Can Bearded Dragons Eat Pickles? (Answer Inside)

You’re probably enjoying your favorite cheeseburger with the ideal amount of pickles while lounging on your couch. You are getting ready to spend the afternoon watching Netflix when you realize that your bearded pet dragon needs to be fed. It makes sense to share the pickles, but can bearded dragons eat pickles?

It is not wrong to feed an adult bearded dragon with a well-prepared cucumber, one of the ingredients you can pickle. However, you should only use it occasionally and in small amounts.

So is it okay now to feed the bearded dragon with the pickles? By reading this article, let’s find out if bearded dragons can eat pickles, slugs, spiders, ants, and worms. Additionally, you will also learn what can easily poison your bearded dragon. 

Will Bearded Dragons Eat Pickles?

Feeding your bearded dragon with pickles is not a good idea. While they can eat a cucumber before it is pickled, the rest of the ingredients in the pickles have a lot of sodium and high acidity.

The stomach of the bearded dragon can’t handle an excessive amount of acidic food without becoming sick. The other pickles ingredients will also affect your bearded dragon differently.

Pickles are cucumbers preserved in a brine, a mixture of vinegar or acetic acid, salt, and water.  The main benefit of pickles is that it contains beneficial bacteria. Pickles can aid minor stomach illnesses and digestion if the brine is fermented correctly.

The metabolism of bearded dragons is similar to that of snakes and other reptiles, and they prefer plant material with high moisture content. Most reptiles live in arid regions, so the moisture helps them stay hydrated. Pickles with a lot of salt won’t hydrate them; instead, they’ll make their bodies retain water, leaving them bloated.

Can You Wash Pickles and Feed To Bearded Dragons?

Deciding to wash pickles to remove the other ingredients so you can give them to your bearded dragon to eat is not advisable.  You cannot wash pickles and feed them to bearded dragons. Making pickles involves soaking a lot of ingredients for some time. Washing the mixture won’t get the ingredients out because they mix and absorb each other.

Some people can make pickles quickly by pouring hot vinegar brine over the product they want to pickle. Additionally, this method ensures that all the ingredients have been mixed. The slower alternative is soaking the vegetables in brine and preserving them in jars. Beneficial bacteria grow, and the fermentation process takes place in the jars.

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Ingredients Harmful To Bearded Dragon in Pickles

Food preservation techniques like pickling have been around for a while. The process requires a lot of ingredients to be successful. The microbes that cause food to rot are typically controlled with vinegar or salt brine. Some individuals add sugar, herbs, garlic, and other spices to enhance flavor. While the various ingredients might not harm you, bearded dragons could be harmed by them.

Here are several pickles ingredients that can harm your bearded dragon:

  1. Vinegar or acetic acid: When making pickles, vinegar is second only to water in terms of importance. Its task is to hasten fermentation and give a sour taste to your pickles. Because of its acidic nature, it is poisonous to bearded dragons.
  1. Additives: Cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, garlic, artificial sweeteners, and sugar are all ingredients in pickles. Some individuals use sweeteners like sugar to balance the acidic flavor of vinegar or acetic acid. All of these are harmful to bearded dragons. Preservatives, colorants, and stabilizers should not be overlooked because they contain substances that extend the shelf life and consistency.
  1. Salt: A bearded dragon’s diet shouldn’t contain any salt-rich foods.

What are the Side Effects of Pickled Vegetables on Bearded Dragons?

Pickled vegetables have a high salt content that can harm a dragon’s kidney. Avoid adding excessive salt to their diet, which pickled vegetables have, as leafy greens and vegetables make up most of their diet. Your bearded dragon will experience the following adverse effects due to the additional preservatives and additives used to make pickled vegetables.

  • Breathing problems are caused by throat irritation and congestion.
  • A stomach ache, possibly even throwing up.
  • If your bearded dragon happens to eat large pieces of pickled vegetables, it could choke and stop breathing.
  • Your bearded dragon will swell in the face and neck.
  • The sugars and sweeteners they contain have the potential to make your bearded dragon obese.

Will Bearded Dragons Stop Eating When Full?

When full, the adult bearded dragon will stop eating. But be cautious with the young and baby bearded dragons. Bearded dragon babies will consume food till they are full. They continue to think they are in the wild, where an ample food supply is necessary to survive. Bear in mind that bearded dragons will consume anything you give them, and if food is always available, they will likely become lazy.

It would be best to give your infant bearded dragon moderate meal portions to prevent overeating. Feeding them three to five times per day, with feeding sessions no longer than ten minutes, is advisable. It will be enough to give them insects two or three times. Ensure their meals contain vegetables, and remove any leftover food from the enclosure.

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Quality meals will be more beneficial to adult bearded dragons. It is sufficient to provide them with a wholesome meal once a day. To prevent rapid weight increase that could cause health problems, refrain from feeding adult bearded dragons too many fatty insects.

