One of the most frequently asked questions about bearded dragons is on whether they can eat hornworms. In this article, you will find out whether bearded dragons can eat hornworms and if yes, how to go about feeding the bearded dragons on hornworms.
Can bearded dragons eat hornworms? The answer is yes. Bearded dragons can eat hornworms, but not on a daily basis. Hornworms don’t have all the nutrients that a bearded dragon needs: hence why they are not ideal for daily feeding. But bearded dragons can have 3 to 5 hornworms once every two or three days.
The most important thing is to ensure that the hornworms you give to your bearded dragon are not too big.
It is also important to ensure that you never give your bearded dragon wild caught hornworms. That is because such wild caught hornworms for bearded dragons can actually be toxic. But the ones that pet food stores sell are usually quite okay.
What Are Hornworms?
Before venturing to answer the can bearded dragons eat hornworms question, we first need to understand what the hornworms in question are.
Hornworms are the larvae of hawk moths. In other words, when hawk months are in the caterpillar stage, we refer to them as hornworms.
Their tail has a horn-like spike. It is from that horn-like spike that these worms get their name: hornworms.
These hornworms fall into two broad categories: tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
In answering the can bearded dragons eat hornworms question, there are three considerations we need to make. Firstly, we need to understand whether bearded dragons are capable of eating (ingesting) hornworms.
Are bearded dragons capable of eating (ingesting) hornworms? The answer is ‘yes’. Bearded dragons have the ability to eat hornworms. As a matter of fact, bearded dragons seem to enjoy eating hornworms considerably.
Let us now turn to the second consideration: are hornworms safe for bearded dragons? Or, to put it differently, can hornworms hurt bearded dragons?
The answer is that, for the most part, hornworms are safe for bearded dragons. Of course, there are cases where you may find a hornworm too big for bearded dragon. In that case, the hornworms can be harmful for the bearded dragons.
Wild caught hornworms can also be harmful for a bearded dragon, due to potential toxicity.
But where the hornworms are small enough, and not wild caught, then they are not harmful to bearded dragons.
Now turning to the third consideration, are hornworms beneficial to bearded dragons? The answer is yes. Hornworms have nutrients that bearded dragons can benefit from.
They are rich in calcium, moisture and also have some protein and fat. Therefore they are beneficial to bearded dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Hornworms?
As noted earlier, hornworms fall into two broad categories: namely tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms.
Can bearded dragons eat tomato hornworms? The answer is ‘yes’.
Of the two types of hornworms, tomato hornworms are the safest when it comes to feeding bearded dragons. The possibility of tomato hornworms being toxic is very low: hence why they are ideal.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tobacco Hornworms?
Tobacco hornworms may not be particularly ideal for bearded dragons. This is because the tobacco hornworms often store up toxins from the tobacco plants they eat.
These are toxins that may be harmful to a bearded dragon, if it happens to eat such tobacco hornworms.
Therefore where there is a choice, tomato hornworms would be much more preferable to tobacco hornworms, when it comes to feeding a bearded dragon.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Live Hornworms?
Often, the people who pose the can bearded dragons eat hornworms question are interested in specific aspects of feeding bearded dragons on hornworms. Like in this case, the interest may be on whether bearded dragons can eat live hornworms.
So, indeed, can bearded dragons eat hornworms that are alive? The answer is yes. In fact, it is highly advisable to ensure that you feed your bearded dragon on live hornworms.
The hornworms seem to be more enjoyable to the bearded dragons when they eat them alive.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Dead Hornworms?
In most cases, when you offer your bearded dragon a dead hornworm, the bearded dragon won’t recognize it as food.
So you find that in most cases, a bearded dragon only recognizes a worm as food if it is alive and moving.
Can bearded dragons eat hornworms that are dead? Theoretically, the answer is ‘yes’. But there is also the possibility of the bearded dragons not recognizing the already dead hornworms as food.
You are more likely to have success in feeding your bearded dragon on hornworms if you offer them alive.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Blue Hornworms?
Hornworms usually come in two colors: blue and green.
Starting with blue, can bearded dragons eat hornworms of the blue variety? The answer is ‘yes’. Bearded dragons usually relish eating the blue hornworms.
Therefore if you get hornworms of the blue variety, you can proceed to feed your bearded dragon on them.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Hornworms?
As noted earlier, hornworms come either in blue or green color.
Can bearded dragons eat hornworms of the green variety? The answer is ‘yes’. Beardies can eat green hornworms.
Therefore if the hornworms available to you are of the green variety, you can proceed to feed your bearded dragon on them.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms From Outside?
