Can Bearded Dragons Eat Maggots? Vet-Reviewed Vitamin Information


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Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

The data is present and up-to-date in accordance with the most recent veterinarian analysis.


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Have you ever ever peered into your bearded dragon’s cage and puzzled, “Hey, can my bearded dragon munch on maggots?” In that case, you’re not alone! This query pops up fairly a bit amongst reptile pet dad and mom. The reply? Certain, your bearded dragon can snack on maggots, nevertheless it’s not as simple because it appears.

Whereas maggots can present key vitamins and fat, feeding them to your dragon buddy ought to be achieved with a little bit of warning. Not all maggots are created equal! The little buggers you may discover outdoors in your compost bin or trash can carry dangerous parasites or micro organism. In the event that they find yourself in your dragon’s stomach, it may result in bother. So, it’s essential to solely supply your beardie  store-bought or captive-bred maggots, to make sure you’re not introducing any undesirable friends to your dragon’s digestive system.

Because the saying goes, selection is the spice of life. That’s equally true for bearded dragons as it’s for us! Maggots ought to solely kind part of their well-rounded weight-reduction plan, alongside a various mixture of bugs, fruits, and veggies.

bearded dragon divider

What Are Maggots?

Maggots are the larval type of flies; extra particularly, home flies, blowflies and cheese flies, and beardies love them nearly as a lot as we love cheese fries! It’s pure to think about them as soiled or diseased; we often affiliate them with rubbish or rotting flesh! However the humble maggot is simply as soiled as the place they’re laid, which is why captive bred is finest.

maggots
Picture Credit score: Vovantarakan,Shutterstock

There’s a motive why maggots is perhaps thought-about an excellent deal with on your bearded dragon. They arrive with a fair proportion of well being advantages. Let’s have a more in-depth look:


  • Higher Digestion: Maggots come full of useful micro organism. These little microorganisms work wonders on your dragon’s digestion, breaking down their meals extra successfully. It’s like a crew of tiny meals processors of their stomach!

  • Urge for food Enhance: In case your dragon buddy isn’t feeling too peckish, a maggot may simply do the trick. Their excessive protein content material provides dragons the power enhance they want, serving to stimulate their urge for food.

  • Illness Protection: Bearded dragons could be vulnerable to quite a lot of diseases, together with bacterial infections like salmonella. Maggots, when sourced from protected and dependable locations, might help hold their digestive system wholesome, decreasing the chance of illness.

  • Immunity Enchancment: Maggots are an excellent supply of nutritional vitamins and minerals, giving your dragon’s immune system the assist it must fend off potential diseases.

  • Normal Well being Enhance: The important vitamins that maggots carry can improve the general well being of your dragon, filling in any dietary gaps of their weight-reduction plan and conserving them strong and vigorous.

What’s in a Maggot? A Have a look at the Dietary Worth

Maggots have loads happening nutritionally. They will present:


  • Protein: A vital nutrient for muscle constructing and sustaining wholesome pores and skin and bones. Maggots pack about 22–24 grams of protein per 100 grams.

  • Fats: These are energy-rich lipids that assist hold your dragon’s power ranges up. Maggots comprise about 6–8 grams of fats per 100 grams.

  • Carbohydrates: Maggots have reasonable carbohydrates (round 10 grams per 100 grams) that support in digestion and absorption of different vitamins.

  • Nutritional vitamins and Minerals: Filled with nutritional vitamins A, C, E, Ok, and choline, maggots additionally carry minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium that assist strengthen your dragon’s immune system.
mealworm maggots
Picture Credit score: Dario Lo Presti,Shutterstock

The Nutritional vitamins and Minerals Your Bearded Dragon Wants


  • Vitamin A: Also referred to as retinol, Vitamin A helps keep your dragon’s pores and skin and imaginative and prescient. It’s also possible to discover it in leafy greens, like spinach and kale, and orange vegatables and fruits, like carrots and pumpkin.

  • Nutritional vitamins C and E: These are highly effective antioxidants that assist shield your dragon’s cells from harm. Each are present in fruits and veggies, corresponding to bell peppers and tomatoes.

