Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe?

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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cantaloupe? Yes, Bearded Dragons can Eat Cantaloupe in moderation. Cantaloupe is known for its bright orange color and juicy sweetness. This flavorful fruit is a staple in fruit salads and can even be made into a tasty sorbet.

Cantaloupe can be a nutrient-rich addition to a bearded dragon’s life at any stage of life, but it’s important to know how much and how often to include it. Here’s what you need to know. 

Is Cantaloupe Safe for Bearded Dragons? 

In the wild, bearded dragons are opportunistic eaters. This is pretty typical of omnivores – they tend to eat whatever they can find. The bulk of a wild bearded dragon’s diet comes from vegetation, though insects and even smaller reptiles or rodents can be included as well. 

In captivity, bearded dragons rely on responsible pet owners to provide a healthy and balanced diet. This diet should mimic what they’d eat in the wild, but pet owners like you need to be mindful of your beardie’s life stage to determine what nutrients need to be prioritized. When your beardie is still growing, protein and fat from insects plays a bigger role than fresh veggies. 

Once your bearded dragon reaches adulthood, however, fresh foods should make up 70% to 80% of the diet. That includes fruits like cantaloupe.

Fresh cantaloupe is perfectly safe and healthy for bearded dragons, though it should only be offered as an occasional treat. Just because a food like cantaloupe isn’t toxic or harmful doesn’t mean it’s good for your beardie to enjoy in unlimited amounts. 

can bearded dragons eat cantaloupe

How Often Can You Feed a Bearded Dragon Cantaloupe? 

Cantaloupe is a nutritious fruit, rich in moisture, fiber, and essential nutrients. It contains significant amounts of vitamin C and potassium with moderate levels of vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, and calcium. 

While cantaloupe is perfectly healthy, it contains a significant amount of sugar. The majority of your bearded dragon’s diet should be made up of low-glycemic foods, so cantaloupe should be an occasional treat to avoid potential health risks. 

In short, you can safely give your bearded dragon small amounts of cantaloupe a few times per month. 

If you’re not sure how often to offer it, you can always consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you determine whether cantaloupe consumption might interact negatively with other health conditions your bearded dragon has or is at risk for. 

Risks of Feeding Too Much Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe should not be a part of your bearded dragon’s daily diet, and maybe not even his weekly diet. If you have a little extra cantaloupe leftover from making a fruit salad or from your own breakfast, you can safely share it with your beardie about once every two weeks or a few times per month. Feeding him cantaloupe more often could pose a health risk.

Some potential risks for eating too much cantaloupe may include: 

  • Diabetes
  • Overhydration
  • Metabolic bone disease 
  • Obesity 

If you’re an experienced bearded dragon owner, you may already know this: bearded dragons love sugar. When sugary fruits are offered, many beardies will choose them over other foods which could become a problem. Excessive sugar intake could interfere with your bearded dragon’s blood sugar levels and put him at risk for diabetes. 

Another potential problem with moisture-rich fruits like cantaloupe is overhydration. Proper hydration is important for all animals, but desert reptiles like bearded dragons don’t require as much moisture as other animals. In fact, too much moisture could lead to diarrhea which, in the long-term, might dehydrate your bearded dragon and lead to other health issues. 

A third issue is the potential for metabolic bone disease (MBD). 

According to the experts at Reptile Direct, calcium is one of the most important minerals in your beardie’s diet. It plays a significant role in growth and healthy bone maintenance. If they don’t get enough calcium in their diet or if something prevents them from properly absorbing calcium, it puts them at risk for a life-threatening skeletal condition called metabolic bone disease. 

Cantaloupe contains about 9mg of calcium and 15mg of phosphorus per 100g serving. That’s about a 1:1.5 ratio in favor of phosphorus. While this isn’t horribly out of balance, it always poses a potential problem when a food contains more phosphorus than calcium.

Phosphorus prevents calcium absorption. So, if you feed your bearded dragon too much cantaloupe and he isn’t getting enough calcium from other dietary sources, it could increase his risk for MBD. 

Finally, the high sugar content of cantaloupe means it’s also fairly high in calories (at least as far as your bearded dragon is concerned). A cup of chopped cantaloupe contains about 55 calories, so overfeeding could easily contribute to unhealthy weight gain or obesity in your beardie. 

How to Feed Your Bearded Dragon Cantaloupe

If you’re going to feed your bearded dragon cantaloupe, the best way to serve it is the same way you’d enjoy it yourself: fresh and ripe. 

Bearded dragons can safely enjoy the fruit of the cantaloupe but be sure to cut away the rind. Chop or slice the cantaloupe into manageable bites, taking your bearded dragon’s age and size into account. If you want to keep your beardie from picking out the fruit and avoiding his veggies, smaller pieces are better so you can mix everything together. 

When shopping for cantaloupe to feed your bearded dragon, it’s worth going organic. If you don’t, you may want to wash the cantaloupe before slicing it. It may seem silly since you won’t be feeding your pet the rind, but it’s just a precaution to make sure no pesticides or other chemicals make it onto the fruit.

You should also be sure to remove any seeds before feeding the cantaloupe to your bearded dragon. Fruit seeds can be a choking hazard and, if swallowed, they could put your pet at risk for digestive obstruction. Not only can obstructions be dangerous, but they can be expensive to repair.

Wrapping Up

No matter your bearded dragon’s age, a balanced diet is absolutely essential. Bearded dragons require a specific combination of nutrients for optimal health, and that balance is best achieved through a varied diet of insects, fresh produce, and commercial pellets. 

Not only does variety make your bearded dragon’s diet more nutritious, but it makes it more interesting as well. Any animal kept in captivity is subject to boredom and introducing new foods is a great way to provide your pet with some mental stimulation. 

Just remember to make sure anything you’re feeding your bearded dragon is both safe and healthy. If you’re ever not sure, do a little research or ask your veterinarian. 

Kate Barrington

Double-certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist  & Expert Pet Writer

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate holds a certificate in fitness nutrition and enjoys writing about health and wellness trends — she also enjoys crafting original recipes. In addition to her work as a ghostwriter and author, Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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