon let’s look at some better options.
Rather than looking at greens and veggies, let’s take a deeper look at some fruits your beardie still feels like they are getting a treat.
We have taken data from a recent article that VCA-Hospitals have posted that include their top 5 recommended fruits for bearded dragons.
The top 5 fruits they recommend you feed your beardie are
We have put all 5 fruits in a table that gives their main nutritional data so you can see them side by side.
Even though VCA-Hospitals recommend these 5 fruits, it’s important to remember that they are still fruits and are by nature minerally poor for bearded dragons.
Their diet should consist mainly of veggies and greens in their plant-based diet.
Looking at the table below you can see that some of the fruits have extremely high amounts of sugar even when compared to oranges
The fact that they are less acidic makes them less of a problem for your beardies gut than oranges, but again, only feed them as a treat and in small portions as they are nowhere as nutritious as veggies and greens.
Fruits, no matter who recommends them, are supposed to be offered as a small part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Nutritional Information Per 100g (Fruit)
|Water||79.11 g||20.53 g||86.35 g||85.75 g||90.95 g|
|Energy||74 kc||282 kcal||48 kcal||52 kcal||32 kcal|
|Protein||0.75 g||2.45 g||1.4 g||1.2 g||0.67|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3 g||0.39 g||0.39 g||0.65 g||0.3 g|
|Carbohydrate||19.18||75.03 g||11.12 g||11.94 g||7.58 g|
|Fiber||2.9 g||8 g||2 g||6.5 g||2 g|
|Sugars||16.26 g||63.35 g||9.24 g||4.42 g||4.89 g|
|Calcium, Ca||35 mg||39 mg||13 mg||25 mg||16 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||14 mg||62 mg||23 mg||29 mg||24 mg|
How Often Should You Feed These Fruits to Your Bearded Dragon?
By now you should have learned that fruit should never be offered on a daily basis as it generally contains way too much sugar and doesn’t offer enough nutrition to make it a good staple food choice.
This doesn’t mean that fruit doesn’t have its place in your beardies diet.
In fact, fruit can be great for tempting a beardie to eat from the salad bowl if they’ve been off their food or simply don’t like the highly nutritious veggies and greens you offer in the bowl.
If your bearded dragon has a low appetite or isn’t eating at all then take a look at this post that shares the 9 reasons that your bearded dragon won’t eat.
With all things considered, feeding your dragon fruits around 1-2 times per month is fine and shouldn’t cause any problems with tooth loss or obesity.
We would never recommend feeding fruit on a daily basis as due to the reasons we have mentioned throughout this post.
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