insects for bearded dragon

15 Calcium-Rich Insects for a Healthy Bearded Dragon Diet

While you may think of insects as creepy crawlers or pesky pests, they can actually play a crucial role in maintaining the health of your bearded dragon. Yes, that’s right – these tiny creatures can be a powerhouse of calcium, the essential nutrient your pet needs to thrive.

But which insects are the best sources of this vital mineral? Well, get ready to uncover the top 15 calcium-rich insects that will make your bearded dragon’s diet not only nutritious but also incredibly satisfying.

So, prepare yourself to embark on a journey where these little critters take center stage, providing your reptile friend with the nourishment it craves.


To provide your bearded dragon with a nutritionally balanced diet, it’s recommended to incorporate crickets as a staple food source due to their high protein content and natural hunting instincts. Crickets offer numerous health benefits for bearded dragons, making them an ideal choice for their diet. These small insects are rich in protein, which is essential for the growth and development of your pet. Protein aids in muscle development, contributes to strong bones, and supports overall health. Additionally, crickets are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for a bearded dragon’s well-being.

One crucial aspect of incorporating crickets into your bearded dragon’s diet is proper gut loading. Gut loading refers to feeding the crickets with nutrient-dense foods before offering them to your pet. This process allows the crickets to accumulate essential nutrients, especially calcium, which is crucial for a bearded dragon’s bone health. Calcium is essential for proper bone formation and preventing metabolic bone disease. To optimize the calcium content, gut load the crickets with calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens, carrots, and commercial gut load products.


Crickets serve as an excellent source of nutrition for bearded dragons.

Now let’s explore the benefits of incorporating mealworms into their diet.

Mealworms, like crickets, are highly beneficial for the health of your bearded dragon. Here are three key benefits of including mealworms in their diet:

  1. Nutritional Value: Mealworms are packed with essential nutrients that your bearded dragon needs to thrive. They’re rich in protein, which is crucial for muscle development and growth. Additionally, mealworms contain important vitamins and minerals like calcium, which is vital for bone health and preventing metabolic bone disease.
  2. Variety in Diet: Introducing mealworms into your bearded dragon’s diet adds variety and prevents monotony. This ensures that they receive a well-rounded nutritional intake, promoting overall health and well-being.
  3. Enrichment: Mealworms provide mental stimulation and enrichment for your bearded dragon. Hunting and capturing their food stimulates their natural instincts, keeping them active and engaged.

To properly feed mealworms to your bearded dragon, follow these guidelines:

  • Size: Choose mealworms that are appropriately sized for your dragon’s age and size.
  • Gut Loading: Before feeding, ensure that the mealworms are well-fed and gut-loaded with nutritious food. This enhances their nutritional content.
  • Moderation: While mealworms are beneficial, they should be fed in moderation to maintain a balanced diet. Too many may lead to obesity.

Incorporating mealworms into your bearded dragon’s diet provides numerous benefits, promoting their overall health and well-being. Remember to follow proper feeding guidelines to ensure their optimal nutrition.


Incorporating waxworms into your bearded dragon’s diet can provide additional nutritional benefits and enhance their overall well-being. Waxworms are a popular and nutritious treat for bearded dragons due to their high fat content, which helps meet their energy needs. These creamy white larvae are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining strong bones and overall health.

Feeding waxworms to your bearded dragon offers numerous benefits. The high fat content helps support their rapid growth and development, making them an ideal choice for young dragons. Additionally, the soft exoskeleton of waxworms makes them easier to digest, reducing the risk of digestive issues. The high protein content aids in muscle development and maintenance, ensuring your dragon remains strong and healthy.

To ensure optimal nutrition, it’s crucial to properly gut load waxworms before feeding them to your bearded dragon. Gut loading involves feeding the worms with nutrient-rich foods to enhance their nutritional value. Opt for gut-loading products or provide them with fresh vegetables, fruits, and a calcium-rich supplement. This process ensures that the waxworms are packed with essential nutrients that your bearded dragon requires.

While waxworms offer numerous nutritional benefits, they should be fed in moderation to avoid an imbalance in your dragon’s diet. Incorporating these fat-rich treats into a well-rounded diet will help keep your bearded dragon healthy, strong, and thriving.


Silkworms, known scientifically as Bombyx mori, are a nutritious and beneficial addition to your bearded dragon’s diet. These fascinating insects offer several benefits for your pet’s health and well-being. Here are three reasons why feeding silkworms to your bearded dragon is a great idea:

  1. High Nutritional Value: Silkworms are packed with essential nutrients that can contribute to your bearded dragon’s overall health. They’re an excellent source of protein, which is crucial for muscle development and growth. Additionally, silkworms contain high levels of calcium, a vital mineral for maintaining strong bones and preventing metabolic bone disease in reptiles.
  2. Easy to Digest: One of the advantages of feeding silkworms to your bearded dragon is that they’ve a soft exoskeleton, making them easier to digest compared to other insects. This can be particularly beneficial for juvenile or older dragons with sensitive digestive systems.
  3. Silkworm Care and Breeding: Another advantage of incorporating silkworms into your bearded dragon’s diet is that they can be easily bred and cared for at home. Raising your own silkworms ensures a fresh and reliable food source for your pet. By following proper care guidelines, such as providing a suitable habitat and feeding them a nutritious diet, you can successfully breed silkworms and have a continuous supply for your bearded dragon.

