Bearded dragons are insectivores that majorly depend on a few categories of grubs to survive. These include insects like roaches, and crickets, including a variety of larvae (worms) that make up majorly the varied/side dishes. These insects produce protein, fat, and other minerals and vitamins that are essential for your beardie to grow healthy, or to even grow at all. However, not everything that is termed “safe” is 100% great for your pet, and I’ll be explaining why soon enough.
Bearded dragons can eat superworms and will benefit bountifully from their nutrients. The worms are good sources of fat and protein which are essential for beardies to grow strong and healthy muscles. Still, superworms pose risks to beardies if fed incorrectly, and they can be fatal in the worst-case scenarios.
In this article, we’ll be digging into the truth about superworms and whether or not they’re worth being fed to your pet.
Are Superworms Good For Bearded Dragons?
Superworms are good for beardies to an extent. They are the “candies” of the dragon world; although delicious, too many of the worms could cause severe detriments much more unruly than a mild stomach ache.
Superworms have a tough exoskeleton that makes it difficult for beardies to digest them in either large chunks or too many at once. They are similar to feeding mealworms to your beardie unless they’re even bigger but have a softer exoskeleton in comparison due to their high-fat content. Feeding your pet too many superworms could easily lead to impaction, liver problems, and blockage of the digestive tract. The only way to prevent this is by ensuring your dragon only eats the amount it can digest.
So, the answer to whether or not superworms are safe depends on how you feed them to your pet. As long as you follow the rules, you and your beardie will have a good time.
5 Nutritional Benefits Of Feeding Superworms To Your Beardie
Superworms carry important attributes that your pet can use to its advantage. Here are the benefits of feeding superworms to your beardie:
1. The High Protein Content
Beardies need protein to survive. They build their muscle mass with the protein they consume from the baby stage up to adulthood. So, bugs high in protein are a welcome event. Superworms contain a great amount of protein that is highly comparable to other feeder bugs like crickets but with 5% extra protein content. They’re also much more proteinous than mealworms by 10%. Your pet will be earning a load of protein eating this bug!
2. Great Fat Source
Fat serves several benefits to beardies in terms of reproductive health, energy reservoir, growth, and assimilation of essential nutrients. Without fat, your pet will be lethargic and malnourished. The vitamins and minerals that need to be outsourced will be much more difficult to be absorbed by your pet, leading to malnutrition. Superworms have a high amount of fat that is useful to your pet in moderate amounts. They contain 10% – 15% more fat in comparison to dubia roaches, making them good treats for a fattening meal.
3. Superworms Are Delicious
Bearded dragons have their favorite snacks, and one of them is the superworm. Superworms are known to be highly savory to beardies, so much that they could get addicted to the treat and refuse to eat their main meals. It may seem cute, but it’s highly problematic – what do you do with a difficult pet that insists on eating only what it wants? Superworms can be used as appetizers to trick your pet into eating more greens or as a reward for good behavior. It’s the ultimate bonding tool!
4. Great Source Of Calcium
One superworm contains 15 – 20 mg of calcium on average, which is a great amount for the likeness of your bearded dragon. Beardies require bountiful amounts of calcium to ensure they grow strong bones and stay free of metabolic bone diseases. It’s still important to dust the worms with calcium powder before feeding them to your pet to increase its protection from bone diseases.
5. Superworms Are Fun To Eat
Beardies enjoy active prey when they eat. The wiggling and twisting of the superworms engage your pet in activities that trigger their natural instincts. It’s important to bring your pet a sense of its natural habitat to its tank so that it can feel relaxed and in tune with the environment. You’ll instantly see its mood improve by doing this.
The Dangers Of Feeding Superworms To Bearded Dragons
The results of negligence can be irreversible. Several folks have lost their bearded dragons to rather minor mistakes like feeding their pet too many treats that they should eat moderately – like the superworms.
Impaction And Blockages
Impaction is one of the most notorious digestive problems beardies face rather regularly. Sadly, superworms are one of the leading causes. Too many of these bugs are dangerous to your pet and may cause it to suffer painful blockages, bloating, and excretion which will in turn affect its health negatively.
The Risk Of Internal Injuries
When there is a blockage in the digestive tract, the undigested outer shell of the superworms can cut tiny injuries into the tract of your pet. This is not common but observed in a handful of cases where the beardie, unfortunately, passes away from impaction.
Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease for bearded dragons is a deadly illness that is associated with the accumulation of fat in the liver. This leads to liver failure and then a slow or untimely death. When the liver is unable to store vitamins, aid in several metabolic functions, or perform its regular detoxifying job, your beardie suffers tremendously and could easily lose its life in the process if the case is severe.
How To Not Endanger Your Beardie: 5 Superworm Feeding Precautions
To prevent the previously discussed dangers from happening to your bearded dragon, you must follow a set of rules when feeding superworms to your pet. This will reduce the possibilities of your dragon falling sick from eating the worms.
1. Feed The Appropriate Quantity Of Superworms Only
Superworms should make up at most 10% of your beardie’s protein diet, and nothing more. The complete diet for bearded dragons consists of vegetables and bugs, and the ratio of both categories for the daily diet will depend on the age of your pet. Once you know how much protein your dragon should eat, you can easily take out 10% of the amount and replace the appropriate quantity with superworms suitably.
The 10% percent is the safest number of superworms your dragon can eat.
The table below will give you a perspective of how many bugs your pet needs depending on its age.
|Fraction in Percent (Bugs & Veggies)
|Number of Insects
|0 to 2 months (Baby dragon)
|25 – 50/day
|3 to 6 months (Juvenile)
|25 – 50/day
|6 to 9 months (Pre-Adult)
|18+ months (Adult)
2. Never Feed Your Pet Superworms Frequently
It’s important to stick to the correct regularity of feeding superworms to your beardie. Bearded dragons should only eat superworms twice a week because of the high-fat content and problems that come with digesting them. Feeding your pet superworms frequently is an easy ticket to impaction, to say the least.
3. Gut-Load The Superworms Before Feeding
It’s important to gut-load the superworms before feeding them to your dragon. This is because most times, the bred superworms do not hold much nutritional value as the free-roaming worms. So, for your pet to make substantial benefit from the treat, you must gut-load the worms with fresh fruits, vegetables, or an organic gut-load supplement (view on Amazon) before feeding.
4. Dust The Worms With Calcium Supplements
In addition to gut-loading, you must dust the superworms with calcium supplements (view on Amazon) before feeding them to your bearded dragon. Even though the worms contain calcium, they are not entirely promising for your beardie. So, ensure that you have a calcium supplement powder to dust the worms before your pet eats them.
5. Feed Your Beardie The Appropriate Size
Eating a superworm too big can lead to complications for your pet. They’d be much more difficult to digest or excrete, and in their numbers, can cause a blockage to occur. The superworms should be small enough for your pet to swallow easily. It shouldn’t take ages to munch or swallow one worm.
Are Mealworms Better Than Superworms For Bearded Dragons?
Mealworms and superworms are slightly similar. Superworms have higher fat and protein content compared to mealworms, and they also have softer shells making them easier to digest. This places the superworms further above mealworms on the scale since they are more nutritious and easier to metabolize. Technically speaking, superworms are better than mealworms for bearded dragons.