Not sure how to feed worms to your bearded dragons?
How do worms play into the diet of your pets?
In this article, we are going to outline the best worms for any beardie. No matter if you have had your beardie for years or are new to worms, we will help you out.
What are the best worms for bearded dragons? These worms include butterworms, hornworms, phoenix worms, and younger dragons, silkworms. Each of these varieties includes good levels of protein, calcium, and water. Worms are a great option to feed your beardie a healthy & balanced diet.
Best Worms For Your Bearded Dragon
The best worms for your bearded dragon are the ones that provide the best nutrients. You should look for a worm that provides adequate protein, calcium, & vitamins. A dragon with a good diet; will grow healthier. The following list gives you a great overview of safe worms:
- Phoenix worms
All of these worms will work at any time, but some are better than others. Remember any food you feed your beardie; fits between its eyes. It ensures the right size for them to eat safely.
Silkworms are the best for young bearded dragons. Silkworms are high in calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, sodium, moisture, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. They are inexpensive & small enough for bearded dragons to eat easily.
Silkworms are also easy to care for. They do not require much food. And can be kept for up to a month. See our table at the end of this section for a nutritional breakdown.
These worms can really help with the development of your baby dragon. During the first year, you will feed your beardie many times. Having a good supply of these worms will benefit you and your dragon.
Pro tips: They are easy to mix with other powders for additional vitamins. Your young bearded dragon will love eating these.
Butterworms are a popular diet for bearded dragons. They are high in calcium and last in the fridge for a long time, making them a great worm to stock up on and keep around.
Butterworms have one of the highest calcium contents among feeder insects. These worms have 42.9 mg/100g of calcium; compare this to 3.2mg/100g for mealworms.
Butterworms are still higher in fat than you may want for your dragon. Some owners keep these as a treat due to that fact.
Butterworms can also be “gut-loaded” which increases their nutritional value.
Butterworms can also provide protein and moisture. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to feed them in moderation because of the higher fat content. See the nutritional chart at the end of this section for more information.
Hornworms are more of a caterpillar than anything. They can grow big up to four inches long. These are high in calcium (4.6%), protein (9% based on body weight), and water, making them great for beardies.
Hornworms are also low in fat (3%). These worms also have no exoskeleton making them easier to digest. Hornworms are also easy to maintain; and to keep, some up to three weeks.
The downside is they can be expensive—something you may want to give as a treat if you are on a budget.
When feeding your beardie worms, it is important to keep in mind their fat content. When too much fat is consumed, it can lead to health issues. These health issues can include fat tissue getting into the liver. Which then causes it not to function properly, allowing toxins to build up.
With hornworms size, you can feed your pet less. Adult dragons require fewer insects and protein in their diet. Hornworms provide older dragons better nutrition with the same amount of food.
Using these worms at times is a great way to add variety while maintaining nutritional goals. Hornworms also help keep dragons hydrated. To see the comparison, check out the chart at the end of this section.
Phoenix worms are great for nutrition; they have the perfect balance of calcium and phosphorus. These worms contain 17.3% protein, 9.4% fat, and a 1.52 ratio of calcium to phosphorus.
In fact, If you want to make any worm a permanent part of your beardies diet, then phoenix worms are the way to go. They are high in all the nutrients your dragon needs, including high levels of natural lauric acid.
Lauric acid is important because it is an excellent antimicrobial. This provides protection from lipid-coated viruses, clostridium, and coccidia, all bad diseases that can affect your dragon.
With their “just right” size, phoenix worms are suitable for both juvenile and adult dragons. They check all the boxes your beardie needs in their diet.
Worms Nutritional Value Comparison
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Worms That Are Not The Best For Bearded Dragons
These worms are okay to feed your bearded dragon but contain little nutritional value. They’re not the best alternative.
Although mealworms are readily available, they are high in fat and low in nutrients.
This means your dragon only gets “junk food” rather than nutrition.
Mealworms are best to keep as a very occasional snack. Try not to feed them to baby dragons for their development.
These are popular worms because pet stores carry them quite often. To get your dragon the nutrients they need, you will need other products.
Try to think of superworms as the exact opposite of mealworms. Their protein levels are way better, but they still lack calcium. It is best to keep superworms as a treat.
Superworms can be fed more often than mealworms. Pet stores have also made superworms popular by stocking them all the time.
Compared to other options, superworms are not that super for your beardie.
This worm is another treat worm. Waxworms are large, so they are suitable only for adult beardies.
Be careful not to believe waxworms or these other worms are better options. Pet store advertising has led people to believe they are great options.
One worm not listed here is earthworms. These should never be fed to a bearded dragon. In the next section, we will go over why.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms?
In the early days of being a new bearded dragon owner, I learned that letting your beardie eat anything is a bad idea. I had not intentionally let my dragon go hunting. He had eaten a few crickets, a spider, and some bugs on his own accord.
At the time, I thought it was fine. I learned that this was incredibly bad. My dragon could have been exposed to poison. And I would have never known. Since then, I have kept an eye on my dragon and what he eats.
Earthworms and any food that doesn’t come from a reputable source should never be fed to your dragon. If it happens, it should be fine. But it is best to keep them from eating outside worms, and here is why.
Why Outside Food Is Bad
You have no control over what those worms have eaten. Or even what they have been through.
In the world we live in, chemicals and pesticides are sprayed or used every day. Any one of the things your beardie decides to eat could be laced with danger.
This could poison or compromise your bearded dragon’s health. This could also result in death or serious health issues.
If your dragon does eat something, it is not the end of the world. Carefully monitor them for any health issues just in case. Catching any potential problems, like poisoning early, could result in life-saving treatment.
Remember, your dragon’s digestion system is vulnerable.
Everything you feed your dragon matters. Whether it is worms or insects, they are nutritious. It is okay to spoil your beardie but do your best to keep it moderate. This will avoid those health problems down the road & help your beardie grow to their full potential.
No matter the stage, worms are a fantastic treat for beardies. From a juvenile to an adult dragon, I can assure you they love worms. My bearded dragon enjoys a treat of worms quite often.
Remember, juvenile dragons need protein to grow up healthy. For adult dragons, they become more of a treat, and never feed them food from outside.