People have been gobbling live crickets on television for years to stand a chance at winning a million dollars but fail to get them down. Beardies gobble up live crickets without flinching! Could your bearded dragon stomach dead crickets too? Is it safe for reptiles?
Can bearded dragons eat dead crickets? Well, that depends. Provided that dead crickets have been frozen or sold as dead, then yes, bearded dragons may scoff them down. Don’t just pick up any dead bug and offer them up as a meal to your bearded dragon.
Don’t even assume a dead bug is ok to eat after you’ve purchased them live, and they ended up dying while being shipped and delivered to your door. It’s best just to toss them, tell your vendor, and they can provide you with a new package free of charge.
Keep reading, and you will find exactly why you need to be particularly careful with feeding dead crickets to your beardie!
Bearded Dragons and Dead Crickets
Crickets are relatively inexpensive and pack a protein punch great for boosting your bearded dragon. Bearded dragons also effortlessly digest crickets. But the questions arise, whether they can consume dead crickets?
Beardies can eat dead crickets that have been freeze-dried, frozen, or canned. These bugs have mostly been pre-killed for your convenience.
These commercial foods for your beardie contain added ingredients; you don’t have to care for the bugs, and they are deemed suitable for your bearded dragon.
You may have a challenging time feeding your beardie dead crickets as they do not recognize dead bugs. You can help your beardie buddy recognize these dead crickets by using plastic-tipped tongs or tweezers to offer him dead crickets.
To help your beardie recognize these dead bugs as food, grasp a dead cricket using tongs or tweezers and move it around as though it were still alive. This should entice him.
You can also give your bearded dragon dead crickets by sneakily hiding them in veggies. Another option is using a water gun while said dead cricket is in their drinking bowls to imitate the live cricket movement.
Dead Crickets and Their Origin – Keep This in Mind!
Make sure that you avoid dead crickets where you have no idea how they perished unless they are frozen or sold as dead.
If you purchase live crickets online, they tend to die during shipping due to weather variation or where the temperature was not ideal as an example. Perhaps they were stuck during transit. Whatever the reason, if your package is delivered dead on arrival, you need to be wary.
Live crickets dying during shipping may not be good for your beardie. Actually, I repeat, they are not good for your beardie and should never be fed to them.
If they perish during shipping, they lose moisture and make them dry and tough to eat for your bearded dragon. These dead crickets also contain fewer nutrients and will not be of great benefit to your beardie.
Further, they may have already started attracting parasites and bacteria, which is fantastic for decomposing, but a massive no for your bearded dragon and should be avoided at all costs.
Make sure you avoid dead crickets that have not been sold as dead by manufacturers.
Vendors are usually happy to send another shipment free of charge in the case of live crickets who turned up dead at your door.
Perhaps it may sound appealing to feed your bearded dragon those dead crickets which arrived in the mail, or any other dead cricket for that matter, but don’t do it, it could be detrimental to the health of your favorite pet and prove fatal.
Dead Crickets, Are They A Good Choice?
As much as you’d like to conveniently feed your beardie dead crickets, most bearded dragons actually prefer live ones, for an apparent reason, they move!
If you find yourself seriously squeamish, freeze-dried options are a choice to feed your bearded dragon if they will have them, though they do not contain the necessary moisture content.
Benefits of Live Crickets
Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of why you should be choosing to serve bearded dragons live crickets:
- They are Nutritive. For example, house crickets possess 20.5% proteins, 69.2% moisture, 2.2% fiber, 6.8% fats, 295mg phosphorus per 100 g and 40.7 mg calcium per 100 g while their nymphs have 14.5% proteins, 77.1% moisture, 2.2% fiber, 3.3% fats, 252 mg phosphorus per 100 g and 27.5 mg calcium per 100 g.
- They initiate a great feeding response. Bearded dragons are stimulated by live crickets and try to catch them. You’d be shocked at the rate your beardie moves.
- They are mild and soft in texture; your baby bearded dragon will even eat them with ease.
- Other reasons include that they gut-load exceptionally well, are readily available in different sizes, are reasonably priced, simple to keep and maintain, are easily raised at your home, and they constitute a remarkable amount of iron.
Bearded dragon parents should be aware of the following drawbacks for live crickets:
- They may and can give forth quite a pungent smell.
- They keep you out of sleep with their loud chirping noises which occur mostly during the night.
- The source for insects, such as crickets, requires vetting, as they may transfer parasites such as pinworms.
- They are capable of quickly jumping to escape.
- They are not as nutritious and contain less calcium.
What else should be considered? Let’s read further below.
What are The Dangers Posed by Crickets?
You probably never even considered this, but these insects could wreak havoc. Let’s review what risks are imposed by crickets on our beloved pet beardies.
Beardie parents, be aware, large crickets may not pass through your bearded dragon’s digestive tract. It can be critical, due to a blockage build up causing impaction, especially if it goes unnoticed and untreated.
So how do you manage this? Even if you think your beardie is tough enough to handle large crickets, you should abide by the rules and choose a smaller cricket to feed your bearded dragon. It should measure smaller than the width between the beardie’s eyes.
It’s totally possible for beardies to choke on large crickets. You should monitor your bearded dragon when he is snacking on crickets so you can quickly react to choking.
If you hear your beardie coughing or gagging, chances are, he is choking and, if possible, you’re going to have to clear the obstruction. It’s probably best you just stick to offering your beardie smaller crickets!
Injury and Bites
Brown and black crickets can bite your bearded dragon on the tail, back, or legs if left alone in your beardie’s home with him. In order to prevent infection, open wounds will have to keep thoroughly clean, and antibiotics should be topically applied to treat the wounds.
Poisons and Parasites
If you catch wild crickets, potentially, you are exposing your bearded dragon to parasites within his diet and his enclosure. Wild crickets may be contaminated.
Further, herbicides and pesticides found on crickets, either directly sprayed or indirectly passing over a region which has been sprayed, could kill your bearded dragon if he consumes them.
Crickets from reputable cricket breeders, including pet store and farm-raised crickets, are not very likely to expose your beardie to parasites.
I hope this article about bearded dragons and dead crickets helped you!
Dead crickets CAN be offered if they’ve been frozen, freeze-dried or canned. I highly recommend only feeding live crickets to beardies; they provide optimum nutrition, and food should always be provided in its natural state, as it is consumed in the wild!
If you’re weirded out by the idea of feeding your beardie live crickets, you will be happy to find that adult bearded dragons mostly feed on vegetables. Check out my article here for more advice on bearded dragon feeding.
I wish you and your dragon health and happiness!