Bananas are a favorite food for many animals, but are they safe for bearded dragons? It’s important to remember that bearded dragons are native to dry desert-like environments, so tropical fruits like bananas are something they would never come across in the wild. But does that make them unsafe?
The short answer is you should avoid feeding bananas to bearded dragons. Bananas are not toxic, but their nutritional content makes them a potentially dangerous food for beardies, especially if fed long-term.
Why Can’t Beardies Eat Bananas All The Time?
Bananas are nutrient-rich fruit that contains many essential vitamins and minerals. In small doses (a few bites or pieces, or maybe half a banana at a time, depending on the size of your lizard), bananas offer your dragon some key benefits:
- Vitamins A and C, aid the dragon’s immune system, vision, reproduction, and growth.
- Potassium, which aids muscle function, prevents kidney problems and lowers water retention.
- Antioxidants, which lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart problems.
- Minerals including calcium, iron, and magnesium, strengthen bones and tissue.
So, a little banana goes a long way for your little beardie. However, when eaten regularly, bananas can paralyze or kill your dragon. Bananas have a large ratio of phosphorus to calcium (3:1), meaning the phosphorus outweighs the calcium enough to make bananas harmful to dragons in large quantities. Why?
Bearded dragons rely on calcium in their diet to keep their bones strong. In fact, calcium is so crucial to beardies’ bone health and overall wellness that it is recommended to dust your dragon’s meals with calcium powder.
When a dragon consumes food containing phosphorus, it’s important for the calcium and phosphorus to have a balanced ratio (from 1.1 to 2.1); otherwise, the phosphorus binds with the calcium and prevents the calcium from being absorbed into the dragon’s system.
Long term, this can cause some serious calcium depletion.
When a dragon repeatedly consumes a phosphorus-rich, calcium-low food, the debilitating and deadly condition MBD (metabolic bone disease) can result, causing your pet significant pain and even paralysis. So that’s why bearded dragons can eat bananas only in small doses once or twice a month.
Another reason dragons shouldn’t be eating too many bananas: they contain a lot of sugar when ripe.
Similar to humans, it’s perfectly fine for dragons to have some sugar but too much can cause obesity and other health issues. (Too much fruit can even cause some dragons to turn away from their veggies.) Because of this, fruit should be the smallest portion of your dragon’s diet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Banana Peels?
Now that you know that it’s alright to give bananas to your bearded dragon, it makes sense to wonder if the peels are safe to give to your beardie. After all, they will try to eat it when given the chance!
The answer to this question is also yes. Giving banana peels to your dragon can be another source of varied nutrients, but as with banana pieces, the peel should be given in moderation.
What About Frozen Or Dried Bananas?
Frozen bananas are definitely a big no-no for your pet bearded dragon. Even if you cut the frozen banana up into very small pieces, it will still be too hard and can become a serious choking hazard.
Some newer owners are lured in by the convenience that frozen bananas offer when it comes to cost and the fact that you can store them for a while. Don’t fall for this trap!
The same thing does for dried bananas. Although they are rather convenient, you should put these on the list of no-go foods for your dragon. Dried bananas are very high in sugar, which can lead to a number of potentially serious health complications later on.