Coriander, or coriander in the UK, is a popular herb in kitchens around the world. Pet owners are often curious about whether they can serve human food to their pets. Cilantro falls into this category because bearded dragons eat many other leafy greens.
The answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat cilantro. It should not be predominantly green, but should not have any significant risk factors. Instead, you can feel free to sprinkle it on top of your typical salad to add a delicious treat.
If you’re interested in feeding your dragon cilantro, we cover its nutritional benefits, how to serve it, and other calcium-rich options.
Is Cilantro Good for Bearded Dragons?
Coriander can be included in an already balanced diet. Bearded dragons should consume cilantro in moderation and not as a regular staple of their diet. (1)
The reason for this is not a health risk. Instead, it doesn’t contain enough vitamins and nutrients that contribute to a dragon’s overall well-being and thus fills them up with so-called “empty calories.”
While cilantro has various nutritional benefits for a bearded dragon’s diet, they are in moderation and don’t pack much of a punch. (2)
Nutritional Benefits of Cilantro for Bearded Dragons
The nutritional benefits of cilantro help justify a sprinkling of the delicious treat as a salad topper, albeit in small amounts overall.
According to the USDA, 100 grams of cilantro contains:
- 21 grams of water
- 13 grams protein
- 52 grams lipids
- 87 grams of sugar
- 77 mg iron
- 67 mg calcium
- 8 grams fiber
- 27 mg Vitamin C
- 521 mg potassium
Cilantro also contains trace amounts of vitamins A, B6, E and K, but at such low levels, they do not have any significant effect on your dragon’s health.
The best aspect of cilantro in your beardie’s diet is the water it can give them, as many dragons struggle to drink in a domesticated environment. (3)
The next benefit worth recognizing is the calcium that cilantro contains. While this is not enough to be remarkable, calcium is an essential nutrient for the healthy functioning of any bearded dragon. However, there are other foods you can give your dragon that contain high amounts of calcium to help them meet their daily needs.
Citrus also contains beneficial antioxidants to encourage healing and prevent inflammation. Vitamin K is an essential element in their diet for continued blood cell and tissue maintenance. Although too much potassium in a dragon’s diet is dangerous, it helps control blood pressure in small amounts, as in cilantro. (4)
Cilantro contains more calcium than phosphorus, which is valuable in the bearded dragon diet because phosphorus can lead to metabolic bone disease with aging. It also contains a minute amount of sugar, which is another positive because dragons are not accustomed to eating sugar in the wild.
The only real risk to feeding your bearded python too much cilantro is the amount of water. It occurs in large amounts without taking it too much, so it can cause diarrhea. It also fills them in on a plant that provides only a minute amount of nutritional benefits.
How to Serve Coriander to Your Bearded Dragon
Maybe you have some extra cilantro on hand after cooking, and you want to serve some to your beard.
Start by giving your bearded dragon raw coriander. Cooking it rids it of many of the best benefits or makes those nutrients indigestible to the dragon. (5)
You can serve cilantro to your bearded dragon once or twice a week, as long as you supplement it with other greens rich in calcium to enhance their diet.
Each serving should contain between five and eight cilantro leaves. It is best to avoid the chewy and fibrous stems or break them into bite-sized pieces. The leaves are very easy for them to chew and digest. Take the leaves and chop them into fine pieces, sprinkling them over a bowl of other high-quality leafy greens.
Make sure you choose organic cilantro and wash it before serving your bearded dragon. The tiniest amounts of chemicals on fruits and vegetables can harm dragons, even if they have been approved by the FDA.
Subs for Bearded Dragons High in Calcium Greens
Since cilantro is not rich in calcium in your bearded dragon’s diet, it is best to serve it with other calcium-rich foods. Veterinarians and other reptile experts recommend a serving of cleaned dandelion greens, chopped collards, grape leaves, watercress and turnip greens.
If you want to serve other delicious herbs to your dragon, consider basil, sage, lavender, thyme, or even fennel. These can help spice up your beard’s favorite food and still add a little nutritional benefit.