Bearded dragons are one of the most popular lizard species kept as pets. They are fun to look after and easy to care for when you know how. There is much debate over the Internet by bearded dragon owners about whether or not a bearded dragon can eat carrots or not. Also, one of the common questions I get asked is whether bearded dragons can eat carrots, so let’s take a look at it and figure out how much carrot should a bearded dragon eat.
Can bearded dragons eat carrots? Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Carrots are one of the healthiest root vegetables to feed to bearded dragons. They have an abundance of vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like calcium, potassium, and iron. While the occasional carrot is fine for your pet, it should not be a major part of its diet.
Bearded dragons can eat carrots because of their high beta carotene content. Beta carotene is a plant-based pigment that is converted into vitamin A in animals. You may want to limit your bearded dragon’s carrot intake because too much beta carotene can cause it to develop gout. However, if your bearded dragon is properly acclimated, it may benefit from the nutrients acquired from eating carrots.
Bearded dragons can eat both raw and cooked carrots, but they are best served by lightly steaming them first to soften the texture. You should choose carrots that are firm with smooth skin and have a bright color.
This article will talk about everything you need to know about feeding carrots to your beardies, including their nutritional value, health benefits, risks involved, feeding ideas, and more.
Are carrots healthy for beardies?
As a concerned pet parent, the health of your pets should be your priority. Can eating carrots benefit their health? Let’s find out.
We will begin by exploring the nutritional value of carrots in the table below:
|Vitamin A||835 IU|
|Thiamine (Vitamin B1)||0.066 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||0.058 mg|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||0.983 mg|
|Choline (Vitamin B4)||8.8 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)||0.273 mg|
|Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)||0.138 mg|
|Vitamin C||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.66 mg|
|Potassium, K||320 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||33 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||12 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.143 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.24 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.3 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.8 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
As you can see in the table, carrots are loaded with several vitamins and minerals, all of which serve some or the other functions in your pet reptile’s body.
They’re also rich in macronutrients like carbs, protein, and fibers, which help them perform their daily activities smoothly. Therefore, you can add carrots to the list of healthy veggies for your beardies.
Concerns about feeding carrots to beardies
While carrots are healthy for your little pets in moderation, when overfed, these veggies can also be lethal to them.
The most pressing issue with overfeeding carrots to beardies is their high vitamin A content. While vitamin A is essential for the health of your beardies, too much of it can be harmful to them. It can lead to Hypervitaminosis A in them.
Some of the symptoms of Hypervitaminosis A in beardies are:
- weight loss
- dry, scaly skin
In severe cases of Hypervitaminosis A, some beardies have also died of secondary dehydration.
Moreover, carrots also have a high sugar content, which is detrimental to your beardie’s oral and digestive health. Therefore, if you want your pets to enjoy carrots safely, feed them these veggies only once a week.
Are carrot tops safe for beardies?
Carrots have tall, green leaves attached to their tops. Although we discard these leaves while cooking carrots for ourselves, can your little pets eat them? Yes, they certainly can. These leaves are loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, calcium, and potassium and are, therefore, healthy for your beardies.
In fact, carrot tops are safer for beardies to eat than the rest of the vegetable. The only thing you need to be careful about is purchasing organic carrots. The tops of the non-organic carrots are often sprayed with pesticides and are unhealthy for your pet reptiles.
Should you feed raw or cooked carrots to your beardies?
Many beardie owners have raised the concern about whether they should feed their pets raw or cooked carrots. Let me tell you that your little pets can eat both raw as well as cooked carrots safely if you feed these to them properly.
There are pros and cons to both raw and cooked carrots. While raw carrots have a higher nutritional value, they can also be quite tough and pose a choking threat to your beardies when sliced or chopped improperly. On the other hand, cooked carrots are easy for beardies to eat but have lesser nutrients.
Keeping these differences in mind, you can pick whichever you think would be better for your beardies.
Can you feed purple carrots to beardies?
It might come as a surprise to many, but it is believed that carrots were originally purple in color; the orange ones are a mutated version that is easier to grow. Before the 16th century, all the carrots that were cultivated were purple-colored. However, nowadays, orange carrots are much more popular than purple ones.
