Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsley?
Learn why we don’t believe Parsley should be fed regularly to bearded dragons – although it is OK in small amounts
Parsley - Beware Of Oxalates
Can bearded dragons eat Parsley? Is Parsley For Bearded Dragons OK? Yes, bearded dragons can eat Parsley occasionally. However, whilst parsley does have a calcium level, it has an insanely high Oxalate level, surpassing even that of Spinach. There’s probably a good reason humans only generally use Parsley as a garnish.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Parsley?
Bearded dragons can eat Parsley in small amounts. You should think of Parsley for bearded dragons as you perhaps would for parsley for yourself. It’s OK to garnish the rest of the salad with a small amount of Parsley but we wouldn’t recommend large amounts and we wouldn’t recommend feeding parsley every day.
This is because the oxalate profile of Parsley is ridiculously high. It’s probably these oxalates that give Parsley its tangy taste and makes it attractive to us to perk up salads. But, with 1700mg (that’s 1.7grams!) of oxalate per 100g of Parsley that amounts to a huge 1.7% of Parsley being made of oxalate compound.
Those that say that Spinach oxalate does not inhibit the uptake of Calcium are profoundly wrong. Various studies, involving radioactive calcium have conclusively shown that a high ratio of oxalates to calcium does indeed inhibit the calcium update from the GI Tract and into the bloodstream. The experiment cited used Spinach which has something like a half as much oxalate compared to Parsley.
So, is Parsley dangerous to bearded dragons? Not in a small amount, no. So feed it sparingly as a treat and it’ll be fine. The smaller the amount you give, the less overall oxalate in the diet and therefore the better the calcium uptake will be.
Advantages Of Parsley For Bearded Dragons
Disadvantages Of Parsley For Bearded Dragons
How Should I Feed Parsley To A Bearded Dragon?
Parsley can be added as a topping to a bearded dragon salad, similar to the way we might garnish a meal with Parsley for ourselves. A small amount of Parsley on a salad in this way is unlikely to cause any harm and if your bearded dragon enjoys the taste and it helps entice them to eat the salad then it’s useful.
Parsley is fairly soft and usually would be split into small sprigs by hand and placed on top of the salad. It can stay in the salad bowl for most of the day as it won’t dry out all that much. Though when it does it should be replaced or removed.
How Much Parsley Should I Feed A Bearded Dragon?
A minimal amount of Parsley can be fed to a bearded dragon, generally in the form of a garnish if they like it. There’s no nutritional benefit from Parsley and the level of oxalate present could interfere with the uptake of Calcium from other sources.
The Potassium to Calcium ratio is also poor in Parsley, further reducing the amount of bio-available calcium.
It’s fair to say that almost all studies suggest that, for humans at least, high oxalates are generally only a problem for those with impaired kidney function. However, what no study appears to have determined is whether the high oxalate diet contributed to the impaired kidney function or whether they just cause problems for those with already impaired kidneys. It’s also worth remembering that human calcium intake is considerably more varied than that of the bearded dragon.
On this basis, we advise Parsley as an Occasional food added to a salad once or twice a week and in small proportions.
Nutritional Data For Parsley For Bearded Dragons
|Water Content (%)||87.7|
|Dietary Fibre (%)||4.1%|
|Calcium (mg/100g)||138 (0.138%)|
|Potassium (mg/100g)||554 (0.554%)|
|Phosphorous (mg/100g)||58 (0.058%)|
|Vitamin A (ug/100g)||421|
|Vitamin C (ug/100g)||133|
|Oxalates (mg/100g)||1700 (Very High)|
Parsley should only be fed to a bearded dragon very sparingly and occasionally. It’s oxalate profile renders it inappropriate for regular feeding and feeding in large quantities as it will inhibit the uptake of calcium from the bearded dragons diet.
But as a garnish to a salad in small quantities it’s unlikely to do any harm.
Frequency: RARELY IN SMALL DOSES.
For more information on other vegetables that Bearded Dragons can eat, please see our larger overview post at ‘What Vegetables Can Bearded Dragons Eat?’
1: Heaney, R. P., Weaver, C. M., & Recker, R. R. (1988). Calcium absorbability from spinach. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 47(4), 707–709. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/47.4.707
2: US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central. Fetched on 6th February 2021 from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103126/nutrients
3: Oxalate (oxalic acid) content of 750+ foods, with numbers from university and government sources – sourced from https://oxalate.org/ on 15th May 2021.