Animal lovers across the globe adore reptiles of all shapes and sizes. When you think of domestic reptilian pets, the one name that comes at the very top of the list is bearded dragons. Bearded dragons are amazing animals that make docile and low-maintenance pets.
It is a delight to watch these reptiles with such a remarkable resemblance to the dinosaurs. But just because they look like they belong in Jurassic Park doesn’t mean they’re as hearty as the T-rex. With such a small size and gentle disposition, it’s no wonder beardie owners might fret over providing the best diet they possibly can to keep them strong and healthy.
Beardies are omnivores, which means that they eat both plant and animal or insect-based foods, leaving many to wonder what else their stomachs can take.
So, can bearded dragons eat bell peppers? Yes, bearded dragons can safely eat bell peppers. Exotic pet vets recommend offering bearded dragons bell peppers as an occasional snack. Bell peppers are healthy for your pet, as they provide a range of vitamins and minerals. However, they are lacking in calcium.
Before we go any further, we should note here that bell peppers cannot and should not be part of your reptilian friend’s daily meals and should only be offered in small quantities.
Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the nutritional value of bell peppers and the various benefits this colorful and diverse veggie might have to offer your adorable beardie. But before you do that, here’s a view of the nutritional value of bell peppers.
Nutritional Value Of Bell Peppers Per100g
|Vitamin D (D2+3)
So, technically when you glance at the nutritional information of bell peppers, you will find that your beardie is getting a whole array of vitamins and minerals. But, to know how these nutrients help your reptilian friend, here’s a breakdown:
- High water content keeps your pet hydrated and helps make the shedding process more effortless.
- Vitamin A and C help boost your reptile’s immunity, improve vision, and enhance the reproductive system. Furthermore, it aids your reptile in skin shedding and overall growth.
- Vitamin B6 assists in the generation of red blood cells and is known for maintaining healthy muscle and bone development.
- Vitamin E prevents inflammation and repairs damaged cells.
- Vitamin K1 averts blood clotting and enhances bone strength.
- Folate preserves cell and tissue formations.
- Potassium advances heat regulation health.
Now that you know the many benefits of feeding your Bearded dragon bell peppers, you might want to take a deeper look at the pros and cons of bell peppers to understand why this vegetable does not become a part of your pet’s staple diet.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Bell Peppers?
Beardies are like any other pet; each one will have a unique personality with different likes and dislikes. So, while many Bearded dragons are more than satisfied to munch on these crunchy vegetables, there will always be the contrary beardie that will turn its snout up at bell peppers.
Now, some pet parents are concerned that bell peppers might prove to be too spicy for their reptilian friend. But, you should know that bell peppers do not contain the capsaicin that makes other varieties of hot peppers like jalapeños.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers Daily?
As mentioned earlier, your beardie is an omnivore. You will have to ensure that your pet receives their daily requirement for protein and other essential nutrients. Bell peppers indeed contain many vitamins and minerals. However, they do not qualify as a nutrient-dense vegetable such as kale or broccoli.
So, here are the reasons why bell peppers don’t cut it as a staple for your beloved beardie.
Not Enough Calcium
Bell peppers don’t have enough calcium. As you might have seen, there is only 7mg of calcium to be found per 100g of bell peppers. Calcium is cruel for your lizard’s well-being. A bearded dragon’s body needs calcium so much that it starts to pull calcium from its bones when the body becomes deficient.
A bearded dragon needs calcium for bone development, muscle growth, and egg contractions.
Your beardie also needs calcium for proper egg development and enhanced reproductive health in females. If your beardie becomes calcium-deficient at any time, then there is a chance that they may develop metabolic bone disease. Beardies who suffer from MBD fail to carry out even everyday tasks such as walking, and it is a harrowing situation for your pet.
You will find that bell peppers make excellent salad mixers but should not be given to your reptilian friend on a daily basis, particularly as a meal.
Poor Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio
Bell peppers lack inadequate calcium levels, but they are also rich in phosphorus. And that can present a severe problem for your reptile. The body can’t do much with calcium without vitamin D3. That’s why it’s essential to provide your beardie with a good UV lamp, as the skin produces vitamin D3 in response to sunlight.
That is to say, your bearded dragon’s body requires vitamin D3 to absorb calcium into the system. If the body is short of vitamin D3, then the calcium is more or less wasted. The issue with too much phosphorus is that it binds calcium, making it even more difficult for the body to absorb calcium into the system and put it to effective use.
Under such circumstances, most bearded dragons develop metabolic bone disease. You should know that MBD is a very common health concern often found in domestic reptiles. MBD attacks your beardie’s skeletal system, and that can cause paralysis and bent limbs.
If your beardie has a hard time walking or their back legs are unusually flat or being dragged, then you’ll need to get your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. But, you can prevent such a scenario with intelligent choices regarding your reptile’s diet, lighting, and supplements.
