Bearded dragon keepers know that their beardies have a unique digestive system that makes them sensitive to certain food types. Unlike most other pets the common household has, a bearded dragon’s stomach evolved according to a desert habitat where food is scarcer. They are omnivores, and they will eat anything they can get their claws on. But, is everything safe?
So, Can bearded dragons eat hornworms? These worms are a great source of protein and have other nutritional benefits. If you are going to give your dragon hornworms, here are a few things you need to know beforehand. Let’s get started.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat hornworms. And, they love these worms. Not only are live worms a great treat for them, but they are also very nutritious.
Hornworms are a great complement to your beardie’s diet. However, these worms should be paired with other insects and plants to make their meal more nutritious. They are also a great source of calcium and moisture, and they should be fed live to your scaly pal.
What Are Hornworms?
If you are new to hornworms, you may want to know what they are. They are the caterpillars of hawk moths, and they get their name from the horns on their tails. They are also among the largest caterpillars and can grow to almost four meters.
The most commonly sold hornworms by most insect companies are the tobacco hornworm and tomato hornworm:
- Tobacco hornworms. These hornworms are green and have several diagonal markings along the sides of their bodies. They also have a red spiked tail. These caterpillars usually feed on tobacco or tomato leaves and are considered pests by gardeners and farmers in the wild. They are also known as the “Goliath Worm”.
- Tomato Hornworm. These are slightly different. They have a V-shaped mark on their backs, and their “horns” are black. These worms eat the same plants and offer the same nutrition for your bearded dragons.
You can feed either of these to your dragon. And, it mostly depends on the availability of worms and the price at which they are sold. Regardless, your dragon will get the same benefits from eating these worms.
If you are looking for other protein sources for your dragon, you refer to this article here.
What Nutrients Can Your Bearded Dragon Get from Eating Hornworms?
Hornworms get most of the nutrition in them from their diets. They mostly feed on plants, veggies, and leaves. This means that they are great for bearded dragons and other insect-eating animals. The nutrients in a hornworm are the following:
Hornworms are considered rich feeders for bearded dragons. They are a great source of hydration, thanks to the moisture in the worms. It is best to feed these hornworms to your beardies if they are dehydrated or tired from mating. But, most owners recommend this for bearded dragons, especially after brumation.
Pro-Tip: To make their rest more comfortable, get your dragon a reptile carpet they will love!
How Many Hornworms Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
3-5 hornworms are enough to fulfill the daily nutritional needs of your bearded dragon. This amount should be enough to meet their dietary needs to stay healthy. But, it is necessary to choose the right size of hornworm for your dragon.
Feeding a hornworm that is too large for your beardie may cause issues and harm their gut. This will make their digestive process difficult. Only give them an appropriately sized hornworm, and mix it with fiber-rich food to help them digest their food better.
When Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Bearded dragons are very particular with their meals. They often get uninterested if fed the same thing over and over again. In times like this, they crave different food. But, if you want to feed your dragons hornworms, it’s best to get them started early.
Feeding your beardie hornworms doesn’t depend so much on their age but the size of the worm. As long as you choose a worm that is appropriately large for your bearded dragon, there shouldn’t be any problems. Also, choosing the right size for your dragon will effectively reduce the risk of choking.
Plus, if you get them started early on hornworms, there is a big chance that they will develop a preference for this worm. And, this will make it easier to feed these worms to them when they grow older.
If you want to feed your dragon hornworms, make sure to spread them out throughout the day and follow the daily feeding frequency that mirrors their diets in the wild. For the best results, you can follow this feeding schedule:
- 0-3 months old: 3 to 5 times a day.
- 3-8 months old: 2 times a day.
- 8 months until adulthood: Once a day.
- Adulthood: Once every two days.
How to Feed Hornworms to Your Bearded Dragons?
Feeding worms to your dragons isn’t as easy as leaving them on the ground and waiting for your pet to eat them. You need to take a few steps to make feeding times more personal for you and your scaly pal.
- Choose the right size of worm.
- Schedule a proper feeding hour.
- Give the hornworm to your pet personally.
- Give it to them using tweezers or by hand.
- Add other food to the mix.
Watch them while they eat it.
Pro-Tip: You can also add some multivitamins to make your bearded dragon’s meals more nutritious.
Bearded dragons need several nutrients to keep them healthy. Among the biggest ones is protein. And, hornworms are a great source of this essential nutrition for your bearded dragon. The good news is, your beardie can eat hornworms.
Just remember to practice moderation and choose the right-sized worm when feeding your dragons this filling meal. As long as you do not go over their daily food limit, your dragon should be fine.
With that, you shouldn’t run into any problems when feeding your bearded friend hornworms. Your bearded dragon may even love you more thanks to this delicious meal you serve them.
If you are looking for other worms you can feed your bearded dragon, this is a handy article to get you started.