“Can bearded dragons eat apples?” is one of the most common questions we get from newer owners (especially when it comes to diet). In fact, we hear it so often that we decided to create an entire resource on the topic!
This article will not only make it clear if bearded dragons can eat apples or not, but also how you should fit them into their existing diet, and how to prepare them safely.
Table of Contents
- Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
- The Benefits Of Including Apples In Their Diet
- Green Apples vs. Red Apples: Does It Matter?
- How Often Should They Have Them?
- How To Safely Prepare Apples For Your Bearded Dragon
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
Yes! Bearded dragons can eat apples. Like many other popular reptile species, these critters thrive on a varied diet. They enjoy fruits and vegetables just as much as they like insects (like crickets).
These lizards need plenty of variety in their meals to ensure that they’re getting all the nutrients they need. Apples are a great fruit to throw into the meal rotation.
But of course, you can’t rely on apples alone to keep the vet away! When it comes to fruits and vegetables, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Bearded dragons don’t encounter apples in their wild natural habitat. Their bodies can’t handle a diet supported solely by fruits.
Expert Tip: The key to feeding apples to your beardie is to practice moderation. It’s also important to understand your pet lizard’s needs to ensure that the snack is safe and nutritious!
The Benefits Of Including Apples In Their Diet
From a nutrient standpoint, apples have a lot to offer beardies and humans alike! The most significant benefit is the vitamin content.
Apples contain Vitamins A and C, which strengthen your bearded dragon’s immune system. They help to keep your lizard healthy while also supporting their vision and overall development.
These fruits have some great minerals, too. There’s a fair amount of potassium and iron within the sweet flesh of the fruit. Potassium helps with muscle and kidney function while also regulating blood pressure. Meanwhile, the iron content supports oxygenated blood as it flows through the body and feeds the organs.
Expert Tip: Apples are a fantastic source of carbohydrates and fiber as well. As a carbohydrate, it absorbs slowly throughout the day to provide a continual energy supply for your beardie. As a fiber source, it’ll keep your bearded dragon’s digestive system in check.
Finally, fruits like apples contain a decent amount of water! Eating apples can keep your dragon hydrated. It’s handy for lizards that haven’t mastered the art of lapping up water from a bowl just yet.
Overall, apples have a lot to offer when it comes to health. These fruits can be a welcome addition to your beardie’s diet that continually supports their well-being.
Green Apples vs. Red Apples: Does It Matter?
Humans often have a clear preference between green and red apples. The two options have a pretty noticeable difference when it comes to taste.
But can bearded dragons eat apples of different colors? Or is there one you should stick to?
To start, most bearded dragons aren’t going to care so much about the taste! They’ll enjoy either choice without any problems.
Green apples and red apples are also pretty similar from a nutrient standpoint. However, minor differences do exist.
Green variants typically have a bit more fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. In general though, the differences are subtle and should have no significant impact on your lizard’s health.
As long as you practice moderation and prepare the apples correctly, both colors are fine!
How Often Should They Have Them?
Here’s an area where you need to be very careful. Apples should not be a diet staple!
Expert Tip: Think of them more as a snack that your beardie can enjoy a couple of times a week.
The dietary needs of the bearded dragon are complex. As mentioned earlier, they require a varied diet to stay healthy. However, their needs change quite a bit as they age.
Younger dragons need about 80 percent protein and 20 percent plant-based foods. During this time, their bodies are growing at a rapid pace. As a result, a carnivore-focused diet is best. They can use as much protein, fats, and minerals as they can get.
Adults, however, are the complete opposite! Once they’re done growing, bearded dragons will scale back on their protein intake and focus more on plant-based foods. An adult beardie should get about 20 percent protein and 80 percent plant foods.
Now, within that 80 percent of plant-based goods, only about 10 to 20 percent should be fruits.
You don’t have to measure every little detail of your beardie’s meals meticulously, but sticking within those general guidelines is paramount. Otherwise, you might create some life-changing health issues.
You see, fruits like apples can do a lot of harm if you give them to your dragon all the time. The biggest problem with apples is that they contain a significant amount of sugar. Sure, those sugars are all-natural. But they can do just as much harm as the fake stuff!
