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We know all too well that bearded dragons are omnivores. And you’re right to wonder whether or not bearded dragons can eat just about anything. New owners often wonder, can bearded dragons eat nightcrawlers? Can bearded dragons eat earthworms?
Of course, nightcrawlers or earthworms are a great source of protein for growing beardies. But is it safe for them to eat? What benefits are there to feeding nightcrawlers to your bearded dragon?
In this article, you will find the answers to these questions and more. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before deciding whether to add this to your bearded dragon’s diet.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Nightcrawlers?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat nightcrawlers or earthworms. These worms are a great source of protein and are essential for bearded dragons that are still growing. Giving these nightcrawlers to your bearded dragons in moderation can yield the best results.
However, avoid feeding nightcrawlers that were baited because these can contain parasites that may be harmful to your beardie. Store-bought nightcrawlers are best because they are more often free of parasites. Worms from your backyard are no-gos either because they can contain pesticides they can get from your grass or brushes.
If you want to add this to your beardie’s diet, you can consider breeding your own. These worms are surprisingly easy to grow. And, you will have a readily available source of nightcrawlers which is great, especially if you have several bearded dragons.
How Much Protein Is There in Nightcrawlers?
If your bearded dragons are in their juvenile phase, feeding them nightcrawlers and earthworms is great for their health. Younger dragons need a lot of protein to help them grow faster. 70% of a worm’s bodyweight is proteins. And these are great for growing dragons.
Your younger dragon needs this in their diet. Their high protein content will help them grow to their fullest potential.
Of course, eating protein helps your bearded dragon grow. Check this article out to see how big they can grow.
Do Bearded Dragons Like Nightcrawlers?
It depends on your bearded dragon. But, generally, bearded dragons do not like slimy food. Since earthworms are covered in slime, the texture isn’t as enticing for beardies compared to crunchy insects. This means that your pet will most likely leave the worm wriggling in their habitat unless they are really hungry.
Regardless, if you get them started with nightcrawlers early, they will develop a taste for it. This should make it easier for you to feed earthworms to your beardie.
Pro-Tip: One of the favorite meals of bearded dragons is a Dubai roach. Check this out to get some for your dragon.
What Are the Risks of Feeding Nightcrawlers to Your Bearded Dragon?
These may seem like a harmless treat for your bearded dragon, but there are a few issues you need to know. These worms can contain a wide range of parasites like Protozoa, Nematodes, and Platyhelminthes. These tiny organisms can cause issues for your beardie’s intestines and lead to other severe illnesses that need to be treated immediately.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wild Nightcrawlers?
Earthworms you find in the wild may seem healthier, but they’re not. Different parasites and pesticides usually contaminate these. Together, these can harm your dragon’s liver and kidneys and make them sick.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bait Earthworms?
Bait earthworms are usually just worms harvested from the wild. Afterward, they are put in bulks in bait stores. This increases the chances that they have parasites lurking in their systems.
Since these are usually kept in large groups in unsanitary conditions, they pose a bigger threat to your beardie’s health. It is best to keep this away from your scaly buddy.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Red Worms?
Definitely not. Do not give your bearded dragons big red worms. These pose more health risks than common earthworms. They are also even less palatable than regular earthworms. Not only do your bearded dragon not want it, but with their name roughly translating to “foul-smelling,” you don’t want to either.
Red worms are different from earthworms despite being found in the same place. They are also known as red wriggler worms and usually eat decaying organic matter found in the soil. These have a very intense odor, especially when handled incorrectly.
By all means, do not give these to your bearded dragon.
To help you care for your dragons if bad things happen, here is a handy article to help you out.
What Alternative Worms Can You Give Your Bearded Dragon?
There are several other worms you can feed your beardie. And, some of these are much better for them compared to nightcrawlers and earthworms. These are:
- Mealworms. These are among the best alternatives to earthworms. These have a better nutritional profile compared to earthworms. Live mealworms contain 19% protein, 17% fat, and are a great source of fiber. However, these worms contain fat, so do not give them too many each time to your beardie.
- Waxworm. These are great feeder insects for bearded dragons. They are great treats, but they have high-fat content. Only give these to your pets sparingly to avoid issues.
- Butterworms. Like waxworms, these are high in fat. But, they are also a great source of calcium. Another great thing about these worms is that they are caterpillars raised in captivity, which is great for your beardie.
If you are looking for great mealworms for your dragon, you can get a bag here.
Bearded dragons can eat nightcrawlers or earthworms. These are a great source of protein for your growing beardie. There shouldn’t be any problem if you only give them earthworms specifically grown for bearded dragon consumption.
Remember, eating nightcrawlers or earthworms that are from the wild or meant for bait can cause problems. These generally have pesticides or other parasites in them that your dragon doesn’t need.
So, be careful and take what you learned from this article into account before deciding if you want to feed these worms to your dragons. With this, there shouldn’t be any problems at all.