beardies eating hornworms

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat hornworms, and they are considered a good source of nutrition due to their high calcium and water content.

Hornworms, also known as Manduca sexta, are one of the many insects recommended for inclusion in a bearded dragon’s diet due to their high protein content.

However, there is some debate among pet owners and experts about whether or not hornworms should be fed to bearded dragons.

This article aims to explore the question of whether or not bearded dragons can eat hornworms by examining scientific research on both animals’ dietary needs and preferences.

How Often Can A Bearded Dragon Eat Hornworms?

What's for dinner?
Credit: fotoJENica

Hornworms are one type of insect that can be included in a bearded dragon’s diet. However, it is important to note that hornworms should not make up the majority of a bearded dragon’s diet.

They are high in fat and low in calcium compared to other feeder insects such as crickets or dubia roaches. Therefore, they should only be fed occasionally as a treat rather than as a staple food item.

When incorporating hornworms into a bearded dragon’s feeding schedule, it is recommended to offer them once or twice per week at most.

It is crucial to ensure that the rest of their diet consists of appropriate feeder insects as well as fresh greens and vegetables to provide optimal nutrition for the reptile.

A varied and balanced diet will help promote healthy growth and development while reducing the risk of health problems associated with improper nutrition.

Are Hornworms A Staple Food For Bearded Dragons?

Down The Hatch.
Credit: Alan Rust

As mentioned in the previous section, one of the questions that often arise among bearded dragon owners is whether or not their pets can eat hornworms.

Hornworms are commonly used as feeders for reptiles due to their high nutritional value and ease of care. However, before feeding a bearded dragon with hornworms, it is important to understand how to properly care for them.

Hornworm care involves providing them with adequate space and temperature regulation, as well as a suitable diet consisting mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also essential to keep their habitat clean and free from any harmful bacteria or parasites that may cause illness in both the worms and your pet dragon.

With proper maintenance and attention, hornworms can be an excellent addition to a bearded dragon’s diet.

Despite being rich in nutrients such as protein, calcium, and vitamin B12, hornworms should not be considered a staple food for bearded dragons.

While they provide numerous health benefits when fed in moderation, overfeeding these worms can lead to adverse effects such as obesity or digestive problems.

As always, it is best to consult with a veterinarian or experienced breeder regarding the appropriate feeding schedule and quantity based on your pet’s individual needs.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms That Are Dead?

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As responsible pet owners, we want to ensure the health and longevity of our beloved bearded dragons. It can be tempting to offer them a variety of treats, such as hornworms, but it is important to consider the potential risks associated with this type of food.

Feeding dead hornworms to your bearded dragon poses several health hazards. Firstly, these insects are prone to bacteria growth when they die, which can lead to digestive issues or even bacterial infections in your pet.

Secondly, dead hornworms lack the same nutritional value as live ones, meaning that feeding them to your bearded dragon may not provide any benefits while still exposing them to potential harm.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize these risks if you choose to feed hornworms to your bearded dragon.

One way is by ensuring proper hornworm care before offering them as food. This includes providing adequate space for them to move around and avoiding overcrowding.

Tips on how to safely feed hornworms:

  • Always offer live hornworms instead of dead ones.
  • If purchasing from a supplier, ask about their insect husbandry practices and avoid those who do not prioritize quality care.

How To Feed A Bearded Dragon Hornworm?

Hornworms make an excellent food source for a bearded dragon. They are high in calcium and have a soft texture, making them easy for a bearded dragon to digest. Hornworms can be purchased at pet stores, online, or grown at home.

When purchasing hornworms, make sure to inspect them for any signs of mold or disease. When feeding hornworms to a bearded dragon, they should be gut-loaded with a nutritious diet and offered in small portions.

Hornworms should be handled with care as they are fragile and can easily be crushed. Hornworms should also be dusted with a calcium supplement prior to feeding.

How Many Hornworms Should A Bearded Dragon Eat In A Day?

Bearded dragons can eat between 20-50 hornworms per day as juveniles, but they should be fed more vegetation as adults.

Adult bearded dragons should be provided the same number (20-50) but over one week. However, a proper diet will have between 9-15 per week. Feeding too many hornworms can cause an imbalanced and unhealthy diet.

