Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini?

Bearded dragons are omnivorous reptiles and can eat plants as well as insects. In plants, there are several options as you can feed them greens like spinach, carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, as well as fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, watermelons, etc.

Zucchini is a seeds-filled fruit, not a vegetable, a great salad, and an appetizer, also known as courgette, summer squash, or baby marrow. Zucchini comes from the family of melons and cucumbers.

But when you talk about zucchini, many bearded dragon owners get confused as some think it harmless and healthy while other owners think it a dangerous diet for your bearded dragon. So, what is the truth? Can a bearded dragon eat zucchini? Are zucchini safe for bearded dragons?

This guide will uncover the following questions:

The short answer is:

  • Yes, bearded dragons can eat Zucchini.
  • No, bearded dragons can’t eat it every day, as a staple diet.

You can food your bearded dragon zucchini as a dietary staple or as an occasional snack, but not as a treat.

Always add it with other veggies as zucchini lacks essential nutrients including calcium which is very important for the bearded dragon’s overall well-being.

This is also one of the reasons zucchini is not a staple food that you can feed your bearded dragon daily. The lack of calcium can cause many health issues in bearded dragons including Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD), which is a very severe disease and your beloved dragon even dies.

Zucchini also lacks many nutrients that your growing dragon needs. Instead of zucchini, you can feed them the following calcium-rich greens:

  • Dandelion greens.
  • Mustard greens.
  • Swiss chard.
  • Turnip greens.
  • Collard greens.

Always feed your dragon a well-balanced diet. For adult bearded dragons, it is 80% greens and 20% insects. From this 80% greens, 20% can be fruits. For baby or growing bearded dragons, it’s 20% greens and 80% insects.

To overcome the calcium deficiency, always use calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. You can sprinkle calcium power on your dragon’s diet.

So, bearded dragons can eat zucchini safely, but how often they can eat it? This is the second logical question that a bearded dragon owner can ask.

You can feed a handful of zucchini once or twice a month to your bearded dragon.

As already discussed, Zucchini is low in calcium and essential nutrients, so if you are feeding a less nutrient diet to your bearded dragon, feed your dragon zucchini only once a month or entirely avoid it. Feeding zucchini at that time can cause health issues.

To learn about bearded dragon’s common health issues/diseases, you can read the following articles:

Key nutrients of raw zucchini with skin, per 100 grams or 3.5 oz.

  • Water: 94.8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.11 grams
  • Fat: 0.32 grams
  • Protein: 1.21 grams
  • Fiber: 1 grams
  • Calcium: 16 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 38 milligrams

Key nutrients of raw baby zucchini with skin, per 100 grams or 3.5 oz.

  • Water: 92.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 3.11 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Protein: 2.71 grams
  • Fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Calcium: 21 milligrams
  • Phosphorus: 93 milligrams

Zucchini doesn’t offer many nutritional benefits to bearded dragons but it has several other vitamins and minerals which can be beneficial for bearded dragons. But still, you need to offer it once a month to bearded dragons to avoid the risk of metabolic bone disease (MBD).

Zucchini is better than baby zucchini in terms of calcium-to-phosphorous ratio.

Your bearded dragon can have the following benefits from eating the minerals and vitamins of zucchini:

It prevents inflammation in bearded dragons.

These vitamins are vital for a bearded dragon’s overall growth, healthy immune system, reproduction, vision, and tissue and organ maintenance and repair.

This vitamin regulates blood clotting and aids in bone health. 

Help maintain the nervous system and boost the overall energy level of the bearded dragon.

Fiber is good for the digestive system of bearded dragons.

It helps bearded dragons to maintain nervous tissue health. 

It also aids metabolism.  

It promotes muscle and brain health. 

It regulates blood pressure.

For humans, zucchini is perfectly a healthy meal but for bearded dragons, there are pros and cons of eating zucchini.

The health benefits of zucchini for bearded dragons are as under:

  • Zucchini is high in antioxidants. These antioxidants help in preventing cancer and boost the immune system of bearded dragons.
  • Zucchini is low in oxalates. The high amount of oxalates is not good for bearded dragons as they tend to bind with calcium and stop their absorption in bearded dragon bloodstreams.
  • Zucchini doesn’t interfere iodine intake of bearded dragons like kale or broccoli.
  • Zucchini is high in fiber (both soluble and insoluble fibers). Fibers are good for the bearded dragon’s digestive system and also help him to control blood sugar.
  • Always add zucchini with a high-sugar meal so that the sugar level can be controlled.
  • The soluble fiber aids heart health.
  • Zucchini contains vitamins A and C which are vital for a bearded dragon’s overall growth, healthy immune system, reproduction, vision, and tissue and organ maintenance and repair.
  • Zucchini contains Vitamin B6 and Folate which help bearded dragons to maintain the nervous system and boost the overall energy level.
  • Zucchini has high water content, and provides essential moisture to your bearded dragon, especially if your dragon is dehydrated.
  • Other benefits of feeding zucchini are already discussed under the heading, “Is Zucchini Healthy For Bearded Dragons”.

The health risks of feeding zucchini to your bearded dragon are as under:

  • Zucchini is very low in calcium and can cause a deficiency of calcium in bearded dragons.
  • Zucchini has a poor calcium-to-phosphorous ratio (1: 4.4). This excessive phosphorous can stop the absorption of calcium in bearded dragon blood streams and your dragon can face many health problems.
  • Zucchini is very low in nutrients which your dragon needs. So, regularly feeding zucchini can cause nutrient deficiency in bearded dragons.
  • Sometimes, zucchini can contain poison for your bearded dragon. A piece of zucchini with bitterness contains cucurbitacin which irritates the mucous membranes in the digestive tract of your bearded dragon and can cause health issues.

