Beardies are omnivores who love to eat insects, and flies are among the largest group of insects. Given this plenty supply, can bearded dragons eat flies?
Flies are abundant anywhere in the world. Some even found their way to business establishments. Unfortunately, indoor flies are also common in the home setting. You might be wondering, with this many insects at hand, would it be a good idea to feed them to our beardies? Or, what if our reptilian friend accidentally chowed one? They are lizards, after all.
Good thing that you happen to chance upon this article. Here, I will discuss crucial facts that you need to know about flies concerning bearded dragons.
Quick Facts on Flies 101
Over 120,000 species of flies exist globally. Their capacity to reproduce quickly in large numbers offsets their short lifespan. This quick reproduction could also mean a health threat because they are carriers of bacteria and diseases.
Thankfully, there are only a few indoor flies’ species out of the more than a hundred thousand. The small indoor flies are fruit flies, drain flies, fungus gnats, and phorid flies. On the other hand, the big indoor flies are soldier flies, house flies, and carrion flies.
However, the most common flies at home are fruit flies, house flies and horse flies. If crickets for beardies are fine, can bearded dragons eat flies that we find at home?
Know the Importance of Flies’ Source
All flies are insects, but they are not all equal.
- House Flies
The hairy-bodied house flies are attracted to manure and fermenting fruits. According to the University of Florida, house flies are carriers of bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, and protozoa.
I may not be an entomologist, an insect expert, but I am sure that I do not want any of these pathogens to be ingested by my pet dragon. Why take the risk when there is a perfectly safe food for reptiles like the canned Dubia roaches.
- Store-bought flies
Store-bought flies come with the expectation that they are raised in a clean and controlled environment. The sanitary surrounding is supposed to make flies safe for bearded dragons.
Yes, it is safe for a beardie to eat a store-bought fly, but it is not ideal. Flies have poor nutritional value, so it does not make sense to feed them to our dragons.
- Wild-caught Flies
Flies are scavengers, meaning they are creatures who eat dead or decaying matters. These matters range from remnants of roadkill to feces of animals, which are teeming with bacteria, parasites, and nematodes that can cause possible danger to our dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Flies? Yes, But Here Are the Reasons Why They Should Not
It has been established that flies are not an ideal food for our pet reptiles. Yes, beardies will eat flies because they would eat anything in front of them as part of their nature.
However, keep in mind that we should not intentionally feed them with flies. Nightcrawlers for beardies is a better option since they are rich in protein.
- Flies are disease carriers that can make bearded dragons sick
Flies carry pathogens, and this is bad news not only to humans but also to our lizards. The word pathogen is the generic term for any organism that can cause disease to another organism or its host.
- Poor nutritional value for bearded dragons
An adult house fly has almost 200 grams of protein, but this is not enough to support the nutritional need of our pet. You need around 50 pieces of adult house flies to give our dragons the amount of protein needed.
Pet stores seldom sell flies because they do not have much to offer to reptiles. There is more nutrient-rich food out there, like mealworms.
Final Thoughts on Bearded Dragons and Flies
You may have heard from other beardie owners that their pet accidentally eats a fly but did not get sick. Accidental is the keyword here. Yes, it is possible for dragons to not get sick after eating a fly. The same way goes for us humans who do not contact a disease every time exposed to pathogens.
There could also be beardie owners who might claim that it is alright to feed our dragons with wild-caught flies as long as you know the environment if you can ensure that the surrounding has not been sprayed with insecticides or herbicides.
The issue with flies goes beyond being contaminated with chemicals. The problem is their scavenger nature, making them pathogen carriers.
Can bearded dragons eat flies at home? While there is no 100% assurance that our bearded dragon will contact a disease from eating a few flies, I don’t see the need for it. Instead, read more on what bearded dragons eat to know the best food that we should them.