At the Northampton Reptile Centre, bearded dragons are by far the most popular pet lizards for beginner keepers. They have a great personality, they don’t get too large and they are normally easy to keep and easy to handle which makes them a great first choice. While it has long been known that dragons commonly ignore their salad, much to the chagrin of their owners, it is still a vital part of their diet especially as they get older. Here is a list of our top 5 ingredients for a dragons salad!
Spring greens are a very cheap and very nutritious vegetable that should be easy to find at any supermarket or farm shop. We cut them into thin strips around half an inch for the babies or around an inch in width for the adults and this makes up the bulk of our reptile salad. The stems can be a bit thick so we would usually cut around those and focus on the leaves.
Dandelion / Plantain / Sorrel
There are many live plants that can be added to the diet for variation and to add roughage to the diet. Previously they were supplied dried by reptile shops or grown at home by enthusiast but many of the most popular ones are now available as live plants to grow at home. Common and red sorrel, plantain, dandelion and selfheal plants are all brilliant additions to the salad.
We have found curly kale to be a great addition to the dragon’s diet and it is always well received by the dragons in store. Kale is reported to bind calcium when fed frequently so we would normally add it once or twice a week to bulk up the number of nutritious greens in the salad.
Carrot / Courgette / Parsnip shavings
Adding different textures and colours to a bearded dragons salad can go a long way when you are trying to appeal to a fussy reptile. The courgette is fatty and adds a bit more moisture to the mix while parsnips add some contrast and carrots can add a little colour which might make the salad more attractive.
Bell peppers are brilliant because they have a high water content while still being nutritious and are colourful enough to entice a dragon into eating their salad. We constantly hear about people feeding dragons and tortoises strawberries because they absolutely love them but in truth, fruits aren’t particularly good for these reptiles. In addition to this, it’s less the flavour, more the colour that your pet is attracted to in the first place. A piece of red bell pepper is likely to get a similar reaction while being much better for the dragon, just make sure to remove all seeds and cut it fine enough that the dragon can’t choke on any of the pieces.
For more advice on how to best look after your dragon please see our recommended set up list and care sheet. If you have any questions regarding the salad choices or general husbandry please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .