How Big Should a Bearded Dragon Be to Eat Superworms?

Bearded dragons ages 5 to 15 months can feed on superworms. Ensure that they are small enough for your juvenile beardie. It will be hard for baby beardies to consume superworms at this stage, so it’s not recommended for them. When your bearded dragon reaches five-month-olds, it can eat 3 to 7 superworms three times a day.

Can Superworms Kill a Bearded Dragon?

Superworms are suitable to provide your bearded dragon protein and fat they need. But there are some setbacks when feeding superworms to your reptile. It can affect their health if they eat more than they should. Below are the things you should be aware of about superworms.

1. Calcium Deficiency

Although superworms contain calcium, they also have phosphorus. These worms contain 13 times more phosphorus compared to the calcium content. It means that this can pose a risk to the beardies’ Calcium is an essential mineral for these reptiles. When the bearded dragon suffers from insufficient calcium, it can develop metabolic bone disease.

This disease can cause deterioration of their skeletal system that causes paralysis. In some cases, the affected bearded dragon may also die. Due to this reason, superworms should not be fed to bearded dragons daily. Before providing it to your beardie, dust them with calcium powder first. That way, the calcium-phosphorus ratio will be balanced.

 2. Obesity

Superworms are high in fat; that’s why they are tasty for bearded dragons. Fatty foods are not good for your reptile. They are already at risk of being obese since they are in captivity. They can exercise as much as their wild cousins. Obesity is bad for beardie’s health. They need to have a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding superworms.

3. Gut Impaction

Superworms have exoskeletons that are too hard for young bearded dragons to digest. Their exoskeleton can cause gut impaction. When beardies eat superworms, small pieces of the exoskeleton can sit in their stomach longer. Eventually, these pieces of exoskeleton will pass through but can be painful for your beardie.

When unprocessed, food left undigested can build up to the bearded dragon’s digestive tract. It can create a blockage, which will cause gut impaction. If the blockage is small, it can come out of the beardies body over time. But if the impaction becomes severe, it will press against their nervous system. It will cause them a hard time walking.

In severe cases of gut impaction, it can cause death to the bearded dragon. Look out for the signs of impaction to ensure that you can help your pet if it happens. Symptoms of impaction may include sluggishness, loss of appetite, weight loss, lumps on the belly or spine, and difficulty walking. Consult the vet if you think your pet has impaction.

Tip: Prevent gut impaction by making sure to give your bearded dragon food that is smaller than the gap between its eyes.

4. Superworms Bite

Superworms will not just let bearded dragons or any other animal just eat them. They will fight during feeding time. They will bite or sting, so it’s best to wear gloves and tweezers. Keep an eye on your beardie when feeding it superworms. They can be very aggressive for your bearded dragon, especially if it’s their first time eating superworms.

Are Superworms Bad for Reptiles?

Superworms are known to fight back animals that are about to eat them. Large superworms can pinch through human skin. It can be painful when you get bitten. This can cause bruises or even break your skin. It can draw blood from the reptile’s skin as well. But they are not interested in piercing the reptile’s skin unless they are threatened.

When feeding superworms to small or young reptiles, you must be careful. Overfeeding superworms to your reptile can be bad for them. Some stories about superworms are that they chew through a reptile’s belly before they can get digested. But it’s only a myth and there’s no proof of it happening in reality.

Reptiles can eat superworms for extra protein and nutrition. If you’re worried that superworms will bite your reptile, crushing their heads before feeding is a good idea. But doing so might get rid of your reptile’s feeding response. Use tweezers to provide superworms to your reptile instead of putting all of them inside the enclosure at once.

What Bugs Are Poisonous to Bearded Dragons?

1. Insects Caught from the Wild

Avoid feeding insects that you caught from the wild to your bearded dragon. Catching insects to feed your beardie can save you money. It can also get rid of these bugs away from your yard. But it can harm your bearded dragon if you do this. Wild insects may contain parasites that can be passed to your bearded dragon. It’s best to get feeder insects from a reputable breeder.

2. Fireflies

These insects contain toxins and are poisonous to your beardie. It doesn’t take much of these toxins to kill a reptile. Don’t let your bearded dragon eat fireflies. When bearded dragons ingest fireflies, it will be fatal for them. The same goes for other luminescent insects. Their toxins cause them to glow, warning the reptile that they are poisonous.

3. Box Elder Bugs

Never allow your bearded dragon to eat box elder bugs as well. They are very toxic and can cause death with bearded dragons when they accidentally eat these bugs.

4. Ladybugs

Ladybugs are also poisonous for bearded dragons. Like fireflies and box elder bugs, it can be fatal for the beardies. Ensure that your pet will not accidentally find ladybugs and eat them.

