As you might already know, bearded dragons can eat a variety of worms. Worms are good sources of protein needed by beardies to help them attain speedy growth.
However, you might also aware that not all worms are suitable for bearded dragons. If you are a beginner, you need to make sure that you give them healthy foods.
So, can bearded dragons eat earthworms?
Earthworms are not toxic to bearded dragons. You can feed your young or adult beardies with earthworms on an occasional basis. But you should not give them earthworms you caught in the wild. Only feed them with the ones you purchased from the store.
The reason why I don’t feed my beardies with earthworms caught in the wild is that they might carry parasites or diseases which in turn may cause harm to the beardies.
This is the reason why many beaded dragon owners (including me) don’t feed their beardies with earthworms. Many have considered these worms as not healthy for bearded dragons.
But as mentioned, earthworms are not toxic to bearded dragons. They can only become dangerous to beardies if they have parasites and pesticides with them. Common parasites found in earthworms are protozoa, platyhelminths, and nematodes.
Another issue aside from parasites and pesticides is that earthworms are large and therefore not so good for baby and juvenile bearded dragons. If ingested in large amounts, your beardies may suffer from impaction and other digestive issues.
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Are Earthworms Favorite Food of Bearded Dragons?
Because I don’t really feed my beardies with earthworms, I can’t plainly say that beardies love earthworms. However, many bearded dragon owners claim that their beardies don’t like earthworms so much.
The main reason is that; earthworms often secrete mucus on their skin to lubricate their body as they go through small holes underground. Beardies don’t like the taste of the mucus and therefore don’t like the earthworms that much.
However, every bearded dragon is different. There are beardies that eat earthworms as much as they do with other worms. And it also depends on the type of earthworm being offered.
Some bearded dragons though don’t eat earthworms especially if they are accustomed to some better protein sources.
Nutritional Value of Earthworms for Bearded Dragon
Before feeding a bearded dragon with any food, make sure that the food contains something good for him/her. The rule of thumb is that; the food should have a good ratio for calcium to phosphorus. The ideal is 2:1.
Unfortunately, earthworms contain about 70-90% water something that is not good for bearded dragons. Watery foods of any kind could potentially cause digestive issues in bearded dragons.
This only means, that aside from parasites and chemicals, earthworms are generally not too good for bearded dragons. If ingested in large amounts, your beardy may suffer diarrhea and other digestive issues.
However, because earthworms are not toxic to bearded dragons, you can feed earthworms to them on an occasional basis only.
Another thing that you should consider is the size of the earthworm. Bearded dragons are also prone to choking and impaction if swallow large chunks of foods. Apart from the potential problems that come along with earthworms, these worms are mostly large for baby and juvenile beardies.
As a rule of thumb, never feed bearded dragons with foods bigger than they could swallow. The best indicator is the distance between their two eyes. The food should not be bigger than the space between their eyes. Otherwise, the food could cause digestive issues such as impaction.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms from your Backyard?
I don’t recommend feeding your beardies with earthworms you caught in your backyard. As mentioned, these worms may have harmful chemicals that could potentially cause health issues to your beardies.
Instead, feed your beardies with earthworms that you can buy from pet stores. Those earthworms are farmed in a healthy way and therefore free from any toxic materials.
What to Do When Your Bearded Dragon Ate Earthworms?
It is important to remember that earthworms normally are not toxic to bearded dragons. If you found out that your beardies had ingested mealworms, just observe the changes in behavior. There is nothing to worry about yet.
However, if you know that the origin of the mealworms is an area that has been previously treated with herbicides, pesticides, and or other chemicals, I suggest that you call a vet.
As I have mentioned, earthworms are not toxic but the chemicals in them are certainly harmful. On an occasion like this, immediate action is the best thing you can do.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms Daily?
Bearded dragons can eat a variety of protein-rich insects including worms. These little guys should be part of your beardies’ diet.
However, I don’t personally recommend earthworms as part of their staple food. Bearded dragons can lose appetite when served with the same food over and over again.
