Can Bearded Dragons Eat Nightcrawlers? Yes But…

We all want to feed our bearded dragons, which is best for their health. While bearded dragons enjoy a wide variety of foods, many pet owners wonder whether or not to feed them nightcrawlers. In this article, we will discuss whether nightcrawlers are safe for bearded dragons and their nutritional aspects.

The short answer is yes, bearded dragons can eat nightcrawlers. Nightcrawlers are an excellent protein source and provide many nutrients to bearded dragons. They are also readily available in pet stores and are a go-to choice for many beardie owners.

Having said all this, you should also know that not all worms are suitable for your bearded dragon. Some worms, such as red wigglers, should be avoided as they can cause digestive and impaction issues. 

While feeding your loving pet nightcrawlers, you should always ensure; that they are of the appropriate size. Bearded dragons should only consume worms that are smaller than the space between their eyes. Feeding large worms can cause blockage in their digestive tract.

It is recommended to gut-load your worms to provide your pet with extra nutrition and maintain a well-balanced diet. Pet owners should also make a note that nightcrawlers should not be the primary source of nutrition for their bearded dragons.

You should also purchase nightcrawlers from a reputable pet store. Feeding your pet wild worms can cause major health issues as they may contain parasites or other illnesses.

Nutritional Breakdown of Nightcrawlers

Can Bearded Dragons eat nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers mostly constitute water and provide a lot of moisture to bearded dragons. Their body contains 90-80% water, depending on the species of the worm and the environment they have been raised in.

Earthworms are also a great source of minerals such as calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, magnesium, and copper. Nightcrawlers can also absorb more minerals if they are inhabited in mineral-rich soil. A quick nutritional breakdown of nightcrawlers would be 55% protein, 18% carbohydrates, 9% fat, and 3% fiber.

Major Risks of Feeding Nightcrawlers to Bearded Dragons

Nightcrawlers are a great source of protein for your bearded dragon. Pet owners should also be aware of the few risks of feeding a nightcrawler to their beardie. Knowing about these risks will help you stay cautious and take better care of your bearded dragon.


Nightcrawler worm

Nightcrawlers are known to grow larger than common feeder insects. Typically, garden earthworms are known to grow about fifteen inches in length. The large size of these nightcrawlers is usually not a problem, as bearded dragons are capable of chopping them in pieces and digesting them properly.

If your beardie is trying to swallow them whole, then that might cause digestive and impactions issues. A sudden blockage in the bearded dragon’s digestive tract can result in constipation or other major health problems. 

Editor’s Note
The size of the nightcrawler should always be smaller than the space between a bearded dragon’s eyes. You should also choose an earthworm according to the size and age of your pet.

Chemical Contamination

Nightcrawlers in soil

You should never feed wild nightcrawlers to your bearded dragon. Any type of worm that you have collected from the wild or your garden can be very fatal for your pet. Wild nightcrawlers might be chemically contaminated as they are exposed to pollution, pesticides, and other dangerous fertilizers.

Wild earthworms accumulate chemical contamination easily as compared to other feeder insects. Earthworms’ body is porous and absorbs all the contamination from the soil. Feeding such worms can prove to be very fatal for your beardie. Giving wild nightcrawlers regularly will increase the toxicity inside your pet’s body and lead to major health problems.


Wild nightcrawlers are home to many parasites, some of which include Protozoa, Nematodes, and Platyhelminths. It is natural for bearded dragons to get infected if they eat parasite-infested worms. When your pet is infected with these parasites, it will have trouble digesting food and nutrients.

Your pet can also suffer from a weakened immune system, stay fatigued, and face many health problems. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible.

Alternative Insects You Can Feed Your Bearded Dragon Rather Than Nightcrawlers

Most bearded dragons do not like the taste of nightcrawlers, this is due to their slimy texture and the chemicals they excrete in your pet’s mouth. This makes them taste bad, pet owners should know about other feeder insects to keep their bearded dragons happy.


Cricket on Bearded Dragon's head

Crickets are a great way of providing your bearded dragon with protein and nutrition. They should be treated as a staple insect in your pet’s diet. The nutritional breakdown of cricket includes 62.9% moisture, 20.5% protein, 6.8% fats, and 2.2% fiber.

Crickets also come in four sizes pinhead, small, medium, and large. You should always choose the size of crickets carefully according to your pet’s age. Pinhead crickets are ideal for baby dragons, hatchling bearded dragons can have 50-80 pinhead crickets in a day.

Small size crickets are best for juvenile bearded dragons. They should at least eat 20-40 each day. Medium and large crickets are for adult bearded dragons. Feeding about 10 of these should be sufficient for your pet.

Editor’s Note
You can also gut-load your crickets to provide more nutrition to your bearded dragon. Just put your crickets in a bag of calcium powder and shake them well before feeding them to your pet.

Dubai Roaches

Dubia Roach in egg box

Dubai roaches are delicious and nutritious food for your bearded dragons. Dubai roaches are also easy to handle as they do not make a lot of noise like crickets and do not try to escape.

The nutritional breakdown for Dubai roaches is 61% moisture, 36% protein, 7% fat, and 2% ash. Baby dragons should consume around 10-20 roaches twice a day. Juvenile bearded dragons can be fed around 10-15 roaches a day. While adult bearded dragons can have 10-20 roaches 1-3 times a week. The number of roaches to be fed depends on the age and size of your bearded dragon.


What worms can I give my bearded dragon?

You can feed your bearded dragons a wide range of worms other than nightcrawlers (earthworms).  Bearded dragons can have meal worms, wax worms, butter worms, and goliath worms. Although you should stay careful feeding them too many mealworms as it might make them gain a lot of weight.

Is it safe to feed wild worms to bearded dragons?

No, it is not safe to feed wild worms to your bearded dragons. Wild nightcrawlers might contain a lot of harmful chemical contamination in their body. Wild earthworms might also have a parasite infestation that can result in a major health issue for your pet.

Final Thoughts

Nightcrawlers contain a lot of protein and are a popular choice for many pet owners. I have had a pet beardie for the past five years and have not yet faced an issue feeding them worms. The only thing that you should stay cautious about is where you get your nightcrawlers from. 

Avoid feeding them wild worms as they contain chemical contamination and might have a parasite infestation. So just buy your nightcrawlers from a reputable pet store and then you are good to go.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *