The number of people adding a pet bearded dragon to their family is higher than ever before and the huge number of people new to keeping bearded dragons as pets has also resulted in a spike in questions about bearded dragons.
As with most pets, the majority of the questions that we see being asked from the bearded dragon keeping community are based around suitable foods that you can feed your pet beardie.
Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a number of people reaching out and asking if bearded dragons can eat cilantro or not so we wanted to publish a dedicated article on the topic.
Bearded dragons can eat cilantro and many bearded dragons like the food but it should not be used as a key staple of your bearded dragon’s diet.
Most people are aware that bearded dragons need a large amount of leafy greens in their diet but struggle to understand why cilantro (a leafy green) should be used in moderation so we hope that this article will be able to help you better understand.
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro is the name used to describe the leaves of the coriander plant but in some cases, it can also be used to describe the stalks of the plant too.
The term is mainly used in North America with the word “cilantro” being the Spanish name for coriander leaves but in other parts of the world, it can have other names.
For example, in most parts of Europe, cilantro is simply known as “coriander leaves” where as the term coriander by itself usually refers to the seeds of the plant in both Europe and North America.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
Bearded dragons can eat cilantro and many bearded dragons actually enjoy the taste of having the coriander leaves in their diet.
Still, the majority of bearded dragons shouldn’t be having too much cilantro in their diet as it is not a nutritionally complete food for them preventing it from being used as a staple.
In most situations, cilantro can be used moderately in a bearded dragon’s diet provided the rest of the food in their diet is suitable.
The majority of people who keep pet bearded dragons often give their beardies treats though meaning that many people should only use cilantro lightly in their bearded dragon’s diet.
Although rare, some people have reported that their veterinarian has advised them to cut cilantro out of their bearded dragon’s diet completely due to some health issues.
This is not due to the cilantro causing the health issue but due to the calories taken up by cilantro being needed for other, more nutritious food types.
For example, if you are trying to balance the calcium and phosphate ratio in your bearded dragon’s diet to deal with metabolic bone disease, cilantro can easily be cut to add better options to the diet of your pet bearded dragon.
Macronutrient Requirements Of Bearded Dragons!
As you can see from the image above, the average bearded dragon needs a macronutrient breakdown of 50% carbohydrates, 25% fat, and 25% protein.
That said, those figures are just a rough guide and many people customize them heavily for their bearded dragon’s diet.
Now, the macronutrient breakdown of cilantro will actually depend on the age of the leaf as well as the amount of sunlight that it has had when growing but on average, a cilantro leaf is around 50% carbohydrate and 50% protein.
As you can see, too much cilantro will quickly knock your pet bearded dragon’s daily macronutrient ratio out of whack causing a number of problems with the animal in the long term if this issue persists consistently.
Due to the food requirements of a bearded dragon to meet its vitamin and mineral profile that we will cover in the section below, it can be a pain to re-balance your bearded dragon’s macronutrient profile after too much cilantro so use it sparingly if you are new to keeping a beardie.
Bearded Dragon Food Pyramid!
Our bearded dragon food pyramid above shows the food type breakdown of how many times you should use a food time over the course of a week for your pet bearded dragon.
Please note, a use case is not the only food you will give your bearded dragon for that day.
For example, on the one day you give your bearded dragon fruit, it will only be a small portion as a treat such as grapes, pineapple or apples with other food types on the same day, usually leafy greens and insects.
Still, as you can see at the bottom of the food pyramid, leafy greens should be given to your pet bearded dragon every day as a part of a healthy, well balanced diet.
The problem is, that cilantro is actually a herb and does not have a dense nutritional profile like an actual leafy green.
This confused many people who think that due to cilantro being a leaf, it can be used as a large part of your bearded dragon’s diet but this is not correct.
Cilantro should be used moderately or sparingly depending on the rest of your bearded dragon’s diet and should never be a stable food.
Not only are the macronutrients of cilantro not correct to be a staple food but it is not nutritionally complete either.
Our advice would be to add small parts of cilantro to the other leafy greens you give your bearded dragon if possible.
Alternatives To Cilantro For Bearded Dragons!
Thankfully, there are plenty of cilantro alternatives that are actual leafy greens that you are able to use with or instead of cilantro in your bearded dragon’s diet.
