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How to Get Your Bearded Dragon to Eat Greens | Zen Habitats

How to Get Your Bearded Dragon to Eat Greens | Zen Habitats

Help! My bearded dragon won’t touch his / her salad! What should I do?

Bearded dragons are omnivores, and should ideally eat a diet that includes both insects and plant matter. However, many beardie owners face the challenge of getting their dragon to eat greens, which are essential for a balanced diet, especially as they mature and require a more plant-heavy diet. If you’re dealing with a stubborn or picky bearded dragon, don’t worry! Here are some effective strategies to encourage your bearded dragon to eat their salad.

Understanding the Importance of Greens

Before diving into the tips, it’s important to understand why greens are crucial for your bearded dragon’s health:

  1. Nutritional Balance: Greens provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber necessary for overall health.
  2. Hydration: Many greens have high water content, helping keep your bearded dragon hydrated. This is especially important since beardies are known for not drinking much water.
  3. Prevention of Health Issues: A diet rich in greens can help prevent obesity, kidney problems, and other health issues associated with an imbalanced diet.

Strategies to Encourage Your Bearded Dragon to Eat Greens

Variety is Key:

   - Different Greens: Offer a variety of greens like collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, and romaine. Trying different textures and flavors might entice your dragon.

   - Mix and Match: Combine different types of greens to create a more varied diet. After finding what types of greens your dragon prefers, try mixing their favorites with finely chopped bits of other types they may not enjoy as much to sneak in more variety.

Add Color and Texture:

   - Veggies and Fruits: Add small pieces or shreds of colorful vegetables and fruits such as bell peppers, carrots, squash, blueberries, or strawberries. The bright colors can attract your dragon’s attention.

   - Edible Flowers: Reptile safe flowers like hibiscus or dandelions can make the salad more appealing. Don’t have a pesticide free location to pick fresh flowers? Not to worry! Food grade dried petals can be purchased online and work just as well!

- Bee Pollen Powder: Bee pollen powder and granules are full of vitamins and minerals and can be sprinkled on salads as an appetite booster. Many reptiles can't resist the taste of bee pollen powder, and can be a great way to peak your dragon's interest in their greens.

"Squishy the salad lover" r/BeardedDragons @squishysmom_03

Proper Presentation:

   - Chop Finely: Finely chop or shred the greens to make it more difficult for your dragon to pick out their favorite parts.

   - Mix with Favorite Foods: Try topping their salad with their favorite insects to encourage them to try the greens. Start with a higher ratio of the favored food and gradually increase the greens.

Timing and Frequency:

   - Feed When Active:  Offer your dragon their salad during the time of the day when they are most active and hungry. Typically this is once they’ve been awake for a bit and had a chance to warm up.

   - Consistency: Offer your dragon a salad every day to create a feeding routine. Even if they do not eat their greens at first, consistency is key in forming new eating habits.

Hand Feeding:

   - Interactive Feeding: Use tongs to feed your dragon greens to stimulate their interest and show them that leafy greens are food. Wiggling the greens slightly can mimic the movement of live prey.

Patience and Persistence

   - Don’t Give Up: It can take time for a bearded dragon to accept new foods. Be patient and persistent. Remember young dragons are less likely to be interested in trying leafy greens than adult dragons.

   - Keep It Positive: Don’t get upset with your bearded dragon if they do not eat their salad. 

Monitoring and Adjusting

- Observation: Keep an eye on your bearded dragon’s eating habits, weight, and overall health. If they show signs of malnutrition or health issues, consult a veterinarian.

- Adjustments: Be flexible and willing to adjust your strategies and/or husbandry based on what works best for your individual animal.

Getting a picky bearded dragon to eat their greens can be challenging, but with patience and creativity, you can successfully incorporate these essential foods into their diet. By offering a variety of greens, presenting them appealingly, and being consistent, you’ll help your bearded dragon develop healthy eating habits. Remember, a well-balanced, varied diet is crucial for your bearded dragon’s health and longevity, so your efforts will be well worth it in the long run. 

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