So, can Bearded Dragon eat cantaloupe?Quick answer is No! Cantaloupes are over sugary (causing teeth decay), very acidic (cause indigestion problems). Also, cantaloupe have excess water content (which cause runny poo), Low calcium: phosphorous ratio as well as low quantities of minerals.
Though most Bearded Dragon owners tend to feed their pet beardies with cantaloupe, this act may endanger the animals’ health at long run.
Some vet recommends occasional feeding of bearded dragon with little bit of cantaloupe, but I suggest you avoid them completely due to the above named problems. Read Also: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Broccoli?[amazon bestseller=”Food for Bearded Dragons” items=”2″ template=”table”]
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe? 7 Tips
Cantaloupe, also known as sweet melon, muskmelon, honeydew, rock melon or persian melon in different regions of the world, is a common fruit mainly eaten as a snack or dessert by people.
Could be you grow cantaloupe in your farm or have come across some in the groceries and wonders whether your Bearded Dragon can eat these fruits.
1. Low Calcium: Phosphorous Ratio
The biggest danger of feeding your bearded dragon with cantaloupe is the low calcium: phosphorous ratio. Currently, a well-cultivated cantaloupe has a calcium: phosphorous ratio of 0.6:1. Actually, the ideal or recommended calcium: phosphorous ratio should be 1:1, 2:1 or more.
Why is the ratio crucial for your pet’s health? Well, it’s important to know that presence of high level of phosphorous as compared to calcium inhibits calcium uptake at the alimentary canal into blood stream.
This happens due to high affinity of phosphorous absorption. In addition, if phosphorous concentration is high, it will suppress calcium ions from any intake process.
This will lead to calcium deficiency in your bearded dragon. Since calcium is required for bone strengthening and making, your pet lizard will end up suffering a very dangerous/deadly disease called metabolic bone disease.
To avoid this occurrence, it is recommend that you feed your beardie with fruits that have high calcium: phosphorous ratio.
2. Excess Water Content
Cantaloupe has a very high water content of about 90%. Though water is necessary for your pet beardie hydration, excess of it will lead to over hydration.
The alimentary canal of an over hydrated beardie has a mucus lining that prevents absorption of nutrients and accelerates flow of food before digestion occurs.
The lizard will also suffer frequent diarrhea and watery/runny poo that messes the cage often. The animal’s kidneys get fatigued easily or overworked by the ultrafiltration and may fail at long run (kidney failure).
The excess water content in cantaloupe also makes your bearded dragon inactive/docile if not taken care of. You need to monitor the water level of your pet beardie (through use of qualified vet) to ensure it’s not over hydrated or dehydrated.
Moreover, you’ll need to note that dehydration of your beardie will lead to dizziness, low blood pressure, dry mouth & dry skin as well as indigestion problems like constipation.
It is therefore recommended that apart from avoiding cantaloupe for your beardies, also limit fruits that contain high water content in their meals.
3. High Acidic Level
Cantaloupe have a pH between 4.5 to 6.9. This alone tells us that excess feeding of these fruits will lead to acid accumulation in your beardie’s digestive track.
High acid levels will cause burning sensation or irritation along the gullet – the beardie will tend to move around abnormally or scratch its throat/neck region against objects in the cage.
Also, acidity will cause stomach upset to your bearded dragon. The lizard looks uncomfortable, fatigued and at times may even vomit feeds.
High acid levels affect normal digestion in the stomach and intestines of beardies by denaturing the enzymes, which controls the digestion process.
At time, a beardie suffering from acidity problems will excrete dry undigested waste material that may even have mucus or blood stains.
Read Also: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cucumbers?
4. Low vitamins and mineral Content
As compared to other fruits such as grapes, berries, apple or apricot; cantaloupe has lower mineral content.
There is 0.21 mg iron, 0.18mg zinc and 0.14mg manganese for every 100g of cantaloupe Oz. This is an indication that you will need to overfeed your beardie with extra cantaloupe to acquire the right quantity needed by the body for normal functioning – this contradicts the recommendation that you should avoid cantaloupe.
Vitamins such as vitamin D, E and K that are very crucial for your bearded dragon are unavailable too and those that are present such as vitamin A, B1 and C are in low quantities.
This, therefore, is an indication that cantaloupe will not provide enough vitamins and mineral if used as a daily meal for your bearded dragon.
5. Very Sugary
Cantaloupe has 7.86g of sugar for every 100g of the fruit oz. This this level is quite high for bearded dragon nutrition requirements.
In the ideal situation, an adult beardie should take 0.5g to 2g (max) sugar contentment for every 100g Oz of a given meal while juvenile beardies should be fed with meals that have 0.4g to 1.2g sugar content.
