Can Superworms Kill a Bearded Dragon? Superheroes in the World of Worms?

Worms have always been a great feeder insect choice for reptile owners and aquarium hobbyists. One such is the superhero of the world of worms, Zophobas morio.

However, many beardie owners fear feeding superworms to their beardies. They often ask, “Can superworms kill a bearded dragon?

Here is a piece that discusses the answer. It also discusses the benefits of feeding superworms, the best way to offer the worm, and many other important things about the worms that a beardie owner must know.

Read on to find out more!


Superworms, also known as Zophobas Morio, king worms, or Morio wormsare the larvae of darkling beetles. They are popular feeder insects in the reptile-keeping hobby.

Superworms are almost like mealworms, but unlike mealworms, they have darker ends.

In the reptile-keeping hobby, superworms are usually fed to lizards, beardies, turtles, frogs, salamanders, and many more. Although they offer similar nutritional values as mealworms, superworms are preferred over mealworms because of their softer exoskeletons. They are pretty easier to digest than mealworms.

But many reptile owners usually spray calcium powder over the superworms before feeding them to their reptiles to compensate for the low calcium to phosphorous ratio.

They have the following characteristics:

  • They have exoskeletons which make them crunchy as a snack.
  • They can grow to about two inches in length.
  • They can bite (aggressive).
  • They are packed full of protein and fat.
  • They contain a high amount of phosphorus.

They are usually available as food for your pets because they can remain as worms for up to 6 months as long as they are kept in the same container with other worms for stable contact and are well-fed.

Can Superworms Kill a Bearded Dragon?

Superworms are generally safe for bearded dragons. However, some beardie owners have reported the death of their bearded dragons after feeding them superworms.


While this scenario is not common, it is important to understand what happened so that your bearded dragon does not fall victim.

Reports prove that the ingested superworms ate their way out of the guts of the beardies, which caused their death. The exoskeleton of the superworms helps them survive the stomach acids of the bearded dragons for longer than mealworms. So, it could be fatal if the bearded dragon does not crush the head of the superworms before swallowing them.

Some beardie owners have reported their pets passing blood in stools after feeding superworms to them. This happens when the ingested worms bite the digestive tract of the bearded dragon without causing a perforation.

This injury to the digestive tract can be fatal if not properly managed. A trip to the vet could save the day once internal bleeding is suspected.

But the above scenario is rare. Hardly will any superworm make it through the about 80 teeth of an adult beardie and arrive in its gut alive.

Another health challenge that may result from feeding your superworms is gut impaction. Your bearded dragon will find it very difficult to pass faeces. The main reason is the pile of undigested worm skeletons in the bearded dragon’s guts and stomach. In common parlance, your bearded dragon.

Another health challenge that ingesting superworms may cause your pet is gut impaction. This happens when your reptile friend ingests many superworms, resulting in a pile of worm skeletons in its gut – causing a blockage. This is because bearded dragons are unable to digest superworms’ skeletons.

In severe cases of impaction, your bearded dragon may find it difficult to walk because the piled-up undigested skeletal matter will affect your pet’s nervous system. This can be fatal for your pet if not properly treated in time.

It would be best to see the vet If your pet is not stooling as frequently as before or begins to show any of the following symptoms of gut impaction.

  • Lumps along its spine or belly
  • Loss of weight
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Obesity and calcium deficiency are other health challenges that superworms can pose to your pet. Superworms are very fatty worms. Superworms are about 18% fat, 58% moisture, 20% protein, and about 3% fiber.

Feeding your bearded dragon all that fat too frequently is not advisable. If you feed your bearded dragon superworms more than you do healthy foods with less fat content, you will eventually end up with an obese and lethargic bearded dragon. It would be best to feed superworms scarcely.

However, feeding your superworms to hosting female beardies is ideal. Fat reserves usually come in handy when they are hosting their eggs.

Benefits of Superworms to Bearded Dragons

Although feeding bearded dragons can be risky, especially if your pet is battling obesity, superworms hold some benefits for your reptile.

Although they contain a lot of fat, superworms are a great source of protein. They contain about 19% protein, and protein is one of the most important nutrients necessary for developing reptiles.

Adding superworms occasionally to the diet plan is a great move to supplement your beardie’s diet.

However, it would be best to feed the superworms scarcely.

Another great benefit of feeding your bearded dragon superworms is that it helps the bearded dragons exhibit their natural predatory instincts.

When you place the small superworm in front of your bearded dragon and wait for him to go after the prey, you are essentially helping your pet develop its natural predatory instincts and hunting skills. This is a great way to keep the bearded dragon in shape.

How Much Superworms Are Safe for Bearded Dragons?

Superworms are better served as treats to bearded dragons and not as a staple food. Most of the possible health challenges that superworms can have on your pet occur when consumed in large amounts.

According to experts, adult beardies can have about three of these superheroes once per week. In contrast, Juvenile beardie can have a treat of superworms under supervision if they can handle their aggression.

Can Baby Beardies Eat Superworms?

Serving baby beardies superworms, no matter the size is not ideal for some reasons. The main reason is that baby beardies’ digestive tract is still developing. They could suffer health complications from the undigested superworm’s skeletons.

Another important reason is that baby beardies require protein at this stage of their life for development and calcium for healthy bones instead of the excess moisture, fat, and phosphorus in superworms.

Baby beardies also need calcium for strong and healthy bones. Feeding them superworms is a very poor choice of food as it has a very low calcium to phosphorus ratio, even though it contains a considerable amount of protein. This can translate to metabolic bone diseases for your baby beardies.

You also want to remember that baby beardies do not have the strength to match the aggressive nature of a superworm.

How to Feed Your Beardies Superworms

Some owners of bearded dragons advise that the head of superworms should be smashed before feeding it to your pet. This is to prevent the scenario where the superworm eats its way out of your pet’s gut and perforates it. Many beardie owners regard this as a myth as only a few scenarios have been reported.

Smashing the head of superworms might take the thrill of hunting from your beardie, but it won’t be a bad idea if you feel more comfortable serving it that way.

Another way to feed superworms to bearded dragons is by giving them to them live one at a time or by placing them on a serving plate. You could also leave the superworms in the cage and allow your beardie to enjoy the chase. Common challenges that result from this method are as follows

  • The worms bite the mouth of your pet.
  • The worms may hide inside the substrate and become difficult to find.
  • Your beardie may ingest superworms dusted with a substrate that can harm them.

Superworms can be dusted with calcium before serving it to your pet to supplement their calcium requirements.

Can You Serve Your Beardies Darkling Beetle?

You already know that superworms are the larva of darkling beetle. So, can you give the adult superheroes to your beardie? Well, the answer is yes. They are a better choice for your pet because they contain less fat and more protein.

However, they do not taste as yummy as the superworms that beardies like. So, your friendly reptile may reject it.

Bottom Line

Superworms are a great source of protein, fiber, and moisture even though they have a very low calcium to phosphorous ratio. While they may be suitable as treats for juvenile beardies, especially those approaching maturity (older than 7 months), they are not suitable for baby beardies.

Generally, baby beardies need low-fat food high in protein and calcium for proper tissue development and healthy, strong bones. Feeding them superworms increases the risk of metabolic bone diseases and malnutrition because superworms are high in fat and very low in calcium.

Remember to smash the superworm’s head to make it safer for your beardie to hunt. You don’t want a struggling superworm to cause damage as it goes through the digestive organs of your bearded dragon.