5. Caterpillars and Butterflies

These insects may look pretty and harmless, but not for bearded dragons. They are deadly for reptiles when ingested. Even when bearded dragons eat plants, they can still be toxic. If the plants are being consumed by caterpillars and butterflies, their toxins can still be present.

6. Venomous Insects

Venomous insects like wasps, scorpions, bees, hornets, centipedes, and spiders should not be consumed by reptiles. Never place these types of insects inside the bearded dragon’s enclosure. It will cause injuries from biting and stinging to your beardie. The venom on these insects can make your bearded dragon sick or even die.

What Age Can a Bearded Dragon Eat Superworms?

Bearded dragons can eat superworms from the age of 5 to 15 months. Make sure that the superworms are small enough. Juveniles need a lot of protein at this stage. Feed them 3 to 7 superworms three times daily. Superworms are high in fat, but juveniles are still growing and developing. That means they can handle the excess fat content from superworms.

Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon Mealworms or Superworms?

Mealworms and superworms can be both live foods for bearded dragons. They were constantly being compared since reptiles like eating them. Just like other feeder insects, these worms have their own nutritional value. Knowing their differences can help you decide which one is best for your pet.

The main difference that you will notice between superworms and mealworms is their size. Superworms can grow up to 2 inches, while mealworms can only be 1.6 inches long. When it comes to availability, mealworms are more readily available than superworms. But comparing them is essential to provide better food for your reptile.


Superworms or scientifically known as zophobas morio, will become darkling beetles. They are from the Tenebrionidae family. As darkling beetle larvae and pupae, they are an essential part of reptiles’ diet in different stages. Superworms contain calcium, fat, protein, and fiber. These are vital nutrients for bearded dragons to have.

The superworm pupae are aggressive, and they will use their bodies to attack if needed. They have a denser exoskeleton since they are low in chitin. But it can still be hard for young reptiles to digest them. Superworms can be found in some pet stores, and they are usually available at 2 inches long. Other stores may only have canned superworms.


The tenebrio molitor or commonly known as mealworms, are the larval stage of tenebrio beetles. They are related to flies, true bugs, ants, bees, wasps, and so on. They are from the phylum Arthropoda, which means jointed legs. These larvae and pupae form part of the reptile’s diet.

Mealworms are rich in fiber, calcium, and fat. They also have high levels of protein, but superworms have more. These worms have a harder exoskeleton than superworms. They are not aggressive and don’t have a reasonable bite force. Mealworms are smaller than superworms and need supplements to have better benefits for bearded dragons.

What Does a Superworm Turn Into?

Superworms will turn into their pupa stage, and they will become darkling beetles. That’s when they can reproduce and start laying eggs. When those eggs hatch, they will become the new superworms. Their life cycle will start all over again. When breeding superworms, the most challenging part is to make them turn into a pupa.

When it happens, the worms will be dormant after a few days and curl into a letter c or e. It will be the start of the process of morphing into darkling beetles. If the superworm looks straight, hard, and black, that means it’s dead. Their process from larva to pupa will take a week or two to complete.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Calci Worms?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat calci worms. They are the most common live food that you can breed. Calci worms don’t need much maintenance as long as you feed them. It’s an inexpensive part of a healthy diet for bearded dragons. Just make sure to provide them with a variety of live food. Gut-loading calci worms can provide more nutrition.

How Long Can a Bearded Dragon Live with Parasites?

Wild animals usually need to cope with some parasites. They can build to pathogenic levels when they are held captive. If you suspect that your pet may have parasites, keep an eye on them. Symptoms of parasites are anorexia, weight loss, and abnormal stools.

It can also lead to irritability and depression in your reptile. The best thing to do is bring your bearded dragon to the vet. It will be tested for parasites and treat the problem. Parasites can suck up most of the nutrients of your beardie. It’s best to get rid of them before it’s too late.

What Should a Bearded Dragon Eat Daily?

Bearded dragons are omnivores, and they can eat just about anything. They can eat insects such as crickets, superworms, mealworms, and more. Vegetables like pepper, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and more are also part of their daily diet. Beardies can eat fruits as an occasional treat.

In the wild, they can eat small animals like mice. Insects such as worms, cockroaches, and crickets make up 75% of their diet. The remaining 25% will consist of veggies, greens, and a limited amount of fruits. It’s necessary to do the same when they are in captivity to keep your bearded dragon healthy.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Pupa?

Like mealworms, superworms will reach a particular stage of their lives and become a pupa. During the pupal stage, it will curl up and become immobile. That’s when they will make a silk cocoon and harden around their bodies. It will protect them from different threats around their environment until they become adults.

It’s not recommended to feed your bearded dragon with superworms pupae. They will become harder at this stage and can cause gut impaction. Their vital organs will start to develop for adulthood. It will take them a week or two to be fully developed. After that, it will take two more weeks before they emerge from their cocoon as darkling beetles.