Baby bearded dragons that overfeed are more likely to develop constipation and other dietary problems. A bearded baby dragon that has been overfed can exhibit symptoms such as lack of appetite, bloating, restricted movement in the hind legs, and inactivity.

Will Bearded Dragons Eat Ants and Worms?

Because they are omnivorous, bearded dragons will eat both plants and proteins. Ants, worms, crickets, roaches, and other insects are their primary protein sources. Although the bearded dragon can eat ants and worms, these are not the ideal foods. They don’t provide nutrients for your bearded dragon and can cause additional problems, as seen below.

Ants

Iron, zinc, protein, fat, and several acids ( palmitic, linoleic, oleic) are plentiful in ants. The nutritional value per 100g, according to Researchgate, is as follows: 

  • Potassium: 46mg
  • Folic acid: 0.5mg
  • Magnesium: 11mg
  • Calcium: 26mg
  • Protein: 13.9g
  • Phosphorous: 106mg

Ants usually produce folic acid as a defense against predators. When bearded dragons eat the ants, they can increase gastrointestinal problems for bearded dragons already having that specific issue. The high-fat content of ants can also cause obesity in bearded dragons.

In ants, the calcium-phosphorous ratio is 1:4, although the ideal balance is 2:1 for a bearded dragon. Ants are not an excellent source of calcium due to their low calcium content.

An excessive amount of phosphorus in ants can cause issues with calcium absorption. When your bearded dragon has problems with calcium absorption, it can lead to metabolic bone disease. 

Worms

Although you can give your bearded dragon occasional treats of pet store worms, worms are not the ideal choice in terms of nutrition. Worms, particularly earthworms, contain a lot of fat. These worms might have parasites as well.  Worms have a high humidity content that can cause digestive problems for your bearded dragon.

If you insist on feeding your bearded dragon earthworms because it seems to like it, avoid feeding it with the wild-caught earthworm. Buy the earth-worker worm (nightcrawlers), which is safer.  

Some other worms you can safely feed your bearded dragon are hornworms, superworms, mealworms, waxworms, and butterworms. Ensure you pay attention to the fat content and limit consumption.

Will Bearded Dragons Eat Slugs From the Garden?

No, bearded slugs shouldn’t eat garden slugs. They contain parasites and could carry diseases that can cause harm to the bearded dragon. Slugs are carriers of rat lungworm disease. Any bearded dragon that eats a carrier slug will acquire the parasite too, which will eventually cause health problems as they multiply.  Mucus from the slug can suffocate the bearded dragon. 

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However, you can feed your bearded dragon with slugs bought from a pet store.  Slugs are an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure you give your bearded dragon slugs smaller than their heads. 

Will Bearded Dragons Eat Spiders?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat spiders. If your bearded dragon catches a house or jumping spider, you should not worry because they are not considered harmful. Dubia roaches from the pet store are another option for feeding your bearded dragon. Calcium, proteins, and other healthy nutrients exist in dubia roaches. However, spiders are not recommended as your pet lizard’s primary food source.

There are a few reasons why spiders don’t make the best meal for your bearded dragon, as highlighted below:

  • Some spiders, including the yellow sac spider, brown recluse, hobo spider, and black widow, are poisonous and can paralyze prey.
  • Some spiders might be infected and host parasites.
  • Compared to other insects, spiders are not very nutritious.

Even non-toxic spiders can cause your beaded dragon to experience an allergic reaction that, if untreated, could be fatal.

What is Poisonous To Bearded Dragons?

Despite being largely omnivorous, not all foods are safe for bearded dragons. Some meals are harmful, poisonous, difficult to digest, and can sicken your bearded dragon. High phosphorus foods are not thought to be suitable for bearded dragons. Naturally occurring oxalates found in plants are likewise bad for bearded dragons when taken in large quantities. They prevent the bearded dragon from absorbing calcium.

Here are some of the foods that you should avoid feeding a bearded dragon;

  • Onions are too acidic and can damage the delicate gastrointestinal system of your bearded dragon. They also include additional substances that are harmful to lizards. The same is true for chives, leeks, and garlic.
  • Wild-caught insects most often have parasites that can harm your bearded dragon. 
  • All day long, butterflies and caterpillars eat various plants. Toxins from these plants may be toxic to bearded dragons.
  • Acidic fruits with high acidity levels can cause stomach problems, notably tomatoes, oranges, pineapples, tangerines, and grapefruits.

Conclusion

One of the most harmful foods you can feed your pet lizard is pickles. It has a lot of ingredients that are toxic to bearded dragons. Others, including ants, spiders, worms, onions, acidic fruits, and wild-caught insects, are foods you shouldn’t feed your pet lizard.

About Stephanie

Stephanie is fond of doing all backyard-related work at her home. She loves to take sunbathe and do a barbecue in her free time. She often shares practical tips and friendly expert advice on everything relating to home and yard on this blog. When she is not writing, she goes camping with her husband and little kids.