Nopalitos (kiwi fruit) are sweet and juicy, but bearded dragons should only eat them occasionally.
These drinks contain high oxalates, which may cause abdominal pain and watery stools. It should only be offered once a month.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Nopalitos?
Nopalitos (tender young prickly pear cactus paddles) can be fed to bearded dragons, but should only make up a small part of their overall diet. Here are some details on feeding nopalitos to bearded dragons:
- Nopalitos are low in calories and fat, which is good for bearded dragons.
- They contain some vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron.
- The fiber in nopalitos aids digestion in bearded dragons.
- Like most vegetables, nopalitos are low in protein, which bearded dragons require.
- They contain oxalates that can bind with calcium and interfere with absorption.
- The spines and hairs on prickly pear cacti can irritate a bearded dragon’s mouth.
- Some bearded dragons avoid eating nopalitos due to their texture.
- Only feed mature nopalitos to bearded dragons – avoid immature pads with spines.
- Remove the skin and spines completely before serving.
- Start with small amounts and work up based on your reptile’s appetite and digestion.
- Feed nopalitos as an addition to – not a replacement for – the primary protein and insect portion of the diet.
- Continue to provide calcium supplementation as normal.
Overall, while nopalitos can be part of a healthy diet for bearded dragons when fed in moderation, they are not a complete or balanced food on their own. They work best as an occasional vegetable addition to an insect-based diet with proper calcium.
If introducing nopalitos for the first time, start with small pieces and monitor your bearded dragon closely for signs of digestive issues. And ensure all spines, skin and hairs are completely removed before serving.
So in summary, nopalitos can be fed to bearded dragons in moderation when prepared properly. But they must be treated as a supplemental – not primary – food source along with a balancedoverall diet for optimal health.
To feed your bearded dragon fresh, frozen, or dried foods, you must know their nutritional content. Thus, you can guarantee a healthy diet.
Bearded dragons need calcium, vitamins A, C, B6, thiamin, and riboflavin, so reptile keepers feed them a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Due to phosphorus or oxalates, some reptiles cannot eat leafy greens daily. Bok choy (2.8 to 1) and basil (2.2 to 1) are two vegetables that do not make the daily list for this reason.
Nutritional Content of Nopalitos
Crickets, mealworms, vegetables, and fruits make a balanced diet for bearded dragons. Insects provide gut-loaded calcium that your bearded dragon cannot produce.
Leafy greens with vitamins and minerals are ideal for your bearded dragon. Fruits also provide vitamins and nutrients for your lizard’s health.
However, fruits are high in sugar and oxalates, which may upset your lizard’s digestion. As a treat, limit them.
Health Benefits and Risks of Nopalitos
Prickly Pear (nopales) is a desert delicacy that your bearded dragon may enjoy. Prickly pear is full of calcium, fiber, and antioxidants.
Nopales contain iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Due to their high oxalates, prickly pear cacti are not recommended for beardies.
Before feeding your beardie, remove the spines. This will help them digest food and prevent choking.
Other Alternatives to Nopalitos
There are many alternatives to nopalitos if your dragon does not like them. Jicama (Mexican yam bean) is an example.
Serve jicama sparingly because it is very sweet. Due to its low Ca:P ratio, it should only be given as a treat.
Celery, kale, and collard greens can also be fed to your dragon, but only once every 10-14 days. Give your dragon small amounts of these vegetables and mix in other healthier greens for maximum nutrition.
Conclusion about Eating Nopalitos
Nopalitos, or prickly pear cactus, are a Mexican staple. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into jams or juices.
They are nutritious for beardies because they are calcium-rich and low in fat. They also contain iron and vitamin B6.
Nopales can be boiled, sauteed, or mashed with other vegetables to make a stew. They are a popular side dish for tacos, Mexican food, and salads. They may release slime when heated. So rinse them after cooking or boiling.