Can Bearded dragons eat clementines?
If you are keen to avoid feeding your Beardie the wrong foods (Click here for my best guide to stop this happening) you are probably keen to see if clementines are a good idea.
Can bearded dragons eat Clementines? No, it is not a good idea to give bearded dragons clementines. The reason being, it contains too much acid and sugars, which is not ideal for them. Also, the calcium to phosphorus ratio is not optimal for Beardies.
Now that you know why they are not good for your beardie I will go on to explain why Beardies persist with eating clementines, even though they are not ideal, alternatives that you can and cannot use, and much more…
What is a clementine?
You may be wondering exactly what a clementine is. Sometimes these fruits are confused with other similar looking fruits, such as satsumas, etc.
A Clementine is actually a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange. In my opinion, it looks like a small tangerine. It has orange skin with an array of fruit segments (Usually up to approx 12).
What is the difference between a clementine and a tangerine?
Earlier I mentioned how they get confused with tangerines. This may have led you to think, what exactly is the difference between a tangerine and a clementine?
The differences are, a tangerine is typically harder to peel than a tangerine. You will notice this if you attempt to peel both of them.
Also, there is a size difference between them. If you put a tangerine in your left hand and a clementine in your right, you would immediately notice the difference between these two.
The issues with citrus fruits and bearded dragons.
Chances are you here because you have heard rumors about citrus fruits. And the fact that they are not good for bearded dragons.
It may lead you to hope that a clementine is an exception. The reality is, as I have confirmed, it is not an exception and you should not give it to your bearded dragon.
But, why exactly? well, there are a few reasons…
High Acidic content
Firstly they have a high acidic level which is not ideal for the expected dietary balance of a bearded dragon.
Also, due to this and other elements within the Clementine, it can cause diarrhea. Not nice at all. And, not something that you really want to be cleaning up, are you with me?
Calcium to Phosphorus ratio
Finally, the last issue is the calcium to phosphorus ratio. The calcium to phosphorus ratio in a clementine is not ideal for bearded dragons and this is another factor.
So, as you know, a clementine is a citrus fruit and for these are the reasons why it is not a good idea.
What exactly is citrus?
So far I have mentioned citrus a few times in this article. And, if you are not sure what citrus is, it is only natural that you may be wondering exactly what it is.
To clarify, citrus is actually a genus of plants and shrubs. These plants are also part of the Rue family, according to Wikipedia. As one would assume, the fruits that they produce are known as citrus fruits.
Why do bearded dragons eat clementines if it is bad for them?
One of the confusing things about clementines and bearded dragons is the conflicting information you get. Some say they are fine with clementines, others don’t agree. And, to add to this, you may even witness a Beardie eating one without any problems.
So, it is a good question to ask, why are they eating clementines if it is bad for them?
How many times have you eaten junk food?
The easiest way to explain this is to compare it to us humans. How many times have you eaten some fast food?
The reality is, regardless if you are willing to admit it or not, we are all likely to have had fast food at some point in our life, or even a sugary cake, are you with me?
However, deep down, we know that these are bad for us, right? And, we know it really has little to no nutritional benefit for us, right?.
So, my point is this, in the wild, bearded dragons may come across a clementine. and yes, it may take a bite of it. It may even taste delicious, to be honest. But, in the wild, what are the chances of him finding that same clementine tree again?
In the wild they have to hunt for food and food is not guaranteed.
In the domestic world, they are overfed
However, in the domestic world lizard owners will give their bearded dragons a set diet again and again.
If the bearded dragon owner in question has a bad idea about what is good for their pet. They will feed it these things, such as clementines or oranges over and over again.
Unfortunately, in the domestic world, our pets are typically overfed. And, they can be fed these bad foods over and over again routinely. Mainly because of lack of knowledge, or laziness.
The short answer…
So, the short answer is, bearded dragons will eat almost anything you put in front of them but it doesn’t mean that is good for them.
What do people usually substitute clementines for?
Because you now know that clementines are not a good idea, you may be wondering what you can substitute it with.
Humans typically substitute clementines with mandarins. However, much like clementines, are still not a good idea for a bearded dragon. This is for the same reason as clementines. They are acidic, have high sugar content, etc.
What is a mandarin?
The mandarin is a close relative of the orange fruit. All of these citrus fruits have the same related problem, as discussed earlier, which comes down to the sugars and acidic levels. Also, the calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Should bearded dragons be eating fruit at all?
After all of this talk about citrus fruits, you may, quite rightly, start to question if any fruits are good for your bearded dragon. The answer to this, yes they can and should eat fruits, but it needs to be a very small percentage of their diet.
To put this into perspective, in the next section I will give you a breakdown of the expected proportions, and how their age plays a factor.
How much fruit a bearded dragon should consume
In the previous section, I talked about the fact that fruits need to be given to your bearded dragon. But, in small doses. let me explain…
Young bearded dragons
Bearded dragons are omnivores. Meaning they will eat meat, fruit, and vegetables. The younger bearded dragons will start off with a mix of approximately 80% meat with 20% fruit and vegetables.
However, as they get older this completely reverses. Meaning an adult bearded dragon will eat a lot more fruit and vegetables than meat.
To be precise, approximately 80% fruit and veg 20% meat. And when I say meet I mean insects. However, understand these proportions are for fruit and veg, not just fruit. So, it doesn’t mean that you feed your adult bearded dragon 80% fruit, are you with me?
This is why I mentioned earlier, that fruit should only really be a small part of their diet. The majority of their day-to-day calories should come from vegetables, such as leafy greens, but more on this in the next section.
What fruit are acceptable alternatives for the clementine?
You may be wondering what fruits are good for your bearded dragon if they cannot eat clementines or any citrus fruits. The following fruits are good for bearded dragons.
What are papayas?
According to Wikipedia, Papayas are also known as Pawpaw or papaya. And they are part of the family Caricaceae. They originate from the tropical areas of the Americas such as Mexico and Central America.
What are the benefits of papaya?
You may have heard rumors that papayas have very good health benefits for humans. And you may be wondering about this.
The rumors state that papayas help to reduce cholesterol, rich in fiber, antioxidants and have good vitamin c content. Some people regard them as superfoods. and generally has a bit of hype around the word.
Can bearded dragons eat clementine fruit peel?
As well as the actual segments, which we have already dismissed, there is the actual peel, which we have not discussed. You know, the part that protects the segments of the fruit.
Before we go any further, no, bearded dragons cannot eat clementine fruit peel. The reason for this is the peel is typically covered in pesticides.
Especially when sold domestically. Feeding this directly to your bearded dragon is dangerous because it will make give them an unwanted dose of these pesticides, which needs to be avoided. Like most things, their are many foods they can and cannot eat (Click here to see if Beardies can eat eggs).
Considerations when feeding fruits to your bearded dragon
If you are going to be feeding your bearded dragon fruit on a regular basis. It is important that you maintain these fruits in your lizard’s enclosure.
What do I mean by this? Basically, food such as fruit has a tendency to rot very quickly. I mean, fruit rotting is good in the scheme of things. Because it means it breaks down well and it’s good for the environment.
But, for your enclosure, it could be a challenge. Because your bearded dragon needs to have a clean, well-maintained enclosure. This is to keep him happy and healthy.
Therefore, you need to continuously check the enclosure for rotten fruits and remove them immediately. from the enclosure to keep him happy.