Watermelon is a summertime favorite for so many as it is a refreshing and sweet fruit that can just make any hot day just a little bit better. Watermelon is so unique in the fact that it is incredibly hydrating especially at its peak freshness. Humans and animals alike love this sugary treat but are your beardies a part of that group?
Bearded dragons as you know love anything sweet and watermelon is no exception. Often fruits can be given as occasional ways to bribe your beardie to eat their greens, or simply just to add some variety to a bowl they aren’t very fond of. But is watermelon a good thing for bearded dragons?
Let’s talk about that.
Is Watermelon Good For Bearded Dragons?
Watermelon has a fair amount of nutrients, but the heaviest benefit to watermelon for most is its water content. They are incredibly hydrating as they are mostly water, but that doesn’t necessarily help your beardie as much as it can have adverse effects on their digestion. Bearded dragons don’t need very much water as they don’t come from a climate that gets much water.
A little bit can be good to help hydrate them if they need it, but they really don’t need much. Too much water can cause runny stool which can ultimately lead to your beardie becoming dehydrated. The nutrients they are getting from it aren’t as prevalent as the amount of water, which means it isn’t as vitamin-rich as some other fruits and vegetables they could be eating.
If you were to give it to them for the vitamin content, watermelon does have levels of Vitamin C, Potassium, Magnesium, and Beta-Carotene. Beta Carotene is specifically helpful to beardies as it becomes Vitamin A which is helpful for their growth and development. It is just unfortunate that these vitamins are largely overshadowed by the negatives.
Why Should You Limit It?
We’ve discussed that high water content can cause problems with their digestive system, but the other big issue is sugar. Watermelon is very high in sugar and even though your beardie loves anything sweet, sugar can really do a number on their health. With their small mouths and a limited range of mobility, sugar can cause issues with teeth and mouth rot, as well as obesity if it is given in high quantities.
Having fruit a couple of times a month is usually the limit as the sugar will decay their teeth which will make it difficult for them to eat and be really painful. It can also cause weight gain and the issues that come with that like diabetes. So sugar is definitely a sometimes treat, but all the time is not recommended.
The calcium to phosphorous level is not adequate for food you should be feeding your beardie regularly. The phosphorous is too high and the calcium is too low which is a problem as it can lead to a calcium deficiency. Your beardie’s calcium levels are crucial, so anything that will remotely mess with that is something that should be avoided in high quantities.
What Else To Look Out For
If you do plan to give your beardie watermelon as a treat, you need to make sure it is prepared accordingly. The rind is far too tough and rigid for them to chew so it should be avoided while you’re cutting the watermelon up for them. You’ll want to give them watermelon that is at the right ripeness as it will be soft enough for them to ingest without it being too mushy.
Another thing to watch out for explicitly is the seeds. Both white and black seeds can actually be choking hazards for your little buddy so they should be removed before consumption.
If you’d like to feed your beardie by hand you can cut a small piece for them to nibble off of, but if you’re going to put it in their bowl we recommend smaller pieces for easier ingestion. Fruits like watermelon and pineapple can make great incentives for your beardie to eat greens or veggies they may not gravitate towards.
In all honesty, watermelon for bearded dragons makes a really terrific treat if it is given sparingly and prepared with care. We know you love your little buddy, so spoiling them occasionally isn’t out of the question. As long as you ensure that they aren’t receiving too many treats and those treats aren’t going to cause any hazards, you shouldn’t worry too much.