Bearded dragons are known for having quite varying diets. A staple part of these diets, though, much like many other reptiles, is worms. Between waxworms, mealworms, and Superworms, bearded dragons seem to love the taste and the nutritional benefits that worms seem to provide.
However, as experienced beardie owners know, baby beardies have different dietary needs. So, is it recommended that baby beardies eat superworms? No. Although superworms are fine to eat for adult bearded dragons, baby bearded dragons can not eat them. This is because they can cause gut impaction, which is a serious condition that can harm baby bearded dragons in critical stages of their growth.
Why can’t baby bearded dragons eat superworms?
Since superworms are fine food for adult bearded dragons, it might stand to reason they’re okay for baby beardies as well. However, this assumption would be wrong. Superworms can’t be eaten by baby bearded dragons the same way they can be eaten by adolescent and adult beardies for a number of reasons.
Firstly, superworms are tough for baby bearded dragons to digest. They have thick exoskeletons that make them hard to chew and digest in the stomach. This, coupled with the more fragile new digestive systems of baby bearded dragons is a recipe for disaster.
More accurately, it’s a recipe for gut impaction. Gut impaction is a very dangerous condition and is one of the leading causes of death in baby bearded dragons. It stands to reason, then, that it should be avoided at all costs. This means you should probably never feed superworms to your baby beardie.
Superworms are also quite fatty. Although the levels of fat in them are fine for adults, they can throw off the delicate growing body of your little lizard in unhealthy ways. Insects with less fat and more protein are probably a better choice for your baby beardie.
Baby beardies might also have trouble catching and killing superworms. They’re quite big after all, and baby beardies who aren’t quite confident in their hunting skills yet might be too shy to aggressively hunt down, kill, and eat enough superworms to satiate their hunger. This could lead to them undereating, harming their growth and development going forward.
There are pretty much no good times to be feeding superworms to your baby beardie for the above reasons. Skip them and find a different insect to make up the majority of your baby beardie’s diet.
Good alternatives to superworms for your baby bearded dragon:
Now that we’ve covered why baby bearded dragons shouldn’t be eating superworms, it’s important to know what kinds of foods they can eat. What foods are good for raising a happy and healthy baby bearded dragon so it can become a strong adult?
For baby bearded dragons, you’ll mostly want to feed them smaller insects that it is easier for them to catch, chew, and swallow. This won’t only be easy on their still-growing digestive systems, but it will also teach them to hunt down their food in the tank with some easy prey.
A good amount of crickets for a baby bearded dragon is 20 to 40 crickets daily. Small dubia roaches can be considered interchangeable for these crickets. Along with these, a bit of greens is usually good as well to balance out the diet and provide vitamins and nutrients.
This may seem like a lot, but the crickets are rather small, and it is important for a growing bearded dragon to get all of the food it needs in order to turn into a healthy happy adult!
Examples of good insects include small feeder insects like crickets. Small dubia roaches also work great, as they are small and slow enough for baby bearded dragons to catch easily, and also easy to digest.
Around 25% of a baby bearded dragon’s diet should be greens and other plant material, while 75% should be proteins like crickets and roaches. Some of the best greens you can feed to your baby beardie are:
- Collard Greens
These veggies are good for your baby beardie because they provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that a bearded dragon needs in order to grow, without being too watery or throwing off the bearded dragon’s calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Since baby beardies have a high metabolism, it is ideal to feed them smaller meals, but more frequently than adults. They should be given crickets and roaches 3 to 4 times a day, and greens 3 to 4 times a week. This should loosely be a solid guideline, but make sure to pay attention to your own beardies needs and habits. They are quite unique creatures with unique needs!
What other foods should be avoided for baby bearded dragons similarly to superworms?
Like superworms, there are some other foods that you’ll want to avoid feeding to your baby bearded dragon. Similarly to superworms, mealworms and larger waxworms are a no-go. This is because their large size and tough exoskeletons make them difficult for baby bearded dragons to chew, swallow, and digest.
This can lead to problems like choking and gut impaction, which in bad cases can be fatal to bearded dragons, especially one of the more fragile baby beardies. Just stay away from larger worms in general. The smallest size waxworms should be fine, but that’s about it!
You should also try to avoid watery fruits and vegetables such as apricots, watermelon, dragon fruit, asparagus, and cucumber. These, although they can be healthy, can also cause diarrhea in a baby beardie due to being so watery.
Lastly, avoid anything with more phosphorus than calcium. It is very important to allow baby bearded dragons’ bones to grow properly.
So, no, it is not smart to feed your baby bearded dragon superworms. In fact, any large worms are probably not a good idea as they are tough to digest, chew, and swallow. Stick to small insects such as crickets and roaches for now, along with easy-to-eat greens.
Don’t worry, your little lizard will be big enough to eat a ton of worms in no time!