Here's Why Your Bearded Dragon Hates Salad
Do you have a bearded dragon that refuses to eat their greens? Since bearded dragons are omnivores, when they don’t eat vegetables, they miss out on a major part of their natural diet. And this can result in nutritional deficiency.
Fortunately, this problem isn’t unsolvable. Once you’ve figured out the cause, you can work on a solution!
They’re Too Young
Bearded dragons have different nutritional needs based on their stage of life. When they’re young and growing (under 12 months old), they need to eat logs of bugs to get the protein and calories needed to fuel rapid growth. This means that they have an instinctive preference for insects over greens.
Still, if you have a young bearded dragon, it’s best to give them salad every day so they can snack on greens as desired and get accustomed to greens as a source of food.
They Crave Something New
As omnivores, bearded dragons are instinctively driven to eat a wide variety of different foods. This helps them survive in the wild, and also protects them from nutritional deficiency. If you’ve been offering the same rotation of greens to your beardie, it’s quite likely that your bearded dragon is simply tired of the same options.
If this is the case, visit the grocery store and look for something new to give your beardie! Here are some ideas:
- Bok choy
- Cactus pads
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Mustard cress
- Pea shoots
- Spring mix
- Turnip greens
- Artichoke heart
- Beet leaves
- Bell pepper
- Carrot greens
- Dandelion greens/flowers
- Lemon balm
- Mint leaves
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
If options at the grocery store are limited, try growing your own mix of greens! Dandelion, clover, alfalfa, marigold, snapdragon, bergamot, campanula, geranium, globe thistle, hollyhock, and viola are all edible.
There’s Too Much
Are you in the habit of giving your bearded dragon enormous salads every day? If that’s the case, it’s possible that your beardie is actually eating their greens, but there’s so much leftover that you can’t tell that they’re eating. One way you can test this is by offering smaller salads, to see they clean their plate. If you’re still not sure, install a motion-triggered webcam to keep track of your bearded dragon’s daily habits.
Too Many Bugs
If your bearded dragon still refuses to eat greens, that means you’re probably offering so many bugs that they don’t feel hungry enough to try vegetables. As bearded dragons get older, their need for protein decreases substantially. Hatchlings should have 60-80% as insects, 60% for juveniles, and just 15% for most adults. So while it’s okay for youngsters to eat tons of bugs, it’s not okay for adults.
Stop offering insects to your bearded dragon until they become hungry enough to eat vegetables. This can take a week, or it might take a month or more. This may seem unnecessarily cruel, but your bearded dragon needs to learn to accept greens as a regular part of its diet. When they get hungry, they’ll eat.
There are several reasons why your bearded dragon may seem to hate salad. Whatever the reason, it’s up to you to re-balance your pet’s eating habits so they can stay healthy. However, if your bearded dragon has stopped eating entirely, the problem is likely to be medical. Take your dragon to an experienced reptile vet!
"Singing along to ZzTop" by Mr_Jack is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.