Parsnips are known to be a healthy, hearty food and are also common throughout most households and in their cooking, but can bearded dragons eat parsnips?
In this post, we will take a deep look and see if it’s a good idea for bearded dragons to eat parsnips and if so how often you should be allowing your beardie to eat them.
To do this, we will use the research and opinions of health nutritionists, vets and reptile experts so you truly have all the information you need before adding parsnips to your bearded dragon’s diet.
So can bearded dragons eat parsnips? Bearded dragons can eat parsnips but they shouldn’t be added to their diet on a daily basis. Parsnips are high in nutrients such as fibre, however, they contain an unbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus which makes them a better choice to be fed in moderation.
Read on to discover…
- 5 other foods experts recommend for your beardie instead of parsnips
- The health benefits parsnips offer bearded dragons
- The concerts of feeding parsnips to your bearded dragon too often
- How often you should be feeding your beardie parsnips
- The best way to prepare and serve parsnips to your beardie
Parsnips | Nutritional Information
Before we take a closer look at both the benefits and concerns of feeding your bearded dragon parsnips, we need to list the nutritional information.
This will enable you to see the main nutrients that are important to your bearded dragon and get a better idea of whether parsnips are a food that you want to feed them or not.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what nutrients you should be looking for and in what quantities, throughout the post we will point out key nutrients that parsnips are either abundant in or lacking in and you can head back over to this table to check them out.
Check out the table here that contains the most relevant nutritional information for parsnips…
Nutritional Information For Parsnips Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.3||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||17.99||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin A RAE||0||µg|
|vitamin A IU||0||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsnips? (More Info)
As we talked about at the beginning of this post, bearded dragons can eat parsnips.
This is backed up by the experts at VCA-Hospitals who added parsnips to their ‘safe list’ of foods for bearded dragons.
It’s important to know that even though parsnips are classed as safe for bearded dragons to eat. you need to feed them in moderation.
This is due to the fact that they don’t provide high enough amounts of key nutrients such as calcium so it’s better to opt for other foods that are calcium-rich in your beardies daily diet and offer parsnips less frequently.
Having said this, parsnips do offer some nutrients that are beneficial to bearded dragons and we will cover these in more detail shortly.
First, let’s look at the potential concerns of overfeeding parsnips to your beardie…
Are There Any Concerns When Feeding Bearded Dragons Parsnips?
When considering how often to offer certain foods to your bearded dragon, it’s always important to look at the amount of calcium it contains as well as the ratio between calcium and phosphorus.
Let’s now take a closer look at how much calcium and phosphorus parsnips contain and if the balance is either healthy or unhealthy for your beardie?
The Calcium & Phosphorus Ratio In Parsnips
The ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the foods you offer your bearded dragon plays a pretty big role in how healthy they are.
Phosphorus stops calcium from being absorbed in the body so it’s important that your beardie intakes more calcium than phosphorus on the whole. Source:
Many experts recommend that a healthy balance of calcium to phosphorus is 1:1 or 2:1
Parsnips offer 36mg of calcium and 71mg of phosphorus per 100g. This means that the ratio is totally out of balance and considered unhealthy.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t feed parsnips to your beardie though, it just means that you have to prioritize foods that offer a high calcium and low phosphorus ratio such has kale and feed foods such as parsnips in moderation.
You can find out if kale is actually healthy for your beardie as we finally get to the bottom of some myths about kale.
Why Is Calcium Important to Bearded Dragons?
Calcium is important to bearded dragons in order to allow them to maintain healthy bones and move freely.
Without out high amounts of calcium in their diet, they would likely suffer from serious illnesses such as MBD (metabolic bone disease)
Pet-MD lists the following as signs of MBD…
- Decreased appetite
- Hard to raise the body from the ground
- Bowed legs
As well as providing calcium in your bearded dragon’s diet, experts also recommend that you dust their food with a calcium supplement around 2-3 times per week.
We recommend using a high-quality brand such as Rep-Cal as this is the most trusted brand throughout the industry.
Check out our guide right here…Where you can see the Rep-Cal product we recommend and where we suggest you get it from to keep the cost low!
You can also check out our full easy to follow calcium guide here that shares everything you need to know as an owner
What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Bearded Dragons Parsnips?