Dubia Roaches

Dubia roaches, scientifically known as Blaptica dubia, offer a nutritious and easily digestible alternative to other insects in your bearded dragon’s diet. Feeding your bearded dragon dubia roaches has several advantages and provides numerous nutritional benefits.

One of the main advantages of feeding dubia roaches to your bearded dragon is their high protein content. These insects are rich in protein, which is crucial for the growth and development of your pet. Protein is essential for muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall health.

Additionally, dubia roaches are a good source of calcium. Calcium is necessary for maintaining strong bones and preventing metabolic bone disease in bearded dragons. By including dubia roaches in your dragon’s diet, you can ensure they receive adequate amounts of this vital mineral.

Furthermore, dubia roaches have a low fat content, making them a healthy choice for your bearded dragon. Excessive fat intake can lead to obesity and other health issues in reptiles. By offering dubia roaches as part of a balanced diet, you can help your dragon maintain a healthy weight.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL/Calciworms/Phoenix Worms)

An absolute superstar among feeder insects, BSFL are renowned for their exceptional calcium content. Their naturally high calcium-to-phosphorus ratio eliminates the need for constant calcium dusting. Plus, their softer bodies are easier for bearded dragons to digest compared to some other feeders. BSFL make an excellent staple insect as part of a balanced diet.


These large, juicy caterpillars are a favorite treat for many bearded dragons. They offer a decent amount of calcium and are especially useful for hydration due to their high water content. However, their calcium-to-phosphorus ratio isn’t ideal, so consider them an occasional treat rather than a staple feeder. If used regularly, diligent calcium supplementation is a must.


These plump, bright yellow worms are high in both calcium and fat. Bearded dragons find them irresistible, but due to their fat content, butterworms should be considered a special treat rather than a staple part of your dragon’s diet. Offer them sparingly to prevent obesity and potential health issues.


These larger relatives of mealworms offer a decent source of calcium. However, they are higher in fat and have a tougher exoskeleton (outer shell) than some other feeder insects. This can make them harder for younger bearded dragons to digest. If you do use superworms, it’s best to reserve them for adult bearded dragons and offer them in moderation.

Turkestan Roaches

These roaches offer a similar nutritional profile to the popular Dubia roach. They provide a good source of calcium and protein, making them a suitable addition to your bearded dragon’s diet. Turkestan roaches offer variety and can be a satisfying, fast-moving prey item to stimulate your dragon’s hunting instincts.

Discoid Roaches

Another roach option, discoids provide a solid source of calcium and protein for your bearded dragon. They tend to be slower-moving than some other roach species, which can be ideal for younger or less active beardies. Discoid roaches offer good nutrition and an easy way to add diversity to your pet’s insect diet.


While earthworms are packed with calcium, they pose some considerations for bearded dragon owners. It’s essential to source them from a safe, reputable supplier that specifically raises them for reptile consumption. Wild-caught earthworms can carry parasites and harmful bacteria. If you choose to offer earthworms, use them as an occasional treat or supplement rather than a staple feeder.


These larger, leaping insects offer a lean source of protein and a moderate amount of calcium. For active bearded dragons, chasing down locusts provides exciting exercise and enrichment. Locusts are a great way to add variety to your dragon’s diet alongside other staple feeders. Just be mindful of their size – always choose locusts appropriate for your bearded dragon’s age and size to prevent choking hazards.

Morio Worms (Giant Mealworms)

These large, meaty worms are similar to superworms, offering some calcium alongside high fat content and a tougher chitinous exoskeleton. Due to their potential for impaction and lower nutritional value compared to other feeders, Morio worms are best reserved as an occasional treat, especially for larger bearded dragons.


Snails provide a significant calcium boost for your bearded dragon. However, it’s crucial to only use captive-bred snails specifically raised for reptile consumption. Wild snails pose a high risk of parasites and harmful bacteria that can seriously endanger your pet. When sourced responsibly, snails offer a unique and calcium-packed addition to your bearded dragon’s diet.


In conclusion, incorporating calcium-rich insects into a bearded dragon’s diet is crucial for their overall health and well-being. From crickets and mealworms to waxworms and silkworms, there are a variety of options to choose from.

Additionally, dubia roaches offer a great source of calcium for these reptiles.

So, whether you’re a devoted reptile owner or a curious observer, ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet for your bearded dragon is essential for their thriving existence.

Remember, a healthy diet leads to a healthy dragon!

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