Bearded dragons are omnivorous reptiles, meaning they have a wide variety of food sources to choose from. One of the favorite sources of these diets is worms. Several kinds of worms exist that fit in a bearded dragon’s diet. They are preferred as they have a high nutritional value from which your bearded dragon will benefit.
However, it is good for you to note that not all worms are beneficial to your beardies. Some worms may carry dangerous bacteria and other disease-causing organisms that may cause serious health issues to your beardies. For this reason, it is essential to do your research before settling on a given worm diet.
Types Of Worms For Bearded Dragons:
When looking for a good worm diet, there are many meal options that you can settle on. Some of the most sought-after worm meals for your beardies include; earthworms, red worms, mealworms, and wax worms. Each of these has its nutritional value that is beneficial to your bearded dragon.
Something worth noting is that worms are not meant as an everyday meal but as an occasional treat. The primary diet for your bearded dragon should comprise vegetables, meat, weeds, and fruits. Too many worms may pose a health risk to your beardies.
Below are some of the best-known and nutritious worms you may consider for your bearded friend.
When it comes to choosing worms for your bearded besties, earthworms should be on top of your list. Not only are they safe, but they are also very nutritious, composing over 25% of beneficial proteins and 80% water.
Proteins are some of the essential components that your bearded dragon will need for proper development.
Earthworms are an excellent choice for an occasional treat for your dragons for several reasons, which include;
Quality Source of Protein
As we have already stated, your bearded dragon will benefit significantly from the rich protein supply in earthworms. Protein is vital for young beardies since it is crucial in their development.
Young bearded dragons need more proteins for tissue development and muscle strengthening. You need to ensure that you feed them worms at least once each week to boost their protein intake.
Good Source of Hydration
Earthworms are composed of mostly water. Over 95% of their body mass comprises water. As such, they are an excellent source of hydration for your beardies.
Bearded dragons, like most reptiles, will not ordinarily drink water from a bowl. In most cases, they rely on their foods for their hydration. By feeding them earthworms, they are sure to get sufficient hydration.
Hydration is vital for bearded as it helps regulate internal processes, prevents their skin from drying up, and helps your dragon remain active. Hydration also aids considerably in the digestion process. A bearded dragon will have poor health if they don’t remain hydrated.
Earthworms Contain Fats
Another reason why you may consider feeding your beardies with earthworms is because of their high-fat content. Fat is essential to these lizards and all the other reptiles in general as it provides their skin with a layer of insulation against cold.
Reptiles, being cold-blooded, do not have a way to self-regulate the temperatures in their bodies; as such, they may become too cold depending on their environment. If this happens, they may even freeze to death. Fat also helps reduce this possibility by offering some insulation near the skin, thus reducing heat loss.
It is important to be on the lookout not to overfeed your dragons as they may become obese. An obese bearded dragon is unhealthy and susceptible to diseases and other health challenges like difficult mobility and a weak immune system.
Supply of Minerals and Vitamins
Earthworms are a great source of minerals and other nutrients your bearded dragon needs. Since they spend most of their lives churning dead and decaying matter, earthworms can accumulate a lot of beneficial minerals and vitamins that your bearded friend will need for proper development.
Some of the many minerals and vitamins your pet will benefit from include calcium, copper, manganese, iron, and amino acids. Calcium, for instance, has many benefits, among them being strong skeletal tissues and preventing metabolic bone disease.
The above shows that earthworms are a great source of nutrients essential to your bearded dragons. It is important to avoid feeding your turtles earthworms as an everyday diet as this may cause them to grow overweight, interfering with their proper growth.
Overweight bearded turtles may end up having serious problems like inability to walk correctly, reduced activity, and generally poor health. It would be best to avoid these problems before they escalate to something worse.
2. Red Worms
The other worms that your bearded dragon will enjoy and benefit from are red worms. Like with earthworms, you should feed red worms to your beardies sparingly due to their high-fat content, as this may cause your dragons to gain a lot of weight.
If your beardie has become overweight, cut back excessive feeding to shed excess weight.
Red worms are also called red wigglers and are closely related to earthworms. They are long, red, and sticky.
Their primary commercial use is composting. Red worms help break down dead and decaying matter, which enriches the soil. Through this process, they accumulate beneficial minerals and nutrients.
Benefits of Red Worms
Red worms offer a great source of nutrition for your beardies. Your dragon pet will benefit from proteins, water, and fat when feeding on red worms.
The protein content found in red worms is about two and a half times the recommended standard, which means that you need only a few red worms to supply your beardie with sufficient proteins.
As mentioned above, proteins are essential in the proper development of your beardie. The young bearded dragons need it more than the adults to develop their tissues and strengthen their muscles.
Providing your dragons with red worms at a tender age will do the trick.
These are a few of the many benefits that your pet dragons will enjoy by having red worms.
As noted above, it is essential to note that worms should be offered as a treat and not an everyday meal as their high nutrition could cause your bearded dragons to grow overweight.
Mealworm is another quality worm for your bearded dragon. Unlike the other two worms already discussed, mealworms have a high-fat content, making them hard to digest, especially in young and juvenile dragons.
Too much of the worms may also cause your dragons to become fat, which may bring up other health problems.
You may also consider feeding dried mealworms as they have less fat. They, however, contain less moisture which and thus may cause your dragons to become thirsty.
Mealworms might not be the best choice of worms to feed to your bearded dragons; for this reason, you should sparingly provide them to your beardies. They will offer similar benefits as the other worms, but they are not as nutritious.
As much as possible, avoid feeding mealworms to juvenile and baby beardies, which may bring them complications. Due to their underdeveloped digestive systems, they can quickly get clogged, which will cause serious health problems.
For adult pets, you should only feed a maximum of three worms at a time and then wait for at least a week before providing them again.
Important Points to Note About Bearded Dragons and Worms
To safely prepare and feed worms to your beardies, there are several things that you should do or avoid doing. They include the following:
Avoiding Feeding Your Beardies Wild Worms
It is crucial to avoid wild worms when feeding your beardies as much as you can. Most pet owners make this mistake, which ends up hurting their beardies. Since most of these worms are common in their backyard, most pet owners will not hesitate to feed these worms to their pets.
It would help to avoid wild worms at all costs since they are not safe for your beardie. Many of them have disease-causing parasites like bacteria, viruses, or protozoa, which can make your pet beardie ill.
At times, worms may carry poisonous chemicals and insecticides that are residues from the plants they eat. Such chemicals may, in the future, start affecting your beardies’ health.
Instead of getting wild worms, there are commercially available safe worms that you can buy for your pet. Alternatively, you may decide to rear your worms for your beardies alongside other pets like goldfish.
However, it would help if you got a few classes on how to best breed healthy worms.
Cut The Worms Into Small Pieces
Like any other reptiles, bearded dragons tend to gobble up their prey. While this is okay for small prey, long worms and those with a hard exoskeleton may pose an issue.
There is a risk of your beardies choking on their prey. Your pet may also injure its inner mouth lining when chewing the rigid exoskeleton. You can cut the worms into small pieces to avoid this before feeding them to your beardies.
The same may happen when it comes to pooping. Your bearded dragon may suffer from impaction, that is, blockage in the gut. This blockage makes it hard to expel poop, resulting in poop accumulating in your pet’s digestive tract.
The accumulation causes pressure on the spinal cord and the back, which may cause severe pain and temporal paralysis in the hind legs.
The most common symptoms of this will be difficulty walking, especially in the hind legs, and general inactivity.
The moment you suspect that your beardie is suffering from impaction, you should call your vet at once and avoid feeding your pet until it gets checked.
Only Feed Worms as A Treat
As a pet owner, you should not consider worms as actual diets for your turtles since it isn’t. Worms should only be regarded as treats-only fed once in a while. Worms are nutritious, and if fed as an everyday staple food for your dragon, there will be a problem. Your bearded friends will experience accelerated growth which may cause them to become obese within a short time.