Like every meal, zucchini has many pros and cons. But why can’t bearded dragons eat zucchini as a staple diet? In addition to the cons mentioned above, zucchini has the following severe negative effects on bearded dragon health:

Zucchini is very low in calcium, a 100 grams of zucchini contains only 21 milligrams of calcium. Calcium is very important for bearded dragon skeleton health and overall well-being. That is the reason bearded dragons are fed a calcium-rich diet along with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. The absence or deficiency of calcium can weaken their bones, tissues, and skeleton and even cause metabolic bone disease (MBD).

Regularly feeding zucchini to your bearded dragon can cause calcium deficiency, which is one of the reasons zucchini is not good as a staple diet.

On one hand, zucchini contains very low calcium, on another hand, it contains a very high amount of phosphorous. A 100 gram of zucchini contains 38 milligrams of phosphorous and in the case of baby zucchini, it is 93 milligrams of phosphorous, which is extremely high.

Phosphorous tends to bind up with calcium and stops its absorption in bearded dragon’s bloodstreams. This will definitely cause calcium deficiency in bearded dragons. This is the reason, some bearded dragon owners don’t feed zucchini to their dragon. They avoid it at all costs.

A bitter zucchini can be poisonous for your bearded dragon. Zucchini has a bitter taste due to the presence of cucurbitacin compounds in them. If you are feeding bitter zucchini to your bearded dragon, you are feeding this compound which can cause digestive issues.

Zucchini has a very high water content, they are made of 94% water, which is too high. This high water content can cause diarrhea in bearded dragons which in turn will dehydrate your bearded dragon – a vicious cycle.

A cooked zucchini will lose many minerals like vitamin C and will also have a bigger water content in them. As already discussed, zucchini is already low in essential nutrients and high in water content, so boiling or cooking the zucchini will only decrease their nutrient value, which is not recommended.

Similarly, if you are cooking your zucchini in oil, it will add unnatural and dangerous fats to your dragon’s diet, which is also not recommended.

Always feed your dragon raw zucchini.

Raw zucchini will have less water content and more nutrient values as compared to cooked zucchini, that’s why always feed your dragon raw zucchini.

Bearded dragons can also eat zucchini plants including their leaves. Zucchini fruit and its plant are edible for bearded dragons.

Yes, Bearded dragons can eat zucchini leaves, stalks, and flowers.

While feeding leaves to your bearded dragon, you need to be careful about pesticides and the source of the leaves.

Leaves from young zucchini plat are safer as compared to old zucchini plat.

If the source of zucchini leaves is homegrown, it will have more cucurbitacin in it. So, it is recommended to avoid homegrown leaves. Commercially grown zucchini plat has less or no poison due to exposure to heat and stress.

Usually, bearded dragons can’t eat seeds of any vegetable or fruit including zucchini. All seeds present a choking hazard to your bearded dragon. Some hard seeds even can cause digestive issues including impaction. Although the seeds of zucchini are soft, but to be on the safer side, avoid them.

No, bearded dragons can’t eat zucchini peel. It is tough skin and even a tiny piece of zucchini peel can stuck in the throat of your bearded dragon.

If by mistake, you have served zucchini to your bearded dragon with a little part of peel and it has stuck in his throat, try to wash it off with water. Use a syringe to pour water into the bearded dragon’s throat. If this doesn’t work, use tweezers to pull out the peel from your bearded dragon’s mouth. Using fingers is not recommended as your dragon is already uncomfortable, he might bite you. Although bearded dragon bite is not poisonous, it is only venomous, but still, it will pain.

Yes, bearded dragons can eat zucchini flowers.

Yes, bearded dragons can eat yellow zucchini safely. You can feed your dragon yellow zucchini once or twice every month. It also has more antioxidants than green zucchini.

You can easily prepare zucchini for feeding your bearded dragon. Some quick and easy steps are as under:

Organic zucchini is best for bearded dragons as it is safer and doesn’t have any preservatives or other chemicals or toxins on it.

But if you can’t find this type of zucchini, you can buy it from the store, it is also fine after washing. You need to make sure that, zucchini is free from dust and all types of chemicals before feeding it to your bearded dragon.

If you want to use frozen zucchini, it is also fine. Make sure that it is completely thawed and there are no frozen parts left in the raw zucchini. The frozen parts could become a choking hazard to your bearded dragon.

Always avoid cooked or canned zucchini as they are very low in nutrients and they may contain toxins and preservative chemicals.

After getting the organic zucchini or zucchini from the store, you need to wash it thoroughly. Toss out all the zucchini which shows any physical deformities. Choose the healthy zucchini for your dragon.

You can use a potato peeler to remove the waxy peel of zucchini. Keep peeling the zucchini until you get the light green flesh of the zucchini. Make sure you have removed the complete peel as your bearded dragon can’t eat zucchini skin.

Now your zucchini is ready to be chopped. Make small, eatable pieces of zucchini so that your dragon eats it easily. You can use a knife or shredder to make small pieces.

After making small pieces, serve them to your dragon. You can also add zucchini to salads.

Your bearded dragon can eat zucchini but it is very low in nutrients. So, better is to opt for options that are calcium-rich and high in nutrients. But still, if you want to feed them zucchini, feed them in controlled quantity.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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