January 25, 2021

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?

Risks and Benefits

Veterinarian Dr. Edele Grey, DVM
Published by Emma Hughes

Vet Approved

Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet for bearded dragons, and your pet will be happy to be fed a variety of different veggies.

Still, not all fresh produce is suitable for them. Some foods can be toxic or highly unsuitable, while others just need to be restricted in order to avoid health issues related to an improper balance in essential vitamins and minerals.

Bananas are sweet and soft, and they have a lovely creamy texture. No wonder they are one of the most popular fruits. But although you may find bananas delicious and healthy, can you feed your bearded dragons some banana, or could it be causing more harm than good?

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat bananas. Feeding bananas can provide your beardie with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. However, eating too much banana may cause obesity and other health problems in bearded dragons. Also, you should follow our feeding guidelines as the calcium to phosphorus ratio isn't ideal and may lead to calcium deficiency and MBD (metabolic bone disease).

That said, although bananas are edible and in no way toxic to bearded dragons, there are many reasons why they should only be offered in moderation.

We all want to treat our pets from time to time and giving your beardie the occasional tiny piece of fruit such as a banana is completely safe for most bearded dragons.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

It's important to feed your beardie with nourishing vegetables and fruits that meet their dietary needs and to offer them insects, roaches, and worms for that much-needed protein. Young beardies need about 70% of their diet to come from animal sources, which drops to 30% for adults.

Since bearded dragons are prone to several health issues, adding the right supplements to their diet is also crucial.

Although there are some benefits in feeding your beardie banana, there are health risks associated with this sugary fruit too. Continue reading to learn more about how to keep your pet healthy and how much banana is too much for your beardie.

Health Benefits: Is Banana Good For Bearded Dragons?

Bananas are soft and delicious, and they can provide your bearded dragon with variety and enrichment. Actually, there are a few benefits to feeding some banana. Let's have a look.

Helps Them Eat Their Veggies

Bearded dragons love the sweet taste of bananas, which is something you can use to your advantage. If your beardie is not eating their greens as they should, you could add a few small pieces of banana to the mix.

Your bearded dragon will likely be tempted by the sweetness of the fruit, which may encourage him to eat their more nutritious veggies too. This is a great way to ensure your pet is getting all the important nutrients if they are picky with some foods.

cut fresh bananas

Healthy vitamins and minerals

Bananas contain calcium, which is very important in order to keep your dragon's bones healthy. Sounds good, right?

Without adequate calcium, your bearded dragon runs the risk of becoming deficient, which can lead to metabolic bone disease. However, although bananas are a good source of calcium, they also contain phosphorous, which prevents calcium from being absorbed. We'll go into detail later on, but it's important to know that although many fruits have calcium in them, they may not be healthy or safe for your pet.

Still, bananas contain essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, which support your dragon's growth, vision, reproductive and immune systems.

Bananas are also naturally loaded with potassium, which helps with the regulation of fluid balance, supports kidney function, and promotes healthy muscle contractions.

Iron and magnesium are also present in bananas and will help your pet keep its bones and tissues strong, while antioxidants decrease the risk of heart problems and can help to lower cholesterol.

Health Risks: Is Banana Bad for Bearded Dragons?

Thankfully, bananas are not toxic to bearded dragons. If a piece of banana were to fall into your beardie's enclosure, and he ate it, he'd be OK.

While you can offer small amounts of banana to your beardie as a special treat, it shouldn't be a staple part of their diet.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Still, bananas can be associated with health risks due to their high phosphorus levels and high sugar levels. Banana's can pose both an obesity and a diabetes risk. We'll talk more about how much banana is safe for beardies in a minute, but first, let's have a look at the risks you should be aware of:

Calcium Deficiency and Metabolic Bone Disease

The first thing we need to talk about in this section is why calcium and phosphorus matter.

If you're an owner of a bearded dragon, you probably know that it is very important you supplement your pet's diet with calcium. Dusting their food with calcium powder will help to avoid calcium deficiency and keep their bones strong.

Bearded dragons acquire the calcium they need from the foods they consume, and it is then stored in their bones. If calcium levels in their diet are not adequate, the mineral gets pulled from the bones as a means of making up what is missing. Because their stored calcium is being extracted from their bones, they become weak and deformed.

Phosphate, on the other hand, is an important mineral that combines together with calcium to help create the hardness in teeth and bones. However, when the diet contains too much phosphorus, it binds to calcium and prevents it from being absorbed into your beardie's skeleton. This can quickly lead to calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease (MBD).

For beardies, the ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio in food is 2:1. If they consume too much food that doesn't have the right balance, it will quickly lead to mineral imbalances.

A small piece of banana once per week won't harm your dragon. But the reason you want to keep it a rare treat is because of the high phosphorus content of bananas.

Because there is more phosphorous in bananas than there is calcium (approximately 3 times the amount of calcium), it is a food that should be offered in strict moderation. It's not to say that bananas can't be a part of a balanced beardie diet, but you should be careful with how often it is fed and make sure you're adding the supplements they need in their food to stay healthy and avoid MBD.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency include shaking, weakness, paralysis, pain, and softening or deformities of the jaw and limbs. If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to see the vet as soon as possible.

Choking Hazard

The banana flesh is usually quite soft and easily consumed and digested. The skin, however, is tough and fibrous, and it can be a choking hazard if the pieces are too big for your dragon to swallow.

Make sure you cut it into chunks that are easy to swallow -remember, pogonas don't chew their food but swallow it whole instead.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

You should keep your banana pieces to about the size of the bearded dragon's eye, especially the peel. Any bigger than that and you increase the risk of choking, remember beardies don't chew their food.

Obesity

As with humans, weight gain is not healthy for bearded dragons. They can experience dysfunction of multiple organs, dystocia in females, and worst of all, a shortened lifespan if they become obese.

Bananas are a high sugar food and contain many calories. Therefore, it is vital that you don't feed them too often to avoid unwanted weight gain and health issues related to it. Beardies may love ripe bananas that are already turning brownish because of their soft texture and sweetness, but they contain the most sugar and should, therefore, the fed in very small quantities.

Digestive Issues and Diarrhea

Because bananas are so high in sugar, they may cause your reptile digestive problems and diarrhea, which may then lead to dehydration.

Tooth decay

Bananas contain a lot of sugar, which is not good for your pogonas teeth when fed too often. Sugary treats need to be given in moderation to avoid tooth decay and mouth rot.

Doesn't Offer Adequate Nutrition

A banana is like what candy is to humans. It won't hurt, but eating it as a staple food leaves you deficient in nutrients. Bearded dragons need mostly greens as well as calcium-dusted crickets/worms, with fruit such as banana being served as a special treat.

Next, we'll have a look at how much banana is good for your pet and where you need to draw the line.

Feeding Guidelines

So, the bottom line? Bananas have SOME of the good stuff dragons need, like calcium, and peels are rich in B vitamins. But thanks to the phosphorus inside, they become a health risk if fed too often. Also, because bananas have little nutritional value, you don't want your pet filling his stomach with something that doesn't provide the nutrients they need while letting them skip the healthier options on their plate.

If you are offering your pogona some banana, include some of the peel as this is lower in sugar and high in fiber compared to the flesh.
- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Still, bananas can be served as a special treat, and your beardie will love the sweet taste.

Now it's time to talk about how to feed bananas safely.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Banana Peels?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat banana peels. The peel contains B vitamins, as well as magnesium and potassium. Banana peels also contain more fiber and less sugar than the fruit's flesh and are a healthier option to feed to your beardie. Still, follow our feeding guidelines because the peel can be a choking hazard.

How Much Banana Can I Give My Bearded Dragon?

A good serving size for adult beardies is one thin slice of banana cut into small bite-sized pieces. This is the maximum amount of banana you should feed at a time.

You can peel the banana first or leave the skin on the slices. If you are leaving the skin on, ensure it is thoroughly cleaned and organic if possible.

How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bananas?

How often you should be feeding some banana to your beardie depends on his age. The overall diet is different for young beardies, and the changes in nutritional needs as they grow will be reflected in their consumption of sugary fruits as well.

