Yes, bearded dragons can eat watercress. It’s loaded with nutrition that they can benefit from. However, watercress has a high amount of oxalate, which can harm them. For that reason, feeding watercress to your bearded dragons should be in moderation.
What Is Watercress?
A watercress is a plant that grows in the water. It is part of the cabbage family, which includes mustard greens, radishes, and wasabi.
The plant is perennial and grows quickly in the water. The watercress has stems that are hollow with rounded green leaves at the top.
As for the taste, the watercress has a peppery flavor.
This aquatic vegetable doesn’t last very long once it’s removed from the water. It will usually go bad within a day or so.
Watercress is sold at most grocery stores throughout the country. If you’re planning to feed them to your beardie, once you have arrived home, place the watercress into a bowl of water. Remove them from the water on the day you’re about to give them your bearded dragons. This will ensure the watercress is at its freshest.
Is It Safe For Bearded Dragons To Eat Watercress?
Watercress is safe for bearded dragons to eat, but only in moderation.
Feeding them too much of this aquatic plant can harm their health. This is due to the watercress containing a high amount of oxalate.
Oxalate will start to deplete the calcium from the bearded dragon’s body. Over time, it will lead to a painful condition called metabolic bone disease (MBD).
When your beardie has MBD, they will have swollen limbs, lethargy, and a hard time moving around.
If it’s not treated, your bearded dragon can become paralyzed and die.
Therefore, always feed watercress to your bearded dragons in moderation to avoid any health issues.
Is It Healthy For Bearded Dragons To Eat Watercress?
Watercress is healthy for bearded dragons to eat since it’s packed with nutrition. It’s a good source of calcium, and vitamin A, C, and K.
One cup (34 grams) of watercress contains the following:
- Calories: 4
- Carbs: 0.4 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0.2 grams
- Vitamin A: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 106% of the RDI
- Calcium: 4% of the RDI
- Manganese: 4% of the RDI
Below are some health benefits of feeding watercress to your bearded dragons:
High Antioxidant Content
Watercress has a very high amount of antioxidants. This compound helps prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in the body.
When there are too many free radicals in the body, the beardie can become ill and have diseases.
Therefore, feeding them plenty of food that contains a high amount of antioxidants like watercress will keep the beardie healthy and strong.
Improve Bone Health
Watercress has many minerals that contribute to making them bone strong and healthy. Some minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K.
Watercress contains a very high amount of vitamin K, which is a component of osteocalcin. This is a protein that makes up healthy bone tissues.
Boost Immune System
Watercress contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is known for its beneficial effects on immune health.
Bearded dragons that are fed plenty of food containing vitamin C will be less likely to become ill. If they do become ill, giving them a good amount of vitamin C will help them recover quickly.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Watercress?
Yes, you can feed watercress to your baby bearded dragons.
When they are a baby, the majority of their food should be small feeder insects, like crickets. The insects should be fed two to three times a day. At this age, they need a lot of protein since baby beardie grows quickly.
Besides insects, you can feed them vegetables too, like watercress. Be sure to only give your baby beardie a small amount due to the high amount of oxalate in the watercress.
Also, be sure to supply them with calcium supplements, as they need them for bone development.
How To Feed Watercress To Bearded Dragons
When it comes to feeding watercress to your bearded dragons, it’s pretty straightforward.
Ensure that the watercress is fresh. Then wash the watercress thoroughly with water to remove any pest or debris from it.
With your fingers, tear the watercress into small pieces. Avoid cutting them with a knife as it will cause them to go brown quickly. Place them into a bowl and give them to your beardie to eat.
Another option is to mix the watercress with other vegetables. This will give your beardie a boost in nutrition, especially vitamin C and K.
How Much Watercress To Feed Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons should be fed watercress in small amounts. While watercress is very nutritious, it is also high in oxalate.
For an adult beardie, a handful of watercress is enough for them to enjoy. As for juvenile and baby beardie, you can give them a couple of the aquatic plants.
How Often To Feed Watercress To Bearded Dragons?
Watercress should be offered to your bearded dragons in moderation.
Bearded dragon’s diet is different depending on their age. Baby and juvenile beardie will eat more insects and fewer vegetables. As they get older, they will require fewer insects and more veggies in their diet.
When it comes to watercress, even though it’s a healthy vegetable, it contains too high of oxalate. This means, to prevent calcium deficiency, you should only serve watercress to your bearded dragons, once or twice a month.
Other Vegetables That Bearded Dragons Can Eat
Kale is a good source of many essential vitamins and minerals that your beardie needs daily. This leafy green can be fed to them often, about 2-3 times per week. It has a small amount of goitrogens and oxalate, which prevent it from being a daily staple.
Spinach is packed with nutrition that your beardie can benefit from. However, this leafy green also contains a high amount of oxalate, which is harmful to them. Be sure to only feed them a small amount of spinach, once or twice per month.
Lettuce is great for bearded dragons to eat. There are different varieties of lettuce available. Stay away from iceberg lettuce as it has very little nutritional value and too much water content. Instead, it’s better to feed them romaine or lamb lettuce.
Watercress is packed with minerals and vitamins. This makes them healthy food for bearded dragons to eat. However, due to their high amount of oxalate, it can harm them. To ensure it doesn’t affect their health, give watercress to your beardie in moderation.