In our opinion, some of the best ones include:-
- Celery leaves
- Collard greens
- Dandelion leaves
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Cactus pad
- Bok choy
Many people think that they can give their bearded dragon spinach, you really shouldent give your bearded dragon much spinach if possible.
As we covered in our article on feeding bearded dragons spinach, there are a number of downsides with the food that prevents it from being used as a large amount of food for your pet bearded dragon’s diet.
Here is a quick infographic going over what we feel are some of the best leafy green alternatives to cilantro for bearded dragons!
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro Daily?
Bearded dragons can eat cilantro daily but it should only be in small amounts with the cilantro being mixed with other suitable leafy greens that bearded dragons can eat.
You should avoid trying to feed your bearded dragon cilantro daily as a large part of its diet due to the issues with its macronutrient profile as well as the lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
Still, if your pet bearded dragon does seem to really enjoy eating cilantro then you may be able to cut some cilantro up to get it to eat some other leafy greens that are a better nutritional fit.
The stronger taste of the cilantro can often be used to hide the taste of other veggies and help get your pet bearded dragon to eat some other goods that it would otherwise ignore.
Is Cilantro Toxic To Bearded Dragons?
Cilantro is not toxic to your pet bearded dragon and the majority of healthy, adult bearded dragons can have cilantro on a regular basis with minimal impact on their health.
As we mentioned earlier in the article though, the carbohydrate to protein ratio of cilantro is far from ideal for bearded dragons so it can be considered bad for a bearded dragon when fed in large amounts.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Cilantro?
There are two main strategies that people use when it comes to feeding their pet bearded dragon cilantro.
The Random Day Method!
The first method is to just use cilantro as a small part of your bearded dragon’s leafy green intake for a couple of days per week.
This usually means that you will offer your pet bearded dragon cilantro as a part of its diet on two to three days of the week as a part of a balanced, healthy diet.
This allows you to switch up the actual foods in your bearded dragon’s diet to help keep it as interesting as possible and to make it as easy as possible to stop your bearded dragon getting bored of its meals.
The Bearded Dragon Salad Method!
The second way to regularly add cilantro to your pet bearded dragon’s diet is the bearded dragon salad method and this is becoming more and more popular.
The idea is that you make your bearded dragon a salad at the start of a week that is made up from a wide range of different suitable leafy greens.
You then keep this refrigerated so it lasts as long as possible and feed it to your pet bearded dragon as required.
This can be a quick, easy, and cheap way to provide your bearded dragon with leafy greens as well as offer your bearded dragon a small amount of cilantro each day.
As we touched on earlier in the article, if you have a pet bearded dragon that refuses to eat some of the leafy greens that are good for it, then this can be a great way to mask the taste.
You simply take advantage of the leafy greens that your bearded dragon likes to eat and use them to mask the taste of the food your bearded dragon doesn’t like.
Do Bearded Dragons Like To Eat Cilantro?
Most bearded dragons do seem to really enjoy having cilantro in their diet and it is commonly used in a similar way to how humans use cilantro/coriander leaves, to mask the taste of other foods.
If you think about it, cilantro is a herb and the majority of people simply use cilantro and other herbs to mask the flavors of boring or bad tasting foods and many bearded dragon keepers use it in the exact same way.
What Are The Benefits Of Feeding A Bearded Dragon Cilantro?
There are a number of great benefits of adding even small amounts of cilantro to your pet bearded dragon’s diet.
The main ones are its nutrient contents with it being a good source of the following essential nutrients:-
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
The issue is that humans tend not to eat cilantro in a large enough amount for it to be a reliable source of any of these for us but bearded dragons as smaller meaning they need less nutrients while also eating more cilantro than us.
How To Prepare Cilantro For Bearded Dragons!
There is usually no real need to prepare cilantro for bearded dragons as they can eat it raw without issue.
The majority of people may rinse their cilantro prior to giving it to their bearded dragon but other than that, you may want to chop it into smaller pieces to make it easier for your pet bearded to eat.
As we touched on above, you may want to look at including cilantro in a bearded dragon salad so you will mix the cilantro in with various other leafy greens too.
That brings our article going over if bearded dragons can eat cilantro or not to an end.
We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that bearded dragons can eat cilantro and that the majority of them really like the taste.
Just remember that portion control is key with cilantro as too much can quickly start causing problems with your beardie.