Can bearded dragons eat ants?

image of bearded dragon, ants and a text saying: can bearded dragons eat ants?

This article has been reviewed by veterinarian Sara Ochoa

Ants To Bearded Dragons – Toxic Or Not – The Verdict Is In

Bearded dragons can eat a variety of insects such as cockroaches, worms, and crickets.  But not all insects are safe for them to eat. 

As a bearded dragon owner, you might have wondered: Can bearded dragons eat ants?

The short answer is no. We do not recommend that bearded dragons eat ants.  They are dangerous to your bearded dragon’s health, and in some instances, can be fatal.

This article will expose the nutritional value of ants and why they are dangerous for your bearded dragon.  

Nutritional Content Of Ants

Table Indicating Nutritional Content Of Ants

Nutrient NameAmount
Phosphorus105.85 mg
Potassium46.37 mg
Calcium26.10 mg
Folic Acid0.451 mg
Magnesium10.93 mg

From the above table, we can see that ants have nutrients that may or may not be suitable for bearded dragons.  The main problem is that ants have low nutritional value.

Risks Of Ants In A Bearded Dragon’s Diet

image of bearded dragon and ants


When choosing food for your bearded dragon, you should always consider the calcium to phosphorus ratio.  Ants have a disproportionate ratio of calcium to phosphorus.

Although ants have a fair amount of calcium in their abdomen, it is far less than phosphorus. 

Dragons’ bodies need calcium so much that if the amount becomes deficient, it starts pulling calcium from its bones, causing metabolic bone disease (MBD). Unfortunately, MBD is one of the most common diseases among domestic bearded dragons, but it is easily preventable with proper diet and care.


From the table of nutrients, it is evident that ants contain high amounts of phosphorus in their abdomen,  too much of which is not good.

Phosphorus binds with calcium and prevents the calcium from being absorbed by your bearded dragon.  Low calcium levels can cause several health issues, of which the most common is metabolic bone disease (MBD).

Metabolic bone disease (also known as nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism or fibrous osteodystrophy) refers to several painful skeletal disorders caused by a lack of calcium. 

The disease causes severe bone, muscle, and tissue damage, resulting in paralysis or death. 

Alert your vet immediately if you notice any signs of metabolic bone disease in your bearded dragon. These include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Stress
  • Constipation
  • Receded lower jaw
  • Swollen limbs and jaw
  • Bumps along the spine or bones
  • Soft jaw, and facial bones
  • Bowed limbs and arched spine
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Greenstick fractures (folded or bent bones)
  • Trembling and twitching limbs
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Paralysis or difficulty moving

Folic Acid

The primary defense system of ants against predators is folic acid.  Insecticides

Ants may have insecticides or other chemicals in them that will adversely affect the health of your bearded dragon.


Ants bite and they will bite your bearded dragon.  It is not likely that the ant will penetrate your bearded dragon’s tough skin, but it can still cause some irritation and discomfort.

If you notice any swelling on your bearded dragon’s skin, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Possible Health Benefits With Ants

image of ants


Ants have a high amount of potassium.  It is one of the essential minerals bearded dragons need.  Potassium helps regulate fluids in a bearded dragon’s body Muscle contractions and nerve signals reduce blood pressure and other vital functions.


Ants have a high protein content.  In every 100g of ants, there is 13.9g of protein.

Baby and juvenile bearded dragons need more protein and eat more insects to get protein for their speedy growth.

Can Baby Beardies eat Ants?

Baby bearded dragons are more susceptible to unsafe food than adult dragons and are more prone to health problems.  

Avoid feeding ants to your baby bearded dragon.  Feed your baby beardie proper nutrition such as live feeders and other foods.  

What Is Folic Acid And Its Impact On Bearded Dragons?

Folic acid is a colorless liquid that has a penetrating and strong odor.

Most ant species spray folic acid to protect themselves against predators. 

Folic acid repels the ant’s predators and poses a risk to bearded dragons. Beardies prefer eating live insects and are susceptible to these folic acid attacks.

Invasive Ant Species

Here is a list of common species of ants that can invade your property and harm your pet bearded dragon

  •  Acrobat ant 

These ants are 3 mm long and have two nodes. Their colors vary: yellow-brown, red-black, or just entirely black. These ants are aggressive and will sting if they feel threatened. You can imagine the harm they can cause to your pet. These ants most commonly inhabit the Eastern United States.

  •  Argentine ant 

This type of ant is smaller in size than acrobat ants, and its color is predominantly light or dark brown. Although these ants won’t sting, stepping on them will cause a strong smell that releases toxic chemicals. 

  • Asian Needle Ant 

These ants can reach 5 mm in size, and they are either dark orange or dark brown. They are not that aggressive, but they will still sting sometimes. This type of ant is most common during the warm summer season.

  • Carpenter Ant

Carpenter ants can be found all over the USA. You don’t want carpenter ants anywhere near you or your pet. Their length reaches 13 mm, and you will find them outside, building anthills, in your yard.

  • Crazy Ant

These ants are not necessarily aggressive; they just move uncontrollably once their nest is disturbed. This type of ant forms large colonies in moisture and is likely to become food for your bearded dragon.

  • Dark Rover Ant 

Dark rover ants can be found under furniture, inside wall cracks, or parking lots. You can also find these ants near sweets.  

  • European Fire Ants 

You can usually find fire ants in your garden.  However, you must be careful because they have a potent sting.  They release toxins that can seriously harm your bearded dragon.

  • Field Ant 

Field ants come in a variety of colors. Their most dangerous feature is; they can spray folic acid.  You can find field ants anywhere near wood and greenery.

We are yet to discover many ant species such as black soldier ants and other ants.

How To Keep Ants Away From Bearded Dragon’s Enclosure?

Here are a few steps to guide you when you find ants in your bearded dragon’s enclosure.

Remove From Enclosure

Remove everything from the enclosure and wash with dish soap and water. The soap will get rid of ant scent trails.  If ants have started to nest in your bearded dragon’s enclosure, you may have to soak the cage furniture and leaves outside for a few days.  

Find The Origin

Once your cage is clean and ant-free; you need to figure out where the ants originated; otherwise, they will remain a problem.

Ants will find every hole in your wall: use a caulking gun and fill every crack and hole.  

Pet Safe Ant Spray

Mix liquid soap, rubbing alcohol, and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the ant lines and wipe them away. It instantly kills ants and gets rid of their scent trail.

Bottom Line

To know what foods are safe to feed bearded dragons.  Some food seems harmless and even highly nutritious but can prove harmful or fatal to a bearded dragon.  We recommend that you do not feed ants to your bearded dragon.

Research any new food you wish to add to your bearded dragon’s diet.  If unsure, contact your vet for advice.

Continue to read our main article “What do Bearded Dragons Eat?” for all the ins and outs on general diet questions, and get a further detailed breakdown of other popular foods in the articles below:

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I am a huge animal lover and have four dogs, a Labrador, Jack Russell, Pug, and Teacup Yorkie. I also have a cat and a Cockatiel. I have had pets since I was a toddler, and there was not a day when there wasn't an animal in my house.