As you have probably figured out by now either through research or because you are an experienced owner, bearded dragons are some of the most amazing and loving reptiles you can keep as pets. If you have never owned bearded dragons or, at the very least, baby bearded dragons, you could be wondering what you can and cannot feed them.
Baby bearded dragons require a different and more protein packed diet than that of adult bearded dragons. I’m sure you have more than likely come across superworms at some point or another and might be inclined to purchase these for your baby bearded dragon.
Before you run out to the pet store for superworms for your baby bearded dragon, let’s discuss a seemingly controversial topic; can baby bearded dragons eat superworms?
To err on the side of caution, no, baby bearded dragons should not consume superworms. Due to the size, nutritional value, and aggressive behavior of superworms, they should not be served to your baby bearded dragon and we will be discussing these characteristics to further explain why you should look for a more appropriate meal for your growing and delicate baby bearded dragon.
Superworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle species, zophobas morio, and are among the larger species of insects that an adult bearded dragon will enjoy on occasion. Small superworms are usually around 1 inch in length, which makes for a perfect sized snack for a juvenile bearded dragon, and can grow to over 2 inches in length which would be for adult bearded dragons.
Unfortunately, considering the large size, low nutritional value, and aggressive behavior of superworms, they are not generally a good snack or meal for baby bearded dragons. Baby bearded dragons are only around 4 inches in length and weigh less than an ounce, by juvenile age they will have almost quadrupled in length putting them around 18 inches.
I’m sure you might still be wondering why your baby bearded dragon should not be served superworms, even if they are small superworms. Well, let’s get digging and uncover the reasons why your baby bearded dragon would not need to be fed superworms of any size.
Reason 1: Inappropriate Size
As previously mentioned, baby bearded dragons are only around 4 inches in length and weigh less than an ounce, whereas smaller superworms are still an inch in length, which would be far too big for a baby bearded dragon to consume safely. It is important to note that baby bearded dragons will attempt to consume any food that is given to them, even if it is much too large for their tiny bodies.
For this reason in order to avoid choking hazards and risks, bearded dragons should not be fed any type of food that is larger than the space between their eyes. Choking risks are not the only reason for caution when it comes to serving your baby bearded dragon an item that is too large, there are certain health risks involved as well.
Seizures, loss of motor control, impaction, and partial paralysis are just a few of the risks that any aged bearded dragon will face when served food that is too large. Baby bearded dragons would be better off consuming very small insects such as pinhead crickets to ensure they are consuming appropriately sized meals and have a better chance of avoiding any hazards or risks that is associated with being served food that is too large.
Remember, when in doubt; never feed your bearded dragon anything larger than the space between their eyes.
Reason 2: Nutritional Value
You might assume that due to their large size superworms would be high in protein and would make a great daily meal for any bearded dragon, if this is your assumption it would be a little off base. Superworms are in fact an amazing source of protein and moisture, but they are also very high in fat which could cause stunted growth and obesity in bearded dragons if they are fed these too often.
Considering you want your baby bearded dragon to reach its full potential when it comes to size, even if you could find superworms small enough, which is not likely to happen, superworms could stunt their growth resulting in a smaller bearded dragon. Regarding the high fat content in superworms, they could cause obesity and malnutrition in a bearded dragon, especially if superworms were all that was given for meals.
Superworms can be almost 40% fat which is extremely high for any type of food especially that of an insect that is regularly given to bearded dragons. However, superworms do make a pleasant treat on occasion for the juvenile or adult bearded dragon, but the frequency and amount they are given should be monitored so as to not cause your beardie to become overweight or impacted.
More than likely, the health and well-being of your baby bearded dragon is at the top of your list when it comes to their diet, and superworms should not be on that list. Regardless of how large they are, they offer little nutritional value and could stunt the growth of your beloved baby beardie.
If you were to offer superworms to your bearded dragon once they reached juvenile or adult stage, then it might be best to serve them as the occasional snack or treat to avoid obesity and malnutrition.
Reason 3: Aggressive Behavior Of Superworms
Could you imagine trying to enjoy your meal and it bites back? Believe it or not, superworms are known for their highly aggressive behavior and will bite, which is why it is actually recommended that you wear gloves while handling them to avoid being bitten.
There is actually a practice of tearing the heads off superworms before serving them to your bearded dragon that comes from the myth that superworms will eat through a bearded dragon’s stomach. Even though this is myth, superworms can still bite and injure your bearded dragon if they are not consumed quickly enough.
This fact is another reason why baby bearded dragons should not be served superworms. Considering baby bearded dragons are only around 4 inches in length and weigh less than an ounce and even the smallest superworms are around an inch in length this could place your baby bearded dragon in danger of being bitten and injured.
Baby bearded dragons are extremely delicate and should not even be handled until they are closer to juvenile age, around 4 to 6 months, so placing an aggressive insect that is a quarter of a baby bearded dragons size inside their enclosure could be a potentially dangerous situation. Once your baby bearded dragon has started to really put on the size and girth of a juvenile bearded dragon, you can begin introducing smaller superworms, around an inch, into their diet. Once again, when in doubt, never feed your bearded dragon anything larger than the space between their eyes.
The health and well-being of your baby bearded dragon is extremely important to make sure they grow properly and reach their full potential. In order to ensure this comes to fruition for your baby bearded dragon, superworms should not be in their diet.
Due to their small stature, baby bearded dragons are not yet ready for the large superworm, but that won’t stop them from trying to ingest superworms if you serve them as a meal or snack. Baby bearded dragons will attempt to consume anything and everything they are given so it is your responsibility as their caregiver and owner to not serve them anything that is too large.
Giving your bearded dragon anything that is too big can cause any number of health risks and complications including impaction and stunted growth. The biggest danger in giving your baby bearded dragon food that is too large, like a superworm, is how much of a choking hazard it is for them.
Superworms are also quite aggressive and could cause harm to your baby bearded dragon. Baby bearded dragons are extremely delicate, so in order to ensure they are not injured, it is best to not handle them and to not give them superworms since superworms are known to bite.
Considering their large size, superworms could physically harm your baby bearded dragon if they were to bite and it could cause severe injury to your baby beardie. Baby bearded dragons may seem like a whole new world when it comes to raising bearded dragons as a pet, but it can be so rewarding once you have a routine and system down.
Bearded dragons are among the best reptiles to own as pets and if taken care of properly will in turn give you an abundance of love and affection. Remember, the general rule of thumb is to never give your bearded dragon any food that is larger than the space between their eyes.
As long as you keep this piece of advice in mind and stay away from superworms while hunting for the best food for your baby bearded dragon, you and your baby beardie will do just fine.