Are you the pet parent to a bearded dragon? Then you know how much fun they are to keep! If you’re wondering if your beardie can eat arugula, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s important to know what’s safe for your bearded dragon to eat while also understanding his nutritional requirements.
So, is arugula safe for beardies? Let’s take a look!
What is Arugula?
Arugula is a very popular leafy green that often comes in spring salad mixes. The plant belongs to the mustard and cabbage family. In fact, this is a leafy green known for its peppery taste. Arugula also is known as rocket, rucola, and roquette.
This is a plant that’s been grown for food and medicinal uses since ancient Roman times. The plant was first used as a medicinal herb and even as an aphrodisiac. Today, arugula is popular all around the world and used in salads or even cooked.
Nutrients in Arugula
Does arugula have nutritional benefits for bearded dragons? Let’s see!
According to the USDA, 100 grams of raw arugula contains:
- Water: 92%
- Energy: 25kcal
- Fat: 0.66g
- Protein: 2.6g
- Sugars: 2.05g
- Dietary fiber: 1.6g
- Calcium: 160mg
- Phosphorus: 52mg
- Potassium: 369mg
- Vitamin C: 15mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.07mg
- Vitamin A: 119µg
- Vitamin E: 0.4mg
- Vitamin K: 108.6µg
- Beta-carotene: 1424µg
- Lutein +zeaxanthin: 3555µg
- Ca:P ratio→3:1
So, does arugula provide the nutrients needed by bearded dragons? Yes! However, you should only give this to your bearded dragon once in a while. This is because arugula contains oxalates, which can bind with calcium. This makes it more difficult for the bearded dragon to digest the calcium in the arugula. However, if you only feed your dragon arugula once in a while, then the effect of the oxalates is kept to a minimum. But do keep in mind that feeding him arugula too often could result in metabolic bone disease, which can kill dragons.
What’s more, baby arugula is better, as it’s easier to digest. You can also cut the leaves of the veggie into smaller pieces, which makes it easier for your dragon to eat, and he won’t choke on the leaves. The flavor of the baby arugula leaves is also not quite so peppery. The milder flavor is better for your reptile.
The Benefits of Arugula for Your Bearded Dragon
There are a number of benefits to feeding your bearded dragon arugula once in a while. It’s a great food packed with nutrients that will help keep your dragon happy and healthy! Let’s take a look at some of the nutrients and how they can keep your beardie healthy.
Calcium: your beardie needs plenty of calcium, which benefits the growth and development of the lizard.
Fiber: arugula also offers plenty of fiber for your bearded dragon. Fiber helps your dragon’s digestive tract to function correctly, especially since he eats insects with hard shells. Fiber also works to improve the gut flora in the bearded dragon while helping him to avoid constipation.
Water content: some dragons will not drink water, while others will drink with no problem. For those that find it difficult to drink water, arugula can help. That’s because it has a high water content, which is excellent to keep your lizard hydrated and healthy.
Vitamins & Minerals: arugula also provides plenty of vitamins and minerals that beardie needs to be healthy. These include vitamins A, C, & K, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and more. Vitamin A helps your beardie have healthy eyes and great vision. Vitamin C supports his immune system, too. Potassium helps regulate your bearded dragon’s blood pressure, keeps his kidneys healthy, and more.
How Often Can You Feed Arugula to Your Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons should eat arugula not more than once or twice a month, in very limited amounts. Too much arugula is not healthy for beardies. The leafy green does contain sugars, which can cause serious health issues for these lizards.
What’s more, because arugula only contains a limited amount of protein and minerals, it’s not a good vegetable to use as a staple in a beardie’s diet.
How to Fix Arugula for Your Bearded Dragon
Thankfully it’s easy to fix arugula for your bearded dragon! Here are some tips on preparation:
1). Remember to choose baby arugula, as the leaves are tender.
2). Wash the arugula in water to clean them.
3). Cut the leaves into small pieces that are the right size for your bearded dragon. If your beardie is a baby, then cut the pieces smaller. The point is to keep the leaves from becoming a choking hazard.
4). It’s OK to mix the arugula with other veggies.
5). Serve your beardie and watch him eat it all up!
What Other Things Can my Bearded Dragon Eat?
When it comes to your bearded dragon’s diet, there are some other plants you can feed your dragon. Keep in mind that his diet should be about 80% to 90% of plant material, which should be made up of veggies and flowers (yes—you read that correctly!). Dragons are able to eat dark, leafy greens, along with yellow, red, and orange veggies.
Don’t feed your dragon plant material or veggies that are fiber-rich and poor in nutrients. And make sure what you feed him also includes the right vitamins and minerals. Avoid feeding your lizard iceberg, head lettuce, and celery. These veggies contain too much water and fiber, with little nutritional value.
You can feed your dragon these veggies:
- Collard greens
- Beet greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Bok choy
- Red/green cabbage
- Swiss chard
- Bell peppers
- Green beans
Bearded dragons can also eat cactus, cooked sweet potato, parsnips, asparagus, and more. When it comes to fruit, your beardie can eat:
- Star fruit
Earlier, we mentioned that dragons could also eat flowers! These include:
So, there you have it! Your dragon can eat a wide variety of veggies and fruits. Always remember to talk with your vet on the best diet for your bearded dragon’s specific health needs. Each dragon is different and has different nutritional requirements.