Too much sugar intake can lead to obesity, diabetes, and even fatty liver disease. It can also ruin your beardie’s teeth or cause digestive problems like chronic diarrhea and other unpleasant poop-related symptoms. In severe cases, years of high sugar intake can cause heart disease and premature death.
Needless to say, you have to be careful about how much you give your beardie. They’re akin to sweet treats. Your bearded dragon can have apples every once in a while, but too much will only cause health issues.
Generally, a small amount once or twice a week is all your dragon needs. That’s enough to help them experience the benefits without going overboard. If you’re still not sure, consult your vet!
How To Safely Prepare Apples For Your Bearded Dragon
Before you decide to add apples to your bearded dragon’s diet, you have to do some prep work.
These reptiles can’t eat whole apples. Not only is it impossible due to their inability to chew properly, but some parts of the fruit are potentially dangerous!
Here’s how you prepare these fruits for safe and comfortable consumption.
1. Inspect And Wash The Apple
First things first, you need to examine the apple and give it a good wash. You wouldn’t eat an apple without washing it yourself, so why not do the same for your beardie?
Believe it or not, the fruit from your local grocery store is filthy! It’s gone through so many hands to end up on the shelf. Plus, there’s the slew of shoppers who “feel” the fruits before they buy them.
Wash the apple well to ensure that you’re removing dirt and grime. Then, inspect it.
Only provide ripened apples. Avoid any fruits with soft spots or ugly bruises. While not always dangerous, blemishes could indicate that the fruit has fungus or mold. Furthermore, non-ripe apples could be too tough for your reptile to eat.
You don’t want to take any risks with your bearded dragon, so stick to feeding them ripe and clean apples.
2. Remove The Peel
Once you have the perfect apple, you need to peel it. Never let your bearded dragon eat an apple peel!
Peels present a couple of significant problems. First, they’re far too tough. Beardies can’t chew thick skin. They may try to swallow it whole, which only creates a choking hazard!
The thick skin can also cause impaction issues as they try to digest it. Your beardie will become severely constipated, which may require a trip to the vet to resolve.
Finally, apple peels could have harmful chemicals on them. Many apple farms apply pesticides or chemical preservatives that help the fruit last on its journey to your grocery store. Consuming the peels could inadvertently poison your beardie.
Expert Tip: Take the time to peel off every little bit of skin there is. If the flesh starts to turn brown, don’t fret! It’s just oxidation. Your dragon will enjoy it nonetheless.
3. Cut It Into Small Pieces
Bearded dragons can eat apples, but you’ll need to cut the fruit into small and thin pieces first.
Remember, bearded dragons don’t chew like we do. You have to work with your reptile’s capabilities!
Expert Tip: Keep the pieces small and manageable. As a general rule of thumb, nothing your bearded dragon eats should be bigger than the distance between their eyes. To play it safe, you can go even smaller.
Also, make sure you ditch the core and seeds. Like the peel, the core is far too challenging to eat. It has too much fiber that your lizard can’t manage.
Seeds are potentially toxic to bearded dragons. They contain trace amounts of cyanide. For the small body of your dragon, even eating one seed could spell trouble!
4. Monitor Your Beardie While It Eats
Now, you’re ready to feed your bearded dragon! Place the small apple pieces into a shallow dish they can’t tip over. Also, make sure that fresh water is available.
Keep an eye on your beardie as they eat. Let them enjoy their sweet treat, but always be nearby just in case you need to jump into action.
Remove the apples if your reptile has trouble getting them down. It’s also a good idea to toss any extras they don’t want.
Watch your pet for about 24 hours. If they experience any adverse effects, take them to the vet for assistance!
Expert Tip: This is something you can be less strict with once it’s clear that they do fine (and that you’re preparing the apple correctly). However, it’s always a good idea to monitor them when you’re just starting to introduce them to apples.
In summary, can bearded dragons eat apples? Absolutely! But it’s also important to have a strong understanding of how these fruits can fit into their overall diet, and how to prepare them safely.
As long as you follow the guidelines listed above, your pet bearded dragon should be completely fine with the occasional apple. We all need a little treat from time to time, and these lovable lizards aren’t any different!