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Are Superworms Good For Bearded Dragons?
If you’re new to bearded dragons, there’s a ton of research to do. Beardies are amazing pets, but they have some specific needs. As a pet owner, your number one goal is always to make sure that they’re happy and healthy.
Keeping your bearded dragon happy and healthy goes a lot farther than making sure they’re fed, watered, and warm. As omnivores, bearded dragons have complex diets. Because of this, you can’t just pick one type of insect to feed them and call it good.
So what should you be feeding your bearded dragon? Superworms are a popular option for lots of reptiles. Will they meet all of your beardie’s needs? We put together this quick guide to superworm nutritional facts to help you decide.
What Are Superworms?
The superworm (Zophobas morio) has a slightly confusing name. Because it isn’t actually a worm at all. Instead, it’s the larvae of a darkling beetle.
Adult darkling beetles secrete toxic chemicals that make them inedible to most reptiles. But luckily for us, their larvae are not only edible but quite nutritious.
Compared to their closest cousin, the mealworm, superworms are much larger (up to 2” long!) and have harder, thicker exoskeletons. They’re much more active, as well.
For smaller reptiles, this can be a problem. Superworms can be too large and too tough for smaller reptile pet species to handle. But for something the size of a bearded dragon, superworms are a treat.
Superworm Nutritional Facts
Superworms contain lots of moisture, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber. Compared to their cousin the mealworm, They have much more protein, fat, and fiber.
Here’s a quick overview of the superworm’s nutritional content:
- Moisture: 57.9%
- Protein: 19.7%
- Fat: 17.7%
- Ash: 1%
- Fiber: 2.7%
- Calcium: 177mg/kg
- Phosphorus: 2370mg/kg
Compared to other feeder insects, like mealworms, house crickets, and butterworms, superworms perform much better in the protein and fiber categories. These are major positives.
Bearded Dragon Dietary Needs
As omnivores, bearded dragons need a highly varied diet to stay healthy and happy. Most recommend a ratio of 80% plants and 20% insects for adults. Owners commonly feed their beardies a combination of veggies and fruits to meet their dietary needs.
As far as the protein (or insect) portion of their diets go, bearded dragons need lots of calcium and protein. Foods high in fat should not be used as a primary food source, as bearded dragons are prone to obesity in captivity, and a lack of calcium can cause other serious health issues.
At this point, it probably sounds like superworms are not the right way to go for bearded dragons. But hear us out. While superworms should not be given to bearded dragons on a daily basis, they are perfect to give to your beardie as a special treat.
High fat insects are very desirable for lizards. Your beardie will seek out fatty grubs like superworms like he’s on a mission. In addition to that, superworms have a very high moisture and fiber content, which can help produce good stools for your pet.
The moral of the story here is that superworms are not an “everyday” kind of thing. But if you want to treat your beardie to a special snack, there’s nothing better than a superworm.
Other Reasons Bearded Dragons Love Superworms
Outside of the nutritional numbers game, there are a lot of reasons beardies go crazy for superworms. The first of these is that bearded dragons are born hunters. They love chasing their prey.
Superworms are a very sporty target for beardies. They’re highly active, moving quickly compared to other worms, and their size also gives your beardie more to chew on (literally). Chasing down a nice juicy superworm is about as much fun as your bearded dragon can have.
Secondly, you can sneakily use superworms to get your beardie to eat nutritional foods that it doesn’t love. For example, if your beardie isn’t crazy about dark, leafy greens, then you can try hiding a superworm or two in the leaves. Once your pet discovers there’s a special treat hiding inside, they’ll gladly gobble up the vegetables to get to them.
The Most Fun a Beardie Can Have
To wrap all this up, bearded dragons go bananas for superworms. Their high fat content makes them a highly desirable treat. In addition to that, beardies love to hunt active prey, and superworms are large-bodied and highly active.
Lastly, you can use this to your advantage to trick your beardie into eating nutritious veggies that it may not love as much. All told, superworms have a place in any beardie’s diet, and will definitely be one of their favorite special treats.