Can Bearded Dragons Eat Nightcrawlers? (The Balanced Diet)

Yes, you can feed your Bearded Dragon nightcrawlers, but this doesn’t mean you can now go hunting in your garden for them.

When feeding your Bearded Dragon nightcrawlers, you need to be careful in the way you do so. They can offer great nutritional value for your pet but also pose some risks you need to be aware of.

In this article, I will go in-depth about everything you need to know when it comes to feeding your Bearded Dragon nightcrawlers.

Health Benefits Of Bearded Dragons Eating Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers are a great source of proteins and essential vitamins and minerals for your Bearded Dragon.

  • Protein Source

Bearded Dragons need protein for muscle growth. By adding nightcrawlers into your Bearded Dragons diet, they’ll grow at a faster rate and the high levels of proteins offer better physical development.

  • Vitamins and Minerals

Nightcrawlers provide minerals such as iron, copper, and amino acids. These benefit your Bearded Dragon’s digestion process.

When they’re basking and metabolizing their meals these vitamins and minerals will help with calcium consumption, preventing metabolic bone disease.

  • Hydration Source

Nightcrawlers are great for Bearded Dragons who aren’t fond of drinking their water or don’t enjoy being bathed and don’t enjoy misting.

Nightcrawlers are full of water and by full I mean 95% of their body is made up of it. Making a great alternative for thirty Bearded Dragons.

Are Nightcrawlers Safe For Baby Bearded Dragons To Eat?

Yes, baby Bearded Dragons benefit from eating nightcrawlers because of the high protein content. 

The proteins will promote healthy muscle growth in baby and juvenile Bearded Dragons.

Risks Of Bearded Dragons Eating Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers have a negative calcium-phosphorus ratio, meaning being eaten in excess can lead to metabolic bone disease.

They’re also high in fat, meaning they can cause your Bearded Dragon to get overweight quickly, leading to heart and respiratory issues.

I recommend feeding nightcrawlers to your Bearded Dragon in moderation.

  • Baby/juvenile Bearded Dragons: To be fed one to two worms per week.
  • Adult Bearded Dragons: To be fed one worm per week.

Can I Feed Wild Caught Nightcrawlers To My Bearded Dragon?

No, never feed wild-caught nightcrawlers to your Bearded Dragon because they can be contaminated with chemicals and parasites.

  • Chemical Contamination

Wild-caught nightcrawlers can be covered in pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, and any backyard-related chemical spray people utilize to make their gardens look nice.

  • Parasitic Mites

Being from the outdoors, these nightcrawlers can be covered in parasitic mites or worms. If your Bearded Dragon eats these they can become sick and in severe cases, they can cause fatalities to your pet.

How To Feed NightCrawlers To Bearded Dragons

Follow these 6 guidance steps when feeding your Bearded Dragon nightcrawlers.

  1. Size: Make sure the nightcrawlers are appropriately sized for your Bearded Dragon. The size of the nightcrawler should be no larger than the space between your Bearded Dragon’s eyes. If the earthworm is too large, you can cut it into smaller pieces.
  1. Source: Only feed your Bearded Dragon commercially raised nightcrawlers you’ve personally collected from areas free of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. Avoid using nightcrawlers from your garden or areas that may have been exposed to toxins.
  1. Preparation: Before offering nightcrawlers to your Bearded Dragon, you should wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or contaminants. You can also choose to gut-load them by feeding them nutrient-rich foods for a day or two before offering them to your pet. This can enhance their nutritional value.
  1. Frequency: Nightcrawlers should be an occasional treat in your Bearded Dragon’s diet. They should not make up the primary protein source. A varied diet includes other insects like crickets, roaches, and mealworms, as well as a variety of leafy greens and vegetables.
  1. Supplementation: Ensure you are providing appropriate calcium and vitamin supplements as part of your Bearded Dragon’s diet to maintain proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratios.
  1. Observation: Always monitor your Bearded Dragon’s reactions to new foods. Some Bearded Dragons may not readily accept nightcrawlers, so it’s essential to ensure they are eating and digesting them properly.

Important Notice: Never force-feed your Bearded Dragon because you think they need specific foods. If they don’t want to eat it, it probably means they don’t like it.

Nutritional Value Of Nightcrawlers

Nutrition Value Of Nightcrawlers (Per 1 Worm Serving)
Proteins7 g
Carbohydrates10 g
Fats10 g

Summary

Nightcrawlers can be a nutritious and occasional addition to your Bearded Dragon’s diet, but they should be offered in moderation and as part of a well-balanced and varied diet. 

  • Baby/Juvenile Bearded Dragons are to be fed one to two worms per week.
  • Adult Bearded Dragons are to be fed one worm per week.