While bearded dragons can eat many fruit types, you must be cautious when serving your dragon oranges. Oranges and other citrus fruits may be dangerous to a bearded dragon. Here’s a look at why it is dangerous to feed your bearded dragon oranges.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Oranges?
A bearded dragon should not eat oranges, as they can be harmful. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid feeding your bearded dragon oranges:
- The oxalic acid in oranges can cause calcium deficiencies in your beardie, weakening its bones and potentially causing paralysis.
- The high citric acid content may cause digestive irritation and possibly diarrhea.
- The semi-rough texture of an orange makes it tough for a bearded dragon to process and digest.
- The high sugar content in oranges can be risky to bearded dragons.
The general concern surrounding oranges is that their contents are too dangerous for a bearded dragon to manage. The intense sugar amount can trigger obesity in some beardies. The acids can also harm the body and limit one’s movement due to paralysis or internal irritation.
There are plenty of other fruits that are safe for a bearded dragon to eat. These fruits are not citrus-based, meaning they will not contain many of the dangerous acids you would find in an orange.
Nutrition In Oranges
An average orange at about 100 grams contains approximately 50 calories, 10 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of dietary fiber. While these are sensible totals for an average human being, the sugar and fiber amounts may be too excessive for a small bearded dragon.
An orange has a high amount of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid comes from oxalate, a compound naturally made in plants. Oxalate helps a plant dispose of its excess calcium stores. It binds with calcium to produce calcium oxalate, a material that clears out calcium and prevents it from building extra mass within the body.
Small amounts of oxalic acid are safe for a bearded dragon, especially if that beardie is taking calcium supplements. But high amounts like what you would find in an orange can be dangerous.
The high amount of citric acid in an orange can also harm your bearded dragon. Citric acid naturally appears in an orange and produces its sour taste. The acidic nature of this compound makes it a strong irritant on the stomach lining in some cases, which can trigger heartburn. The excess amount can cause a bearded dragon to become dehydrated, keeping it from absorbing the necessary nutrients it requires.
How Many Oranges Can Bearded Dragons Eat At a Time?
A bearded dragon may have an interest in oranges and other fruits you have in your home. Some owners like to give their beardies a small bit of an orange on occasion, but they usually give a small piece every few weeks or months. Giving a dragon more than a tiny bit would be harmful.
How Often Should You Feed Oranges to Bearded Dragons?
The best thing to do is to avoid giving your bearded dragon any oranges, what with them being too dangerous. But if you do plan on feeding your beardie oranges, be sure you only give yours a small bit every few weeks.
The reasons why you shouldn’t feed these to your beardie include the following:
- Your beardie could develop lethargy and weakness if it consumes too many oranges.
- Your dragon may become overweight after consuming too many oranges. A bearded dragon will not process an orange the same way humans can.
- Some dragons may not have an appetite for whatever other foods you are trying to serve.
The general concern for your bearded dragon is that oranges can be too harmful to the body if consumed. Avoiding oranges is best when ensuring your beardie remains healthy and happy.
Other Tips For Oranges
There are some other things to consider surrounding your bearded dragon and oranges. First, you should watch how you’re handling your dragon’s health if it ever consumes any oranges. Add calcium supplements to your beardie’s diet if possible. Such supplementation provides extra support for your dragon’s health, plus it can neutralize the effects of oranges and other citrus fruits.
Avoid feeding orange peels as well. Orange peels contain high amounts of oxalic acid, plus their textures make them hard for some beardies to consume.
The rules apply to all oranges, including Mandarin oranges. While a Mandarin orange contains fewer acids on average, it does contain more sugar. The same point goes for the clementine, which is similar to a Mandarin orange.
What About Other Citrus Fruits?
You should also avoid feeding other citrus fruits to your bearded dragon. These include grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines.
Strawberries, pineapples, raspberries, and cranberries are all fruits that contain small bits of citric acid. They are easier for bearded dragons to process, but you should not go overboard when feeding them. Cherries are also in the same category, although you should clear out the seeds before feeding one to your beardie.
What Fruits Are Safe?
Your bearded dragon can still eat various fruits that do not contain citric acid and other acidic materials. Some of the fruits that are safe to give to your beardie include:
It is safe to feed your dragon a small bit of fruit once a week. Avoid providing too much at a time, and always wash and cut the fruit you serve before feeding.
Can Your Feeder Insects Eat Oranges?
The last point to review surrounding your bearded dragon entails the feeder insects you provide. Your feeder insects can safely consume oranges and other citrus fruits before you feed them to your dragon. An insect like a cricket or roach will have an easier time processing citric acid than a dragon would. An insect can also build its calcium stores, which would be beneficial to your beardie.
But you should still avoid feeding your feeder insects too many oranges. The insects may become too acidic if they have too many oranges or other citrus fruits.