Sharing snacks can be fun, even if it’s with a pet. Next time you’re partaking in a delicious popcorn snack, you may wonder…can lizards eat popcorn?
The answer is that they technically can eat it, but they shouldn’t. The pros don’t outweigh the cons and can cause more harm than good. You can dive deeper into the details below.
Can Lizards Eat Corn?
Lizards – including bearded dragons – can eat some types of corn. It’s not ideal as a regular part of their diet, so it’s best to keep it to less than once a month. Lizards can eat sweet corn (the kind people eat off the cob), but they can’t eat field or flint corn.
The thing about corn?
It has a lot of phosphorus in it but not much calcium. Lizard owners need to be aware of this dangerous ratio because a mismanaged phosphorus-to-calcium ratio in your pet’s diet can cause metabolic bone disease. This is quite painful and can cause severe complications for your reptile.
There’s no real benefit to feeding your lizard corn, so it’s best to keep it out of their diet. There are many better vegetable options, such as carrots, bell peppers, bok choy, and cabbage.
Raw Corn vs. Canned or Cooked Corn
If you’d like to offer corn to your lizard on occasion, raw corn is your best bet. You should avoid canned or cooked corn due to its salt content and additives such as artificial preservatives.
Think about it…
It’s best to feed them food that reflects what they’d eat in the wild, so raw corn is much closer to that than any cooked or canned product. This goes for any food you want to feed your reptile, not just corn. Fresh is always best (for humans, too).
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Popcorn?
Bearded dragons shouldn’t eat popcorn. If they get hold of a kernel by mistake, they’ll probably be fine, but it isn’t a food you should intentionally feed them. It’s best to feed your pets what they’d normally eat in the wild, and popcorn isn’t one of those things.
Even if you’re eating air-popped popcorn without butter?
Yes. There are risks associated with feeding popcorn to a reptile, such as a bearded dragon (or a turtle). For instance, impaction is a serious concern. This involves the kernel getting stuck inside the dragon’s stomach, which can be painful and may require surgical intervention.
Choking is also a serious hazard, as popcorn hulls tend to be hard and not easy to chew. Not to mention, popcorn doesn’t present any real nutritional benefits for your pet.
Especially if you’re eating popcorn seasoned with butter, salt, or other spices/toppings, keep it away from your bearded dragon. Reptiles don’t need much fat in their diet, and excess can cause many health issues such as diarrhea and obesity.
What To Do If Your Bearded Dragon Eats Popcorn
If your bearded dragon gets hold of some of your popcorn?
First: don’t panic.
The thing to do is check their stool to ensure the kernel(s) pass through. If you don’t see them pass, you may need to worry about impaction. Sometimes those kernels have unpopped pieces that can expand in your pet’s stomach and cause severe issues.
If you don’t see the kernel pass through, take your pet to the vet. It’s better to be safe about these things than sorry, and if impaction is caught earlier rather than later, it’s typically a less painful and less expensive outcome.
Also, pay attention to warning signs, such as lack of energy or loss of appetite. Don’t wait for the symptoms to pass if you notice any of these. Take them to the vet to be assessed before the symptoms have a chance to get worse.
Healthier Snack Alternatives for Your Beardie
An adult bearded dragon should subsist on a diet rich in vegetables, with a bit of protein added. This means snacks should mostly be vegetables. You should stick with veggies low in oxalates and those without high phosphorous-to-calcium ratios. Great vegetables for your bearded dragon include:
- Butternut squash
- Greens (collard, mustard, turnip, etc.)
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Bok choy
- Cactus leaves
- Yellow squash
If your bearded dragon already eats plenty of vegetables in its regular diet and you want to opt for a treat, you could go for a protein snack instead.
Bugs to use for treats could include:
- Dubia roaches
These are by no means exhaustive lists, and there are many vegetables that you can feed your beardie occasionally as a treat as well. They can also handle fruit, although this should be fed more sparingly than vegetables.
So, next time you’re excited to share a snack with your pet lizard, reach for veggies or fruits instead of a bowl of popcorn. Or, if you’re being more realistic, make the popcorn yourself and set aside a vegetable or fruit snack for your pet. Then you can enjoy snack time together without the worry of health issues as a result.
Curious about what other pets can eat popcorn?