Excessive Vitamin A
It is common knowledge amongst bearded dragon lovers that too many bell peppers can cause hypervitaminosis A. Beardies need a good dose of vitamin A to see, reproduce, and for growth. But, reptiles given supplements containing vitamins and minerals or vitamin A-rich foods can end up with an overload of vitamin A.
Hypervitaminosis A, also known as vitamin A toxicity, shows symptoms such as swelling, lethargy, or weight loss. So, if you have a beardie that seems to have slowed down exceedingly in their daily activities, you might want to consult the vet about their supplements as well as regulate their diet.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Have Bell Peppers?
Bearded dragons go through a growth spurt when they are young. So, you need to be aware that your baby bearded dragon will have to eat a more calcium and a protein-dense diet.
When your beardie is younger than 18 months – 2 years, the food they eat will define the fitness of your pet as an adult. The more protein and calcium your beardie consumes at a young age, the better its bone development and health will be.
Furthermore, you need to feed baby beardies more times than adult beardies, so you don’t have to constrict your baby reptile’s diet to insects. You can offer your baby bearded dragons a treat of bell pepper or sweet peppers when you feel the urge to provide a variety in their diet.
However, you must keep in mind that bell peppers are low in calcium so that you can offer your baby beardie veggies. You just need to ensure that the salad mix has other nutrient-dense vegetables, too, along with some yummy sweet peppers.
According to Pete Hawkins, a reptile expert, juvenile bearded dragons should be fed insects five times out of seven days a week. But, you also need to add greens to their diet every day.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers?
If you look up trusted sites such as VCA-Hospitals, you will learn that bell peppers come in the list of 21 vegetables that should be a regular part of your reptile’s meals. Nonetheless, bell peppers are not a vegetable that should be presented as a meal to your pet at all.
Most well-reputed reptilian nutrition websites claim that bell peppers are a vegetable that should be given to your pet on a regular basis.
It would help if you considered giving your beardie bell peppers along with other veggies at least once a week. Mixing bell peppers with other greens means adding to the nutrients you will be providing your pet lizard. But, you will also be working on building your pet’s food palette.
How Should Bearded Dragons Eat Bell Peppers?
Well, there are many different color variations available when it comes to bell peppers. Each different colored bell pepper offers a diverse blend of vitamins and minerals.
But, the one thing that helps keep your reptilian friend truly fit is to go with organic options. Fresh produce can be GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), which reduces the nutrient content of the vegetable or fruit that you will give to your pet.
So, that’s the very first thing to keep in mind when you go out grocery shopping for your beardie. Going with an organic options ensures that you will be giving your pet fresh produce that is pesticide-free as well.
When it actually comes to the eating bell peppers as part of a salad, make sure that you thoroughly rinse any fruit or vegetable that you will offer to your pet. It would be best if you also dice the bell peppers into small bites.
Moreover, pet guardians often wonder if it is better to cook bell peppers before giving them to their reptilian pet, but there is no need. Bell peppers will lose their water content and even some nutrition along with it when cooked. Go ahead and serve your reptilian friend raw bell peppers; they appreciate a crisp crunch anyway.
You should consider removing the seeds of bell peppers, as they are hard to chew and will probably be swallowed whole, potentially becoming a choking risk.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Green Bell Peppers?
Green bell peppers are actually unripe yellow or red bell peppers. So, these underripe sweet peppers have the lowest nutritional value when it comes to bell peppers. It is already low in calcium, so it doesn’t make sense to offer green peppers to your pet.
That’s not to say that green bell peppers are toxic or in any way bad for your pet. But, your beardie will have to eat green bell peppers in moderation. Seeing as how you are offering vegetables to your pet to enrich their diet, it makes little sense to add green bell peppers to a salad mixer.
Many pet guardians of beardies tend to dice up all of the different colors available in bell peppers – green, yellow, orange, or red, to find out which one their pet will take a fancy to and if that’s what you want to find out, then, by all means, so find out your pet’s favorite variety of bell pepper.
Can Bearded Dragons Have Red Bell Peppers?
Yes, of course your bearded dragon can have red bell peppers. Of all the varieties available in bell peppers, in terms of color, red bell peppers are the most nutritious. Your beardie can happily munch on these fully ripened sweet peppers, and you will not have to worry that they aren’t getting enough vitamins or minerals.
If you add a touch of kale and some blackberries to the salad mix with red bell peppers, then your beardie will be getting a real nutritional boost in the form of a weekly snack.
Bearded dragons are opportunistic omnivores that eat from a wide selection of protein and plant-based food sources. So, if you want to keep your pet happy and healthy, you must replicate such circumstances for your pet in captivity. Bell peppers are a great addition to your reptilian friend’s meals.
However, it helps if you research the nutritional value of the fruits and veggies you are providing your pets to make sure you have a happy and healthy bearded dragon on your hands.
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