The Superworm And The Bearded Dragon – Pros And Cons
As a bearded dragon owner, you must be aware that a bearded dragon’s diet can include different kinds of worms. There are wax worms, hornworms, earthworms, mealworms, but the one worm that bearded dragons go crazy about is superworms.
Can bearded dragons eat superworms? Yes, adult bearded dragons can eat superworms.
Please read on to find out more about superworms, their nutritional information, benefits, risks, and such.
Nutritional Information Of Superworms
Superworms is beetle larvae similar to mealworms but with a few distinct differences. They are a great source of protein and hydration, but their phosphorus and fat content are troubling. Superworms eventually grow into darkling beetles.
Nutritional Information Of Superworms
Superworms have a low calcium value and must be dusted with a suitable calcium supplement to make up for the shortfall.
Benefits Of Feeding Superworms To Bearded Dragons
A Tasty Treat
Bearded dragons love eating superworms. You can use them to coax picky eaters to eat their greens, and they’re a great way of giving your pet beardie a special treat.
Because of their fat content, bearded dragon owners can also use superworms to help malnourished bearded dragons put on a healthy weight.
The Run Around
It is in a bearded dragon’s nature to chase their prey in the wild. You can place the superworms in an enclosure so your bearded dragon can hunt them down. You will entice your bearded dragon to get moving and to enjoy the chase.
Easy To Find
Superworms can be found in most pet stores, online and off, that have supplies for lizards. These insects are more affordable than some rare species, giving you a great tasty treat option for your Beardie that is inexpensive.
Risks Of Feeding Superworms To Bearded Dragons
Superworms have a lot of fat. Captive bearded dragons (especially adults) are already at some risk for obesity, partly because of the simple fact that they can’t run around free in the terrarium as they would in their natural habitat.
Obesity isn’t too big of a risk if you keep your bearded dragon on a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding treats and fatty foods, like superworms.
Superworms have a tough exoskeleton. The exoskeleton on any feeder insect type is hard for bearded dragons to digest, but a superworm’s exoskeleton is even more challenging.
So when bearded dragons eat superworms, bits and pieces of undigested exoskeleton end up sitting in their bellies for a while.
Eventually, your dragon will pass the crushed pieces of the exoskeleton, but if too much gathers over time, it can cause a painful case of gut impaction.
If your bearded dragon is not defecating he may have gut impaction. Other symptoms can include:
- Weight loss
- Inability to keep food down
- Loss of appetite
- Lumps along spine or belly
- Difficulty walking
Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your bearded dragon has gut impaction.
We recommend you use gloves when handling superworms. They will bite you if you don’t handle them properly.
On the same lines, if you leave a superworm in the tank with a bearded dragon and the reptile doesn’t eat it right away, it may bite your pet and cause injury.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Superworms?
Never feed superworms to your baby bearded dragon.
Baby bearded dragons are incredibly delicate and shouldn’t even be handled until they are around 4 to 6 months, so placing an aggressive insect a quarter of a baby bearded dragon’s size inside their enclosure could potentially be dangerous.
Baby bearded dragons can not digest the hard exoskeleton of superworms, and it would cause gut impaction that could be fatal to your baby beardie.
Once your baby bearded dragon has started to put on the size of a juvenile bearded dragon, you can begin introducing smaller superworms, around an inch, into their diet.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworms?
Most Beardies love superworms because of their high-fat content. You can feed your adult Bearded Dragon one to two superworms a couple of times per week. Adults should eat 70% greens and 30% protein from insects.
For juvenile Bearded Dragons (5-15 months), you may be able to feed them superworms if the larvae are small enough and your Beardie is big enough. Superworms are large compared to most insect larvae.
Remember, don’t feed your Dragon any food that is bigger than the space between their eyes.
Because juveniles are fast-growing, they can handle a higher fat ratio in their diet. Feed them 3-7 superworms per day, spread out over three meals.
Baby Beardies are too small to eat superworms and can easily be injured. Do not feed them to your baby lizard. Stick with smaller insects and use the space between their eyes to decide the size of the food to give them.
Babies and Juveniles should eat 70% protein and 30% greens. This ratio is the reverse of adults. A higher proportion of protein will help them grow healthy into their weight and size.
How To Prepare Superworms For Bearded Dragons
Before feeding superworms to bearded dragons, dust them with calcium powder first. Using calcium powder is a good habit to practice when feeding your dragon insects.
To feed superworms to your dragon, you can use tweezers to provide them one by one, or you can place them into a feeding bowl.
You can also set the worms in an enclosure so your bearded dragon can hunt them down, but do not let worms roam free in a terrarium with the substrate. Superworms can quickly and easily bury themselves in the substrate, and it can be tough to find them again.
Plus, you don’t want your bearded dragon swallowing substrate in an attempt to eat the worms. The substrate can cause gut impaction.
We recommend putting them in the middle or end of the feeding, or your pet may then refuse to eat the other healthier insects.
Storage And Keeping Superworms
Superworms are effortless to keep alive and healthy for as long as you need. You can keep them in a container with bran or uncooked oatmeal.
Provide some potato or pieces of carrot for hydration. You don’t need to provide food unless you keep the worms for over two weeks.
If you want to keep the worms longer, you can feed them bits and pieces of vegetables that you generally use for compost.
Unlike mealworms, you shouldn’t put the superworms in any cooler or freezer, as this will kill them.
The worms won’t turn into beetles if they are stored together with adequate hydration.
Bearded Dragons are among the best reptiles to keep as pets. Their size and temperament make them ideal additions to families looking for a new lizard pet. We suggest that you mix up your beardie’s diet with crickets, earthworms, butterworms, as well as other insects, veggies, and fruit.
Please research any new food you want to introduce into your bearded dragon’s diet. If you are unsure or doubt, we recommend contacting 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:
- 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?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat asparagus?
- 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 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 Mice?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat Cabbage?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Kale?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat Meat?
- Can Bearded Dragons eat Aloe?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat chicken?
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- Can Bearded Dragons eat spinach?