A creepy-crawly spider going down the wall is something most of us scrabble onto a piece of paper and throw outside, crush, or just ignore. But could it make a snack for your bearded dragon? Is there actually a use to these eight-legged creepies?
Can bearded dragons eat spiders? So long as the spider is not poisonous in any way, the bearded dragon can actually eat spiders. However, it is not recommended as a primary source of food. The nutrients are not the same as you get in crickets and dubia roaches, and some spiders may end up with parasites on them, so it is not recommended that you actively serve them.
Now you know that spiders are not the greatest thing for your bearded dragon to eat. To learn more and to see what some better options are for your dragon, keep reading.
Bearded Dragons Eating Spiders
If you go onto Youtube, you can see a few different videos of bearded dragons eating spiders. Some of the spiders are just household arachnids that the dragon found. Others were dropped into the enclosure, and the dragon was allowed to have at it.
So, it’s not impossible for a bearded dragon to eat a spider and be okay from it. Chances are that the common household spider won’t pose a risk.
But there are some venomous spiders in North America you should be aware of. Learning how to identify them will keep your bearded dragon safe.
Types of Venomous Spiders to Avoid
The brown recluse has what appears to be a pattern of a fiddle or violin on its back. They have six pairs of eyes, and this makes it very easy to tell it apart from other spiders.
If a brown recluse bites you, you should seek the help of a doctor right away Apply an ice pack and get some aloe vera onto the bite. Take the spider to the hospital with you for assistance.
These spiders tend to live in attics, storage boxes, rocks, and lumber piles. You may not take your beardie to these types of places often, but you should make sure to be careful if you do take your beardie there. If your bearded dragon eats a brown recluse, call a vet right away for help.
Black widows are poisonous to the touch. They are also venomous, so these spiders cannot be touched, nor can they be allowed to bite. Only the females bite. The spiders are black and shiny in color.
There are two types of black widows, one that lives in the Southern US and the other that lives in the Northern US. The Southern variant has bright red, white, or yellow dots on the top and two bars on their underside. They may have brown or red legs, also.
The Northern black widows have a shiny red hourglass on their backs. If a black widow bites you, call emergency medical services immediately for help. If your bearded dragon consumes one, make sure to call a vet right away.
Black widows are nocturnal. You will find them in piles of rocks, junk, or in tree bark. Exercise extreme caution if you choose to take your bearded dragon to these places.
Hobo spiders are commonly found inside human structures. They do not climb vertical structures very often, and you won’t find them usually above ground level.
They create horizontal webs which go into a hole or crack in woodpiles or brick walls where the spider anticipates its next prey.
The bite of a hobo spider is a lot like that of the Brown Recluse. You should get help from a doctor immediately for yourself if bitten or help from a vet if your bearded dragon eats or ingests one of these spiders.
The bite of a hobo spider may be painless at first but is absolutely serious. The site of the bite will develop redness, blister, and then break open and weep ulceration.
Headaches may result, and you may experience nausea, weakness, fatigue, and impairment of vision, along with temporary memory loss.
Yellow Sac Spiders
These spiders are found around the world, not just in North America. It is a medium-sized spider, only measuring about 6 to 10 mm, and can be colored pale yellow green to pink.
They are found inside homes all through the North American continent. They enjoy building silk webs in curled up leaves or small crevasses.
Bites are prone to happen at night, with spiders having bitten a sleeping human. Yellow sac spiders have a venom that is thankfully only a little toxic. Bites are painful and can lead to skin irritation in humans, like edema, pruritus, and erythema.
Wounds can be necrotic but are known to heal quickly without too much scarring. Nonetheless, you should immediately get medical help if you or your bearded dragon are bitten (or if your beardie eats one of these spiders).
What Beardies Should Be Eating Instead
You may be thinking, “What can I offer my bearded dragon to eat that’s interesting and fun?” You might have thought that the spiders around the house would make a fun and free snack, but it’s better to play it safe and avoid serving these to your bearded dragon.
That being said, you can still serve up some fun treats in the form of bugs to your bearded dragon. Let’s talk about some options.
Crickets and Locusts
Crickets and locusts provide the most significant nutrients for your bearded dragon. Dubia roaches are another great option. Dust them with calcium and rotate them to keep it interesting for your bearded dragon.
After all, depending on the age of your bearded dragon, you could be feeding more often than you know. Baby dragons, for example, that are aged up to 6 months, can eat as much as they want, especially when it comes to meat. You can really keep it interesting when rotating these bugs.
Veggies: A Crunchy and Delicious Treat
I recommend you serve a diet to your beardies that is 80% veggies and 20% meat in the form of insects. With that much vegetables required for healthy growth and living, there are lots of ways you can keep it interesting for your bearded dragon. Even some fruit is OK for the beardie once in a while.
Here are some veggies your beardie will love:
- Bok Choy
- Yellow Squash
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Bell peppers
That’s not all, either, there are plenty more you can pick from.
Here are some fruits your beardie will enjoy in moderation:
Now you know that spiders are not inherently bad for your beardie to eat. However, it’s really not worth taking the risk.
Given that there are plenty of other great bugs that are more nutritious and safer, and the wide variety of veggies available (and fruit as the occasional treat) you can still absolutely keep it interesting for your dragon.
Change up the veggies, offer a small piece of fruit every now and then and keep the crickets and locusts coming. Provide an ample supply of water, and this will keep your dragon happy and healthy.