In addition, as mentioned, earthworms have high water content which is not good for bearded dragons. If you really want to feed these worms to your beardy, make sure to mix them with other protein sources.
A better practice is incorporating worms with a green salad. This allows the bearded dragons to have a balanced and healthy diet.
What Are the Best Alternative Worms to Feed Bearded Dragons?
If you are like me who does not feed bearded dragons with earthworms, you might also look for the best alternative worms for your beardies.
Worms are very important to the bearded dragons’ diet. If bearded dragons are young, they tend to consume more protein-rich foods than their adult counterparts. So if you are raising young bearded dragons, you need to find the best alternatives.
Fortunately, there are other options you can choose if earthworms are not safe for your beardies. Below are some of the worms that I feed to my bearded dragons. However, some of them need careful attention.
As I have mentioned many times in this blog, not all worms are healthy and safe for bearded dragons. There are only a few that you can feed to your bearded dragon.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list of alternative worms you can give to your bearded dragons.
As far as healthy worms for bearded dragons are concerned, mealworms are some of the most popular. They contain a good amount of fat and protein for bearded dragons. They also come in different sizes to fit beardies in a different age range.
However, mealworms are not for all bearded dragons. It is very important to remember that mealworms have a hard exoskeleton that might not be digested and could only cause digestive issues in bearded dragons.
Another thing to remember is that mealworms are larger than most bearded dragons can easily swallow. If your bearded dragon is young, do not feed him/her with mealworms. He/she will not be able to swallow and digest it.
As a general rule, do not feed bearded dragons with food bigger than the distance of their eyes. Always take the size of the food into consideration when feeding your bearded dragon. The simplest way to do it is to avoid feeding your beardy with food larger than his/her mouth.
One of the reasons why many bearded dragon owners recommend mealworms is because these worms are accessible and affordable. As long as you know the limitations, you can feed your beardies with mealworms. I suggest that you do it on an occasional basis to avoid health risks in your bearded dragon.
Check live mealworms on Amazon
Superworms are just the bigger version of mealworms. They have the same nutritional value as bearded dragons. The difference is the size.
My suggestion is that, do not feed super worms to your young bearded dragons. They can potentially choke and suffer from many digestive issues.
Only feed super worms to your adult bearded dragons. Again, always take the size of food into consideration when feeding your beardies.
Like mealworms, super worms are accessible and affordable too. You can buy them live from your nearby pet stores or from online stores.
Check live superworms on Amazon
Waxworms are another popular worms for bearded dragons. However, these worms are not healthy when serve in large quantities. They have high protein and fat content that if feed in large quantities, beardies will gain weight fast.
I recommend waxworms on an occasional treat only. Avoid giving your beardy too much of it. In fact, I only feed waxworms to my bearded dragons rarely to keep them interested in other healthier protein sources.
Check live waxworms on Amazon
Butterworms look like waxworms but they have a significant level of calcium content. In most cases, you don’t have to add calcium supplements if you feed your beardies with butter worms. The only drawback is that butterworms are more expensive than other recommended worms for beardies.
Check live butterworms on Amazon
The last type of worms that I recommend to your bearded dragons is the hornworms. These worms are also known as goliath worms due to their size. These are some of the safest and healthiest worms for bearded dragons.
They contain about 9% protein and about 3% fat which makes them healthy staple food for beardies. However, because hornworms are large, be careful when feeding. Make sure that you only feed them to your adult beardies.
Check live hornworms on Amazon
Final Thoughts on Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms
Earthworms are not toxic to bearded dragons. Therefore, beardies can eat earthworms as long as they are clean and free from any harmful chemicals.
Avoid feeding your beardies with earthworm caught in your backyard. There is a high chance that they are not healthy and safe. Instead, choose those that are farmed in a safe way.
If you can, try the alternative and safer type of worms mentioned above. You can buy them online if you wish. They are affordable and safe for your bearded dragons.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for reading.