Commonly known as beardies, bearded dragons are among the most-loved omnivorous pets around the world. They feed on flowers, fruits, leaves, and rodents occasionally. Silkworms are another alternative that can hugely improve the diet of your bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons eat silkworms no matter their age. Silkworms are high-nutritional insects rich in moisture, calcium, and protein that bearded dragons can comfortably feed on, getting nutritional benefits. Adult and baby beardies eat them as well. Feed beardies 2 to 3 silkworms once or twice a week.
What Are Silkworms?
Silkworms are Bombyx Mori moth or caterpillar larval stage. Most people in some parts of Asia consider silkworm pupae as a delicacy. Their nutrient composition makes them a perfect food for bearded dragons, hence their preference over other feeder insects.
The silkworm’s life cycle entails a hatch of eggs laid by Mulberry silkmoths. After hatching, a silkworm will grow within various larval stages before pupating and emerging as a silkmoth. If you intend to breed silkworms, you must know that a lot goes into their breeding process.
Recently hatched silk moth larvae are small and feed on anything between 12 and 56 days, but high amounts of mulberry leaves. The silkworm growth rate is affected by temperature and food availability. High temperatures enhance their growth and vice versa.
They molt 4 times during their growth, and instars are the time between their molting. Silkworm is the larvae of these 4 stages which is used as bearded dragon’s food.
The last molting occurs when silkworms have a length of between 50 and 70mm, where they stop feeding and create their cocoon from their silk. Changing into a moth (Metamorphosis) takes place within 2 to 3 weeks.
Moths that emerge from the main cocoon do not feed at all since their main goal is to breed and lay eggs with their opposite sex. Female silkworms lay an average of 400 eggs.
Bearded dragons do not feed on silk moths. In general, bearded dragons and other reptile pets do not feed on moths be they wax moths or other types.
|Life stage||Number of days|
|Eggs||10 – 25|
|Lava and worms||20 – 33|
|Pupa||10 – 14|
|Moth||5 – 10|
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Silkworms?
Bearded dragons can feed on silkworms. Silkworms have high moisture, calcium, and protein content, making them a perfect meal for beardies. Their easy digestibility due to their small sizes makes them suitable even for baby bearded dragons.
They are also good for adult bearded dragons, but their small sizes will require more quantities that can be quite expensive.
Silkworms do not exist in the wild and are only bred in captivity. They are purely bred due to their ability to create silk and as food for pets like bearded dragons. They mainly feed on Mulberry leaves without which, silkworms will eventually die.
For bearded dragons to feed on silkworms, they have to be fresh. Bearded dragons do not eat dead insects. In addition, dead silkworms will not have the right nutrient composition. Silkworm feeders are among the best sources of nutrition besides hornworms for bearded dragons.
Fresh silkworms are rich in calcium, moisture, protein, and potassium. They are also moist enough to keep reptiles highly hydrated. Importantly, they produce Serrapeptase, an anti-inflammatory that strengthens reptiles’ bones by enhancing calcium absorption.
Not to forget, they cleanse blood and the liver, reducing chances of combat Fatty liver disease and adenovirus on bearded dragons.
How Do I Feed Silkworms to Bearded Dragons?
When silkworms are available, they can be fed to bearded dragons of any size and age. They are tasty and loved by bearded dragons and some insectivorous reptiles. The silkworms’ soft bodies make them easily swallowed and digestible.
Due to their high calcium and protein contents, they are fed to female and growing bearded dragons to supply them with the right nutrients.
Silkworms are relatively slow and quiet. They are thus comfortably served to bearded dragons on a dish or a bowl. Bearded dragons will catch the silkworms themselves.
Although almost harmless, anyone feeling unsafe handling them can use tweezers or tongs. Silkworms with sharp teeth and claws are more likely to harm you or your bearded dragon.
How Many Silkworms Do You Feed Your Bearded Dragons?
Feeding bearded dragons with silkworms regularly is expensive. It is advisable to feed them 2 or 3 worms once or twice every week. Although silkworms are a staple food for bearded dragons, mixing them with other bugs is recommended to provide a wide variety.
Young bearded dragons should be fed with silkworms regularly as they have high nutritional benefits.
To measure how many silkworms to feed your bearded dragon with, you need to place them in a bowl as you allow them to eat for 10 minutes. When fed on a bowl, bearded dragons will feed on one or two silkworms a time.
Do Bearded Dragons Eat Dried Silkworms?
Dried silkworms available at online stores come wrapped without silk around them. It is not advisable to feed bearded dragons with dry foods as they have less moisture and nutritional content than their live counterparts.
From the definition, dried silkworms have no moisture content. Most bearded dragons don’t drink water from a bowl without some problems. This is a minor issue since bearded dragons will get water from other insects, but this might not happen if you feed them dried insects.
When frequently fed on dried insects, bearded dragons become dehydrated, leading to serious problems such as kidney failure.
What Are the Benefits of Silkworms to Bearded Dragons?
Feeding bearded dragons come with many benefits that may include:
1. Have high nutritional value
Silkworms have high moisture and nutrient content beneficial to bearded dragons’ health.
2. Suitable for young and adult bearded dragons
You can feed silkworms to adult and young bearded dragons, both with health benefits.
3. Have a nice smell
Silkworms do not have a bad smell, hence are easily fed on by bearded dragons.
4. Less Dangerous
They do not harm bearded dragons like insects.
5. Easy and hardy to keep
They only require mulberry leaves.
Silkworms Nutritional Data
Silkworms have a high nutritional composition. Below is a table summarizing all their nutritional contents:
|Calcium (mg/kg)||177 (0.018%)|
|Potassium (mg/kg)||2370 (0.24%)|
|Potassium (mg/g)||34.0 (6.613%)|
Silkworms have four stages that have varying lengths. The table below shows the silkworms’ lengths at different stages:
|Larva||75mm (3 inches)|
|Pupa||strand: 915 meters (1,000 yards)|
|Moth||wingspan: 40 – 50mm (about2 inches)|
It is a perfect idea to feed bearded dragons with silkworms. Among the insects that bearded dragons feed on, silkworms are the best. The silkworm traits of quiet, easy to keep, clean, and nutritional value makes them a perfect dish for bearded dragons.
If you have been seeking knowledge on whether to feed bearded dragons with silkworms, get started today to reap the benefits of these nutritious insects for your beardies.
Smithsonian. THE SILK ROAD: CONNECTING PEOPLE AND CULTURES.