can bearded dragons eat slugs

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Slugs?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Bearded dragons are omnivores and can eat both meat foods and plant-based foods. Of course, as a bearded dragon owner, you might be concerned about your pet taking a good variety of food in their diet or not, but you should know what foods are good or bad for your bearded dragon to eat.

You might even have asked the question: Can bearded dragons eat slugs?

The short answer is yes. Your bearded dragon can eat store-bought slugs as they do not harm your pet’s digestive system.

This article will look at whether bearded dragons can eat slugs.

Do Bearded Dragons Like Snails?

It’s unclear whether wild beardies don’t eat snails because they never encounter them or don’t like them.

Snails secrete mucus from their feet to help them slide along.  The smell of this mucus repels bearded dragons and keeps them at bay.

But beardies each have their own idiosyncrasies, so it does not hurt to introduce snails to your pet.

You might also like: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Flies?

Benefits/Risks of Slugs to Bearded Dragons:

The benefits of slugs for bearded dragons include:

  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Carbohydrates

Slugs have a very high protein level that benefits young growing bearded dragons. However, it must not be given as a staple food item as it can lead to obesity.

Furthermore, slugs have a high water level that helps hydrate your beardie, but when overfed, it can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. 

Slugs have no nutritional value.  Slugs thus occupy valuable space that could be used for more nutiritious insects or vegetables. In addition, some studies have shown that an only slug diet causes irreversible kidney damage.

Another common illness for bearded dragons is impaction which occurs when beardies swallow something too big to digest, creating a blockage in their gut.

The blockage can even press against the spinal cord, causing pain or loss of sensation in the hind legs. To avoid this problem in your beardies, never feed them a snail that is bigger than the gap between their eyes.

Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Slugs?

Snail eggs and hatchlings are on the correct scale for bearded dragons, but they contain more water by volume which means less protein and other nutrients to support growth.

The water content in snails can also cause stomach upsets and blockages. Thus, we recommend that these snacks be fed only to adult bearded dragons.

How to Feed Slugs to Bearded Dragons

Feeding your bearded dragon slugs is a relatively simple process. First, you need to clean and prepare the slugs for your bearded dragon, then chop them up into small pieces to make them easier to eat.

Next, you will want to place the pieces of the slugs on a heat-proof dish or in a shallow bowl so that the food can steam. You should also make sure that any dishes used are clean before using them for food.

After these steps, your bearded dragon will be able to enjoy this treat without the risk of contracting any infections or parasites.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wild Slugs?

Do not feed your bearded dragon wild slugs containing parasites and other bacteria that can harm your dragon’s health.

You can also feed your bearded dragon non-moving foodstuff like flowers, insects/bugs, vegetables, and fruits. As slugs are non-movable food items, they are edible to your pet.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Farmed Snails?

Yes, this is the safest way to offer snails to your beardie. Farmed snails are available online and from specialist pet stores, where they’re more typically thought of as a live prey meal for skinks and box turtles.

Remember only to offer the smallest ones to your beardie!

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Canned Snails?

Maybe. Some pet stores sell canned prey foods, including snails and grasshoppers (which will be a hit with your beardie!) These are safe, provided they are small enough.

Check the size of these before offering them to your beardie, and also make sure that they haven’t been flavored or seasoned with other ingredients.

Alternatives to Snails

Live prey doesn’t just meet a bearded dragon’s nutritional needs. It allows them to practice behaviors they would use in the wild, which is mentally enriching.

Here are some great alternatives to snails that are safe for your beardie to eat several times a week:

  • grasshoppers
  • crickets
  • dubia roaches
  • and wax worms.

Conclusion

Small snails farmed in controlled conditions so that they don’t contain ingested chemicals or parasites are a safe snack for a bearded dragon.  However, they’re not something beardies usually eat in the wild, and their slime can be unpalatable. 

Continually research new food you want to include in your bearded dragon’s diet, and if unsure, please contact your vet for advice.

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