Seeing a ripe kiwifruit with its fuzzy exterior makes you wonder how your bearded dragon might like it. After all, with its juicy interior and easy to peel skin, it makes a great snack.
Can bearded dragons eat Kiwi? Yes, bearded dragons can eat Kiwi in moderation. These fruits are a great source of Vitamin C, which is helpful for your bearded dragon’s immune system. There are also a lot of things to be concerned about, such as the sugar content and the oxalates inside the fruit, so do beware of those.
Now you know that Kiwi is perfectly fine when served in moderation. How do you prepare a kiwi, and what are the oxalates we talked about? Read on to find out all you need to know.
What’s in A Kiwi (For Bearded Dragons)?
Why are kiwis so great? Let’s look at the nutrition facts of a kiwi to get the full scoop on what these fruits can deliver for your bearded dragon.
You might hear this referred to as Chinese gooseberry or kiwifruit. It got its start in China, where the people there used it for medicine. In the 20th century, the Kiwi made its way to New Zealand and began to be grown there.
It was not until the 1940s that New Zealand began commercially growing the crop. For the USA, this didn’t happen until the 1960s.
In a 69g kiwifruit, here’s what you get according to the United States Department of Agriculture:
- 42 calories
- 64mg of vitamin C
- 2g sugar
- 8g protein
- 23 mg of calcium
- 1g of fibre
- 1mg Vitamin E
- 7mg magnesium
- 17mcg folate
Indeed, Kiwi is quite good for you and is excellent as an occasional treat for your dragon.
Bearded Dragons and Calcium
You might think, “Kiwi is a great idea in terms of calcium. I know my reptile needs that, anyway, so why not just cut up a fruit?”
Sure, it sounds more exciting than the calcium supplement, and I am sure your beardie would love it. However, this is NOT the way to go!
A good calcium supplement should be offered to your bearded dragon depending on his age.
Let’s take a look:
- If your beardie is aged 0-2 months old, then dust their food with calcium every day.
- Juveniles aged 2 to 12 months old should have their calcium served every other day.
- For adult dragons aged 1 and up, you can dust their food with calcium every 2-3 days thanks to them already being grown up.
Bearded dragons need a good supplement designed for reptiles because it helps promote good bone health. Vitamin D3 is needed and aids in the absorption of calcium, which is why you have to have a great UVB light in the habitat.
Also, you should offer crushed up sepia bone in a small bowl at all times. This way your bearded dragon can balance its minerals whenever it feels a need for it.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Kiwi Skin?
It is best to just cut off the skin. It’s a bit hard for them to digest, so just take that extra step and cut off the kiwi skin before you go ahead and serve it to your bearded dragon.
Preparing the Kiwi Fruit
Curious about how to get that fruit ready? Here’s how to choose a great kiwi and get it ready for your beardie.
First, start by shopping smart at your local grocery store or farm market. Choose a kiwi that is free of any mold or weird spots. The Kiwi should yield to a gentle squeeze. If you can only buy firm kiwis, that’s fine-you will just have to wait a few days for them to ripen up.
Next, wash the Kiwi off right when you get home. You can store it right in the fridge-ripe kiwis keep in the fridge for one to two weeks.
Once you are ready to cut the Kiwi, get a knife and cutting board. (Kids, get an adult to help you). Cut off both ends of the kiwi-just a half an inch is enough. Then, take a spoon and scoop the fruit out in a circular motion. Try to stay close to the peel.
Next, cut the fruit up into small pieces, about quarter-inch chunks. Offer them to your beardie and remove any uneaten fruit immediately.
So, About Those Oxalates…
As you know, bearded dragons need calcium in their diet. However, oxalates bind the calcium, which can be dangerous for your bearded dragon. This is why the Kiwi should only be fed in moderation.
To go into greater detail, the oxalates found in Kiwi and other foods bind to calcium in the digestion process in the intestines and stomach and then leave the body in the stool.
Oxalate that is not bound to calcium will go on a different path, going as a waste product from blood to the kidneys and eventually exits the body in the form of urine. This is how the majority of kidney stones form- according to kidney.org 8 out of 10 kidney stones are calcium oxalate.
So, what’s the point? Keep the Kiwi in low doses for your bearded dragon.
What Happens If I Feed Too Much Kiwi?
What if you fed too much Kiwi and your dragon ate it in excess (every day)? The results would not be good at all. I will say it again-keep this stuff limited to once in a while feeding-and just four to five small chunks.
The biggest thing you would see in your beardie would be known as calcium imbalance.
This can be caused by a number of reasons:
- Too much calcium in the dragon’s diet
- No UVB or limited UVB light, thus preventing calcium absorption
- No calcium in the diet, or too little for that matter
- Poor digestion thanks to lack of eating in the habitat
The bearded dragon could end up developing Metabolic Bone disease, which can lead to bone damage, pain, and possibly death for the bearded dragon.
Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Bearded dragon eating the sand substrate to get minerals balanced
- Dragon is lethargic and acting weak
- Receding of the lower jaw
- Dragging itself around the habitat which indicates limbs are paralyzed
- Fractures in bones
- Limbs are twitching or shaking
How Often Should Beardies Have Fruit?
Fruit should be one of those items that you offer up as something of a dessert. This stuff is healthy for us humans, but it is quite different for bearded dragons. The high sugar content is a point of concern- it can make a bearded dragon gain weight quickly!
So, offer it just once per week, if that. Make sure to keep it in small amounts. About 4 to 5 small pieces of fruits are just fine.
Fruits that bearded dragons enjoy are things like pears, peaches, plums, watermelon, cherries, grapes, blueberries, papaya, peeled bananas, apples, raspberries and of course kiwi.
Make sure you test it out on him- just give him a small piece to see if he likes it and then give a little more if you find he enjoys it.
Remember, fruit can rot quickly, so remove any uneaten pieces right away. It will keep the habitat clean and smell-free for you and your dragon.
Yes, bearded dragons can enjoy kiwis. However, keep it very limited, as calcium imbalances and high sugar intake are quite risky. Kiwi is an excellent treat for your dragons when enjoyed in moderation!