Ideally, the sugar content in this fruit is already far beyond the needed amount in your lizard’s body/physiological processes. Excess sugar that is absorbed in the blood may cause high blood pressure or diabetes that may lead to death easily.
Sugar, also accumulates on the teeth and between teeth gaps leading to teeth decay or dental carries. Normally, it’s not possible to brush the teeth of your beardies as a form of healthcare.
However, you should monitor their sugar deposit level by ensuring that you feed less sugary meals and by also providing vegetable meals that have high fiber content, which brush the teeth in the process of feeding.
Actually, it’s very necessary to engage a qualified vet often for teeth inspection of your beardie.
Related: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Apples?
Can bearded dragon eat stem and leaves of cantaloupe?
Young and middle age cantaloupe has hairy stems/vines and leaves that are hollow and succulent. Though other animals can eat these raw leaves and stems, your bearded dragon won’t feed on them.
The hair lining on stems and leaves of cantaloupe irritates the mouth and alimentary canal when swallowing thus creating a continuous discomfort after feeding. Also, the succulent stems and leaves have high pH that when swallowed will cause indigestion problems and throat irritation.
Presence of alkaloids in both leaves and stems of cantaloupes may cause hormonal imbalance, enzymatic reactions and digestion complications when taken in excess quantities by your beardie.
Most cantaloupe leaves and stems are often inhabited with worms, tinny insects and fireflies that are toxic when eaten by bearded dragon – it takes half of the firefly to kill a mature bearded dragon in a couple of minutes.
Moreover, wild grown cantaloupe leaves/stems are highly poisonous when eaten and may cause sudden death if your beardie is not treated immediately.
The rough leaves and stem of cantaloupe makes it difficult for the bearded dragon to swallow, as they tend to cling on the palate or the tongue (normally, bearded dragons don’t chew food; instead, they swallow as a whole).
Moreover, the rough leaves and stem texture causes bruises on mouth lining and gullet when force wallowing – the mouth of most bearded dragons is less lubricated thus needs wet and smooth feeds to ease swallowing process.
The succulent stem and leaves have high water content, which adds to the diet leading to diuresis, diarrhea, watery/runny poo or makes your bearded dragon docile.
Flower of cantaloupe contains toxic substance and highly inhabit poisonous insects such as blinkies and lighting bugs, which may kill your beardie when eaten.
Just like stems and leaves of cantaloupe, avoid feeding your pet beardie with plants that has rough stems/vines and leaves – where possible, wet all the plant diets before feeding your beardie.
Read Also: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
How to prepare cantaloupe for occasional feeds?
Though it is not advisable to feed your bearded dragon with cantaloupe, some beardie owners still feed their pets with these fruits.
To meet proper health standard of your bearded dragon, you will need right preparation and control feeding program. To achieve this, follow the procedure below while feeding your beardie:
- Remove all the vines and foliage when harvesting your cantaloupe and leave it for a week to reduce fresh water content.
- Wash the cantaloupe thoroughly with warm/disinfected water (if possible) – this will help remove and kill any insect or bacteria on the fruit skin.
- Peel the entire fruit to remove the green out skin – this part is usually more acidic and has high phosphorous content that lead to calcium: phosphorous imbalance condition.
- Slice/chop the peeled cantaloupe into small sizes – the chopped sizes should not be larger the space between your beardie’s eyes to allow easier swallowing and reduces chocking that may happen.
- Leave the chopped cantaloupe in air or warm environment to drip excess water before feeding.
- Feed your adult beardie with 100g to 500g of chopped cantaloupe per month in order to control side effects associated with it.
Some veterinaries have recommended occasional use of cantaloupe, which in my case I suggest that there should be close monitoring of your beardies in order to curb any complications that may arise.
Occasional feeding of bearded dragon with cantaloupe (once per month) may not show any harmful effects on their health at all, especially when the feeding is supplemented with other daily meals.
However, if there is a laxity in sugar monitoring, calcium: phosphorous ratio control as well as water regulation, then, your bearded dragon will suffer some of sicknesses highlighted in this article at the beginning.
NB: It is highly advisable to mixed cantaloupe with other fruits/vegetables such as berries, apple, cabbages, green beans/peas etc. at a ratio of 1:3 to supplement it and enhance its digestion process without complications.
Cantaloupe, just like avocado and orange, shouldn’t be used as a main meal for your bearded dragon. The fruit is very acidic and has high water content that may lead to kidney failure, diarrhea or watery/runny poo.
Moreover, cantaloupe has low calcium: phosphorous ratio, which inhibits uptake of calcium necessary for bone strengthening thus leading to metabolic bone disease.
The high sugar content found in cantaloupe will cause teeth decay if not monitored at long run. It is therefore advisable to avoid use of cantaloupe as main diet for your pet bearded dragon.