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I found conflicting advice online regarding whether beardies can eat spinach and whether they are safe for them. On one hand, there are those who say that bearded dragons can eat spinach with no problem. They claim that bearded dragons love eating spinach and that it is packed with nutrients that are great for them.

On the other hand, Newsweek and animalcityinc.com say that beardies should not eat spinach at all because it contains oxalic acid which can bind to calcium in their bodies and prevent them from being able to absorb it. This can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

So, what is the truth? Can bearded dragons eat spinach or not?

Bearded dragons should not eat spinach. The oxalic acid present in spinach can bind to calcium in their bodies and prevent them from being able to absorb it. This can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease. If you want to give your beardie some greens, opt for another type of leafy green vegetable that does not contain oxalic acid, such as collard greens, turnip greens, or Swiss chard.

What is spinach?

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is part of the cabbage family. It is low in calories and contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and K as well as minerals such as iron and magnesium. Spinach also contains oxalic acid, which is what makes it harmful to bearded dragons.

It’s scientific name is Spinacia oleracea and it is believed to have originated in ancient Persia. It was then introduced to China in the 7th century and later to Europe in the 12th century. Today, spinach is grown in many parts of the world and is a popular ingredient in salads, soups, and other dishes.

beardie eating greens
Beardie eating greens

Appearance:

Spinach leaves are dark green and have a slightly crinkly texture. The stems are thin and range in color from white to light green. Spinach is available fresh, frozen, or canned.

How does oxalic acid affect bearded dragons?

Oxalic acid is found in many plants, including spinach. When oxalic acid binds to calcium, it forms calcium oxalate, which is insoluble and cannot be absorbed by the body. This means that the calcium is not available to the bearded dragon, which can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

Bearded dragons need calcium for strong bones and muscles. If they don’t get enough calcium, they can develop health problems such as metabolic bone disease, which weakens their bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures. In severe cases, metabolic bone disease can be fatal.

Nutritional value of spinach:

While spinach does contain some nutrients that are beneficial to bearded dragons, such as vitamins A, B, C, and E, it is not a good source of calcium. It also contains many antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids crucial to a beardie’s health, but these are present in other leafy green vegetables as well.

According to the USDA database, a 100g serving of spinach contains:

A serving of 1 cup of raw spinach weighing 56 grams contains 15 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates.

It also has:

2% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium

3% of the DV for iron

7% of the DV for vitamin A

8% of the DV for magnesium

10% of the DV for vitamin B6

11% of the DV for potassium

13% of the DV for vitamin C

14% of the DV for folate

17% of the DV for manganese

While spinach does contain some nutrients that are beneficial to bearded dragons, such as vitamins A, B, C, and E, it is not a good source of calcium. If you are going to feed your beardie spinach, it should only be given as an occasional treat and not part of their regular diet.

What are some alternative leafy green vegetables for bearded dragons?

If you want to give your bearded dragon some leafy greens, there are many other options that are safer and more nutritious. Some good choices include collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, and kale. These vegetables are all good sources of calcium and other essential nutrients.

As always, it is important to wash the vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your beardie. You can also steam or cook them to make them softer and easier to eat.

Some great things about spinach:

  • Low calories: Spinach is very low in calories, with only 7 calories per cup.
  • Fat-free: Spinach is also fat-free, making it a healthy option for those watching their calories or fat intake.
  • High in vitamins and minerals: Spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as iron and magnesium.
  • Healthy antioxidant compounds: Spinach also contains many antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids, which are important for health.
  • Low sodium
  • Sugar-free,
  • Good source of iron,
  • Good source of potassium,
  • Good source of riboflavin,
  • Good source of vitamin B-6,
  • Good source of magnesium,
  • Good source of copper,
  • High in vitamin A,
  • High in vitamin C,
  • High in vitamin K,
  • High in manganese 

Despite the benefits, why can’t beardies can’t eat spinach?

High oxalic acid content:

The main reason why bearded dragons should not eat spinach is because of the high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid binds to calcium, forming calcium oxalate, which is insoluble and cannot be absorbed by the body. This means that the calcium in spinach is not available to the bearded dragon, which can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

Bearded dragons need calcium for strong bones and muscles. If they don’t get enough calcium, they can develop health problems such as metabolic bone disease, which weakens their bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures. In severe cases, metabolic bone disease can be fatal.

Low nutritional value:

Another reason why bearded dragons should not eat spinach is that it has a low nutritional value. While spinach does contain some nutrients that are beneficial to bearded dragons, such as vitamins A, B, C, and E, it is not a good source of calcium. It also contains many antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids crucial to a beardie’s health, but these are present in other leafy green vegetables as well.

FAQs

Q: Is spinach bad for bearded dragons?

A: Yes, spinach is bad for bearded dragons because of the high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid binds to calcium, forming calcium oxalate, which is insoluble and cannot be absorbed by the body. This means that the calcium in spinach is not available to the bearded dragon, which can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

Q: Why can’t bearded dragons eat spinach?

A: Bearded dragons should not eat spinach because of the high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid binds to calcium, forming calcium oxalate, which is insoluble and cannot be absorbed by the body. This means that the calcium in spinach is not available to the bearded dragon, which can lead to health problems such as metabolic bone disease.

Q: What are some alternative leafy green vegetables for bearded dragons?

A: Some good choices for alternative leafy green vegetables include collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, and kale. These vegetables are all good sources of calcium and other essential nutrients.

Q: Can bearded dragons eat cucumbers?

A: Yes, bearded dragons can eat cucumbers. Cucumbers are a good source of hydration and contain vitamins A, B, and C. They are also low in calories and fat-free.

Q: Can bearded dragons eat apples?

A: Yes, bearded dragons can eat apples. Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. They are also low in calories and fat-free.

Q: Can bearded dragons eat carrots?

A: Yes, bearded dragons can eat carrots. Carrots are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as fiber. They are also low in calories and fat-free.

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