In this article, we will answer the question “Can bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes?”, and what are the benefits and risks associated with feeding sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon?
Can bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat sweet potatoes once o twice per week depending upon the appetite and the nutritional needs of your bearded dragon. This article also includes a brief guide on how to feed sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon.
100g of sweet potatoes provide the following nutrients.
|Water||77.28 g||Sodium, Na||55 mg|
|Energy||86 kcal||Vitamin C||2.4 mg|
|Protein||1.57 g||Vitamin D (D2+3)||0 µg|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.05 g||Vitamin B6||0.209 mg|
|Carbohydrates, by the difference||20.12 g||Vitamin A (RAE)||709 µg|
|Fiber||3 g||Vitamin A (IU)||14187 µg|
|Sugar||4.18 g||Beta carotene||8509 µg|
|Calcium, Ca||30 mg||Vitamin E||0.26 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.61 mg||Vitamin K||1.8 µg|
|Phosphorus, P||47 mg|
Why should you feed sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon?
Sweet potatoes provide a whopping 709 µg of vitamin A (REA), 14187 IU of vitamin A (IU), and 8509 µg of beta carotene per 100g.
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of Vitamin A and it’s a precursor that is beta-carotene. This is a nutritional benefit of the sweet potatoes but it can quickly turn into a danger for your lizard if sweet potatoes are fed to it in excessive amounts.
Vitamin A aids vision, promotes bone and reproductive health, and supports growth. Besides, sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and fiber. Fiber improves digestive health and regulates bowel movements.
Vitamin C is a very important antioxidant. It is needed for the growth and repair of tissues. Vitamin B provides energy, improves brain health, and regulates cell metabolism.
Risks of feeding sweet potatoes to bearded dragons
Vitamin A toxicity
Overfeeding vitamin A-rich foods to your bearded friend is not sufficient to cause vitamin A toxicity. Your main concern should be Vitamin A supplements.
If the Vitamin A supplications are coupled with overfeeding foods rich in Vitamin A, then the toxicity is inevitable. Some of the symptoms of this toxicity include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Unbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio
Sweet potatoes provide 30 mg of calcium and 47 mg of phosphorus per 100g which is not a healthy balance at all. The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio is 2:1 while 1:1 is considered safe or acceptable.
Phosphorus binds with the calcium and hampers its absorption from the intestines. Feeding calcium-poor foods to the bearded dragon, if continued over some time, leads to Metabolic Bone Disease.
This disease is characterized by paralysis, deformity, shrunken limbs, and lethargy in bearded dragons. If left untreated, it may even cause death.
How often should bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes?
Considering the high Vitamin A content and the poor calcium to phosphorus ratio of the sweet potatoes, they can be fed once per week to your lizard. To make the salad bowls wholesome and interesting, mix the sweet potatoes with other nutritious fruits or vegetables.
How to feed sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon?
Organic sweet potatoes may be a bit expensive but they are the best choice when it comes to feeding bearded dragons. It is because inorganic sweet potatoes are loaded with insecticide or fungicide residues that are toxic for your lizard.
Therefore, your best bet is organic sweet potatoes but thoroughly washed inorganic sweet potatoes will also do.
There is no need to cook the sweet potatoes before serving them to your lizard friend. Bearded dragons can easily gobble up raw sweet potatoes.
To prevent the sweet potatoes from becoming a choking hazard for your lizard friend, cut the tuber into small bite-sized pieces that your bearded friend can easily devour. Alternatively, grate the sweet potatoes or cut them into thin strips.
But first, peel, and thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes. Because the peel is too rough for your bearded friend to eat while the washing reduces the pesticide load of the tuber.
Can bearded dragons eat unpeeled sweet potatoes?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat unpeeled sweet potatoes. But it is not recommended especially for young bearded dragons whose throats are too fragile to ingest the rough peel of the tuber.
Therefore, the best and the safest option is to feed raw, peeled, and cut sweet potatoes to your bearded friend.
In this article, we answered the question “Can bearded dragons eat sweet potatoes?”, and what are the benefits and risks associated with feeding sweet potatoes to your bearded dragon?