The uncontrolled growth in your pet might be the genesis of other problems, which might sadly be irreversible.
For this, it is highly advisable to ensure that you monitor the development of your pets. The most effective way to do this is by watching what you are feeding your pets.
You should ensure that you spread the frequency of feeding worms to your pets to at most twice a week. Spacing the feeding cycle ensures that your pets do not get “hooked” to worms.
Sometimes, when your beardies get used to having only one meal they like, they may reject all the other diets, which will affect a balanced diet.
Single meals are dangerous since they can never provide all the relevant nutrients for our pet’s proper growth.
Apart from having spreading worms feeding times, it would help if you always accompanied the worm diet with other diets.
You may, for instance, offer the worms with fruits or vegetables with an aim. Doing so will discourage your beardie from developing a particular taste and, at the same time, provide your pet with a balanced diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a pet owner, there are several things that you might want to know regarding which worms are for your pet and the ones that are not. Below are a few of the frequently asked questions on feeding your bearded dragon worms;
Can A Bearded Dragon Have Tomato Worms?
Yes, Tomato worms are some of the safe worms to feed to your beardie. They have many benefits that will benefit your beardies, like calcium and moisture. However, just like with other worms, your beardie should enjoy them as treats, not an everyday meal. They should only complement other diets.
A fully grown bearded dragon should have a maximum of five tomato worms for one week, and you should do this on a rotational basis.
Juveniles may enjoy slightly more tomato worms each week since they have a higher demand for proteins than mature dragons.
However, regarding how often you feed them, you should ensure that it is not more than twice a week and should be well spread.
Are Bloodworms Safe For Your Bearded Dragon?
While bloodworms are not the best diet for your dragons, they are not harmful. The main issue with bloodworms is that they are not as nutritious as the other worms already discussed. However, they do contain the minimum 2% protein content recommended for any bearded dragon meal.
You can occasionally feed bloodworms to your beardies, especially where there aren’t other better worms. It is essential to take the usual precautions to ensure that the worms are free from contaminants and pathogens. Choosing newly-hatched and small bloodworms is one way of avoiding the contaminants.
Can Mealworms Hurt My Beardies?
Mealworms are one of the best worm diets for your bearded dragon. They provide your dragon with essential nutrients, especially juvenile beardies.
A worm diet can greatly benefit your bearded dragon, especially when you adopt a good feeding plan. Some of the benefits that your dragon will enjoy by feeding on mealworms include; a rich source of proteins, calcium, and amino acids.
Even though this is often the case, there are some instances where feeding mealworms to your dragon may end up doing them more harm than good.
For example, if you feed your dragons with contaminated mealworms, the chemicals will affect the health of your dragons. Also, if the worms carry disease-causing pathogens, your dragon might fall sick.
Another way that mealworms may hurt your pet is if you overfeed them. Feeding your pet with too many mealworms may cause clogging in the dragon’s gut, interfering with digestion.
Apart from that, a regular mealworm diet may cause your pet to gain weight exponentially, and this will cause weight-related problems.
To avoid these problems, you need to feed your pet dragon responsibly. Always buy your mealworms from trusted retail or vet stores to prevent contamination.
When it comes to food, you should avoid providing too many mealworms within a short duration. Spacing the feeding frequency can also help discourage your pet from gaining too much weight.
Worms are a good source of nutrition for your bearded dragon. Among the best worms to consider as a diet for your dragon are earthworms, mealworms, tomato worms, red worms, and silkworms. Worms should not be regarded as an everyday meal as this can bring about weight gain problems.
As a pet owner, you should avoid getting worms from the wild as these, in most cases, contain disease-causing organisms and chemicals that may harm your pet’s health.
It is also important to avoid feeding your large worms to your pet, which may clog their digestive systems. If your pet dragon stops feeding and becomes unresponsive, you should immediately call for a vet.
The best way to introduce worm diets to your bearded dragons is as complimentary meals to the normal vegetable and fruits diet. It is also good to consider feeding other protein sources like bugs and other insects.