Can Bearded Dragons Eat Radicchio? (Is it risky?)
If you wondering if your Beardie can eat Radicchio, you are obviously keen to care for him well (Click here to learn, from this guide, how to avoid costly mistakes other Beardie owners make). But is this vegetable a good ide or not?
Can bearded dragons eat radicchio? Yes, Bearded Dragons can eat radicchio, but it is more of a treat rather than a staple food source. This is because it offers little nutritional benefits and poor calcium to phosphorous ratio.
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Now that you know it is ok in small amounts, keep reading to learn why this is, what nutritional content radicchio has, any health benefits, risks, and much more.
What is radicchio?
Before we dig into the detail its important to fully understand what radicchio is. Some people get it, while others often confuse it for red lettuce. Therefore, in this section, I will explain exactly what it is, what is also known as, and how it is typically used.
According to Wikipedia, its scientific name is Cichorium intybus. As I briefly mentioned earlier, it is often mistaken for cabbage or red lettuce. Which, is a reasonable mistake to make, when judging how it looks.
It is from a perennial plant. Meaning, it lasts longer than two years, as opposed to other annual or biennial variations. The term “perennial” is literally interpreted as “through the years”.
In a nutshell, it is a form of leaf chicory. It is also known as Italian chicory. This is believed to be because of its use in Italian cooking. It is typically grilled with olive oil and sometimes mixed with risotto dishes.
However, it has also been known to be served with pasta, in straddles, or even used as chicken stuffing.
Appearance & Flavour
Standing back and looking at it, it could easily pass as red lettuce. This is because it has red leaves that have white veins running through it (have a look at the picture above for reference), are you with me?
Regarding the taste, it is bitter, to be honest. And, some may say a bit spicy. However, this is when it is raw. It is known to become milder when it is grilled or roasted.
What is the nutritional content of radicchio?
To fully understand its suitability for your Bearded Dragon, you need to know exactly what it consists of, are you with me? Therefore, in this section, I will list what nutritional content it has in an easy to use table.
Source: Wikipedia (per 100g)
Are there any health benefits of radicchio?
Now that you have seen the nutritional content of radicchio, it is important to understand what this even means for your Bearded Dragon and any other known health benefits that have been noted. Therefore, in this section, I will explain some of these benefits.
Low in fat
This is a plant-based food source, and from the table above you can see a low-fat content. This is good to keep your Bearded Dragons weigh regulated. Although this is good, it is not all about low fat, there are other things to consider before it is deemed acceptable.
Great source of Vitamin K, Zinc & Copper
This leafy vegetable is a great source of vitamin K, zinc, and copper. You may be wondering why vitamin K is so beneficial, right? Well, it is known to help us, humans, with blood clotting. This is important for healing up cuts and wounds.
Good source of antioxidants
Another benefit of this leafy vegetable is its source of antioxidants. According to Healthline, These antioxidants are compounds found in plant foods. This is all well and good, but why are they so good?
They protect us, humans, from free-radical cell damage. If you have high levels of these free radicals it can cause oxidative stress. This has been known to potentially lead to related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, digestive issues, or Alzheimer’s.
May help with Heart Health (in us human)
There have also been studies conducted that have concluded that eating chicory or consuming chicory extract, can help with heart health.
One of these studies, that was performed on rats, concluded that eating chicory reduced inflammation and heart damage. Another study, that used chicory extract, concluded that it reduced systolic blood pressure.
Another study concluded that the use of chicory extract acted as an antiparasitic, meaning it fended off parasites. In particular around ringworm, often found on pigs.
Yes, we can see that there are a few health benefits associated with radicchio. However, some of them are not necessarily proven with Bearded Dragons, apart from the fact that it is low in fat.
Are there any negatives or known health risks with radicchio?
Now that we know a few benefits of this leafy vegetable, what about the negatives, are there any? Any known health risks, etc? In this section, I will explain some of the negatives of your beardie consuming this food source, so you can have a well-rounded view.
One observation is that it has low-calorie content. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it provides other nutrients to make up for it (more on this later). And, in most cases, it will be mixed with other food sources to make up for this.
Sub-optimal calcium to phosphorous ratio
Another observation with this is the calcium to phosphorous ratio. If you look at the table above you can see both of these figures. According to vetstream, this ratio should be, ideally 2:1, in favor of calcium.
Controlling this ratio is important because phosphorous attaches to calcium and stops its absorption. Your Beardie needs the calcium to absorb to process and use it, hence the reason why this ratio needs to be maintained.
According to this site, te chicory root has been known to cause mild laxative effects. What is a laxative? In simple terms, it encourages us, humans, to empty our bowels, shall I say, are you with me?
I can see no proven studies to suggest this is the same for bearded dragons but it’s worth knowing.
Should you feed your Bearded Dragon radicchio?
Now that you have learned what its nutritional content is, health benefits and risks. You may want to know if it is a good idea to feed it to your Beardie, let me explain…
Yes, you can feed radicchio to your Beardie, but should you? In my opinion, not unless you really want to. Just because he can eat it, doesn’t mean its ideal, are you with me?
My point is, there are many other nutritional alternatives that you consider. So, it’s better to go for this instead.
Is radicchio suitable for Baby Beardies?
Now that you know that it may not be the best food source for your adult Beardie, what about baby Beardies? In this section, I will discuss if this is a good idea or not.
Baby Beardies are more vulnerable. They also are growing rapidly. Therefore, they need to get the best nutrition to make them grow healthy. With that being said, and the fact that they consume more insects than adult Beardies, I would focus their limited vegetable intake on other food sources.
How should you prepare radicchio for your Beardie?
If you do decide to go ahead and serve your Beardie radicchio, you may wonder how you do this, how should you server it, should it be raw or cooked? Keep reading to learn more.
Mixing with other food sources
The radicchio should only represent a small portion of any meal. Therefore, it needs to be mixed with other nutritional vegetables. Also, you may even serve some insects at the same time.
Preparing the radicchio
To make the radicchio more palatable, you should chop it up into small pieces. A general guideline that might help you, never serve him food pieces that are bigger than the distance between each eye, this will avoid choking.
Serving the radicchio and monitor
Now that you have it all chopped up and mixed with other vegetables, you can serve this up to your Beardie. It’s important to monitor how he responds to it. Does he even like it? Is there some leftover after? These are the questions you should be asking yourself and recording the answers.
In this section, I answer a related question. In particular their eating habits in the wild. If you have more questions in mind feel free to contact me to help you with the answer.
Q: Do Bearded Dragons eat vegetables in the wild?
Yes, Bearded Dragons do consume vegetables in the wild (Click here to see where Bearded Dragons live). That is why it is important to emulate their natural eating habits to keep them fed well and healthy.