Ideally, bearded dragons shouldn’t eat wild caught hornworms.
The problem with these wild caught hornworms is in the fact that one can’t tell what they have been feeding on.
Sometimes, you find that they have toxins acquired from the plants they eat. For instance, if they have been eating tobacco plants, they may have toxins from them. And if a bearded dragon feeds on them, the toxins from the tobacco plant may hurt it.
But for the hornworms that pet food stores sell, this problem is not there. The people who rear them go to great lengths to ensure that they don’t eat anything that can be harmful to bearded dragons (or whatever else will ultimately get to eat them).
What Age Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Bearded dragons may start eating hornworms right from when they are babies. So there is no specific age we can pinpoint as the appropriate one to start feeding a bearded dragon on hornworms.
Can baby bearded dragons eat hornworms? The answer is ‘yes’. Can juvenile bearded dragons eat hornworms? The answer is still ‘yes’. And can adult bearded dragons eat hornworms? The answer is in the affirmative.
The most important thing is to ensure that the hornworm you give to the bearded dragon is not too big for the dragon.
Therefore what may be suitable hornworms for juvenile bearded dragons may be totally unsuitable for baby bearded dragons.
The general rule of the thumb is to ensure that the width of the hornworm you feed your bearded dragon on is not greater than the space between the beardie’s eyes.
If you feed a bearded dragon on a hornworm that is too big, there may be impaction. There may also be choking. In the worst case scenario, there can even be paralysis and death.
Therefore for a baby bearded dragon, you should only give the smallest of hornworms.
For a juvenile bearded dragon, you can give a bigger but not oversized hornworm.
And for an adult bearded dragon, you can give a full size hornworm: as long as it is not wider than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes.
How Many Hornworms Can A Bearded Dragon Eat?
In answering the can bearded dragons eat hornworms question, we also need to address this aspect: of how many such worms a bearded dragon can eat.
The truth of the matter is that a bearded dragon should only have a few hornworms. That translates to roughly between 3 and 5 hornworms per feeding.
In the short term, eating too many hornworms can lead to overhydration, as the worms have lots of moisture. That can in turn lead to digestive problems, one of which is some sort of diarrhea.
In the long run, eating too many hornworms (or too many worms of any type for that matter) can lead to problems such as obesity.
But if you take to feeding your bearded dragon on only between 3 and 5 hornworms per feeding, you are unlikely to have much of a problem.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Hornworms are not among the foods that you can give your bearded dragon on a daily basis.
Ideally, you should only give your bearded dragon hornworms once every 2 to 3 days at most.
If you take to feeding your bearded dragon on hornworms too frequently, there may be problems.
In the short term, there may be digestive problems – including diarrhea – on account of over-hydration. These worms have too much moisture, hence the potential for this problem.
In the long run, there may be obesity. True, the hornworms may not be particularly rich in protein and fat. But the little protein and fat in them is still capable of causing obesity in a pet bearded dragon that is largely sedentary.
How To Feed Hornworms For Bearded Dragons
You will first need to obtain the hornworms with which to feed your bearded dragon. There are pet food stores from which you may purchase the worms.
There are also those who may attempt to raise their own hornworms in their gardens. But the hornworms can easily turn into pests. So that is something to be aware of.
After obtaining the hornworms, the next challenge you will have to tackle is on how to store hornworms for bearded dragons. This may entail refrigeration, to keep the worms from growing too fast.
Remember, if the worms become wider than the space between your bearded dragon’s eyes, they would be unsuitable for feeding.
When the actual feeding time comes, what you may need to do is pick the worms with tongs. Then dangle them before the bearded dragon. Once the bearded dragon recognizes them, it will proceed to devour them.
At this point, one may ask, can bearded dragons eat the horn on hornworms? And the answer is ‘yes’. Bearded dragons can eat the horns on hornworms.
Although they look tough, these horns are actually quite soft, and most bearded dragons enjoy eating them.
After a period of, say, 15 minutes, you should go back and remove any worms that the bearded dragon may not have eaten. If you leave them there, they may have the potential to bite the bearded dragon.
Final Verdict – Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms
Bearded dragons can eat hornworms. The hornworms are rich in calcium and moisture, which the bearded dragons need. They also have some fat and protein, which can be beneficial to the bearded dragon.
The most important thing is to ensure that you only use hornworms of the right size. They shouldn’t be wider than the space between the bearded dragon’s eyes.
It is important to avoid giving wild caught hornworms, as they can be potentially toxic.
Ideally, bearded dragons should only have a few hornworms (like between 3 and 5), and not daily – but rather, once in every 2 to 3 days.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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