Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Hornworms

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Hornworms?

Yes, bearded dragons can eat hornworms, since they’re a popular protein source.

If you want your bearded dragon to be healthy, you should not feed him wild hornworms, as they can be toxic from tomato and tobacco plants.

Instead, you should purchase hornworms raised specifically for feeding. Hornworms should not be a staple in your bearded dragon’s diet, but they can be fed every two or three days.

To avoid choking hazards, make sure hornworms do not exceed the space between your dragon’s eyes.

Introduction to Tomato Hornworms as Potential Food Source

spike bearded dragon
Credit: Dawn Leckie

Tomato hornworms are the larvae form of hawk moths commonly found in North America on tomato plants but also feed on other plants such as peppers and eggplants. These insects are known for their green color, large size, and horn-like protrusions on their backs.

In recent years, tomato hornworms have become popular feeder insects for many reptile keepers due to their relatively high nutritional value. They are a good source of protein as well essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium making them a potential alternative to other common feeder insects for bearded dragons.

Nutritional value of tomato hornworms

Bearded Dragon
Credit: T Martin

Tomato hornworms provide a high level of nutrition for animals that consume them, including bearded dragons. These caterpillars are high in protein and fat, making them an excellent supplementary food source for reptiles.

They also contain essential amino acids, vitamins (A, B6, B12), and minerals (calcium and iron). It is important to note that tomato hornworms are not a complete diet and should only be fed as part of a balanced feeding plan designed to meet all of the dragon’s nutritional requirements.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomato Hornworms?

Bearded dragon in the dome
Credit: Lilly Sanovia

Discussion on the safety and suitability of feeding tomato hornworms to bearded dragons

Feeding your pet bearded dragon a balanced diet that includes insects is crucial for maintaining its health. While many feeder insects are commonly recommended, such as crickets and mealworms, some owners may wonder if their dragons can also eat tomato hornworms.

The good news is that these fat, green caterpillars are safe for bearded dragons to consume in moderation. However, it’s important to ensure that the tomato hornworms have not been exposed to pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Pesticides can accumulate in the bodies of insects and potentially harm your pet dragon or even lead to death. Therefore, it’s always best to purchase live or dried tomato hornworms from reputable sources that guarantee they are free from toxic substances.

Comparison with other common feeder insects for bearded dragons

When considering adding tomato hornworms to your dragon’s diet, it’s important to compare them with other common feeder insects. For instance, crickets have a higher protein content compared to tomato hornworms but lower levels of calcium and fat.

On the other hand, mealworms are high in fat but low in calcium and protein. Tomato hornworms contain high levels of moisture which can provide hydration for your pet dragon.

They also contain moderate levels of protein and fat which are essential nutrients required by bearded dragons. Additionally, they are rich in vitamins such as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins which contribute to good health.

Potential benefits and drawbacks of feeding tomato hornworms to bearded dragons

There are several potential benefits of incorporating tomato hornworms into your beardie’s diet. As mentioned earlier, they provide hydration due to their high moisture content.

They also contain essential nutrients like protein, fat, and vitamins which are vital for maintaining your pet dragon’s overall health. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider as well.

First, tomato hornworms are not the most cost-effective feeder insects compared to others like crickets or mealworms. Additionally, they can be messy and difficult to handle due to their size and tendency to wriggle around when picked up.

Some bearded dragons may not prefer the taste or texture of tomato hornworms and may refuse to eat them. Overall, feeding tomato hornworms to your bearded dragon can provide several potential benefits if done safely and in moderation.

As with any new food item added to your pet’s diet, it’s important to monitor their behavior and digestion carefully. Consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your dragon’s health or dietary needs.

How to Feed Tomato Hornworms to Bearded Dragons

Feeding tomato hornworms to bearded dragons can provide them with a nutritious and tasty treat. Whether you choose to feed your dragon live or dried tomato hornworms, there are important preparation and handling tips that you should follow to ensure that your pet stays healthy and safe.

Firstly, if you opt for live tomato hornworms, make sure they are purchased from a reputable supplier that does not use pesticides or other harmful chemicals on the worms.

Before feeding them to your pet, quarantine them for at least 24 hours in a separate container with fresh food and water in order to observe if they have any signs of illness or parasites. Once the quarantine period is over and the worms appear healthy, prepare them by rinsing them thoroughly under running water before serving.

If you prefer dried tomato hornworms instead of live ones, look for reliable sources that offer high-quality dried worms without added preservatives or artificial flavors. You can also store dried worms in an airtight container in a cool place after opening.

Preparation and Handling Tips for Feeding Live or Dried Tomato Hornworms

When it comes to feeding any type of food item to your bearded dragon, cleanliness is essential. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling any feeder insects or their containers. Use clean utensils when scooping out worm portions into your dragon’s dish.

After serving, remove all uneaten portions promptly. If using live worms make sure they are not left loose in the enclosure as they might burrow into substrate material which may cause substrate impaction when ingested by the dragon.

The frequency and amount of tomato hornworms you should feed your bearded dragon depends largely on its age and size. For adult bearded dragons, tomato hornworms can be offered as a treat every two weeks, with one to three worms per feeding.

For juvenile bearded dragons, the amount should be less and the frequency of feeding greater. It is essential to avoid overfeeding your bearded dragon with tomato hornworms.

Even though they provide valuable nutrients, excessive amounts may lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or metabolic bone disease. Always monitor the weight and overall health of your pet and seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns.

Possible Variations in Feeding Methods Depending on Age, Size, and Health Condition of the Dragon

Bearded dragons have different nutritional requirements depending on their age, size, and health status.

It is important to factor in these variables when determining how often or how much tomato hornworms to feed them. For example, baby bearded dragons require more frequent small meals compared to adult ones due to their faster metabolism.

Senior dragons may require less protein-rich foods because they are less active and prone to weight gain.

Also if a dragon has certain health conditions such as jaw deformities or dental issues it might make it difficult for them to eat larger-sized food items like live worms so smaller size worms or dehydrated ones might be more suitable for consumption.

Tomato hornworms can offer a nutritious snack for your pet beardie but only when offered in moderation alongside other food sources like leafy greens and other staple insects that are safe for them.


Summary of key points discussed in the article

In this article, we have examined tomato hornworms as a potential food source for bearded dragons. We provided a detailed description of tomato hornworms, their habitat, and their nutritional value.

We also explored the safety and suitability of feeding tomato hornworms to bearded dragons, highlighting both the benefits and drawbacks. Additionally, we discussed how to properly feed tomato hornworms to bearded dragons.

Final thoughts on whether or not it is advisable to feed your pet bearded dragon with tomato hornworms

After careful examination of all the information presented in this article, it can be concluded that feeding your pet bearded dragon with tomato hornworms is generally safe and can provide additional nutrition to their diet. However, it should not replace a balanced diet consisting of varied feeder insects and vegetables.

It is important to note that some owners may choose not to feed their pets with live prey due to ethical reasons. As such, dried tomato hornworms may also serve as an alternative source of nutrition.