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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Watermelon?

Watermelons are one of the most popular fruits for us humans to snack on. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share our tasty fruit snack with our pets? You are likely here because you are aware that not all foods that are safe for humans to eat are safe for your pet bearded dragon to eat. Can bearded dragons eat watermelon?

Dr. Jess explains it all below:

Let’s Talk Bearded Dragons!

Bearded dragons are chill little reptiles that are grouped into the category of desert lizards – they like a warm, dry environment.

They are grouped into the genus Pogona with eight different species falling under this grouping.

The eight species of bearded dragons are distinguished from one another and named for the differences in their spines on their chins and necks.

Bearded dragons get their name from their armor of spiny scales, which include a “beard” of spikes under their chins, and a neck that puffs up depending on their mood, most commonly seen when puffed out when they are upset.

They do this to seem larger to whatever is upsetting or intimidating them.

This may be paired with a erry ‘hiss’ when really upset.

They can live up to 10 years and can reach up to 24 inches long and weigh up to 18 ounces once full grown. They range in colors from brown, to orange, to yellow, to cream.

Beardies have a precise eye and good sense of smell.

Bearded dragons are often referred to as “beardies”, are one of the more popular reptilian pets because of their cool, interesting exterior and their popularity being of low maintenance pets.

What Do Bearded Dragons Typically Eat?

What do bearded dragons eat? How do they eat it? Do bearded dragons have teeth?

So many great questions to answer here!

Beardies commonly consume vegetables, fruits, and insects.

Bearded dragons are considered omnivorous, meaning they eat what both herbivores (plant-eaters) and carnivores (meat-eaters).

Young, immature, growing bearded dragons tend to be mostly carnivores, and eat more meat, at most 80% animal and 20% plant material

Adult bearded dragons are usually the exact opposite when it comes to diet, they tend to eat more plants and be more on the herbivorous side of things. Some adult beardies can be more along the lines of 80% plant and 20% animal foods.

As a basic rule of thumb, a bearded dragon’s diet should be comprised of foods that are around the basic ballpark of 50% animal-based and 50% plant-based.

As mentioned above, the age and maturity of each and every dragon should also come into play here, so it is a very good idea to discuss your dragon’s specific diet with your veterinarian.

If your bearded dragon stops eating – check out this article on how long bearded dragons can go without eating food and contact your local veterinarian.

Common Store-Bought Fruits for Bearded Dragons:

Medical Concerns Regarding Fruits:

Many fruits can be fed to bearded dragons every now and then in very small amounts.

However, many fruits are extremely acidic or high in sugar and can be difficult on bearded dragon digestive systems.

This is why only a very small amount every blue moon (like once a month!) should be the norm with most fruits for beardies.

This goes for many fruits and vegetables.

Let’s Talk Watermelon…

Watermelon is a common type of melon.

Watermelons are a large fruit with a round green exterior rind that is quite thick, and a crisp fruit center that is red and very juicy and watery

Watermelons come in many different varieties, including seedless watermelons and watermelon with seeds.  The watermelon plant trails along the ground and is in the same family of plant as are cucumbers and squashes. 

In the U.S, Watermelons are in season during the warmer months and are a popular fruit and treat in the Summer months.

Watermelon Nutrition:

Just like with any other fruit, watermelon has its nutritional value…. as well as some things to be weary of!

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is essential to your bearded dragon staying happy and healthy.

Sugar Content:

Watermelon has a high sugar content as well.

Something to take note on and to keep in mind when feeding to bearded dragons who can come down with digestive upset with large amounts of sugar!

Water Amount:

It also contains a high percentage of water, which is great when looking to maintain hydration. But too much water can be troublesome!

Fiber:

Watermelon contains fiber, especially the watermelon rind!

Watermelon provides fiber which helps in constipation and improves gut motility.

Too much though, can lead to too much gut motility… and that’s not a good thing either!

Other Vitamins & Minerals:

Watermelon contains other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, which are all needed for healthy body function.

How To Feed Watermelon To Your Bearded Dragon?

leatherback bearded dragon with mouth open

How to Feed Watermelon to Bearded Dragons

Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: 3.00

Materials

  • 1 ripe, seedless watermelon

Tools

  • large kitchen knife
  • large cutting board

Instructions

    1. You will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy watermelon to eat.
    2. Next, you will need to remove the rind, cut, slice, chop, or dice up the watermelon so that your dragon can safely eat it, in bite-sized pieces.
    3. Offer your bearded dragon one small piece of watermelon and observe for at least 24 hours for adverse signs. If no adverse signs arise, you can continue to give your bearded dragon watermelon in conservative amounts and according to your veterinarian's recommendation.

Notes

Contact your veterinarian before changing or modifying your pet's diet.

First off, you should always purchase high-quality watermelon for your lizard from a reputable food source.

