No, you should not feed your bearded dragon blackberries because they contain saponins that are toxic to reptiles.
Bearded dragons are one of the favorite pets for many people, and who can blame them? These lizards are too cute to resist! Next to watching their behavior, another great way to learn more about them is by feeding them. You can experiment with different kinds of food items that you think they might like. There are cases though that what seems the right thing to feed your pet may not necessarily be so.
Bearded Dragons and Blackberries
One of the most common questions asked is if bearded dragons can eat blackberries. At first glance, these two seem like a good match but upon closer investigation, there may be some things you need to know before trying this out for yourself. Most commonly cited as an inappropriate food item is the blackberry, but there are other things you need to consider before offering it.
Bearded dragons are omnivores and they require a lot of protein in their diet. They also get their water intake from what they eat and drink including fruit items. Because of this, people think that giving them fruit is okay. While some fruits like raspberries and blueberries can be fine to feed your pet, others should not because of the high sugar content that could lead to many complications that may put your pet’s life at risk.
Nutritional Composition of Blackberry Juice
One such berry which you should avoid feeding bearded dragons is blackberry juice. When you look up the nutritional value of blackberries, there seems nothing wrong with them as they contain relatively the same number of calories, protein and fiber as other fruits. Their sugar content is somewhere in the middle too. But unlike most other fruits which you can freely feed your pet, blackberries contain relatively high amounts of saponins that are toxic to reptiles.
Saponin toxicity can cause many problems for your pet’s health including gastrointestinal problems. It may also lead to conditions affecting the liver, kidneys and pancreas among others. These are very serious complications that will need proper veterinary care because they will not go away on their own once present in the body of your bearded dragon.
Is it okay to give them juice?
A better substitute would be fruit juices with no added sugar or honey since these only serve to make them fatter. All you need to do is provide your pet with fresh water for drinking and use a spray bottle if they are outside during summer. If you want to make them feel like it’s summer, place the bearded dragons in an area where they can receive natural sunlight or full-spectrum lighting.
Bearded dragons may not be able to tell you when something is wrong but these lizards are capable of showing signs whenever they are feeling under the weather. Some of the common symptoms may include weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite among others that will help show how your pet feels about what he eats.
If you still want to give them fruits, think about giving them smaller portions as snacks only so they will not gain too much weight from it. They will still enjoy the fresh flavors and have a nice treat just like you would want to eat if you needed to.
Can Bearded Dragons Consume These Foods?
Advantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Blackberries
There are only a few pros of feeding your dragon blackberries.
- Provides freshness to the diet
- Contains antioxidants which are good for health
- Gives the dragon treats (in moderation) without putting on weight
Disadvantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Blackberries
- May contain saponins which can cause kidney failure in some cases. This will likely only happen if there is consumption of large quantities over long periods though. Still, this means that must be avoided at all costs.
- Too much consumption may lead to obesity due to high sugar content. This will not be good especially if your pet is not given regular exercising opportunities outside their cages or vivariums. If they already get out regularly, it’s not so bad but still urge you to avoid giving too much of these to them.
- There may be a risk of choking if the berries are too large for your pet. This will likely only happen for young dragons though. You can simply cut up the larger berries for them if this is the case.
- Some animals may have allergies to blackberry juice which may lead to itching and rashes. These problems are rare but still need mention.
- Some other animals may not be able to tolerate the high fiber content in blackberries. This will likely result in gastrointestinal problems which may also cause bloating and frequent defecation.
Alternative Foods For Bearded Dragons
You can use other fruits as replacements for your pet. Some of these include mulberries, strawberries, papayas and kiwis among others. These are safe to eat without the risks that come with blackberries due to their lower saponin contents.
- You can also give them vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes or even pumpkin which are often used to make pies during Halloween time.
- Lettuce is another option but make sure it’s darker color types only because too much intake of lighter lettuce varieties may result in diarrhea. Avoid giving them iceberg lettuce under all circumstances though since this might cause gastrointestinal problems including bloating and diarrhea too if they eat too much of it.
- Other fruits you can use include apples (sliced), oranges (sliced) and pomegranates (halved). Stick to the safe types only!
- If you’re worried about too much sugar content in some of these fruits, consider cutting each piece into smaller chunks. It will not be as fun for your pet but at least they won’t gain too much weight from this.
It’s not advisable to offer dragons blackberries since there are too many risks involved. These include the chance of obesity and even kidney failure which is why it’s best to avoid giving them these fruits under almost all circumstances. There may be some exceptions such as cutting up the larger berries but again, it should only be done rarely and for young dragons only.
If you’re looking for a perfect replacement, think about other fruit options first before considering blackberries. Some safe recommendations include strawberries, papayas and kiwis among others without too much sugar content or saponin toxicity that comes with this particular fruit type. Lettuce should also be avoided due to risk of gastrointestinal problems but other types work well so long as you stick to the safe ones only.