It is recommended to feed adult bearded dragons on a 3-day rotation, with 3-5 hornworms around three times per week. This works out to 9-15 hornworms per week.

Hornworms are high in protein and can benefit bearded dragons who have recently emerged from brumation or have completed mating. However, they should not be used as the sole live food or protein source.

Potential Health Risks Associated With Feeding Hornworms To Bearded Dragons

As a bearded dragon owner, it is essential to understand the potential health risks associated with feeding hornworms to your pet.

Although these worms are often marketed as nutritious and healthy food for reptiles, they can pose some serious threats if not handled correctly.

Firstly, improper hornworm care may lead to bacterial infections in bearded dragons. These worms require specific environmental conditions and precautions during handling that many owners may overlook or ignore. Feeding infected hornworms to your pet could introduce harmful bacteria into their digestive system and cause severe illness.

Secondly, excessive consumption of hornworms can also have negative impacts on the digestive system of bearded dragons. As one of the softest feeder insects available, hornworms lack the chitin content necessary for proper digestion in captive reptiles. Overfeeding these worms could result in impaction or other gastrointestinal issues that might require veterinary treatment.

Therefore, while hornworms can provide valuable nutrients for bearded dragons when fed appropriately, it is crucial to take extra care when including them in your pet’s diet.

Nutritional Value Of Hornworms

While feeding hornworms to bearded dragons may have potential health risks, it is important to consider their nutritional value.

Hornworms are a good source of protein and calcium for bearded dragons.

They also contain high levels of moisture, which can help keep the reptile hydrated.

In addition, they are low in fat and phosphorus, making them a healthy supplement to a bearded dragon diet.

Compared to other common feeder insects such as crickets or mealworms, hornworms have higher levels of protein and lower levels of fat.

However, care must be taken when feeding hornworms to bearded dragons as they do have sharp mandibles that can cause injuries if not handled properly.

It is recommended to only feed appropriately sized hornworms and ensure they are gut-loaded with nutritious foods before being offered as food.

Overall, while there may be some potential risks associated with feeding hornworms to bearded dragons, they offer significant nutritional benefits when included in a balanced diet plan.

Hornworms Handling Tips

Hornworms, also known as Goliath worms or tobacco hornworms, are an excellent diet variety for bearded dragons. They contain a high amount of calcium and protein which helps to support healthy hormone balance in the animal.

It is important to handle these worms safely when feeding them to your dragon. When purchasing hornworms, check that they appear to be alive and wriggling slightly before providing them as food.

Hornworms should always be thoroughly washed before being fed, as their skin may contain bacteria or pesticides from where they have been grown commercially. Once cleaned, take care not to drop them on the floor as this can cause injury.

It is generally recommended to feed your dragon hornworms no more than once or twice per week with other insects such as crickets making up the majority of its diet.

Where To Buy Hornworms?

Buying Guides:

  • Researching trustworthy suppliers
  • Investigating organic vs non-organic options
  • Comparing prices between different sources
  • Ensuring high-quality standards

Finding Sources:

  • Online vendors (eBay/Amazon)
  • Local pet stores or feed stores
  • Breeding farms or hatcheries

Organic Options:

  • Higher safety and quality control measures
  • More expensive
  • May have more dietary benefits

Nutrition Facts:

  • Protein content
  • Vitamin Content
  • Mineral Content
  • Fat content

How To Keep And Store Hornworms For My Bearded Dragon?

Hornworms are a popular food source for bearded dragons, but their storage and care is important when keeping them as part of your dragon’s diet. Hornworms must be stored in optimal temperatures and with enough nutrition to keep them alive. Additionally, there are certain housing considerations that should be taken into account to ensure the safety of both you and your beardie.


To store hornworms correctly, they need to be kept at an ideal temperature range between 40°F – 70°F.

If the temperature gets too high or low, it will cause the worms to die quickly.

To make sure hornworms have sufficient nutrition while being held in captivity, feed them carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes; these vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals for hornworm health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Buy Hornworms For My Bearded Dragon?

Hornworms are one of the popular feed options for bearded dragons. These caterpillars are rich in protein and calcium, making them a nutritious addition to your pet’s diet.