All fruits and vegetables will need to have a visual inspection done to make sure that you are giving your pet a ripe, healthy food to eat.

Next, you will need to remove the rind, cut, slice, chop, or dice up the watermelon so that your dragon can safely eat it.

They will need food in bite-sized pieces.

You may need to consider mixing the cut watermelon with vegetables, up together to help discourage picking through their food bowl and eating only the preferred items in their dish.

Food should be presented in a shallow clean dish that is not easily tipped over.

Fresh water should always be available in a shallow dish that can’t be easily tipped over. This water dish should be washed and cleaned daily.

Any food left in your bearded dragon’s enclosure that is not eaten up will start to get old and become unsafe for your dragon to eat, if they will even touch it at all.

This could lead to some major health issues, as well as a smelly enclosure and a bug problem – things you definitely do not want to deal with.

So, it is very important to clean out any foods that your bearded dragon leaves behind in a timely manner.

How Much Watermelon Should I Give My Bearded Dragon?

Contact with your local veterinarian for expert advice about your pet’s diet.

They will be able to help you decide how much watermelon to give your beardie.

The amount of food you should give them will definitely depend on what foods you and your vet have decided are going to be a part of the pet’s diet.

As a rule of thumb, if your dragon is leaving food behind – then it may be that too much food is being offered to them.

Watermelon should be given to your beardie in small bite-sized pieces.

Start with just piece.

After 24 hours without any adverse side effects observed, then you are likely safe to feed your dragon a few bite-sized pieces of watermelon the next time to serve them up melon as a treat.

How Often To Feed Bearded Dragons Watermelon?

Most young bearded dragons eat once or twice daily, while older lizards can be fed once daily, depending upon each pet’s individual appetite.

Some bearded dragons will not eat for a period of time.

Read this article on why bearded dragons may not be eating daily. Because of its high sugar content, watermelon should not be given regularly.

At most, a small amount once weekly is more than enough if you want to stay on the safe side – which I highly recommend that you do!

light yellow bearded dragon looking straight on to camera with white background

Can Watermelon Be Harmful to Bearded Dragons?

There are always risk involved when your pet consumes anything, whether it is a new food in their diet or not.

I have listed a few of the hazards that come with feeding your pet beardie watermelon:

Choking Hazard:

Watermelon can be quite large and slippery and may become a choking hazard in smaller, younger dragons.

Give consideration to cutting them into a smaller, more manageable size before feeding them to your bearded dragon so that they are less likely to choke.

Digestion Problems / Sugar Content:

Watermelon does contain a high amount sugar, just like many other fruit does.

Too much sugar, especially on a regular basis, can lead to obesity, dehydration, digestion problems, diarrhea, tooth decay (yes, bearded dragons have teeth!), and inappetence, all of which can further develop into more serious issues.

Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio:

It is commonly known in the bearded dragon world, that bearded dragons need to consume more calcium than phosphorus in their daily diet even though they must have phosphorus in their diet.  

Phosphorus is an essential mineral that helps build healthy strong bones.  Phosphorus also binds with calcium, making it unavailable for the bearded dragon to use!

Any failure to achieve this ratio over a long period of time can result in the bearded dragon suffering from illnesses like metabolic bone disease.

Watermelon has an unbalanced phosphorus to calcium ratio when compared to what is deemed healthy if consumed in large quantities.

Because this ratio is so incredibly important to your beardie’s health, it is also important to provide your beardie with calcium supplementation to ensure that your beardie is getting enough calcium that it needs daily to support proper body functions.

Can They Eat Watermelon Rind?

Great question! Bearded dragons can eat watermelon rinds.

In fact, the rind of the watermelon has added nutritional value than the juicy red fruit of the watermelon.

However, many lizards do not like the taste of the rind and will skip over it if given a choice.

If you are going to serve up the watermelon with its rind to your lizard, then make sure that you clean the outside of the rind very well, so there are no chemicals or pesticide residue left on it.

Also, make sure to cut up your watermelon with rind, into small bites so it is less of a choking hazard.

Can They Eat Watermelon Seeds?

Do not allow your bearded dragon to have watermelon seeds. These slippery seeds are a choking hazard to your pet.

Bearded Dragon Diet Supplements:

Bearded dragons have an increased need for calcium versus phosphorus in their diet.

This is especially true when they are young and their bones are growing.

Most veterinarians will likely recommend to sprinkle bearded dragon calcium powder over the food that you are offering your dragon.

This is usually done 2-3 times per week.

Contact your veterinarian for specific recommendations about supplementing your dragon’s diet.

Summary:

Bearded dragons can be fed quite a plethora of fruits, vegetables, and insects safely, including watermelon.

However, it is important to know how much, how often, and how to properly serve watermelon and every other food we give our little dragons before we allow them to consume it.

For individual questions regarding your pet and their diet, contact your vet for specific dietary plans.

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