Are Superworms Better Than Mealworms?

Superworms are bigger than mealworms, and they can grow around 2 inches long. They have a softer shell that retains its shape. It will be hard for baby beardies to digest them. That’s why it’s not recommended for younger reptiles. When the beardie turns five months, offer small superworms that are not bigger than the gap between its eyes.

Superworms Developmental Stages

  • Eggs – 3 to 20 days
  • Larvae – develops within ten days but can remain as a larva for about 12 months
  • Pupation – 5 to 19 days
  • Beetle – 2 to 15 years

Here is an article by the Journal of Insect Science called A ‘Sleeping Giant’ in Nutrient Sources highlighting the basic characteristics of the morphology and bio-ecology of this species.

Mealworms, on the other hand, can grow around 1.6 inches as pupae. They are smaller compared to superworms. Due to their chitin content, they can be easily digested. When chitin becomes higher, it will form a tougher shell for them. Mealworms should not be offered to baby beardies since they can be hard to digest and cause them impaction.

Mealworms Developmental Stages

  • Eggs – 9 to 13 days
  • Larvae – 10 to 55 days
  • Pupation – 19 to 21 days
  • Beetle – 55 to 95 days

Are Mealworms OK for a Bearded Dragon?

Yes, mealworms are fine for bearded dragons to eat. But due to their high fat and low calcium content, it’s tough to digest for baby and juvenile beardies. It’s best to avoid feeding them to younger bearded dragons to prevent health issues.

Are Nightcrawlers Good for Bearded Dragons?

Nightcrawlers and earthworms can be eaten by bearded dragons. But they should only eat these worms sparingly. Baited worms, earthworms, and red worms from the garden should be avoided. Those worms may carry parasites that can be transferred to your bearded dragon. Get it from a reputable source to make it safe for them. 

Are Earthworms Good for Bearded Dragons?

Yes, Earthworms are good for bearded dragons. They are safe for beardies, and their nutritional composition can be beneficial for your reptile. As omnivores, bearded dragons can eat insects and plant matter. It’s alright to give your beardie crickets, cockroaches, and worms.

Bearded dragons will eat just about anything since they don’t know what food is toxic for them. It’s your responsibility to keep your reptile safe as its owner. Earthworms are safe for them, but it’s best to provide it to your pet as an occasional treat. Overfeeding worms can cause health issues.

What is the Difference Between Waxworms and Mealworms?

Waxworms are white and wider than mealworms. They are not the same as mealworms based on their size and nutritional value. Waxworms contain 21% fat and 15% protein. That means that they should only be offered as additional food rather than becoming a staple diet for bearded dragons.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworms Every Day?

No, bearded dragons should not eat superworms every day. Superworms contain high levels of fat, phosphorus, and exoskeleton, and they are aggressive. It should not become a staple diet for bearded dragons. But you can offer 2 to 3 superworms to your beardie 2 to 3 times a week. That should be enough for an adult reptile to get the nutritional value superworms can give them.

Bearded Dragon

Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Superworms?

Yes, as long as the juvenile bearded dragon can handle the superworms aggressive behavior. It might even be able to eat more superworms than adult beardies. But if your pet has had digestive issues in the past, it’s best to ask for advice from the vet to avoid health complications.

Juvenile beardies 5 to 15 months old should be okay with superworms. As long as they are small enough for your bearded dragon to digest, it should be fine for them to consume. Keep in mind that superworms are bigger than most larvae. Choose the right size when it comes to food.

Never feed your beardie foods that are higher than the gap between their eyes. Feed your pet 3 to 7 superworms within the day. Juveniles can handle the higher fat ratio since they are still growing fast. Add other feeder insects to ensure that your beardie will get the essential nutrients it needs.

How Should Superworms Be Fed to Bearded Dragons?

Superworms can be aggressive, and they can bite your bearded dragon’s mouth. It should not be a problem choosing superworms smaller than the gap between their eyes. They are small enough to cause severe damage. Crush the worm’s head to avoid biting before feeding your bearded dragon. If your beardie seems comfortable eating live superworms, it will no longer be necessary.

When feeding superworms to bearded dragons, it’s best to dust them with calcium powder first. It’s a good idea to make the calcium-phosphorus ratio on superworms balanced. Use tweezers to feed your beardie one at a time. You can also put the superworms in a feeding bowl. Allow your bearded dragon to enjoy hunting for its food.

You can also place the superworms inside the beardie’s enclosure. Don’t let the worms roam free if the enclosure has substrates. They can bury themselves, and it will be hard for your beardie to hunt them. The bearded dragon may also be at risk of ingesting substrate when they catch the worm. It can cause gut impaction for your beardie.

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