Can Bearded Dragons Eat Oranges? The Balanced Diet

Yes, Bearded Dragons can eat oranges as they’re not toxic but this doesn’t mean you should. 

I don’t recommend implementing oranges in their diet. Because the citrus and oxalate content of oranges can be harmful.

In this article, I am going to break down the reasons why you shouldn’t feed oranges to your Bearded Dragon.

Orange Nutritional Facts

Oranges are typically a healthy fruit for humans, but taking a closer look at their nutritional value, they’re not an ideal choice for Bearded Dragons. The calcium-phosphorus ratio is the only positive aspect of this fruit for your pet.

Orange Nutritional Information Per 100 Grams
Carbohydrates11.8 g
Of which sugar9.35 g
Protein0.94 g
Fat0.12 g
Fiber2.4 g
Calcium, Ca40 mg
Phosphorus14 mg
Water86.8 g
Oxalic Content29 mg
Citric Acid0.005 mol/L
USDA.GOV

Why Can’t Bearded Dragons Eat Oranges?

As I mentioned above, oranges aren’t toxic for Bearded Dragons but they do pose health risks. This is due to the oxalic acid, citric acid, and high sugar content.

Oxalic Acid

Oranges have high amounts of oxalic acid in them. This negatively impacts your beardie because oxalic acid binds with calcium to create calcium oxalate.

Calcium oxalate removes calcium from the food being eaten and your Bearded Dragon needs calcium for healthy bone growth. When they eat a diet high in oxalates it could lead to diseases such as metabolic bone disease (MBD).

MBD is a serious health condition with symptoms of bone deformities, softening of bones, and, paralysis. If left untreated this can lead to a fatality in your beloved pet.

This doesn’t mean you should remove all food with oxalic acid from their diet as this would result in most fruits. You just need to be cautious of the fruits you’re feeding them, and ensure you provide a balanced diet and calcium dusting to their meals.

Citric Acid

The citrus content in oranges although doesn’t seem high with levels of 0.005 mol/L. It can still negatively affect your beardie. Remember, they’re only small and oranges even cause issues for humans.

The way citric acid affects your beardie is it will irritate the stomach lining, cause heartburn, and even lead to diarrhea in extreme cases.

Diarrhea can lead to serious health concerns. Your beardie will become dehydrated and although they’re naturally desert-dwelling reptiles, dehydration is still an issue. 

With long-term dehydration, your beardie will be unable to absorb the nutrients within their meals and slowly lose their appetite, become lethargic, and weak.

High Sugar Content

Oranges are high in sugar and this leads to various health conditions such as obesity, fatty liver disease, and heart failure.

That being said, most fruits have high sugar content but some are at healthy levels for your Bearded Dragons to eat such as bananas, kiwis, and watermelon.

Can I Gut Load Feeder Insects Oranges?

Yes, gut-loading your feeder insects oranges can be beneficial for your Bearded Dragon.

Crickets and dubia roaches digest oranges in a way that breaks down the citric acid in the digestion process. This will allow your beardie to get the health benefits from oranges without the risks to their health.

I recommend only gut-loading your feeder insects orange once or twice a week to ensure the citrus content stays at low levels.

Are Mandarin Oranges Good For Bearded Dragons?

No, mandarin oranges aren’t good to feed Bearded Dragons. Because although the acidic content is less than standard oranges the amount is still too high. Also, mandarin oranges are sweeter and higher in sugar content than standard oranges.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Orange Peels?

No, orange peels are not safe for Bearded Dragons to eat. The peels are still high in oxalic acid and have orange oil on them.

The peels are also a tough texture for your beardie to chew and can lead to impaction.

Safe Fruits List For Bearded Dragons

  • Kiwi
  • Figs
  • Watermelon
  • Apple
  • Mango
  • Butternut Squash
  • Blueberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Grapes
  • Banana

Summary

There is a wide range of fruits safe for your Bearded Dragon to eat, but oranges aren’t on the list.

The risks heavily outweigh the benefits when it comes to this fruit. Remember, if you want to feed your beardie oranges the best way to do so is by gut-loading your feeder insects.