Insects are a core component of the bearded dragon’s diet and figuring out the right variety to feed the reptile may take consistent trial and error. Superworm beetles are a popular choice among pet owners and it is only right that you want to find out whether your beloved beardie can enjoy them without problems.
This article answers the question “Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Beetles?” by discussing the pros and cons of feeding the popular insect to the beloved lizards in captivity. We also reveal whether beardies find the taste of superworm beetles pleasant.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Beetles?
Bearded dragons can eat superworm beetles as a supplement to staples like vegetables and lean protein sources like crickets, Dubya roaches, and grasshoppers. Darkling beetles may come with an off-putting scent for bearded dragons while others simply do not like the taste.
Well-cooked superworm beetles derived from parasite-free environments could be fed to beardies without problems. It is up to the lizard to decide whether the beetles are enjoyable enough to be consumed or not.
Many owners report success with superworm beetles while others have no luck since bearded dragons do not all have the same palettes. Even if your beardie shows a positive reception to superworm beetles, we recommend portion control because the insects can be a source of unhealthy dietary fat.
Are Superworm Beetles Good For Bearded Dragons?
Superworm beetles offer several nutrients that could be beneficial to the bearded dragon’s health and overall well-being. Shall we dive into a few?
Superworm beetles are a rich source of proteins for stimulating growth just like mealies and other insects. The nutrient is more critical during the first 4 months of the beardie’s life when they eat up to 5 times daily in protein-dominated diets.
Proteins should make up to 80 percent of baby bearded dragon diets to eliminate risks like stunted growth and weight loss. Building muscle mass and maintaining energy levels are key benefits of the proteins derived from insects.
Superworm beetle protein also acts as a source of energy which promotes the proper functioning of key internal organs while enabling the beardie to engage in physical activity during the daytime after basking in the heat, eating, and further temperature increases to aid digestion.
The mineral content in superworm beetles is impressive when compared to the majority of insects consumed by captive reptiles. Superworm beetle diets offer calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, and riboflavin.
Iodine, sodium, and thiamine are also derived from superworm beetles in different quantities. Besides, the high selenium content ensures immune system improvements that enable bearded dragons to naturally fight against diseases and infections.
The Vitamin B12 component also stimulates growth and guarantees good skin health for the bearded dragon.
Are Superworm Beetles Bad For Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragons may enjoy superworm beetles but owners should be careful of potential negatives that could pop up from feeding these insects.
Superworms in all forms contain excessive amounts of fat and their beetles are no exception. The risk of obesity can be high when fed to domesticated beardies due to their limited mobility in the terrarium. Unlike their wild cousins that roam several miles throughout the day to forage for food, mates, and other essentials, domesticated beardie movements are restricted to their small enclosures.
The calorie content in superworm beetles is high which gets converted to fat when the beardie is unable to expend all the consumed energy.
Superworm beetles should only be fed as an occasional treat to prevent health complications that may reduce the bearded dragon’s quality of life. Even if your beardie has shown a positive reaction to the meal, restrict it as a monthly offering. (Source)
Beardies could experience bites from superworm beetles as a defense mechanism to sustain their lives. These insects fight back to the best of their ability when threatened via bites to not only the beardies but owners too.
Superworms contain excessive amounts of chitin derived from their hard exoskeletons which beardies struggle to digest. Consuming superworm beetles could expose captive lizards to impaction, caused by the binding of chitin with minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc which causes blockages in the beardie’s digestive system.
Impaction is a serious condition that may be life-threatening when treatment is delayed. Not only can it be a source of discomfort but beardies could become completely immobile. Even without impaction, the indigestible complexes formed by chitin and dietary minerals may lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Consuming the hard exoskeletons of superworm beetles is akin to ingesting a large number of vegetables or fruits because chitin also serves as a source of fiber in their gut. This can cause tummy upsets as the bearded dragon struggles to control its bowels.
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Beetles?
Baby bearded dragons should not eat superworm beetles because of the high chitin and fat content. Babies may struggle to ingest the beetles due to the hard exoskeleton which could expose them to a high risk of choking.
Besides, the high-fat content may also cause health complications for the delicate digestive systems of beardie dragons. Avoiding superworm beetles completely is recommended for baby beardies.
Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Beetles?
Juvenile bearded dragons may eat superworm beetles in moderation thanks to the rich calcium, iron, and selenium content. However, the excessive fat content means too many superworm beetles could expose beardies to obesity and related effects.
Can Superworm Beetles Kill A Bearded Dragon?
Contaminated superworm beetles can kill bearded dragons after consumption. This is common when the beetles are not well-cooked before feeding to the beardies. Sometimes, superworm beetles prey on wild insects that may be exposed to poisonous chemicals like insecticides and pesticides.
Ingesting these chemicals can lead to fatalities in the bearded dragon in question. Avoid feeding live superworm beetles to beardies to minimize the risk of ingesting hazardous chemicals that could result in death.
Conclusion: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Superworm Beetles?
Superworm beetles may be a source of healthy nutrition for bearded dragons but they do not come without negatives. The high protein content enables the development of muscle blocks in bearded dragons while stimulating growth and proper overall functionality.
The minerals also enhance the functionality of key internal organs and boost the ability to stave off diseases by strengthening the bearded dragon’s immune system. However, superworm beetles contain excessive fats that can be detrimental to the beardie’s health by stimulating obesity and related side effects.
The high chitin content from the beardie’s hard skeleton may cause diarrhea and other stomach problems.