Pogona is a genus of reptiles that have six different lizard species within them. The modern, more commonly known name for them is the bearded dragon. They are medium-sized lizards native to Australia’s hot deserts and woodlands.
Nowadays, keeping reptiles as pets is more common than before. Bearded dragons make great pets. They are kind and friendly and can show affection toward their caretakers. Knowing what to feed these creatures can sometimes be a challenging task. Do they eat fruits? Are vegetables a part of their diet? Can bearded dragons eat kale? What does a balanced diet look like for these lizards? As pet owners, we should know how to take proper care of them.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?
Bearded dragons can eat kale, as this dark green leafy vegetable is an excellent addition to their diet. Kale has various vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to function effectively. Bearded dragon has a wide food preference because they are omnivorous creatures, which means they eat both plant-based and animal-based foods.
In addition to kale, you can feed your reptile various fruits, vegetables, and insects, like, potato, asparagus, locusts, and red pepper. They can enjoy a wide variety of foods. Combining all these foods will ensure that your bearded dragon gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and active.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kale?
Bearded dragons can eat kale 2-3 times per week, and you can include it in their diet along with some other foods. You should not feed kale to bearded dragons daily, and overfeeding your lizard with this leafy veggie can have potential consequences that can risk the health of your beloved pet.
20grams of kale is the recommended serving size for an adult bearded dragon. There are a few different types of kale that a bearded dragon can eat, but curly kale is one of the most common type of kale which most humans eat.
Make sure to do in-depth research regarding all the different kale types and their benefits and risks before you start feeding them to your pet. If unsure, please consult a veterinary professional regarding the foods a bearded dragon can eat.
2 Benefits of Kale for Bearded Dragons
1: Calcium for Bones and Tissues Development
Kale is rich in essential calcium, especially needed for bone growth and tissue development. A lack of this nutrient can cause the lizard to form Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). It can sometimes be hard to give your reptile the required amount of calcium regularly. To prevent calcium deficiency from developing, you can use calcium supplements.
2: Vitamins and Minerals Aids in the Body Functioning
Kale is rich in vitamins K and C and minerals. These are required for the body to function properly. The antioxidants present in kale boost the immune system of your reptile. They also help in enhancing eyesight and reproduction in bearded dragons. Vitamin K is essential for the blood as it helps to prevent blood clots. Potassium is another necessary nutrient that contributes to the reptile’s muscle growth. It also aids kidney function and lowers water retention. Manganese aids metabolic health, while magnesium supports brain and physique health.
3 Risks of Kale for Bearded Dragons
1: Oxalates Prevent Calcium Absorption
Oxalate is a compound found in plants. 100g of kale has approximately 20mg of oxalate. Small amounts of oxalate are no problem for bearded dragons, but an excess of oxalate binds with calcium preventing it from getting absorbed into the bloodstream. It can cause a calcium deficiency; remember, calcium is crucial for these lizards. It is best to give foods containing oxalate 1-2 times per week in small quantities.
2: Goitrogens Can Cause Thyroid Problems
Goitrogens are a substance that is present in kale. Too much of this can affect the thyroid gland function, leading to an enlarged thyroid which can impair the production of hormones in the body. Goitrogens can also prevent the absorption of iodine.
Because goitrogens are present in most vegetables, it is best to feed in small, measured amounts to your dragon.
3: Vitamin A Toxicity Can Cause Brittle Bones
Overconsumption of vitamin A can cause hypervitaminosis A, causing brittle bones and deteriorating your pet’s health. If a bearded dragon overeats vitamin A, it starts to become poisonous. A few symptoms of vitamin A toxicity are inflammation, dehydration, lethargy, and weight loss. If not treated immediately, this can lead to them developing Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). MBD can cause bearded dragons to form warped limbs; in extreme cases, your pet could become paralyzed.
How to Prepare Kale for Your Bearded Dragon?
Wash the Leaves
Always wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly because most of these plants are cultivated using a lot of pesticides, herbicides, and various other chemicals to speed up their growth. It is best always to source fresh kale. If it is wilting, slightly brown, or old, do not feed it to your bearded dragon.
Soak the kale leaves in warm water for 1 hour as it allows the chemicals on the skin to come off more easily. After soaking them for some time, wash the leaves in a water bowl. Do this 2-3 times to eliminate all the dirt and particles on the leaves. Discard the water each time after you wash it.
Chop the Kale
After washing the kale, you should remove the long stalk or stems. Use your knife and cut these away. Then you have to cut the leaves into small bite-size pieces, allowing your bearded dragon to pick it up and eat it more easily. It prevents choking on the leaf as well. Kale should be fed to them raw as cooking can destroy their nutrients.
Now that we have an answer to the question of can bearded dragons eat kale, we can conclude that bearded dragons can eat kale. It is a safe food for them to eat and a great source of calcium for them. You should feed kale to bearded dragons only 2-3 times per week. Kale is low in calories and sugar, so your lizard is at low risk for tooth decay, heart problems, diabetes, and obesity.
Do not feed them kale daily because it is high in oxalates and goitrogens. An overflow of these two substances can cause serious health issues such as Metabolic Bone Disease, vitamin A toxicity, and thyroid problems.
Make sure you give your bearded dragon a mix of vegetables and fruits daily. Include a good amount of protein in their diet. It can come from feeding them insects. A balanced diet is essential for a bearded dragon. Too much or too little can affect the health of your pet significantly.
Other Preferred Foods for Bearded Dragons
- Turnip Greens
- Sweet Potatoes
- Bok Choy
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Darkling Beetles
- Calci Worms
- Wax Worms
- Rolly Pollies
- Mealworm Beetles
- Dragon Fruit
- Green Beans
Can baby bearded dragons eat kale?
Yes, baby bearded dragons can eat kale. But you should give this only once a week. A baby bearded dragon’s diet should consist of insects, lesser greens, veggies, and fruits because they are still growing creatures and need more protein intake.
Is kale a good green for bearded dragons?
Yes, kale is a good green for bearded dragons, is a source of high calcium, and is low in sugar and calories.
What types of kale can bearded dragons eat?
Russian kale, Redbor kale, Curly kale, Dinosaur kale, and Siberian kale are the types of kale a bearded dragon can eat.
Can bearded dragons eat cooked kale?
No, bearded dragons should not eat cooked kale as cooking kale destroys the nutrients present. You should always feed your lizard raw kale.
Can bearded dragons eat kale seeds?
No, bearded dragons cannot eat kale seeds because they cannot digest the outer husk/hull of the seed.