Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce? (Romaine, Iceberg, & Arugula)

When you have a bearded dragon, you should try to feed them the right type of food. They require a lot of fruit and vegetables in their diet. But can Bearded Dragons eat lettuce?

Arugula lettuce can be fed as a treat to bearded dragons, no more than once per week. Romaine, red lettuce, and iceberg lettuce aren’t harmful to bearded dragons, but should be avoided due to their high water content.

So, it’s probably best to avoid giving Bearded Dragons lettuce. However, why is this food so bad for bearded dragons and what should you feed them instead? Let’s answer these questions.

First, here is a picture of a bearded dragon that is completely unimpressed with an offering of lettuce:

Can bearded dragons eat lettuce?
File ID 3927827 | © Teresa Kenney |

Why Shouldn’t You Feed Bearded Dragons Lettuce?

Can Bearded Dragons eat romaine lettuce? As a general rule, it’s best to avoid feeding things like iceberg or romaine lettuce to your Bearded Dragon. But why is this?

First, lettuce doesn’t contain any nutritional value. This means that your Bearded Dragon isn’t getting any benefits from consuming this type of food.

However, the high moisture content is one of the biggest reasons why you should avoid feeding this type of food to Bearded Dragons. To understand why this is, we need to look at the environment that the Bearded Dragon evolved to live in.

The Bearded Dragon comes from the Australian desert. This means that they have evolved to deal with high temperatures. It also means that they are used to water scarcity.

Because of this, their livers have evolved to become highly efficient. They can absorb all the moisture out of all the food that they eat.

When you offer food, like lettuce, that has a high moisture content, they absorb the water. However, this can create problems later. One of the most common health impacts is the potential of diarrhea.

Thankfully, this tends to be a temporary issue and won’t have any lasting health effects. Once you return to a more normal diet, most Bearded Dragons will return to firmer poo. If this doesn’t happen after a few days, you might want to consider taking the Bearded Dragon to the vet.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Arugula?

While you should avoid feeding lettuce to your Bearded Dragon, there are some other green, leafy vegetables that you might want to consider. You might also want to include them in the diet of a Bearded Dragon as an occasional treat.

Unlike lettuce, these types of foods have lower water content. This means that you won’t run the risk of giving your Bearded Dragon diarrhea.

They also have relatively high iron content. This can give them some nutritional benefit, though they shouldn’t become a stable of your Bearded Dragon’s diet. Generally, you shouldn’t give them any more than one small serving of Spinach or Arugula each week.

This is because they contain oxalates. This can cause the calcium to bind together, making it harder for the Bearded Dragon to digest this vital nutrient.

If you limit the amount provided and serve only in moderation, the effect of the oxalate will be minimized, keeping your pet healthy. However, if you feed Spinach or Arugula too often, you might cause serious problems. For example, these foods might cause Metabolic Bone Disease.

You might also want to make sure that you are selecting baby Arugula. This won’t be as tough as the more matured varieties. You can further aid digestion by chopping up Spinach and Arugula into bite-sized pieces before feeding them to your Bearded Dragon. This will prevent your Bearded Dragon from choking on the leafy vegetables.

What Vegetables Should My Bearded Dragon Eat?

As we’ve seen, there are a few types of vegetables that you should try to avoid or limit their exposure to. But, what types of vegetables should your Bearded Dragon be eating?

Amount Of Vegetables

The ratio of vegetables to insects will vary, depending on the Bearded Dragon’s age. As a general guide:

  • Baby Bearded Dragons should get 80 percent insects and 20 percent fruit and vegetables.
  • Juveniles should get 50 percent insects and 50 percent fruit and vegetables.
  • Adults should get 25 percent insects and 75 percent fruit and vegetables.

Types Of Vegetables That You Can Serve

There are multiple options that you can use as part of a balanced diet. These can include things like;

  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Acorn Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Yellow Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Any other variety of Squash
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Peeled Apples
  • Mangos
  • Peeled Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Okra
  • Pumpkin
  • Strawberries
  • Bok Choy

Each of these foods can be a great part of the Bearded Dragon diet, helping nourish them. You should make sure that you are varying the foods that you provide. This can make sure that your Bearded Dragon doesn’t get bored with the food that they are receiving. When this happens, they might decide to stop eating.

You might also want to use some supplements. In most cases, Bearded Dragons will need to get plenty of calcium to build strong bones. You can sprinkle some calcium over their vegetables to make sure that they are getting enough of this nutrient. You should be able to find this supplement in most pet stores.

How To Prepare Vegetables For Bearded Dragons?

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the types of vegetables you can and can’t serve to a Bearded Dragon. But how should you be preparing them?

Buy Fresh Vegetables

Several types of vegetables are available on the market. For example, some pet stores might sell frozen or canned foods.

However, the best option is fresh vegetables. These will contain the best flavor and have a pleasant texture.

Cut Food Into Small Pieces

When you are preparing food, you want to thoroughly wash the vegetables before you serve them. This will ensure that you get rid of any pesticides or insecticides used when producing the vegetables. Then you will be able to start preparing the vegetables.

The preparation process can vary slightly, depending on the type of vegetable you purchase. For example, if you get cucumbers, you will need to peel off the skin. If your vegetables have a stem, you will need to cut it out, as this can be too tough for the Bearded Dragon to digest.

Next, you will need to cut the pieces up. For an adult, you can get away with bulkier cuts. However, when preparing food for a juvenile, you want to make sure that you are cutting it very finely. This will ensure that they can eat vegetables without choking.

Feed Them Vegetables From A Young Age

Finally, you might find that bearded dragons can be picky eaters. Like human children, it can be very difficult to convince them to eat their greens.

To prevent this kind of behavior, you should get them used to eating vegetables from a young age. If you get them as a baby, you should make sure that they are accustomed to eating vegetables.

For more picky eaters, you might want to save the insects for later, only giving it to them after they’ve had some vegetables. It can take a while before they get used to this new routine, but eventually, they will start eating the fruit and vegetables.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Lettuce?

Due to the high water content, you should avoid giving lettuce to Bearded Dragons. This can cause runny stools. Thankfully, there is a range of other healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables that you can give to your Bearded Dragon.