Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini?

In this post we learn why bearded dragons can eat zucchini and why the shouldn’t eat it too often

can bearded dragons eat zucchini featured image

Zucchini is OK now and then, but not regularly

About 6 min reading time

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Zucchini / Courgette?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat Zucchini occasionally as part of their balanced vegetable diet.

However, it’s not particularly nutritious in many of the key areas that bearded dragons need – particularly calcium. Zucchini’s calcium levels and calcium to phosphorous ratio is what relegates this to the occasional bin.

Zucchini consists of approx. 3% carbohydrates, 3% protein and minimal fat. It has a small amount of calcium and a huge amount of phosphorus. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is approx 1:4 meaning that any calcium benefit is overridden. Zucchini also has high levels of potassium. Minimal Vitamin A and C mean that the only thing Zucchini is really any use for is rehydration therapy, or perhaps some taste variation from time to time.

What Is Zucchini For Bearded Dragons?

Courgette / Zucchini is another member of the squash family and looks similar to a cucumber, although tastes somewhat different. It’s known as Zucchini in the US and Australia but known as the courgette in the UK and Europe. It is nutritionally similar to the cucumber being composed largely of water with little other useful properties. The phosphorus levels in Zucchini are even greater than cucumber.

Advantages Of Zucchini For Bearded Dragons

  • Good for re-hydration therapy, though cucumber is better
  • Long lasting
  • Good for keeping feeder insects hydrated – such as Morio Worms

Disadvantages Of Zucchini For Bearded Dragons

  • Low in calcium
  • Calcium to phosphorous ratio is poor at 1:2.5 by weight

How Should I Feed Zucchini To A Bearded Dragon?

Zucchini / Courgette should be fed sparingly to a bearded dragon. A small amount mixed in with a salad once a week won’t do any harm and can help to mix up the food schedule to prevent your beardie from becoming bored with salad.

Zucchini should be washed, can then either be peeled and served as disc shaped slices since the inside is relatively soft and easy to chew and swallow, or can be grated using a cheese grater. If you grate the Zucchini into thin slithers you can choose to either cut those slithers into shorter strips or leave your bearded dragon to bite pieces off. Even the grated Zucchini should be peeled first though as the skin is very tough and waxy on a Zucchini.

If you’re going to feed Zucchini then it’s worth dusting it with some additional calcium powder to help improve the balance of calcium to phosphorous and help reduce the risk of Metabolic Bone Disease.

How Much Zucchini Should I Feed A Bearded Dragon?

Zucchini should be fed sparingly to bearded dragons, that is to say, little and not very often. A few shreds in a salad can happily be included in a salad once a week to provide some variety in colour and taste is going to be OK. But any more than that risks your bearded dragon getting MBD because if you’re feeding more Zucchini then it’s less of something else that has a better calcium to phosphorous ratio.

Zucchini’s calcium to phosphorous levels are too low (ie, not enough calcium per phosphorous) which means it’s useless as a calcium provider and any decision around feeding should always consider the calcium requirements of your bearded dragon.

You can mitigate the effect a little by lightly dusting the salad with a good quality calcium supplement but they should never replace careful choice of vegetables with calcium in mind.

Nutritional Data For Zucchini For Bearded Dragons

Nutritional ItemContent
Water Content (%)94.8
Fat (%)0.32
Protein (%)1.21
Dietary Fibre (%)1
Calcium (mg/100g)16 (0.016%)
Potassium (mg/100g)261 (0.261%)
Phosphorous (mg/100g)38 (0.038%)
Vitamin A (ug/100g)10
Vitamin C (ug/100g)17.9
Oxalates (mg/100g)Low
Nutritional Data For Zucchini For Bearded Dragons [1][2]

Summary

So, can bearded dragons eat zucchini and is Zucchini good for bearded dragons? The answer is yes, zucchini can be fed to bearded dragons occasionally as part of their balanced vegetable diet regime, but their calcium to phosphorous ratio relegates them to the occasional pile. They’re not particularly good for bearded dragons due to this lack of calcium, although they can help to keep your bearded dragon hydrated, although with it’s much lower phosphorous count, cucumber is a better hydrating vegetable for bearded dragons than zucchini is.

Frequency: OCCASIONAL.

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: Squash, Summer, Zucchini, Includes Skin, Raw. US Department of Agriculture, FoodCentral Data. Source from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169291/nutrients on 28 February 2022.

2: Oxalate Data sourced from https://oxalate.org on 28 February 2022.

Featured Image by MrGajowy3 from Pixabay