When it comes to raising any animal, you need to know what it can and can’t eat. Even for a resilient reptile like the Bearded Dragon, feeding it something unnatural could lead to serious health problems. But is popcorn really unnatural? It’s just heated kernels.
Being a product of completely natural crops, you may ask yourself if Bearded Dragons can eat popcorn. The answer is a little complex: they can eat popcorn, but there’s not really any good reason to feed it to them. They can eat it, but it isn’t particularly healthy for them, and it may even cause health problems.
This is not to say that you can never feed your Bearded Dragon popcorn at all. There are even a few benefits in them eating popcorn, though it is debatable whether or not those benefits outweigh the cons. In this article, we’ll explain why you might want to reconsider feeding your Bearded Dragon popcorn, even if it can technically eat it.
Should Bearded Dragons Eat Popcorn?
As we said above, Bearded Dragons can eat popcorn, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should, from a health perspective. The primary reason for this is because popcorn contains large amounts of fat relative to its serving size. Coincidentally, fat is not something reptiles need in large amounts.
Excessive amounts of fat in a Bearded Dragon diet can lead to a multitude of health problems, such as obesity or diarrhea. Of course, this would generally only be a problem if you were feeding your pet a lot of popcorn.
Basically, you can feed your Bearded Dragon popcorn if you want to, but you probably shouldn’t, just to stay on the safe side.
Is There Any Reason a Bearded Dragon Should Eat Popcorn?
We mentioned already that there technically are benefits to a Bearded Dragon eating popcorn. What exactly are those? Well, popcorn may have a lot of fat, but it also has a pretty respectable amount of beneficial nutrients, such as iron, calcium, and several other vitamins and minerals that Bearded Dragons benefit from.
That may sound like a valid reason to provide a Bearded Dragon with popcorn, but the thing is, there are plenty of other alternative food items that will provide those nutrients without also offering up that aforementioned fat content. Bok Choy, cabbage, crickets, roaches… Bearded Dragons were meant to eat plenty of things, and popcorn isn’t one of them.
Generally speaking, it is almost always a better idea to feed animals the things they would normally eat out in the wild. You can never really go wrong sticking with their natural diet. However, this does not mean you can’t feed your Bearded Dragon popcorn every once in a while. If you wanted to give them very small amounts of popcorn once a month, nothing bad would happen.
Of course, not all popcorn is created equal, so we should probably talk about what kind of popcorn you can feed your Bearded Dragon if you are absolutely determined to do it.
What Kind of Popcorn Can You Feed Your Bearded Dragon?
Considering that you already run a risk of making your Bearded Dragon sick by feeding them popcorn, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t go out of your way to make things any worse. If you really want to give your Bearded Dragon some popcorn every once in a while, make sure it is plain popcorn, with no additions like seasoning, spices, or butter.
Those types of additives are more likely to give your Bearded Dragon stomach issues like diarrhea. So if you want to feed your Bearded Dragon popcorn, keep it down to very small amounts of plain popcorn, and only as frequently as once a month at best.
Other Potential Health Concerns When a Bearded Dragon Eats Popcorn
We’ve said so far that a Bearded Dragon can eat plain popcorn in great moderation. However, that’s only in reference to dietary concerns and assuming that no physical complications occur when eating popcorn. One such major hazard is impaction.
As you probably know, popcorn comes from kernels, and those kernels don’t always pop fully. These unpopped kernels can cause some serious problems for a Bearded Dragon if you are unlucky. If worse comes to worst, an unpopped kernel could expand in the reptile’s stomach, leading to digestive impaction or even choking.
In fact, this risk is so dangerous that you should actively check your Dragon’s poop to ensure any popcorn kernels it consumes come back out the other end. Now, you could go out of your way to make sure any popcorn you feed your Dragon has no partially unpopped kernels, but that’s a lot of work just to share a snack.
Once you consider these added physical dangers alongside the lack of real dietary benefit to feeding a Bearded Dragon popcorn, we can say with certainty that the cons far outweigh the pros. You can do it, but there’s just not any real reason to do so.
Summation of Bearded Dragons Eating Popcorn
You can feed popcorn to your Bearded Dragon, and it won’t just keel over and die. Popcorn even has some beneficial aspects to it, such as high iron and calcium content. However, it also has a high-fat content, which is bad for reptiles especially.
That amount of fat can cause health problems for a Bearded Dragon, such as obesity or diarrhea. Seasoned or spiced popcorn increases that risk even more. If a Bearded Dragon swallows popcorn with a partially unpopped kernel, it could expand in their stomach and lead to digestive impaction or choking.
Ultimately, this all means one thing: you can feed popcorn to your Bearded Dragon if you want to, but there is very little reason to actually do so. There are plenty of other foods a Bearded Dragon can eat that offer the few benefits of popcorn without any of the risks.
But if you do choose to feed popcorn to your Bearded Dragon, make sure it is plain, and feed very small amounts to your pet very rarely: once a month at most.