can bearded dragons eat butternut squash
Bearded Dragon Vegetables

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Butternut Squash?

Can bearded dragons eat Butternut Squash? Is Butternut Squash For Bearded Dragons OK? Yes, bearded dragons can eat butternut squash regularly, and some love it.

What Is Butternut Squash For Bearded Dragons?

Butternut squash is a form of winter squash that tastes sweet and a little bit nutty and is quite similar in taste and texture to pumpkin. Indeed, in the UK butternut squash tends to be more readily available than pumpkin, though this isn’t the case in Australia.

Butternut squash has an orange flesh with seeds at the bulbous end of the fruit. And yes, technically, butternut squash is actually a fruit even though it’s most commonly used as a vegetable dish. It can be made into some delicious butternut squash soups or included in casseroles or roast dinners.

Butternut squash will store for two or three months at a temperature of around 10 Celsius or 50 Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of around 50%. Butternut squash is best stored to allow it to for two months before being eaten. When roasted the skin can also be eaten, although many people prefer to peel the skin.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Butternut Squash?

Bearded dragons can eat butternut squash and many really like it. It’s a colourful vegetable with its bright orange flesh. It’s high in vitamin A (beta-carotene) and carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates means that butternut squash for bearded dragons is best served as part of a balanced mixed vegetable diet as too much butternut squash on its own may lead to obesity in less active dragons.

Advantages Of Butternut Squash For Bearded Dragons

  • Colourful and bright
  • Helps provide a good balance of carbohydrate when mixed
  • Good calcium to phosphorus ratio of almost 1:1
  • Good for gut loading (and hydrating) insects
  • Keeps well for up to 3 months
  • Better calcium / phosphorous ratio than Acorn Squash

Disadvantages Of Butternut Squash For Bearded Dragons

  • Will need dusting with supplement to provide sufficient calcium

How Should I Feed Butternut Squash To A Bearded Dragon?

Butternut squash, can be fed to bearded dragons raw – although some people prefer to cook it. If fed raw it should be cut into manageable slices of approx. half a centimetre wide and up to five centimetres (2 inches) long. It should be cut less than half a centimetre thick. The shape can resemble that of chips (french fries to our American friends), although they do need to be cut quite thin.

The slices can then be added to a salad dish of mixed leafy green vegetables to add some colour. The colour will likely be more attractive to your bearded dragon than the green is – and can be used to help tempt your bearded dragon into eating more vegetables – which can be a challenge.

The dish can be put into the vivarium a couple of hours after the basking light has come on, or a little earlier if necessary, and can be left in the vivarium throughout the day. The butternut squash will eventually dry out though and should be replaced when it’s no longer nice and fresh looking. Butternut squash will probably outlive the leafy greens though!

The butternut squash should be dusted with a good calcium supplement to help boost the amount of calcium your bearded dragon gets.

If you have insects such as morio worms, crickets or locusts you can also use Butternut squash to feed those, which will help keep them hydrated. We find things such as Spring greens and butternut squash is a far better way to keep insects alive for longer than things such as bug gel.

How Much Butternut Squash Should I Feed A Bearded Dragon?

Butternut squash can be fed every day as part of a balanced mix vegetable diet for bearded dragons. Each salad dish will probably have 4 or 5 strips as mentioned above, but obviously if your bearded dragon eats it all and you think they want some more you can give them more. Adult bearded dragons should eat mostly vegetable material anyway, so there’s minimal risk of them becoming overweight from eating too many vegetables, although butternut squash is quite high in carbohydrate compared to other vegetables so there is more risk here than many of the others.

You should mix in other vegetables to give your dragon some variety, but there’s no upper limit on how much they can have.

Nutritional Data For Butternut Squash For Bearded Dragons

Nutritional ItemContent
Water Content (%)86.41
Fat (%)0.1
Protein (%)1.0%
Dietary Fibre (%)2%
Calcium (mg/100g)48 (0.048%)
Potassium (mg/100g)352 (0.352%)
Phosphorous (mg/100g)33 (0.033%)
Vitamin A (ug/100g)532
Vitamin C (ug/100g)21
Oxalates (mg/100g)2.36
Nutritional Data For Acorn Squash For Bearded Dragons [1][2]

Can I Grow My Own Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash seeds are readily available from Amazon in the US, UK and Canada. Do bear in mind when ordering that you should only order from your own country as some countries have very strict rules about seeds being sent from overseas.

Butternut squash seeds grow in average soil and can be planted in the spring after the first frost and throughout the year so long as the last harvest will be before the first frost of the autumn/fall. The plants are compact bushes and can be suitable for smaller gardens. Each plant should produce somewhere around 6 to 8 squash that should weigh approx. 2lbs (just under 1kg) each.

Summary

So, can bearded dragons eat butternut squash and is butternut squash for bearded dragons OK? The answer is yes, butternut squash is an excellent fleshy vegetable for bearded dragons. It can be fed regularly, although should form part of a balanced diet so mixed with other vegetables too.

Butternut squash provides a good variation of colour and texture when combined with leafy greens – but on its own doesn’t provide a huge amount of calcium (although better than Acorn squash) so should be dusted regularly.

Frequency: STAPLE.

For more information on other vegetables that Bearded Dragons can eat, please see our larger overview post at ‘What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?’

References

1: US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Fetched on 6th February 2021 from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168472/nutrients

2: Oxalate data sourced from St Josephs Healthcare, Hamilton, Canada fetched on 1st February 2021 from https://www.stjoes.ca/patients-visitors/patient-education/patient-education-k-o/pd-9447-oxalate-in-food.pdf

Featured Image by David Mark from Pixabay

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