Bearded Dragons And Earthworms: Yes or No?
Can bearded dragons eat earthworms?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat earthworms, but we recommend that earthworms only be given as a rare occasional treat in your bearded dragon’s diet.
DO NOT FEED earthworms from a bait shop, they can get parasites. Earthworms should be fed very sparingly as they are hard for them to digest.
This article will touch on the benefits and risks, nutritional value, preparation, and other information about feeding earthworms to your bearded friend.
Nutritional Information Of Earthworms
To make sure your bearded dragon is kept healthy, you need to keep an eye on the nutritional information in their food. This will make sure they get a healthy mix of foods. You should always look for foods low in fat and high in calcium. Calcium is one of the essential nutrients, and a deficiency can lead to weaker bones.
Nutritional Information Of Earthworms
Moisture – 83%
Protein – 10.5%
Fat – 1.6%
Calcium – 444mg/kg
Although the other nutrients work in your bearded dragon’s favor, the high moisture content might pose a threat. Read on to find out more about the influence of moisture and other nutrients in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Benefits Of Feeding Earthworms To Bearded Dragons?
Alternative Source of Protein
Beardie dragon owners must mimic the wild dragon’s diet by providing a substantial amount of food as a source of protein. Earthworms contain a lot of protein that juvenile and adult bearded dragons need for growth and maintenance. Protein will also facilitate your young dragon’s growth stage.
Reasonable Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals
Earthworms contain minerals and vitamins such as amino acids, iron, manganese, and copper, aiding the bearded dragon’s breakdown and absorption of food and body tissue repairs.
Source of Calcium
Although earthworms contain calcium, it is in minimal amounts, and you might have to add calcium supplements to your bearded dragon’s diet. Calcium helps with your bearded dragon’s skeletal development and helps prevent Metabolic Bone Disease.
Rich in Moisture
Earthworm bodies consist of up to 95% water which can assist with hydration. Bearded dragon owners must take care because too much moisture in a bearded dragon’s diet can lead to diarrhea. Therefore, you must not give earthworms to bearded dragons as a staple food.
The high-fat content of earthworms can act as energy stores for bearded dragons. Once the fats are absorbed, they help regulate body temperature and overall hormone production. Keep in mind that bearded dragons require minimal amounts of fats.
Too much fat and calories can result in obesity and other weight-related diseases.
Risks Of Feeding Earthworms To Your Bearded Dragon
Earthworms secrete mucus that has an impalatable taste. Your bearded dragon might reject earthworms, and you should start searching for alternative foods.
Earthworms are the second largest after hornworms of all worms edible by bearded dragons. Gobbling up earthworms can cause a blockage in your bearded dragon’s digestive system. It can usually lead to constipation and even serious health problems.
Earthworms found in the wild or even your backyard might eat soil contaminated with pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. One or two contaminated worms might not have any impact, but the toxins can build up inside your dragon, consumed regularly, making them very sick.
Always make sure you procure earthworms from a respected supplier.
Earthworms might carry parasites such as protozoa, plathelminths, and nematodes which can infect your beardie. Over time you will notice weight loss, lethargy, and depletion in your bearded friend’s health.
Preparing Earthworms For Your Bearded Dragon
After harvesting earthworms, wash them in plenty of water. This applies to all earthworms, whether bought from a store or gathered from your worm farm. Washing the worms thoroughly will remove any chemical contamination and dirt on the earthworm’s skin. Dispose of any dead worms before offering them to your bearded dragon.
The best way to bond with your juvenile bearded dragon is to allow it to eat food from your fingertips. It will be best if you slice the worm into smaller pieces beforehand. You can also use a pair of tweezers to hold the food.
An adult bearded dragon gut is well developed and can digest earthworms comfortably. Hold the worm out with your finger for your bearded dragon to eat or place one or two on a bowl.
Where To Get Earthworms For Your Bearded Dragon
Purchase Earthworms from Pet StoresThe best way to get your earthworms is by procuring them from a trusted pet store. Pet stores breed and design earthworms as pet food. You can buy earthworms in different sizes. The younger your dragon, the smaller the size.
Breed Your Own Earthworms
Breeding your earthworms is an excellent idea if you want to cut your pet’s feeding expenses. Home worm production is easy. You only need a bin set up for breeding purposes.
You can feed the worms compost waste such as potato peels, lettuce, moldy breed, etc. Earthworms lay eggs and reproduce fast as long as the soil is moist enough.
Buy from Bait Shops
You can also buy earthworms from bait shops. Bait shops breed earthworms as fishing bait and do not contain contaminants such as pesticides or chemicals.
Make sure the worms bought at bait shops are not dyed, as bait shops can dye the worms making them more visible in the water. The dye could make your bearded dragon sick.
Can Baby or Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Earthworms?
Insects ideal for baby bearded dragons are smaller than earthworms and include crickets, fruit flies, etc. Earthworms are too large for a baby bearded dragon’s diet and can cause gastric problems.
Juvenile Beardies will only need about 30% of their diet to be insects. Always remember only a small fragment of the insect portion of their diet should be earthworms due to the high moisture content.
Even though bearded dragons are readily available and a cheap food option, they have a high moisture content and low nutritional value. The high-fat content can lead to weight-related issues. Most beardies find earthworm texture unpalatable anyway.
We suggest you include wax worms or cicadas in your bearded dragon’s diet.
Always remember to read about any food you want to give your beardie. Even the healthiest food can have risks.
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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- Can Bearded Dragons eat oranges?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat brussel-sprouts?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat wax-worms?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat eggs?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cicadas?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat basil?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat hornworms?