Bearded Dragon Insects

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Waxworms?

About 3 min reading time

Can bearded dragons eat waxworms? Are waxworms for bearded dragons OK? Bearded dragons can eat waxworms as an occasional treat. They shouldn’t be fed too often because, although many bearded dragons love them, they are very high in fat compared to other insects.

What Are Waxworms For Bearded Dragons?

can bearded dragons eat waxworms
Waxworms For Bearded Dragons

Waxworms are a small, white worm which are the caterpillar larvae form of the Wax Moth. They generally have a black or brown head and small dark dots down the sides of their body.

Waxworms are a parasitic insect that generally inhabit bee-hives in the wild and eat the beeswax from inside the nest and it’s this activity which gives them their name.

Can Bearded Dragons Eat Waxworms?

Waxworms are a great treat for bearded dragons because they can live for quite some time without food, and if they do require feeding they can eat cereal grain, bran and honey. However, as you can see from the nutritional table below, they are very high in fat – which can lead to significant obesity and liver problems[1].

That said, as a treat, most bearded dragons do love these insects as a treat. We have heard stories of keepers who’ve introduced their bearded dragons to wax worms only to have the bearded dragon refuse any other kind of insect afterwards – so be careful not to get yours hooked on them.

Some people call them the ‘fast food’ of the insect world due to their ability to cause obesity and relatively low nutritional value.

Advantages Of Waxworms For Bearded Dragons

  • Soft Body – easily digestible
  • Small size – easy to swallow
  • Many bearded dragons love them
  • Last well without needing to be fed
  • Suitable for babies or adults

Disadvantages of Waxworms For Bearded Dragons

  • Very high in fat
  • Low in calcium
  • Some dragons have refused other more nutritious insects after having waxworms

How Should I Feed Waxworms To A Bearded Dragon

You can use a normal escape proof dish to feed waxworms to a bearded dragon. They’re not particularly agile and they certainly can’t jump. But they can climb, so they might be a little bit awkward to keep in the one place.

For this reason it’s probably best to supervise them when feeding these insects to bearded dragons. Otherwise you may end up with escapees living in the vivarium and then turning into adults. This isn’t a huge drama because the Wax Moth can also be eaten by your bearded dragon, if they’re agile enough to catch it.

You can also add some waxworms as a tasty treat to a vegetable dish to help entice a fussy eater to get some vegetable material.

How Many Waxworms Should I Feed a Bearded Dragon?

Given the nutritional information listed above, along with the advantages and disadvantages of waxworms for bearded dragons, it’s fair to say that these should be considered a once in a while treat.

There’s no problem with feeding 2 or 3 at a time. Possibly even 5 or 6. But, we would recommend they’re only fed waxworms once or twice per month.

Having said that, if for some reason your bearded dragon does need to increase its fat reserves (for example post egg laying) then some waxworms more regularly would help achieve this. If you’re looking at waxworms to help return a recently pregnant bearded dragon to a decent weight then it’s important to realise that she’ll also need a good amount of protein and calcium as well, so adult crickets might be a better choice if she’ll tolerate them.

Nutritional Data For Waxworms For Bearded Dragons

Nutritional ItemContent
Moisture %61.73
Fat %22.19
Protein %15.50
Ash %1.02
Calcium (mg/kg) [2]203 (0.02%)
Phosphorous (mg/kg) [2]1930 (0.19%)
Potassium (mg/kg) [2]2310 (0.23%)
Nutritional Table For Waxworms For Bearded Dragons

The calcium content of waxworms isn’t the worst in the insect world, but it’s not that great either. Black soldier fly larvae are the true calcium champions of the bearded dragon insect world, with adult crickets coming in a very long way away second.

Summary

When considering the question “Can bearded dragons eat waxworms”, the answer is yes, but sparingly. Waxworms for bearded dragons should be considered only as a treat, perhaps a couple of times a month.

Frequency: Sparingly.

References

1: Divers, Stephen; Mader, Douglas. “Hepatic Lipidosis”. Reptile Medicine And Surgery (2005). ISBN: 978-0-7216-9327-9.

2: Finke, Mark. “Complete nutrient content of four species of commercially available feeder insects fed enhanced diets during growth”. Zoobiology (2015). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/zoo.21246

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