Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pumpkin? (Get the runs?)
If you love Bearded Dragons, you want to make sure you feed them correctly (Click here for my best Bearded Dragon guide, on Amazon). Many people wonder if they can eat vegetables, such as pumpkin. Let me explain…
Can bearded dragons eat pumpkin? Yes, they can eat pumpkin. However, you have to be careful when not to give them too much. Because it has low calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:2 (more on this later). This means it’s not ideal, but ok in moderation.
Now that you know that they can eat pumpkin, albeit in moderation, let me also explain the dangers of their seeds. Also, if your Beardie will experience runny feces as a consequence of this, which pumpkin is best and much more. Keep reading.
What is a pumpkin?
For those of you that have never seen a pumpkin, let me explain. A pumpkin is a large orange/yellowish vegetable which has orange flesh. Its skin is tough and ribbed.
It is widely associated with Halloween. Families will typically carve out the inside flesh of the pumpkin during this time of year, to reveal a scary face for Halloween. It is also linked to Thanksgiving in the United States as well.
Where do pumpkins originate from?
They originated in North America. But these days you can see them all over the world as they are exported and farmed, due to their demand.
Should their seeds be removed?
Yes, it is important to remove the pumpkin seeds before giving it to your lizard. Even though the meat of the Pumpkin is fine for them, you need to be careful about serving the skin or any seeds.
If you are curious to understand why this is because it can actually cause impaction. This is because the seeds are not digestible by your lizard and will effectively “back it up” (Meaning its system will be blocked).
Impaction is very painful for your Beardie and can be a very slow and unnoticeable issue. Meaning your lizard could be suffering in silence.
Will they get runny feces?
One of the issues of giving your lizard pumpkin is the inevitable after-effects. Basically, there is a good chance that you will notice it will get runny feces (loose stool). This is due to the high water content of this vegetable.
This is not necessarily anything to be worried about but you should be prepared for this before you decide to give it to them, are you with me? This is also similar to other highly water-based fruits, such as watermelons.
What type of pumpkin is best for your lizard?
With over 42 different types of pumpkin, it may be hard for you to decide which one is ideal to feed your lizard. In my opinion, the butternut pumpkin is the best one for Beardies. However you need to see how your lizard responds to the food before taking my word for it.
In general, the Howden pumpkin is quite popular, but this is more to do with the tradition of cutting up the pumpkin for the Halloween festival once a year. Other variations of pumpkin to consider are the Aladdin, Caspar, and Amish pie.
The calcium to phosphorus ratio of Pumpkins
Earlier I mentioned that Pumpkins are not ideal because they have the incorrect calcium to phosphorus ratio. Let me elaborate on that…
In general bearded dragons require a 2:1 ratio which is ideal for them. Whereas the actual ratio for pumpkins is 1:2. As you can see from the maths it is not the ideal balance needed for your bearded dragon. Hence the reason why I suggested in moderation is the best practice.
In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to pumpkins and Bearded Dragons. If you have a good question in mind, that has not been answered, feel free to drop me a comment below.
Q: Can bearded dragons eat pumpkin puree?
No. They cannot and should not eat pumpkin puree. If you have not heard of pumpkin puree before I will explain what it is…
Pumpkin puree is basically natural pumpkin which has been grounded up and cooked into a liquid form (puree). And, it is typically sold in shops as a canned product.
Most lizards, including the bearded dragon, do not do well with pureed food in general. They typically require whole food. And, for that reason, it is better to cut it up and then give it to him in small pieces. Obviously avoiding the seeds as discussed earlier.
Q: What can you do to get your bearded dragon to eat more greens and vegetables?
You may notice that your bearded dragon refuses to eat vegetables. It may just be one particular type or it could be veg in general.
If this is the case I have some tips on how you can try and get around this to improve their diet and make it more nutritional.
Reducing their options
The first thing that you can try and do is to reduce the number of insects you’re giving them. Then see how they respond to the vegetables then.
My point here is if they fill their stomach with insects the likelihood of them wanting to eat vegetables as well, which they are probably not that keen on anyway, is quite low.
Therefore if you reduce their options, at least, to begin with, they may be more inclined to go for it, because they may think that’s all that is available. So give it a try and start off the meal with vegetables before you give them the insects.
Mixing it up.
Another tactic that you can use is mixing the vegetables in with the insects and see if they will actually take it naturally.
If you have not tried hand feeding before this could be something that you could try. With this technique, you will effectively hand feed it an insect, then follow it up with a vegetable and see if it will take it.
Q: Can you feed your bearded dragon herbs and spices?
Yes. However this needs to be in moderation. And, to be honest herbs and spices is quite a general term for a lot of different options.
But the general rule is they can be given, but you have to be careful with what you’re serving and the amount you’re serving. This is largely to do with the Essential Oils that are usually in most of these herbs and spices.
Q: Can I feed my bearded dragon canned vegetables?
No, is the short answer. You may be wondering if canned vegetables are a good idea, maybe because they sound like a nice convenient and cheap option, right? Well, it’s really not a good idea.
Why? Simple, have a look at the ingredients of a canned veg can next time you get a spare moment. What do you think you will see? Preservatives!
These preservatives may be ok for us humans (which is also debatable, to be honest). But, for your Beardie, this will not be a good idea. Because it is likely to make them ill over time.
Q: Can I put a real cactus in my bearded dragon tank?
Yes. Maybe you want to keep your enclosure looking aesthetically pleasing for your Beardie. In that case, a Christmas cactus or Aloe will be fine. But, be careful of any succulents, these can’t go in there.
Q: Can my bearded dragon eat aloe vera?
Yes. They can chew on this. And you may find that they really love this. However, the Aloe may not look too cool after it has been nibbled up by your beardie. But that is more of a cosmetic issue, more than anything.
Q: Can Bearded dragons have rocks in their tank?
Yes. But, be careful of heat rocks. If you have not heard of these before, they help to increase the temperature in the enclosure. However, they could actually burn your Bearded Dragon, hence the reason I say its not a good idea.