For baby beardies and juveniles, it is recommended to feed only a little banana just once a month. Make sure to cut it into tiny pieces so it is less of a choking hazard and easier to digest. Young beardies need calcium for growing strong bones, and because the calcium to phosphorous ratio in bananas may lead to calcium deficiency, it is not something that should be a part of their weekly diet.

For adult bearded dragons, we recommend banana just once or twice a month. This is a special treat, after all, and it is high in sugar. Aside from this, it is not adequate as a staple food for bearded dragons.

Preparing and Serving the Banana to Your Bearded Dragon

  1. Make sure you wash the banana first, before anything else. Run it under warm water for just ten seconds. This gets rid of any dirt.
  2. If you have the option, it's always advisable to buy organic produce. Bananas are one of the most heavily sprayed fruits, and they may contain pesticides that are harmful when consumed. Rinsing the fruit will help, but organic is even better as you can rest assured your beardie is not getting any harmful chemicals.
  3. Cut the peels into small pieces – the tinier, the better.
    The peel may pose a choking hazard if the pieces are too big, so go for the size of their eyes or smaller when chopping up the banana skin.
  4. The fruit's flesh is softer but should still be cut into bite-sized pieces before serving.
    Some beardies don't like the skin and will only eat the flesh or parts of the peel that still have some fruit attached. Observe your pet to figure out which parts they enjoy eating.
  5. Always remove any uneaten banana after a couple of hours to make sure it doesn't go bad and make your pogona sick.

Nutrition Facts

According to Healthline, this is what a 100g of banana will contain:

  • Calories: 89
  • Water: 75%
  • Protein: 1.1 grams
  • Carbs: 22.8 grams
  • Sugar: 12.2 grams
  • Fiber: 2.6 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams

As we can see, bananas are a fruit that contains quite a lot of sugar. They taste sweet and yummy, but this is also one of the main reasons bananas are not the healthiest option to choose as a treat.

Bananas are also a good source of potassium and Vitamin C as well as calcium, which is very important for bearded dragons to keep their bones healthy and avoid metabolic bone disease. However, because bananas also contain a lot of phosphorus, your pet will not be able to benefit from the calcium in this fruit.

Aside from this, bananas also contain A and B vitamins. These are helpful for both immune and reproductive health in bearded dragons. Vitamin A promotes great eye health and helps support embryo development and growth.

Bottom line: Can Bearded Dragons Have Bananas?

Do bearded dragons eat banana? They sure do!

Even though bananas are a delicious, cheap, and plentiful way for humans to snack, they are also good for bearded dragons as an occasional treat.

However, you must always make sure that you are feeding your beardie a diet of greens and insects– and that you're providing the correct supplements.

After all these prerequisites are met, you can then offer a fun treat like banana occasionally in small amounts.

Vet's Comment

We all want to treat our pets from time to time and giving your beardie the occasional tiny piece of fruit such as a banana is completely safe for most bearded dragons.

Bananas are high in phosphorus, containing three times the amount of calcium. This ratio can cause calcium to be leached from your beardie's bones if banana is fed too often.

Bananas also contain high quantities of sugar, which can cause tummy upsets or obesity if fed too much. So while you can offer small amounts of banana to your beardie as a special treat (about once per month), it shouldn't be a staple part of their diet.

If you are offering your pogona some banana, include some of the peel as this is lower in sugar and high in fiber compared to the flesh. Just make sure you cut it into chunks that are easy to swallow -remember, pogonas don't chew their food but swallow it whole instead.

- Dr. Edele Grey, DVM

Dr. Edele Grey Veterinary Surgeon

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Edele Grey
DVM

Edele Grey, BSc, MVB, PGCertESM, MRCVS was born and raised in Ireland on a farm, so she was destined for veterinary-related work from a young age. Dr. Grey attended the only veterinary university in Ireland, the University College Dublin, and graduated in 2013. Since graduation, Dr. Grey has worked with a range of exotic, companion, and production animal species.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your bearded dragon's specific dietary needs (based on his weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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