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How Many Hornworms To Feed Bearded Dragons

If you’re a reptile lover, you’ve probably heard of bearded dragons. These cute little creatures are becoming increasingly popular as pets due to their unique looks and friendly nature.

They love munching on insects, with hornworms being a nutritious and tasty option.

However, figuring out the right amount of hornworms to feed your bearded dragon is super important as too much or too little can have a negative impact on their health.

Bearded dragons can eat between 20 – 50 hornworms per day as juveniles, but they should be fed more vegetation as adults. Adult bearded dragons should be provided the same number (20 – 50), but over one week. However, a proper diet will have between 9 – 15 per week.

No worries though, in this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into everything you need to consider when feeding hornworms to your bearded dragon, so you can keep your pet healthy!

how many hornworms to feed bearded dragon

Guide To Feeding Hornworms

In this section, we’ll dice into hornworms and a lot you need to know about feeding them to your bearded dragon.

What Is The Value Of Hornworms?

Hornworms are a common type of protein for bearded dragons.

This being said, they are rare to find in your average pet store; you may need to order them to get them.

Hornworms are well-known for their high water content.

Many vets and expert owners feed these insects to their reptiles when they are ill or dehydrated.

Hornworms are also the perfect food for those coming out of brumation or after they’ve finished mating when they’re exhausted.

These worms are as high in protein as other insects and shouldn’t be used as a sole live food/protein.

They’re also high in calcium as live food, making them a better choice than some fattier insects.

They also are low in fat, so they’re not a bad compliment to a staple insect.

Can You Feed A Bearded Dragon Hornworms?

bearded dragon eating hornworms

Yes, hornworms make a healthy complement to any beardy’s diet.

They seem like an odd choice and an unusual-looking worm, but bearded dragons enjoy their taste and benefit from their high calcium and high water content.

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How Often Can Beardies Eat Hornworms?

Technically, bearded dragons can eat hornworms once a day, but too much of this will result in an imbalanced and unhealthy diet.

Juvenile bearded dragons can eat around 20 – 50 insects per day.

Their younger bodies need extra protein, and they eat a lot more insects than adults.

Adults can eat a similar amount over a week.

Yes, all of these insects could be hornworms, but they shouldn’t be.

Hornworms don’t have enough protein to sustain a diet all on their own.

The standard recommendation is 3 – 5 hornworms around three times per week.

This works out to 9 to 15 hornworms per week.

We recommend feeding adult bearded dragons on a 3-day rotation.

Day 1Greens day, all vegetation, vegetables, and fruits
Day 2Insects and worms
Day 3Break day, no feeding.

It is possible to do this differently, but this is the easiest to remember, and it encourages the bearded dragon to eat its greens.

You could feed an adult bearded 70% greens and 30% protein at each meal, but chances are, over time, your pet will ignore the greens in favor of the tastier insects.

How Many Hornworms Should A Bearded Dragon Eat In A Day?

A bearded dragon can eat up to 10 hornworms in one day, but this may be a bit too much for a healthy diet.

bearded dragon feeding on hornworms

Instead, offer 3 – 5 hornworms at each protein meal and a staple such as crickets with more protein. 

How To Feed A Bearded Dragon Hornworms

Feeding isn’t as simple as throwing the food in the tank and letting it be.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind to keep your pet happy and healthy.

First, make sure all hornworms are smaller than the distance between their eyes.

Feeding a bearded dragon something bigger than this size is hazardous to their health.

Food, which is too large, can end up getting impacted and pressing on the pet’s spinal cord.

This can cause paralysis and, in some cases, death.

This is primarily a concern for younger bearded dragons.

Check out our post on how to tell if a bearded dragon is impacted to learn how to spot this early and prevent serious injury to your pet.

Next, choose a 10 – 15 window of time in which to feed your bearded dragon.

You need to be reasonably attentive during this process.

During this time, you should feed the bearded dragon as much as it will eat.

If the bearded dragon stops eating or the time is up, remove all excess live food as left behind live food could bite at the reptile.

Have 3 – 5 hornworms and other staple insects, such as crickets, ready for a protein meal.

Feed them to the bearded dragon one by one. 

Choose to feed the reptile by placing the food in the tank or by hand feeding your pet.

feeding hornworm to bearded dragon

If you do hand feed, be sure to keep your fingers away from the end of the worm you’re offering to your pet.

Pro-tip: Feeding by hand is a great way to bond with a bearded dragon.

Don’t feed all 3 – 5 hornworms right off the bat.

Offer 1 – 2 crickets between each hornworm.

Feeding all the hornworms right away may fill up the reptile, and then it may not get all the protein it needs. 

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Hornworm Feeding Guidelines for Bearded Dragons

Now you know how many hornworms to feed bearded dragons.

As with any insect, adult bearded dragons should eat them every third day, but their live food shouldn’t consist of hornworms exclusively.

These worms are tasty to beardies, but too much can cause them to have imbalanced nutrition, so stick with 9 – 15 per week at the most.

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