Facts About The Creepy Crawly Mealworm In Bearded Dragon Diets
Can bearded dragons eat mealworms? Yes, adult bearded dragons can eat mealworms. Mealworms are considered a good introduction inr=to the lizard diet. However, baby beardies and juvenile bearded dragons should not be fed mealworms because of their chitin exterior.
This article will provide information on the benefits, risks, nutritional value, and other need-to-know facts about mealworms in your exotic pet’s diet.
Nutritional Value Of Mealworms
As a bearded dragon owner, you should read about the nutritional information of foods you want to introduce to your beardie.
Nutritional Value Chart Of Mealworms: (100g)
Nutrients – Value
Fat – 13 %
Protein – 20 %
Cholesterol – 150 mg
Calcium – 13.3 mg
Moisture Content – 62 %
Ca:P ratio – 1:2.5
The above nutritional values indicate that mealworms have high amounts of fat and protein. Their calcium levels, on the other hand, are very low.
When looking at the Ca:P ratio, it is clear that a high amount of phosphorus and a low calcium ratio can pose a health risk to your bearded dragon. We will discuss this issue further under risk factors. So, please read on.
Read on to find out the benefits and risks involved when feeding your bearded dragon mealworms.
Benefits Of Feeding Bearded Dragons Mealworms
Adult mealworms provide plenty of moisture to keep your bearded dragon hydrated. But remember not to overdo it. Excess water in your beardie’s diet can lead to diarrhea.
Protein helps build and repair your bearded dragon’s muscles.
Fat keeps bearded dragons warm and provides energy. Too many fats can cause health problems like obesity.
Risks Of Mealworms In Your Beardie’s Diet
Although mealworms are safe, it’s not considered a healthy addition to your bearded dragon’s diet.
You can dust them with supplements to increase the vitamin and mineral content of the feeder insect, but you should feed other types of insects high in protein and calcium.
Calcium is essential to keep bones strong and healthy. It is also vital for muscle function and metabolism. Unfortunately, the calcium levels in mealworms are insufficient. Please read more about the insufficient calcium levels under risks of mealworms in your beardies diet.
The Calcium To Phosphorus Ratio
When you look for nutritious food for your pet beardie, you will always see references to the calcium/phosphorus ratio. Bearded dragons need calcium, but if they have too much phosphorus, it prevents proper absorption of calcium in your bearded dragon’s body.
Calcium deficiency can lead to metabolic bone disease with symptoms such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Receding lower jaw
- Swollen limbs and jaw
- Bowed limbs and arched spine
- Trembling and twitching limbs
- Paralysis or difficulty moving
Your beardie will develop a taste for mealworms. They can even become addicted. When you stop feeding mealworms to your bearded friend, they might stop eating and avoid any other food you introduce to them.
No matter how many supplements you dust the mealworms, they are not replacements for other insects.
High In Fat
It might not look it, but mealworms are very high in fat for their small size. If you give lots of mealworms to bearded dragons, they can gain weight and become obese. Fat bearded dragons get lazy and won’t move too much.
Fatty Liver disease
Overconsumption of mealworms and a small terrarium for your bearded dragon can cause obesity.
Keeping your bearded dragon in a small cage, where they cannot roam around and exercise, could lead to fatty liver disease.
Can Baby Or Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Mealworms?
No, baby bearded dragons should not be fed mealworms at all. You should not feed mealworms to young bearded dragons under 18 months.
Mealworms have a chitin coating that can be difficult to digest and tricky to chew. Your baby beardie can not digest mealworms properly and can be a choking hazard and cause an intestinal blockage called impaction.
Mealworms are high in fat, and while this can help your baby bearded dragon pack on weight quickly, it will make them addicted to mealworms. If baby bearded dragons only eat mealworms, they will not get enough vitamins and minerals.
Can Beardies Eat Dead, Canned, or Freeze-dried Worms?
Never feed bearded dragons dead mealworms. They could cause health issues when your bearded dragon eats one. As the mealworm dies and starts to decompose, bacteria and other parasites will begin to eat and grow on it.
If your bearded dragon eats dead mealworms, it will be infected with these parasites and become ill. You will have to take your bearded dragon to the vet to remove the parasites.
Sick mealworms should also not be fed to your bearded dragon because they became ill due to parasites and disease.
If it’s canned, dead, mealworms, it is safe for bearded dragons to eat. Canned mealworms are killed and processed while they are still alive. Therefore, they won’t contain any bacteria or parasites that could hurt your bearded dragon.
Adult beardies can eat freeze-dried mealworms. They are safe for your adult beardie to eat and provide the same nutritional value as live mealworms.
How To Prepare And Feed Mealworms To Your Bearded Dragon
When feeding mealworms to your bearded dragon, you might want to dust them with calcium supplement powder first. It will help your bearded dragon get needed nutrition and calcium.
When feeding mealworms to your bearded dragon, you have two options:
You can feed mealworms to bearded dragons by hand, or you can place them on a bowl or plate.
When you look at the nutrient value of mealworms, it is clear that they have many benefits and risks according to their nutritional value. We must, however, reiterate never to feed mealworms to your baby bearded dragon.
Feel free to include grasshoppers, waxworms, and collard greens in your bearded friend’s diet. We recommend that you always read about any new foods you want to include in your beardie’s diet. Even the healthiest food has certain health 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:
- Can Bearded Dragons eat tomatoes?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat oranges?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat parsley?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat blackberries?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat pumpkin?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat pineapple?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cantaloupe?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat green beans?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cherries?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat mango?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cauliflower?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat avocado?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat brussel-sprouts?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat collard-greens?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat wax-worms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat dandelions?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat nightcrawlers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat earthworms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat eggs?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat cicadas?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat basil?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat peaches?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat grasshoppers?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat sweet potato?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat hornworms?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Grass?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Onions?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Fish?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Corn?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Kiwi?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Mice?