  • Vitamin Ok: Essential for blood clotting, you too can discover it in leafy greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

  • Choline: It performs a task in sustaining cell construction and messaging. Egg yolks and fish are good sources.

  • Zinc, Iron, and Magnesium: Important for a lot of organic features, together with immune operate and metabolism. These minerals are present in quite a lot of meals, together with nuts, entire grains, and inexperienced leafy greens.

The Not-So-Good Facet of Maggots

Even with their dietary punch, maggots include some potential downsides that you have to be conscious of.

  • Imbalanced Weight loss program: Regardless of their nutrient richness, maggots may result in dietary imbalances if they’re the first meals on your bearded dragon. An excessive amount of protein and fats can result in malnutrition and well being points.
  • Parasitic An infection: If not correctly dealt with or saved, maggots can carry parasites, which may doubtlessly infect your pet.
  • Choking Hazard: For smaller dragons, maggots is perhaps a bit difficult to deal with and may pose a choking threat.
  • Allergic Response: Although uncommon, some dragons could have an allergic response to maggots. Indicators of this could embody problem respiration, swelling, and pores and skin irritation.
  • Weight problems Points: Too many maggots can result in weight points in bearded dragons. Weight problems in dragons can result in diminished power ranges and different well being problems.

So, should you’re considering of introducing maggots into your bearded dragon’s weight-reduction plan, bear in mind the golden rule of feeding: moderation is vital. Not more than 8–10 maggots every week for adults and juveniles, adjusting as your dragon grows.

And don’t overlook, maggots are solely a part of the story. They need to be accompanied by numerous different meals objects like greens, flowers, and fruits.

Close up of maggots
Picture Credit score: Alexander Knyazhinsky,Shutterstock

Different Insect Options

If the considered feeding your dragon maggots makes you squirm, or should you’re in search of selection, there are plenty of alternatives out there:


  • Crickets: These are a staple within the weight-reduction plan of bearded dragons. Excessive in protein and comparatively straightforward to digest, they’re a superb alternative on your scaly buddy.

  • Mealworms: One other favourite snack for bearded dragons, mealworms are good sources of protein and fats, however they need to be given carefully resulting from their excessive chitin content material, which could be exhausting for dragons to digest.

  • Dubia Roaches: These bugs are more and more fashionable as they provide a variety of protein and are straightforward to digest. In addition they have a greater calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than many different bugs, which is vital for bone well being in bearded dragons.

  • Silkworms: These soft-bodied worms are extremely nutritious and low in fats, making them a good selection for a deal with. They’re additionally wealthy in calcium and protein.

  • Butterworms: Excessive in calcium, butterworms are a nutritious deal with. They’re fairly fatty, although, so they need to solely be given sparingly.

  • Phoenix Worms: Also referred to as calci-worms, they’re wealthy in calcium and protein and low in fats.

  • Nightcrawlers: Also referred to as earthworms, these wriggly worms can present plenty of important vitamins, however most beardies don’t just like the style.

bearded dragon divider

In Conclusion

Incorporating maggots into your bearded dragon’s diet could be useful resulting from their dietary worth, nevertheless it’s important to supply them responsibly and feed them carefully. Too many maggots can result in dietary imbalances and potential well being points.

Keep in mind that a balanced weight-reduction plan for a bearded dragon ought to embody quite a lot of bugs, greens, and fruits. As your dragon grows and matures, modify their weight-reduction plan accordingly. Feed juveniles a weight-reduction plan excessive in protein and progressively shift to a weight-reduction plan that’s primarily plant-based as they attain maturity. At all times gut-load and dirt bugs with calcium earlier than feeding them to your dragon.

Resist the urge to enter “hunter-gatherer” mode and begin gathering creepy-crawlies from your individual backyard. Not solely may you misidentify a species and provides your beardie one thing poisonous, however there’s no approach of understanding what parasites, herbicides, or different doubtlessly dangerous chemical compounds free-roaming bugs have been uncovered to. At all times supply your stay meals from a good reptile provider.

Preserving your dragon’s weight-reduction plan various and balanced, coupled with correct hydration, will go a great distance in guaranteeing their well being, happiness, and longevity. It’s an vital a part of being a responsible and caring bearded dragon parent!


Featured Picture Credit score: andanatb, Shutterstock

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