If you own a bearded dragon or two, then you may be wondering if they can assist with the fly population in your home. Bearded dragons will happily consume whatever is served to them, while this makes mealtime easy, it also means they cannot differentiate between what is good for them and what is not. That is your job as their owner and caregiver.
While nobody likes flies in the house, it is important to understand some key differences between wild flies and store-bought flies when it comes to your bearded dragon(s) consuming them.
House flies can be safely consumed by your bearded dragon; however, they offer little to no nutritional value, especially when compared to other much tastier insects. Store-bought flies are perfectly safe but wild flies should be avoided if at all possible.
Pet and reptile stores carry much better options for your bearded dragon. Let’s take a look at why you should avoid house flies and opt for a healthier insect for your bearded dragon.
Reason 1: Lack of Nutrition
A well-balanced diet packed with nutrients and vitamins is a requirement for a healthy and happy bearded dragon. Houseflies tend to lack in this department as an adult housefly may pack a punch when it comes to protein, they greatly lack the other nutrients and vitamins that bearded dragons require so they can properly thrive and grow.
In order to come close to obtaining the adequate nutrients and vitamins that bearded dragons require, you would have to feed your bearded dragon around 50 adult houseflies or more every day. While you may be able to find adult house flies in a pet store, this would be an extremely large amount to search for on a regular basis, especially when there are much better options for your bearded dragons as far as insects are concerned.
Some insects that would be much better for your bearded dragon and wouldn’t require as many at a single time include:
- Dubia Roaches as they contain high protein and calcium levels, are packed with nutrition and are quiet with little to no smell when compared to other feeder insects
- Goliath Worms or Horned Worms contain high calcium levels and adequate protein amounts.
- Waxworms, Superworms, and Mealworms may have lower calcium levels but they have a fairly high amount of protein
- Crickets also offer adequate protein with lower calcium levels, they are a less than favorable insect to use as they are loud and can produce an odor but they work great if other insects are unavailable at that moment
- Fly larvae, which are not the same as an adult house fly, offer great nutrition for young bearded dragons. Feeding your baby or juvenile bearded dragonfly larvae would be a great meal as they are packed full of protein, fat, and nutrients
With all the other options of insects with higher nutritional content, it is easy to see why house flies would be less than desirable.
Your bearded dragon’s nutrition and health should be a top priority, and it is important to remember that adult bearded dragons only require around 20 to 30 percent of their overall daily nutrition to include insects, the other 70 to 80 percent should be vegetation.
Reason 2: Eating Habits
The eating habits of houseflies are extremely unsanitary when it comes to offering them as food for your bearded dragon; however, in nature, they are the janitors and help keep things clean. House flies will consume human and animal waste, spoiled food, decomposing animal flesh, and rotting vegetation, among other less-than-appealing items they may happen across.
Due to this scavenging behavior, house flies are the perfect carriers for several diseases, bacteria, and parasites. Although it is highly unlikely to obtain disease-ridden house flies from a pet store, the possibility is still there and should be cause for extreme caution when searching for an insect for your bearded dragon.
If you are dead set on purchasing and feeding house flies to your bearded dragon, it is important to know they are very hard to find due to their lack of nutrition and the amount it would take to properly feed a bearded dragon.
If you wish to keep the fly population in your residence down in order to prevent anything possible then it would be wise to keep everything, including your bearded dragon’s enclosure, clean of any old foods or decomposing vegetables or fruits.
Be sure to immediately remove any feces or old food from your bearded dragon’s enclosure and to keep a lid or mesh cover over the top so that house flies cannot enter their enclosure and possibly infect your bearded dragon with any diseases or illnesses.
Reason 3: Disease
Due to their rather disgusting eating habits, house flies are known to carry diseases and can pass them on to other feeder flies, you, and your bearded dragon. Zoonosis is the transfer of disease between different species of animals and even to humans. There are several diseases that can attach to house flies, transfer to your bearded dragon, then transfer to you which could cost hundreds of dollars to not only treat but eradicate from their enclosure and your home.
House flies are scavengers, meaning they will land on and eat anything and everything, whether it is fresh or spoiled, alive or dead, making them the perfect carriers for several diseases, including:
- Typhoid Fever
House flies also have the ability to transmit parasitic worms which carry their own issues for you and your bearded dragon. Once the house fly lands on something, whether it is you or your bearded dragon, it immediately spreads its germs through contact, defecation, and vomiting.
Germs have the ability to spread just as quickly in the animal world as it does in the human world and can cause just as many diseases and illnesses for not only your bearded dragon but for you as well. In order to maintain the health and well-being of your bearded dragon, and yourself, it is highly recommended you do not feed house flies to your bearded dragon.
When it comes to the appropriate and adequate nutrition for your bearded dragon, the common housefly should be last on the list of possibilities, if not completely avoided. The possibility of you or your bearded dragon contracting a disease and the lack of nutritional benefits make houseflies one of the worst possible sources of food for your bearded dragon.
There are much better options as far as insects are concerned when it comes to feeding your bearded dragon that is higher in nutrition, requires less to feed, will be cheaper in the long run, and carry no risk of disease when bought from a pet store. Bearded dragons will happily consume anything you put in front of them, but the same can also be said for the house fly which makes them an unsavory and less than desirable choice when it comes to the protein choice for your bearded dragon.
Remember to keep your bearded dragon’s enclosure covered and clean in order to proactively keep house flies away from them. It is also extremely important to note that you should keep your hands washed before and after you handle your bearded dragon or their food to cut down the possibility of you contracting any disease or illness while caring for your bearded dragon and their enclosure.
If you are ever concerned about the health or well-being of your bearded dragon, contact your local herp vet with any questions or for further advice. If you are ever curious about better options for your bearded dragon, contact your local pet or reptile store for advice regarding different types of insects.