Can bearded dragons eat bananas? Bananas are tasty and bearded dragons love to eat them, but they shouldn’t have too much. Fruit should make up no more than 20% of your beardie’s diet. The other 80% should include vegetables, leafy greens and insects like crickets, worms and roaches. Bananas are also soft and sticky. It’s important to give small bits directly to your lizard via tongs, or to use a high sided bowl so that it doesn’t get mixed up in their substrate and risk impaction. Today we’ll look at the different types of banana plant and fruit that you can offer your bearded dragon, and how to do so safely.
- Feeding your bearded dragon
- Can bearded dragons eat bananas?
- Pros and cons of giving a bearded dragon bananas
- How often can bearded dragons eat bananas?
- Can bearded dragons eat banana peels or leaves?
- Should bearded dragons eat dried banana or banana chips?
- Can bearded dragons eat plantain?
- How can bearded dragons eat bananas safely?
Banana is so much a part of the human diet it is easy to forget we don’t really know that much about it! This is vital information when you are considering how bananas fit into the diet of a reptile species like your bearded dragon. Whether you are brand new to caring for a bearded dragon or you are a very experienced keeper, it is always great to refresh your knowledge of which foods, like bananas, are best for bearded dragons. This article offers you comprehensive information about bearded dragons and bananas.
Bearded Dragon Diet
Bearded dragons are what science types call “opportunistic feeders.” This means that beardies eat while the eating is good and readily eat a wide variety of foods. Beardies are also omnivorous like people, so they can eat protein like insects plus vegetables and fruits.
In a wild setting with ideal food sources, a young bearded dragon would eat about 80 percent insects and 20 percent plant matter. Because of this, young beardies are considered insectivores. Over time, this ratio flips, with adult beardies eating about 20 percent insect protein and 80 percent plant matter, which is more of a true omnivorous diet.
In a captive setting as a pet, you will be in charge of making sure your beardie is eating the right foods in the right amounts for each stage of their life. You will also be responsible for dietary enrichment through choosing healthy, nourishing and tasty treats for your pet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Bearded dragons can eat bananas. And in fact, bananas offer some beneficial nutrients that bearded dragons need.
However, of the plant matter portion of your bearded dragon’s diet, just 20 percent or so should be made up of fruit. Of that, bananas should be fed only occasionally as a treat and always with the skin on.
Benefits of Bananas for Bearded Dragons
Why is fruit such a small part of the ideal bearded dragon diet? Fruits tend to be nutrient poor in comparison with vegetables and gut-loaded insects. However, there are some benefits of adding bananas to your bearded dragon’s treat rotation.
Specifically, bananas offer important nutrients including potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. Plus bananas contain pectin which is non-soluble dietary fiber (prebiotic).
Bananas are also packed with antioxidants and contain trace amounts of micronutrients such as phosphorus, iron and vitamin A. And banana skin includes protein, Vitamin B12 and plenty more beneficial dietary fiber.
Dangers of Bananas for Bearded Dragons
The main danger of adding bananas to your bearded dragon’s diet is the risk of preferential feeding. This means your beardie might choose to eat bananas instead of other foods that are more nutritionally sound and wind up malnourished as a result.
Feeding bananas too often can also create nutrient imbalances that might inhibit proper bone and skeletal development. For example, beardies do need phosphorus for bone growth, but too much will block calcium absorption and calcium is also needed for bone growth.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Because bananas are high in sugar and calorically dense, it is important to limit your bearded dragon’s access to bananas.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Banana Peels?
If you do choose to feed your bearded dragon the occasional banana treat, always feed it with the skin or peel on.
In fact, the banana peel or skin is actually the most beneficial part of the fruit for beardies. Banan peel has some protein, plenty of dietary fiber and lots of potassium, plus trace quantities of calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Banana Leaves?
If you happen to have a banana tree or have access to banana leaves for cooking, you might wonder if your bearded dragon might enjoy these. After all, they are green and leafy just like some of the vegetables you feed your beardie.
Like the peels, banana leaves contain generous amounts of dietary fiber and some beneficial protein content as well as trace amounts of calcium and phosphorus. So as long as your beardie can chew them (raw banana leaves can be tough) they are okay to eat.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas Dried?
There is no doubt fresh bananas are delicious. Dried bananas, with their concentrated flavor and high sugar content, are even more so. But this is exactly why you shouldn’t let your beardie eat dried bananas. Typically they are missing the peel.
Plus, dried bananas are filling and tasty and may cause your bearded dragon to eat less of more beneficial and nutrient rich foods.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas Chips?
Banana chips are quite similar to dried bananas in that they have a high sugar content and are missing the beneficial peel and the water that bearded dragons need to stay hydrated. Plus, commercially prepared banana chips may include additional ingredients such as salt, sugar, spices or artificial ingredients that are not healthy for beardies at any age or life stage.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Plantain Bananas?
Plantains, often called green bananas, are related to the sweet yellow bananas the rest of this article discusses. Plantains are typically larger yet less sweet. They can be tough and are typically served cooked.
Because plantains are higher in important nutrients like calcium, potassium, Vitamin C and magnesium than traditional bananas, they are also safe to add to your beardie’s occasional treat rotation. But plantains, like yellow bananas, should always be served raw to your beardie and never dried or in chip form.
How Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas Safely?
The best way to serve your bearded dragon bananas is to serve fresh, organic, skin-on raw banana in very small chunks or rounds.
Because banana is so tasty, you can also dice up a very small amount and mix it with a less preferred but nutrient-rich food like vegetables or greens. Your beardie may eat the other food just to get to the banana that is mixed in.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?
Have you fed your bearded dragon banana? What happened? We’d love to hear what your beardie’s favorite food is – post your stories in the comments.
More Reptile Feeding Information
- Red footed tortoise diet
- Can bearded dragons eat grapes?
- What do lizards eat?
- Can bearded dragons eat snails?
- Do bearded dragons eat earthworms?
- MBD Bearded Dragon
- Klaphake, E., DACZM, DABVP. “Reptile Nutrition.” American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference, 2008. pId=11251&catId=32073&id=4311312
- Hassan et al. “Exploring the Potentials of Banana (Musa Sapietum) Peels in Feed Formulation.” ARC Journals, 2018.
- Rusdy, M. “Nutritional value of bananas (Musaceae) wastes for ruminants.” Laboratory of Forage Science and Grassland Management, 2019.