Sweet potato often get praised by health gurus and nutritionists but can bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes? Or are they strictly off the menu?
In this post, we will dig deeper and see what both vets and reptiles experts say about sweet potatoes and whether they are safe to feed to your bearded dragon or not?
So can bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes? Bearded dragons can eat sweet potatoes as part of their diet. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A which is good for many functions throughout the body. You do need to offer sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon in moderation though as it has a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Read on the find out…
- 4 great lesser-known foods experts recommend you feed your bearded dragon!
- The health benefits of sweet potato
- The potential drawbacks of overfeeding sweet potato to your beardie!
- How to quickly & easily prepare sweet potato for your beardie
- How often to feed sweet potato to your bearded dragon
Sweet Potato | Nutritional Information
Before we dive into the post, it’s important to take a look at the nutritional information for sweet potatoes.
Taking a look at this info will help us decide if the food offers any key nutrients that are beneficial to bearded dragons and if so, in what quantities?
Throughout the post, we will refer back to this table when talking about certain nutrients so feel free to jump back and take a look at the table whenever you need to.
Here’s the table containing the most relevant nutritional information for sweet potato…
Nutritional Information For Sweet Potato Per 100g
|Total lipid (fat)||0.05||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||20.12||g|
|Vitamin D (D2+3)||0||µg|
|Vitamin A RAE||709||µg|
|vitamin A IU||14187||µg|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Sweet Potato (A Closer Look)
As we mentioned at the top of this post, sweet potatoes are safe for bearded dragons to eat. This is backed up by many reptile nutritionists and vets such as UC-Davis Veterinary Medicine.
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine placed sweet potatoes in a list of secondary foods that should make up the rest of your beardies plant-based diet behind top leafy greens.
This means that even though sweet potatoes are safe for your beardie to eat, this doesn’t mean that they should be a staple part of their diet.
They do offer some important nutrients but by the same token they also contain an unhealthy ratio of calcium to phosphorus (which we will cover in more detail shortly)
Sweet potatoes are good food choice for your beardie to keep the salad bowl interesting but always make sure you feed them in moderation and mixed with other calcium-rich leafy greens such as kale.
We have recently shared a post that covers all you need to know about kale as a bearded dragons owner and why we highly recommend adding it to your beardies diet.
Are There Healthy Benefits When Feeding Sweet Potato to Your Bearded Dragon?
Sweet potatoes are one of those foods that offer steady amounts of nutrition in lots of areas without even really being abundant in any area.
Having said this, sweet potatoes do actually offer generous amounts of vitamin A. Source:
Looking at the table above, you can see that sweet potatoes contain 709 µg of vitamin A (REA) and 14187 IU of vitamin A (IU) while also providing 8509 µg of beta carotene per 100g which is a precursor for vitamin A.
So what does all this mean? Well vitamin A is a great nutrient for helping with…
- Eye Health
- Bone Health
- Growth and Reproduction
All these factors are extremely important to a bearded dragon and their health so adding food like sweet potatoes from time to time can help to include some vitamin A in their diet.
Another food that’s high in vitamin A are carrots, but can bearded dragons at them?
Be Aware Of Vitamin A Toxicity
One thing you need to be aware of is that too much vitamin A can cause toxicity.
This is when you overfeed foods that are really high in vitamin A. This is usually hard to do with a bearded dragon just through diet alone.
You need to be aware, however, if you are offering your beardie a vitamin supplement that is high in vitamin A as well as lots of foods that are high in vitamin A then this can sometimes cause toxicity.
Some of The symptoms of vitamin A toxicity are…
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Once the vitamin A levels are reduced then so does the toxicity. This again is pretty rare but something we needed to mention is you are offering vitamins that are high in vitamin A as well as a diet that’s also high in vitamin A.
Are The Concerns to Feeding Sweet Potato to Your Bearded Dragon?
Apart from the potential of your beardie over-consuming vitamin A in their diet as we mentioned above, there’s just one more thing you need to be aware of when offering sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon.
This is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus that sweet potatoes offer. they actually have an unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio which isn’t healthy for a bearded dragon if over consumed.
Phosphorus binds to calcium and stops it from being absorbed in the body. This means that ideally, you want to feed your beardie foods that are high in calcium and low in phosphorus.
Feeding the odd food that is slightly higher in phosphorus and low in calcium isn’t going to be a problem as long as the majority of the diet is the opposite.
Vetstream recommends a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1, which means your beardie will consume 2 parts claim to every 1 part phosphorus.
As you can see from the table we provided, sweet potatoes contain 30mg of calcium and 47mg of phosphorus per 100g which is an unbalanced ratio.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t offer your beardie sweet potatoes, however, it does mean that you need to limit how often you offer them and make sure you also offer other greens and veggies that are calcium-rich at the same time.
We also recommend checking out the 2 posts below, where we reveal if your bearded dragons really should be eating these 2 foods or not…
How Often Should Bearded Dragons Eat Sweet Potato?
As we’ve gone through this post, we talked about the positive nutrients that sweet potatoes offer such as high amounts of vitamin A but also pointed out the concerns that the calcium to phosphorus ratio is unbalanced.
With all things considered, we recommend you feeding your bearded dragon sweet potatoes around once per week mixed with nutritious greens and veggies.
It’s good to keep mealtimes and the salad bowl interesting for your beardie by introducing foods like sweet potato but at the same time making sure you are providing foods that offer high amounts of calcium at the same time.
You can see why calcium is so important to bearded dragons and learn everything you need to know about calcium as an owner in our guide right here…
How to Prepare & Offer Sweet Potato to Your Bearded Dragon?
As most foods you provide your beardie will need slightly different preparation, we have put together a list containing steps for how best to prepare and serve sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon.
Check out our preparation guide below…
Source Organic If Possible – If you can find an organic option for any food you feed to your bearded dragons then we would always recommend going for it.
Although it costs more to purchase the food it’s the best option in the long run. Pet-MD also recommends that all food should be free from pesticides and herbicides and going organic is the best way to achieve this.
Thoroughly Wash First – Make sure you thoroughly wash the sweet potato before preparing it.
No Need to Cook – Sweet potato can actually be served to your bearded dragon raw.
How to Serve? – The best way to serve sweet potato to your bearded dragon is to peel off the skin and whilst still using the peeler, peel the potato into thin strips.
This makes the sweet potato much easier for your beardie to eat than if it was cut into chunks or cubes.
Then add the strips to the salad bowl as a salad topper or mixed in with nutritious greens.
4 Lesser-Known Foods That Experts Recommend You Feed Your Bearded Dragon
Keeping mealtimes and the salad bowl interesting for your bearded dragon can be difficult at times.
For this reason, we have done some research to find 4 food choices for your bearded dragon that are lesser-known but still good to add to the salad bowl from time to time with the leafy greens and nutritious veggies you already know about.
The 4 foods we have chosen are recommended by experts such as Vetmed.
Here are the 4 lesser-known foods we recommend…
- Butternut Squash
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
We have also put them in a table side by side with sweet potatoes so you can see the nutritional value of the most common nutrients.
Check out the table here…
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|
Bearded dragons are extremely quiet creatures that rarely make a...
As an owner, you will understand that water and its hygiene plays a...
The fact that bearded dragons need to eat a healthy and balanced...
Greens and hugely important to bearded dragons and many owners like...
Even though shedding is a natural for bearded dragons, it can still...
Greens and vegetables are an important part of a bearded dragons...