Purple carrots get their color due to the presence of anthocyanin in them. Anthocyanin is a naturally occurring plant pigment that provides coloration to all the pink/purple fruits and vegetables. These plant pigments have strong antioxidant properties that are beneficial both for you and your pets.
Therefore, if you can find purple carrots in the market and want to feed them to your beardies, go ahead by all means.
Can you feed white carrots to beardies?
White carrots are carrots that do not contain any pigmentation, hence the absence of color. These carrots have a smooth flavor and richer taste than regular carrots. However, from a nutritional standpoint, these carrots have the least to offer to your beardies.
Therefore, while white carrots are harmless to your pets, if you have a choice between these and orange carrots, go for the latter.
Can you feed baby carrots to beardies?
Baby carrots are carrots that have been harvested before they can reach full maturity. As a result, these carrots are smaller in size and have softer flesh.
While baby carrots can make delicious treats for beardies and are also small enough to fit their diet perfectly, it is best not to feed these to them. Wondering why? Because most of the farmers and vendors add various preservatives to baby carrots to prevent them from going bad. These preservatives are lethal to your pet’s health and should never be ingested by them.
Is it safe for baby beardies to eat carrots?
Bearded dragons take 18 months to reach their sexual maturity; if your pet is younger than this, they’re basically baby (or juvenile) beardies.
Now, among the beardies, the diet of an adult varies significantly from that of a baby. While the adults eat a primarily plant-based diet with occasional insects, their younger ones need more animal protein growing up. Therefore, their diet consists mainly of insects, with fruits and veggies making only 10% of it.
If you want to add vegetables to your baby beardie’s diet, you should go with ones that have lower sugar content. And since the sugar content of carrots is quite high for a vegetable, I would recommend you not to feed these to your pets until they’re adults.
Feeding carrots to beardies
I hope most of your questions and queries about feeding carrots to beardies have already been clarified above. Now, let me walk you through a quick, step-by-step guide that explains how you can best feed these treats to your pets:
Step 1: When you’re out to buy carrots for your little pets, the selection of an ideal carrot is essential. Go for carrots that have a vibrant shade and healthy-looking skin. These carrots should also be fresh; the best way to analyze their freshness is by looking at their tops. If the tops appear fresh, the veggies would be fresh as well. Avoid buying carrots that have strange spots on them.
Step 2: Do you have a local farmer who grows organic carrots? If you do, you should always purchase the veggies you plan on feeding your beardies from them. Grown in a safe environment, organic carrots are a much healthier and safer alternative for your pets.
Step 3: Since carrots don’t have a significant outer peel or rind, it is crucial that you wash these veggies thoroughly before preparing them for beardies. You can also use your vegetable brush in the process. If the carrots you’ve purchased are commercially grown, you’ll need to wash and scrub them more thoroughly to avoid the possibility of any toxic chemicals remaining on their skin.
As an added precaution, you can also peel off a thin layer of carrot skin before feeding them to your pets (in the case of non-organic carrots).
Step 4: You can both cook carrots for beardies or feed them to them raw safely, as we have already discussed above.
When you’re feeding carrots to your pet raw, the most convenient way would be grating them using a grater. It might mean more work for you, but your beardies will be able to enjoy it without any trouble (in chewing or digesting).
If you’re going with cooked carrots, avoid cooking them for too long as it can reduce their nutritional value considerably. After the carrots are cooked, let them cool down for a while. If you serve carrot to your beardies while it is still hot, they might end up burning the inside of their mouth.
The carrots are now ready to be served to your pets.
Conclusion: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Carrot?
It’s been an exciting week here at Animal Hype! We worked tirelessly to bring you the leading article on bearded dragon diets: Can bearded dragons eat carrots?
Our expert panel reviewed hundreds of pages of scientific literature, interviewed dozens of people in the pet industry, and brought together some of the leading bearded dragon nutritionists. We also went out and bought 5 pounds of carrots for our own bearded dragon to test (and yes, he did indeed enjoy them).
It is important that you are familiar with the dietary needs of your pet so that it can stay as healthy as possible. With the information provided in this article, we hope that you are now more informed on feeding carrots to your dragon and how much.