Tomatoes are delicious and healthy veggie-like fruits on taco or salad. But, can bearded dragons eat tomatoes? Well, the aim when feeding the bearded dragons (omnivores) must be safety first and getting a balanced diet to maintain a healthy living.
Can bearded dragons eat tomatoes? As with most fruits, the short answer is affirmative. Well, Yes and NO; bearded dragons can eat just 1/4 a tomato each meoht without causing harm to their health.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, for bearded dragons. But as with any other fruits, bearded dragons must not eat tomatoes as the main diet. Bearded dragons require only a small amount of vitamin A, and the acidic content in tomatoes can harm your smart beard.
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Why Bearded Dragons Must Not Eat Tomatoes Daily?
Tomatoes will provide nutritional benefits to your bearded dragons but let’s first interrogate why you can use the fruit as your beardie’s staple or main diet as you care for the Bearded Dragon.
a. High Acid content;
Maybe your vet (like Dr. Javier Nevarez does) has mentioned that you limit citrus fruits (and related products) as food for your bearded dragons, but why? These fruits have considerable citric acid, which is harsh on the digestive system of your dragon.
Despite that tomatoes are not classified as citrus fruits (botanically), their citric acid content makes them unsafe to be fed to the dragons as they’ll your dragon with severe dehydration and diarrhea.
b. High Phosphorus Levels;
The high phosphorous in tomatoes when fed to dragons are comparable to kryptonite – they’ll bind the calcium and thus reduces its chances of getting absorbed into the reptile’s bloodstream.
Calcium is very critical to the health of the Bearded dragons and hence taking in tomatoes daily (which have high phosphorous) may cause metabolic bone disease (MBD) – a hazardous disease that (if not treated) may kill or paralyze your dragons.
Tomatoes have little calcium but the harmful phosphorus roughly six times that amount. Quantitatively, safe foods for your bearded dragons must have a 1:1 to 2:1 range as the ratio of calcium to phosphorus – this ensures that calcium is more than the phosphorus.
Considering the above phosphorous hazard to bearded dragons, tomatoes also have less levels of calcium and this will lead to poor nutrition when used as their main diet.
c. Toxic Vitamin A;
Tomatoes will hold high Vitamin A levels – and thus when the fruit-veggies are fed to the bearded dragons in large quantities, and maybe also using Vitamin A supplements, the reptile will show overdose symptoms resulting from excessive Vitamin A intake.
Notable Vitamin-A overdose systems will include dehydration, weight loss, reduced energy, and swelling. Thus, in addition to their acidity, tomatoes will cause dehydration and digestive issues to your bearded dragon.
Thus; Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
These beardies will readily eat tomatoes because they obtain vitamin A from them. Vitamin A has four benefits to your beardie:
- Encourage great vision
- Assists in the growth and reproductive health
- Helps in protein synthesis
- Promotes skin development – just like apples for Bearded Dragons
However, it is advisable not to feed your beardie on too many tomatoes because they are high in oxalic acids. Oxalic acid inhibits the absorption of calcium which is necessary for bone development and in egg production by female dragons.
Although tomatoes contain too much vitamin A, they are not likely to kill your bearded dragon. That’s because your beardie readily converts the beta carotene in tomatoes into vitamin A whenever their body needs it.
If there’s enough vitamin A in their body, beta carotene is excreted as waste. However, they can easily be poisoned by synthetic vitamin A since they cannot excrete any excess. Related: Are Leopard Geckos Nocturnal?
How Often and What State Can your Feed Tomatoes to Bearded Dragons?
Tomatoes will be a healthy addition to the diet of your bearded dragons – despite being limited to smaller units – so it doesn’t qualify for the category of “don’t feed”.
- Tomatoes have nutritional sugar in small quantities that’ll benefit the dragon
- Further, at the correct dosage, Vitamin A in Tomatoes will help maintain & equally strengthen the growth, reproduction, vision, and immune system.
- Tomatoes have fewer oxalates – which are comparable to phosphorus – oxalates are high quantities that will absorb the calcium and may lead to MBD or reproductive challenges in the female beardie.
On how to serve the tomatoes to your bearded dragons, vets recommend feeding the reptiles with just about 1/4 of tomato each month to reduce health risks.
- You can make a tomato treat with the aim of making the beardie to feed on your selected salad. So, simply wash & peel that tomato, remove its seeds, and slice 1/4 of it before cutting into smaller pieces.
Can Bearded Dragons Feed on Tomato Leaves or Stem?
Leaves and stems of a tomato plant should not be fed on bearded dragons because they are highly toxic. They are rich in alkaloids (tomatine and solanine) which negatively impact the animal’s physiology.
Being in the family of nightshade plants, tomato leaves and stems contain solanine which is a highly poisonous compound. Tomatine which is found in the entire tomato plant tends to be concentrated in the stem and leaves.
Thus, when feeding your beardie on tomatoes, remember to exclude the stem, leaves, flowers, and vines. Feeding your bearded dragons on tomatoes will provide them with vitamin A and lycopene.
However, you should only feed them with minimal amounts of tomatoes to avoid stomach complications caused by acidity.
Related: Don’t feed Onions to Bearded Dragons
Can Bearded Dragons Feed on Tomato Worms (Popular as Hornworms)?
Bearded dragons can feed on tomato worms (Popular as Hornworms) because they are soft & nutritious – but only use the commercially-sold worms. The wild tomato worms will be toxic to the beardies just like the tomato leaves/ stems.
Tomato worms feed on tomato plants which are rich in solanine alkaloids. By feeding on the leaves of that tomato plant, they absorb much of the toxins. They can only be good for your beardie if they are fed on non-toxic plants.
Wild tomato worms also feed on other solanaceous plants like the nightshade family and tobacco. Since you don’t have control of the number of toxins they absorb, it would be safer not to feed them on your reptile.
Tomato worms are available on Amazon and will provide your reptile with a good source of calcium and fat. Their soft exoskeleton enables your pet to eat and digest without difficulties.
Related: What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?
How Many Tomatoes Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
Tomatoes are considered to be too acidic for your beardie. Since they can’t control their junk food intake, it’s advisable to limit the number of tomatoes you put in their feeders – feed it with just 1/4 each month. Otherwise, they will take too much acid which might upset their stomach.
Although tomatoes will provide your beardie with vitamin A and lycopene, they should be given as part of the diet. It’s recommended that fruit and vegetables make only 10% of the diet.
To feed your beardie with tomatoes, place a few slices on green vegetables like kales, mustard greens among others. When you feeding your beardie with tomatoes and other plants ensure that you wash them thoroughly to remove harmful chemicals or pesticides.
Other Alternative Foods for bearded Dragons?
As we’ve noted, tomatoes won’t make it into the main diet of your bearded dragons – and thus you’ll require to get alternative fruits and vegetables – these are the options:
- Yellow squash
- Sweet potato
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Acorn squash
Fruits and vegetables must be provided in healthy and vet-recommended quantities to the bearded dragon for a balanced and healthy diet – but take extra care when working with tomatoes – as it’ll have to be limited to just a 1/4 tomato per month.
Finally, on the question – can bearded dragons eat tomatoes; the oxalic acid in tomatoes also inhibits the absorption of calcium which is necessary for bone development and in egg production by female dragons.
Bearded dragons also require minimal amounts of vitamin A. So, feeding them with a lot of tomatoes gives the body system the burden of excreting excess vitamin A – check PestPolicy guides.