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Can Bearded Dragons Eat Wax Worms? [The Facts Of This Grub]

It is nice to treat your bearded dragon from time to time. Insects and grubs are often recommended and should even be a component in the diet to some extent. Of course, the age of your beardie matters, along with the specific type you offer. But what about wax worms? Are they a suitable option and can you look to feed them? If so, how many can you look to offer? With these questions in mind I decided to do some research. Here is an overview of my findings.

So can bearded dragons eat wax worms? Bearded dragons can eat wax worms and generally really enjoy doing so. They have soft-bodies and are small in size making them easy to consume and digest. However, wax worms are higher in fat, lower in protein and have a poorer calcium to phosphorous ratio than other common feeder insects. Therefore, they should only be provided in limited servings and in moderation. Otherwise health complications could arise and your beardie could develop a preference at the expense of other foods.

Superworms, Butterworms and Hornworms have a more favorable nutritional profile and should be preferred if at all possible. That being said, they can be difficult to come by and wax worms can have a place in your bearded dragons diet.

Wax worms have their own uses and advantages, despite their ineligibility to become a dietary staple.

Let us now take a closer look at wax worms and how you can look to introduce them to your bearded dragons diet if you haven’t already!

Can I Feed My Bearded Dragon Wax Worms?

It is perfectly safe to feed bearded dragons wax worms; and many owners do offer them from time to time. This appears to be key. They should only be fed in moderation.

Being the caterpillar larvae of wax moths, they only average between 2.5cm/1” in total length. 

They have soft bodies and are relatively small in size. This makes them suitable for most bearded dragons – irrespective of whether they are a baby or an adult.

Before we can understand why wax worms should only be fed in moderation, we must take a closer look at the their nutritional profile:

  • Moisture: 61% 
  • Total protein: 39%
  • Total fat: 52%
  • Calcium:Phosphorus ratio: 1:15 

As you can see, wax worms are very high in fat (over half their weight), while being lower in protein. We can also see that the calcium to phosphorous ratio is not preferable either.

Overfeeding wax worms or making them a dietary staple therefore can lead to issues with weight gain, or even growing problems in younger bearded dragons.

With all this in mind, this does not mean that they cannot or should not be offered at all. When doing so, you should look to offer them in a shallow, escape proof dish. You can even add calcium supplementation to balance the ratio out somewhat.

Wax worms are commonly enjoyed by most bearded dragons. They are flavoursome and due to the fat content, have a lot of taste.

For a bearded dragon that is malnourished, under-eating or has gone off their staple food – they can be very helpful.

You can look to add a few wax worms on particular greens; and this can help to boost their consumption of health-promoting plant matter.

Just be sure not to become too reliant on this strategy!

Bearded dragons can soon develop a preference for certain foods and even become fussy – exactly the opposite of what you may be trying to achieve.

It is also essential that you source your wax worms from reputable sellers whom have raised and harvested their worms for reptile consumption.

It is advised to purchase your wax worms from reputable bearded dragon breeders, and/or specialized pet shops.

How Many Wax Worms Should I Feed My Bearded Dragon

The diet of your bearded dragon should mirror their age and size as much as possible. Baby and juvenile beardies require more protein, and insects should make up a larger proportion of the diet.

They also tend to eat more frequently than adults, although will typically eat smaller meals at any one time.

Bearded dragons under the age of a year should consume a diet of around 70% insects, 30% plant matter. They will need to eat daily, eating 3-5 meals during this time.

Over the age of a year and as a bearded dragon matures to adulthood, they should be eating closer to 70% plant matter to 30% insects. Cyclical eating is often recommended (plant feeding day, insect feeding day, no food day and repeat).

With these factors in mind, a baby/juvenile bearded dragon can eat insects more regularly. For wax worms, around 3-5 per day, across several feedings is a good serving portion/frequency. This should be along with other insects, with crickets being served in higher quantities.

For adult bearded dragons, you can look to offer them a similar amount (3-5 wax worms) but less frequently. So, a few can be included every 3 days. They can eat them during their daily meal.

While this may not seem like a lot, consider that you should be looking to offer other insects alongside wax worms.

Remember, it has been acknowledged that bearded dragons require higher protein and lower fat in their diets. Wax worms cannot meet such criteria by themselves or in too high a quantity.

We will now take a look at some of the best options below.

What Kind Of Worms Do Bearded Dragons Eat?

Bearded dragons can eat a wide variety of different worms and insects. They can either be included more regularly, or make excellent treats, depending on their nutritional profile. Either way, they all serve to offer variety in the diet.

It is important to be aware of each worm, and what they can provide to your bearded dragon:

Feeder InsectMoisture
Content
ProteinFatCalcium
(mg/100g)
Wax worms61%16%20%13
Superworms59%20%16%14
Butterworms58%16%5%42
Hornworms85%9%3%46
Silkworms76%64%10%34
Feeder Insect Nutritional Breakdown

As you can see, wax worms are the least favorable type of worm you can offer. They have the highest fat content, along with the lowest calcium content.

While they do contain a decent amount of protein, its also not as high as some of the other options.

Silkworms come out on top; meaning that you should either look to include these more regularly, or purchase them instead if presented with the opportunity.

This is all not to say wax worms cannot or should not bed fed – just that you just need to be more careful with them opposed to others.

Finally

Bearded dragons can eat wax worms, so long as they are not provided too frequently or in large quantities.

Wax worms are easily consumed by all ages of bearded dragons, they have a soft shell and are short in length making them ideal for digestion.

However, from a nutritional perspective, there are better worms out there – such as such hornworms, butterworms and silkworms. All of which have a better profile of protein, fat and calcium.

Of course, you do need to take into account the size of other worms. You should never feed a bearded dragon a worm that is larger than the space in between the eyes.

Other worms can be more challenging to digest; superworms for example have a tougher exoskeleton, which may not be ideal depending on the health of your beardie.

Ultimately, wax worms can be a nice treat in the diet of a bearded dragon. They are suitable for those of any age with 3-5 worms being an optimal serving size.

They are some of the best worms to increase the appetite in any under-eating bearded dragon, and getting them to eat more plant matter and other nutritious foods in the diet.

Related Questions

Can you feed baby bearded dragons Waxworms? Baby bearded dragons can eat wax worms, although should do so more infrequently. They are high in fat and low in calcium compared to other insects and worms. Crickets typically, are better to feed.