Bearded dragon owners, especially beginners, often ask: Can bearded dragons eat bananas? If so, how much banana can they eat, and how often? To answer all these questions we have decided to write a detailed post.
Yes, bearded dragons can eat bananas, but only once or twice a month. While bananas are good for beardies when given once or twice a month, they can also cause health issues like MBD when overdone. Due to its imbalance of phosphorus and calcium, you should not feed them to your bearded dragon very often.
What’s Good About Bananas for Bearded Dragons?
Bananas are a nutrient-dense fruit that’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
A few bites or small pieces offer your dragon many key benefits:
- The banana contains vitamins A and C, which help strengthen the dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth
- The mineral potassium prevents kidney problems, improves muscle function, and lowers water retention.
- Antioxidants lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart complications.
- Bananas also contain calcium, iron, and magnesium, which strengthen bones and tissues.
A few bites, or maybe half a banana at a time, depending on the size of your dragon can be beneficial. However, if eaten regularly, bananas can actually paralyze or kill your dragon.
Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas More Often?
Bananas are high in phosphorus which binds with calcium and could cause metabolic bone disease. It has a large phosphorus-to-calcium ratio (3:1) meaning it has more phosphorus than calcium making it harmful for beardies if eaten in large quantities.
Bearded dragons need calcium for bone development and muscle contractions. In females, it’s also important for healthy egg development & reproduction.
When a dragon consumes phosphorus-rich food, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio must be between 1.1 and 2.1; otherwise, the phosphorus binds to the calcium and prevents it from getting absorbed, leading to calcium depletion.
Another reason why bearded dragons shouldn’t eat too many bananas is that they contain a lot of sugar when ripe. Sugar is fine for beardies but too much sugar can cause obesity in beardies. Bananas and other sugary foods can turn your dragon away from healthy veggies too. This is why you should only feed bananas occasionally (once or twice a month).
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Bananas can be fed to your bearded dragon in a few different ways. One way is to cut the banana into small pieces and place it in front of the dragon. Another way is to mix it with salad and put it in a bowl and let the dragon eat it from there.
Here are a few things you should know before giving your beardie bananas.
- Choose a fresh, moderately ripened banana for your bearded dragon.
- Wash them with clean water.
- Peel, slice, chop or dice the bananas into bite-size pieces for your dragon.
- Feed it to the beardie.
Is Banana Leaves And Peels Good For Bearded Dragons?
Yes, bearded dragons can also eat banana peels and leaves. They also offer many healthy nutrients for beardies.
Leafy parts of bananas contain vitamin B-6, which aids in weight loss by metabolizing fats and proteins. Vitamin B-6 also supports a healthy nervous and immune system, as well as brain development.
Banana leaves also contain vitamin B-12, carotenoids, and polyphenols. Vitamin B-12 keeps the beardie’s blood cells and nerves healthy.
Banana peels are also packed with healthy minerals. Apart from Vitamin B-6 and B-12 banana peels contain potassium and magnesium.
Leaves and peels should be given in moderation to beardies to avoid toxicity.
Is Dried Banana OK For Bearded Dragons?
You can feed dried bananas to your bearded dragon, but you should be aware of their very high sugar content. Dried bananas have more sugar than fresh bananas. The decision to feed dry bananas to bearded dragons depends on the dragon’s health.
You can periodically give your lizard dry bananas if it gets exercise and eats a balanced diet. We recommend staying away from dry bananas because of their high sugar content, which can lead to obesity and heart problems.
What to Look for When Feeding Your Beardie Bananas?
The main thing you should be concerned about if you have decided to feed your beardie some bananas is metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Keep the following signs of MBD in mind:
- Shaking limbs or tremors
- Softening of the jaw and face bones
- Weakness and fatigue
- Stunted growth
- Swollen rear legs
If you find any of the above signs in your bearded dragon, contact your vet before giving them any bananas. Also, as a general rule, any significant changes to a bearded dragon’s diet should be discussed with your vet.
What Other Fruits can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons love fruits, but they should only make up a small part of their diet.
Below is a list of fruits you can feed your beardie:
- Apples (peeled; weekly) – Learn More
- Apricot (every other week)
- Blackberries (every other week)
- Figs (every other week)
- Grapes (weekly) – Learn More
- Guava (weekly)
- Kiwi (peeled; very rarely)
- Mango (a few times a week)
- Pears (peeled; very rarely)
- Blueberries (weekly) – Learn More
- Dates and raisins (very rarely)
- Raspberries (very rarely)
- Papaya (a few times a week)
- Peaches (very rarely)
- Strawberries (weekly) – Learn More
- Watermelon (monthly) – Learn More
Bearded dragons can eat bananas occasionally only once or twice a month. Bananas shouldn’t be fed to beardies more than twice a month because of their phosphorus-to-calcium ratio. If you notice any signs of MBD in your beardie, don’t give them bananas. Always consult with your vet before making any significant changes to your bearded dragon diet.