Bearded Dragons can eat nightcrawlers, but it is important to be careful when feeding them earthworms in the wild.
Bearded Dragons are typically omnivores, so their diets typically consist of both vegetation and meat. Grassy greens such as mustard greens or collard greens make up the majority of a healthy Bearded Dragon’s diet. However, in the wild, it is common for their food source to be supplemented by small insects such as crickets and mealworms. Recently there has been an increase in people who feed their Bearded Dragon earthworms rather than the typical crickets. This brings us to our question: Can Bearded Dragons eat nightcrawlers?
The short answer is Yes! In fact, earthworms are a healthy addition to your Bearded Dragon’s diet.
If they are not found near water or in topsoil, then you should avoid giving them worms that have come into contact with dirt. Once an earthworm has been pulled from the ground, it will begin to suffocate and release toxins in order to prevent any predators from eating it. It is best to give your dragon only the part of the worm that you want him/her to eat, without touching anything else on the worm itself as this could poison your bearded dragon. For example: if you wanted to only feed your bearded dragon half of the worm, you would cut the worm in half at the diameter (assuming it’s not already split), and then pull apart each side of the worm and give your bearded dragon only the soft inside of the worm. Check out which insects bearded dragons can eat?
Nutritional Components of Nightcrawlers
Nightcrawlers are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. They contain small amounts of vitamin C as well as the B-complex vitamins thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and pyridoxine (B6). However, since nightcrawlers are typically not suggested in large quantities, you should also give your Bearded Dragon other sources of these nutrients.
As with any food that you feed to your Bearded Dragon, nightcrawlers do carry the risk of impaction if they are fed too often or in excess. Impaction occurs when there is an obstruction of the digestive tract usually due to feeding too many indigestible food items or because of a mineral imbalance. This is typically more harmful to the animal if it occurs in young, juvenile Bearded Dragons.
If you would like to increase your dragon’s calcium intake, then nightcrawlers are a good idea as long as they aren’t fed too frequently and other calcium sources such as leafy greens like collard greens are included in their diet.
Insects for Bearded Dragons
Advantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Nightcrawlers
- High in protein, calcium and iron.
- Can be safely fed to juvenile Bearded Dragons with proper supervision.
- Earthworms contain small amounts of B-complex vitamins and vitamin C; can be a good source for my Bearded Dragon.
You should always wash your hands before handling your Bearded Dragon in order to reduce the chance of accidentally transferring any soil onto their skin. It is also important to make sure that your bearded dragon’s enclosure is kept clean at all times in order to prevent impaction from occurring if you accidentally transfer something into their cage that they shouldn’t eat.
Disadvantages of Feeding My Bearded Dragon Nightcrawlers
- Can be difficult to find in some regions, especially if you are unable to go digging for them yourself.
- May contain traces of soil which can lead to impaction if too many worms are fed at one time.
- Nightcrawlers may have come into contact with contaminated soil and/or pesticides that, if eaten, could hurt your bearded dragon.
How Many Nightcrawlers Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon?
A good rule of thumb is to give your dragon only one nightcrawler about once a week. At least until he/she gets used to them.
If they are not eaten that day, then you can remove them from the enclosure in order to prevent them from being dug into the substrate and becoming part of your Bearded Dragon’s natural habitat.
Any time you feed your dragon something new, you should watch carefully for signs of impaction or distress in order to make sure that they are able to digest it properly with no issues. If any problems arise with feeding nightcrawlers to your bearded dragon, then avoid giving it anymore until their digestive system has had time to heal itself after the previous food item has been removed.
Nightcrawlers are safe for your bearded dragon to eat. However, if you want to remove the risk of impaction then only feed them once per week. Just be sure that it has been thoroughly washed before giving it to your bearded dragon and that they are big enough that they won’t get stuck in their throat!
You can always give your bearded dragon fresh vegetables with no added salt or spices as well. Feel free to consult our list of safe veggies, fruits and insects for bearded dragons for more information about what foods you can feed them. If you have any other questions or concerns about feeding nightcrawlers to your Bearded Dragon, then feel free to leave us a comment at the bottom of this article.