If you’re looking to buy hornworms for your bearded dragon, there are several online retailers that offer these insects as live or frozen food items. It is important to ensure that the hornworms are sourced from reputable suppliers and are properly gut-loaded before feeding them to your beardie.

Are There Any Alternatives To Feeding My Bearded Dragon Hornworms?

When considering alternative feeding options for a bearded dragon, it is important to evaluate the nutritional content of potential food sources.

One option could be crickets, which are high in protein and calcium when gut-loaded with appropriate supplements.

Dubia roaches may also be considered as they have a similar nutrient profile to crickets but are less likely to carry parasites or diseases.

Superworms can offer a good source of fat, however, their exoskeleton contains chitin which could cause impaction if fed excessively.

Dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, or mustard greens should also form part of the diet to provide fiber and vitamins A & C.

Can Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?

Yes, juvenile bearded dragons can eat hornworms as part of their diet, which should consist of approximately half insect and half plant matter. They can consume 20 to 50 insects per day, including hornworms, as they require extra protein for healthy growth.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms As Part Of A Balanced Diet Or Should They Only Be Given As Treats?

Bearded dragons can eat hornworms as part of a balanced diet. Hornworms are a good source of protein, calcium, and water for bearded dragons. Juvenile bearded dragons can be fed hornworms as part of a diet consisting of half insects and half plant matter.

Adult bearded dragons should eat hornworms in moderation, no more than once or twice a week, to prevent over-consumption of calcium and maintain a balanced diet.

Can Baby And Juvenile Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?

Yes, both baby and juvenile bearded dragons can eat hornworms, but it should be done with caution

For juveniles, 20 to 50 insects a day, including hornworms, can be fed.

Baby bearded dragons should only be fed small hornworms in moderate amounts. It is essential to provide the appropriate size of hornworms, as large hornworms can hurt baby dragons.

Hornworms should be mixed with other feeder insects like roaches, earthworms, and crickets. While hornworms are a good source of calcium and hydration, they should not be treated as a staple food due to their low protein content.

Are Hornworms Or Superworms Better For Bearded Dragons?

Hornworms and superworms both have benefits for bearded dragons. Hornworms are rich in nutrients, containing 9% protein, 3% fat, and 85% moisture, which helps with hydration.

Superworms are a good source of calcium, fat, and fiber, but they have a thicker shell and should be fed in moderation. Superworms are not recommended for baby bearded dragons due to their thick exoskeletons and aggressive nature.

What To Do With Hornworms That Are Too Big?

Bearded dragons can safely eat hornworms at the juvenile stage, which is between five to eighteen months. Juvenile bearded dragons can eat hornworms freely as they need all the protein and energy they can get.

Young bearded dragons can consume between 20 and 50 hornworms per day.

As they grow older, it is recommended to feed them more vegetation and reduce the number of hornworms. Adult bearded dragons should eat 20 to 50 hornworms per week.

Remember to maintain a balanced diet for your bearded dragon, including a mix of insects and plant matter.

At What Age Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?

Bearded dragons can safely eat hornworms at the juvenile stage, which is between five to eighteen months.

Juvenile bearded dragons can eat hornworms freely as they need all the protein and energy they can get. Young bearded dragons can consume between 20 and 50 hornworms per day.

As they grow older, it is recommended to feed them more vegetation and reduce the number of hornworms. Adult bearded dragons should eat 20 to 50 hornworms per week.

Remember to maintain a balanced diet for your bearded dragon, including a mix of insects and plant matter.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Hornworms?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat tomato hornworms. Tomato hornworms are considered safe for bearded dragons and are low in toxins.

They are rich in calcium and moisture, and have some protein and fat, making them beneficial for bearded dragons.

Can A Hornworm Be Too Big For A Bearded Dragon?

Yes, a hornworm can be too big for a bearded dragon. It is essential to feed your bearded dragon hornworms that are not larger than the distance between their eyes, especially for juvenile or baby dragons.

Feeding a bearded dragon a hornworm that is too big can cause impaction, choking, paralysis, or even death.

It is recommended to give smaller hornworms to baby bearded dragons, slightly larger ones to juveniles, and full-sized hornworms to adults, as long as they are not wider than the space between the dragon’s eyes.