Even though parsnips don’t meet all the requirements for the perfect mealtime option for bearded dragons, they are still high in some important nutrients.
One such nutrient that parsnips are extremely high in is fibre. Source:
Parsnips actually boast 4.9g of dietary fibre per 100g.
Remember – You take a look at the amount of fibre and other nutrients that parsnips contain by heading to the table above
Fibre plays a vital role in the health of bearded dragons by…
- Helping to maintain healthy bowels
- Keeping stools regular and normal
Do Bearded Dragons Like Parsnips?
Every bearded dragon is different and they have their own personalities as well as likes and dislikes when it comes to food.
Generally, bearded dragons will eat parsnips but might not enjoy them as much as sugary fruit or even leafy greens.
Again this will totally depend on the individual and a lot will also depend on how you prepare and offer the parsnips too (you can learn our recommended method to prepare and serve parsnips further on in this post)
Bearded dragon absolutely love oranges and blueberries! But can they eat these fruits safely?
You can find out in as we take a closer look in the posts below…
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Parsnips?
Baby bearded dragons can eat parsnips but it’s important to mention that they really need to be fed in moderation.
Baby bearded dragons are growing at a rapid rate and every mouth full of food is vital to their growth.
In fact, baby beardies grow almost 90% of their total size in the first 12 months of their life.
You can check out our guide that shares exactly how fast bearded dragons grow (with easy to follow charts and tables)
The bottom line is, parsnips can be fed to your baby beardie but just ensure the bulk of their diet is optimized with protein and calcium to enable support their growth.
How Often Can You Feed Bearded Dragons Parsnips?
Knowing how often to feed foods to your bearded dragon can sometimes be tricky.
This is the case with parsnips too, while they offer an unbalanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus, on the flip side they also offer an extremely high amount of fibre.
Unfortunately, the need for good quality calcium is higher than the need for the fibre that the parsnips offer.
This is because lots of the staple foods that your beardie are likely to be having on a regular basis contain enough fibre to keep your beardies bowels healthy.
So with all things considered, we recommend that you can feed parsnips to your bearded dragons around once per week maximum and preferably once per month as long as the majority of their diet in high-quality greens such as kale, dandelion greens, collard greens and so on.
This will also totally depend on how often you are offering other foods with an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio.
What’s The Best Way to Prepare Parsnips For Bearded Dragons?
Knowing how to prepare and serve the different foods your beardie eats can help to save time and get them to eat foods that they might not normally eat.
We have put together a list of things we recommend you do in order to both prepare and serve parsnips to your beardie in a convenient way that your bearded dragons will love.
Check out how to prepare parsnips for your beardie below…
Grab Organic – One thing we always like to put out there is to purchase organic greens and veggies if possible.
We understand that there isn’t always an organic option and this can also become a little expensive, however, if you can, it’s always best to grab the organic option.
Choosing organic will give you the best chance of providing your beardie with greens and veggies that contain pesticides and herbicides.
Give It a Wash – The nest step and one of the most important things you can do is to thoroughly wash the parsnips to ensure they are clean.
Serve It Raw – You can actually serve parsnips either cooked or raw, however, we recommend serving them raw.
This will save you time in preparation and also preserve lots of the nutrients that the parsnips offer.
Grate It – Instead of taking a knife and cutting the parsnips into chunks, we recommend using a grater to grate the parsnips.
Small Servings – The last step is to serve the parsnip t your beardie. We suggest only serving a small portion of parsnips to your beardie mixed in with high-quality staple greens.
Just enough parsnip to act as a salad topper should be fine as a portion size.
5 Foods Experts Recommend to Feed Your Bearded Dragons Instead Of Parsnips
We have put together a list of 5 other foods that experts recommend you feed to your bearded dragon.
These foods aren’t staple foods that you should be feeding daily but they are lesser-known foods that your beardie can still eat from time to time for a little variety.
We have picked 5 foods from a list that Vetmed compiled in a recent article they wrote about foods that bearded dragons can eat.
The foods we have chosen are…
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet Potato
You can also check out these 5 foods side by side as we have put them and their nutritional data in a table below…
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|
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