CAN BEARDED DRAGONS EAT BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

BEARDED DRAGONS

Bearded dragons are omnivorous pets, that is, they feed both on plants and animals. While
drawing out a feeding plan for your beardie, they must get introduced to vegetables as soon as
possible to enable them to get accustomed to them.

Some bearded dragons reject vegetables once they begin feeding on insect feeders. You don’t
want to start getting worried about your bearded pet getting all the nutrients it needs in its diet,
hence the need for vegetables.

These insects eat quite a variety of food. The adequate diet needed by these bearded reptiles
are diets that include vegetables, insects, and fruits all in their right proportions.

Bearded dragons consume vegetables such as squash which includes butternut squash, acorn
squash, spaghetti squash, and summer squash to mention a few.

Butternut squash is an excellent introduction to your reptile’s diet not just because it is tasty but
because it supplies a generous amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Before being fed to your beardie, the squash is deskinned, unseeded, and chopped into smaller
pieces as it could cause choking in your pet is consumed in its original size. It is either enjoyed
raw or cooked but raw squash is a better option as the vitamins and minerals it contains are
preserved.

Although raw butternut squash is a better option, you need to be careful as they are also a very
tough vegetable that may pose a threat to the digestion of your pet.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at the health benefits of butternut squash to your
beardie’s diet, and when, and how to feed it.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH

If you’re considering introducing butternut squash to the nutrition plan of your beardie, you might
probably need to know its nutritional content. Here’s a breakdown of the nutrients contained per
100g of raw and healthy butternut squash.

· Water – 86g
· Energy – 45 calories
· Protein – 1g
· Carbohydrates – 11g
· Sugars -1.1g
· Fiber -2g
· Calcium – 48g
· Potassium – 352mg
· Traces of Vitamins A, C, and K.

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH TO A BEARDIE?

1. High calcium level

Butternut squash is very rich in calcium as compared to other squash varieties. Calcium is an
essential nutrient needed for the growth and maintenance of bones and also for metabolism.
Insufficient calcium in the diet of your beardie can result in health hazards.

2. Low sugar content

Like humans, sugar causes a lot of detriment to the health of bearded dragons. Therefore,
butternut squash is an excellent meal supplement because it contains low sugar levels.
According to research, excessive intake of sugar can lead to overweight in your pet which in
turn causes more diseases. Bearded dragons are not known to have the ability to withstand the
excess weight and may likely not survive it.

3. Vitamins A & C

Vitamin A, which is an abundant supplement in butternut squash, is generally attributed to
eyesight. They are a necessity in your beardie’s diet as they are a major source of
beta-carotene.

Beta-carotene is then converted into the right amount of the vitamin needed by the body and the
rest is excreted. Apart from boosting the eyesight of your bearded pet, vitamin A also improves
their immune system and offers protection from harmful UV rays.

The role of vitamin C in bearded dragons is quite similar to its role in humans. Butternut squash
amongst other varieties of squash is very rich in Vitamin C which prevents bruising, tearing of
the skin, and diarrhea. It also improves movements at the joint, boosts their immune system,
and protects them from harmful chemicals.

4. Fiber

Generally, fiber is known to improve digestion. Therefore, butternut squash improves the
digestive health of your beardie. It also regulates the level of sugar in the blood and prevents
excessive accumulation of weight.

To crown it all, butternut squash is an excellent food choice for bearded dragons because of its
generous supply of nutrients that improve the health and growth of your beardie. However, it
should only be given to your beardie in moderation. Excessive intake can also bring about
different health hazards.

WHEN CAN I FEED MY BEARDED DRAGON WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

The diet plans of older and younger bearded dragons are different as their nutrient requirement
changes as they advance in age.

Younger beardies aged 6 months or less prefer a diet with 80% protein and 20% vegetables. At
this stage, they prefer more of insects such as crickets, butter worms, king worms, and
cockroaches. They require more insects than vegetables because they use up more energy
than adult beardies. Before feeding butternut squash to your baby pet, ensure that the skin is
peeled off and it is chopped into tiny pieces as they often have a hard time digesting it. It could
also get stuck in your beardie’s throat leading to choking.

As they grow, the need for more vegetable increases. As such their diet plan becomes 50%
protein and 50 % vegetables. In the adult stage, they begin to feed on larger insects such as
locusts, wax worms, and grasshoppers. They require lesser insects because the meat can
cause overweight.

HOW DO I FEED MY BEARDIE BUTTERNUT SQUASH?

The first thing to ensure is that your squash is fresh and free of preservatives. This is because
beardies are used to eating raw and fresh squashes while in the wild.

It is preferable to give your bearded dragon raw squash as cooking reduces the vitamins and
nutrients present in the squash. The squash is then washed thoroughly and deskinned. The
seeds which are embedded in the protruded end of the squash are removed and the squash is
cut into fine smaller pieces. Never attempt to give your beardie unpeeled or large chunks of
squash as it could lead to choking.

In as much as butternut squash is a great choice of veggies for your bearded friend, excessive
intake can also be hazardous. Rather, it is best to mix it with various species of chopped
vegetables. This is a greater advantage if your beardie is picky as blending different veggies
increases the appetite of your beardie. Veggies like leafy greens, kale, collards, carrots, and
zucchini are great choices to use.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Now your curiosity has been satisfied- bearded dragon can eat butternut squash. As a matter of
fact, it is one veggie your bearded dragon should never miss out on.

It is important to note that excess intake can be dangerous to your pets. As such, it is safer to
mix it with other veggies and fruits. This ensures a wider nutrient provision and also promotes a
healthier lifestyle.

Some dreaded dragons however do not like butternut squash and its perfectly alright. What
matters is that they get the appropriate amount of nutrients they require to stay fit.
These reptiles are usually curious and love to try different foods. So be mindful of what you give
them to avoid feeding them with toxic foods.

 

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