Bearded dragons do have a rather varied diet, one thing that you can offer your pet is the wax worm. However, it is important to keep in mind that whilst it is safe for a bearded dragon to eat wax worms, these should not be a diet staple.
Introduction to Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wax Worms
Many people adopt a bearded dragon as they are easy to take care of and are docile, intelligent, and often loving animals. They have been known to form a good bond with their owners and make ideal pets for families with children. However, a key part of taking care of this type of animal is ensuring that they have the correct diet at all times.
In the main, you will probably feed your bearded dragon crickets, this is an important staple food for many reptiles, dragons included. But it might get a little boring for your pet eating the same foods over and over so many owners look for tasty alternatives to offer their beardie.
One thing that a lot of people use is wax worms, and in this article, we will be giving you all of the information you will need to know when offering this type of food to your bearded dragon.
What Are Wax Worms?
Waxworms are small worms that are off-white in color and are the larvae of the larger wax moth. One of the great things about these worms is that they can be bred by reptile owners so you do not need to continually buy your supply. However, as we will later learn, you may not want to breed them in large quantities, unless of course, you intend to sell them for a profit.
Waxworms have very soft bodies so are easy for your pet to eat, furthermore, they are easy to digest. As we mentioned, these are quite small worms and usually grow no larger than around an inch – this can be misleading, however, lulling owners into a false sense of security that they must feed them to their pets in large portions, but this is not the case.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wax Worms?
As a general rule, you should avoid feeding your bearded dragon wax worms in large quantities. It is very likely that your pet will love these small treats and if you offer them regularly, he will lap them up. However, it is vital to keep in mind that due to the higher fat content, wax worms should never form a staple part of the bearded dragon’s diet.
Bearded dragons will eat a diet that consists mostly of crickets and these insects have only 6% fat, which is just the right amount to help your pet to thrive. Conversely, worms tend to have much higher fat content and the wax worm has an incredible 21% fat and is made up of 61% moisture. This demonstrates how important it is to use wax worms as a treat for your pet.
When we compare this fat content to other types of worms, such as the mealworm, we can further appreciate just how fatty the wax worm is. Mealworms tend to have a fat content of around 13%, which is almost half less than wax worms and mealworms are usually slightly larger in size.
If you frequently put wax worms into your bearded dragon’s enclosure, she will eat them and she will likely develop a taste for them, gobbling them up every time you offer them. This could cause you to think that you are doing her a favor by offering her favorite food every day. But when these reptiles eat large amounts of wax worms, they can quickly become obese and with this, comes a variety of worrying health problems.
How Often Can I Give My Bearded Dragon Wax Worms?
What you feed your pet will largely be determined by his size, age, and overall health; if for example, he has a health condition, he may require specific supplements. Additionally, younger bearded dragons may also require more protein as they grow. For this reason, you should be especially careful when offering fatty treats to younger dragons as too much fat could affect their growth.
For a healthy, adult bearded dragon, a small handful of around five to six wax worms will work well as an occasional treat. The best way to do this is to include this amount of wax worms every three days as part of a larger diet plan.
Adult beardies will usually thrive best when fed on a rotating meal plan. This usually includes offering insects on one day, and it is at this point that you may include those tasty wax worms that your pet loves so much. But you should ensure that these are offered alongside the other important insect staples such as crickets and locusts.
You would then have a day where you offered plant-based foods (more on this later) and then one day where no food is given at all. However, when feeding a bearded dragon that is under one year, you should be feeding them on a daily basis.
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What Other Foods Can I Give My Bearded Dragon?
Bearded dragons are not overly fussy eaters and will eat most things that you give to them, but that does not mean to say that you should just give them anything. It can be tempting to offer your beloved pet a few morsels from your own plate, but it is important that you do not do this as some human foods may not be suitable for bearded dragons.
Instead, there is a huge variety of other foods, both meat, and plant-based that your pet will love. Where vegetables are concerned, you should aim to provide your bearded dragon with leafy greens as these contain many vital nutrients but there are other vegetables that you can offer. Some acceptable ideas might include:
- Swiss chard
- Mustard greens
- Beet greens
- Bok Choi
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
You can give you bearded dragon fruits but it is important to remember that these have a very high sugar content and whilst delicious, could cause health problems for your pet if they are eaten in large quantities. As a general rule, where plant-based foods are concerned, you should only offer your dragon 10% fruit and 90% vegetables.
Of course, the bulk of your pet’s diet will be made up of insects and worms. As we have mentioned, crickets are the most important part of their diet and have excellent levels of calcium and protein, both of which are essential for good all-round health.
Some pet owners prefer to offer other insects and worms alongside these and whilst you can provide a small helping of wax worms, if you can access other types of worms, this might be a better option.
Hornworms and silkworms have incredible amounts of calcium and are one of the greatest supplements for the wax worm. Their fat content is drastically lower too with the hornworm containing only 3% fat and the silkworm, 10%. Clearly, the hornworm is a preferable option here, however, when we look at the amount of protein they contain, just 9%, it might change your mind. In contrast, the silkworm has a massive 64% protein making this is an ideal worm for bearded dragons.
For worms that are lower in calcium, you could sprinkle a powder supplement onto the food before placing it in a shallow dish for your pet.
One of the most interesting things about the bearded dragon is the varied diet it eats. These animals will eat a huge range of fruits and vegetables as well as large quantities of worms and insects. Their main food is crickets but a lot of bearded dragon owners wish to supplement these with an occasional treat.
A common and seriously flavorsome option for the bearded dragon is that wax worm and it is likely that your pet will be over the moon with this culinary choice. However, much like tasty human foods, the wax worm is not the healthiest choice so it is important to offer these in moderation. As a rule, five to six wax worms will be enough for a single serving and these should only be given once or twice a week, preferably as part of a rotating meal plan.
If wax worms seem too fatty, there are other types of worms that you can provide for your pet which will have much greater nutritional value, and while hornworms are very low in fat, silkworms have more significant levels of protein and make an excellent dietary choice.