Hornworms are worms with an oval-shaped body with brownish-yellow coloration, and they come in different sizes. Hornworms vary in size from 2 inches to 9 inches long. Hornworm larvae are soft-bodied at first but harden up into the pupal stage before becoming an adult worms.
If you see them in your garden, you may wonder if bearded dragons can eat hornworms?
Yes, bearded dragons can eat hornworms. These are caterpillars that are mostly found during the warmer months of the year. You will find them mostly on tomato and tobacco plants. They will eat the leaves of the plants. For tomato plants, the leaves contain a toxin that can harm your beardie. Make sure that the hornworms that are going to be fed to them are not feeding on the tomato plants.
Is It Safe For Bearded Dragons To Eat Hornworms?
Hornworm itself is safe for bearded dragons to eat. However, the plants that they eat could pose a threat to the beardie.
The hornworm’s diet consists of tomato plants. The part that these caterpillars eat is the leaves. The leaves contain toxic alkaloids, which include tomatine and solanine. These toxins are poisonous and could cause harm to the beardie. Enough of the toxin could even kill them.
Therefore, to ensure that the hornworms are safe for them to eat, it’s recommended to not feed them hornworms that are found in the wild.
You can either buy the hornworms or raise them to eat on other plants besides tomato plants.
Is It Healthy For Bearded Dragons To Eat Hornworms?
If you feed hornworms to your bearded dragons, there are some health benefits that they can get from it.
Hornworms are high in water content, which makes them an excellent food for hydration. While beardie doesn’t need a lot of water in their diet, it doesn’t hurt them to have extra water to keep them hydrated, especially during the summer.
Besides water, hornworms have a good amount of protein, fat, and calcium. All of these nutrients are important to the health of the beardie.
Proteins are essential in the body and help to build, maintain, and repair cells. They also help with the functioning of hormones and enzymes.
As for fats, it helps provide energy for the beardie and help keep them warm during the winter.
Calcium is another nutrient that’s plentiful in hornworms. Calcium is a mineral that is essential for the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. It also helps with muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and hormone secretion.
Calcium is important to bearded dragons and they need plenty of it daily. Without enough calcium in their diet, the beardie could develop the metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Can Baby Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Baby bearded dragons often have difficulty chewing and swallowing hornworms.
For that reason, if you are going to feed your baby bearded dragon, you should feed them small insects like crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, and wax worms.
How To Feed Hornworms To Bearded Dragons
When it comes to feeding hornworms to your bearded dragon, it’s really simple and straightforward.
All you need to do is place the hornworm next to the beardie. Almost in an instant, the lizard will catch and eat the hornworm.
When feeding them, be sure to watch your beardie carefully. Sometimes, the hornworm could give a good fight and cause your beardie to have a hard time swallowing it.
How Often Can Bearded Dragons Eat Hornworms?
Bearded dragons are omnivores and eat both plants and small animals. They are known for eating hornworms, which are caterpillars that can be found in the wild. Bearded Dragons eat hornworms every day if they can find them because they like their taste of them.
While hornworms are nutritious for bearded dragons to eat, be sure to not give them too much of it.
The diet of an adult bearded dragon should consist of 80% vegetables and fruit, of which 10% of being fruit. The other 20% should be insects and other live small creatures.
Other Worms That Bearded Dragons Can Eat
Earthworms– Although bearded dragons aren’t typically known to eat earthworms, they do have a taste for them. They will eat earthworms as long as they are offered in a variety of ways that include live worms, cooked worms, and even frozen worms.
Silkworms- Bearded dragons have the ability to eat small animals like silkworms. Silkworms are their favorite food because they have a high protein content and they can digest them easily.
Superworms- Bearded dragons eat superworms, which is a type of worm that is high in protein content.
A bearded dragon will eat anything that it can fit in its mouth, which includes hornworms. You should also make sure that your beardie is getting enough calcium, which is necessary for proper growth and development.