Can bearded dragons eat ladybugs in their meals? You can easily spot these bugs at home or in your yard. Thus, you probably wonder if you can include them in your beardies diet.
Unfortunately, ladybugs are insects that bearded dragons should avoid eating. They are mildly toxic to reptiles and could make lizards sick. Moreover, they don’t give enough nutritional value to your pet.
You want to keep your pet healthy and free from any illnesses. Thus, I gathered more information about how this pest could affect beardies. I also scoured for helpful guides on keeping these pesky critters away from your home and your scaly friend. Then, I collected these vital notes in this blog post to help you.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Ladybugs Regularly or Occasionally?
Bearded dragons cannot eat ladybugs as these critters may carry toxins and chemicals harmful to reptiles. These toxins may cause allergic reactions or even poison your scaly friend.
Moreover, their bodies also have hard outer shells that your pet cannot efficiently digest. This hard food could thus block the reptile’s digestive system and cause complications like infection and decreased appetite.
To further elaborate on why beardies cannot eat ladybugs, here are the risks these critters may cause to the lizards:
1. Contains Natural Toxins
Ladybugs have natural toxins called alkaloids mixed in their bloodstream that are mildly toxic to reptiles. Some species even carry higher amounts of these toxins, especially those pests with bright-colored patterns on their back.
The alkaloid level in one bug usually won’t hurt an adult lizard. However, your beardy could experience digestive problems if he eats too many of these insects. Baby beardies may also sustain gastrointestinal irritation from eating a few of these critters.
2. Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
These insects are busy walking around your home and have probably passed through tons of harmful chemicals, like pesticides. Some of these substances are stuck on the pests’ bodies and could thus cause poisoning and other complications to your lizard upon consumption.
It’s also why you should never feed any home and wild bugs to your scaly friend, like the roaches in your house. Only give them clean feeders you can buy from the pet store.
3. May Cause Impaction
The lizard may experience difficulty digesting the hard exoskeleton or shell of this insect. The critter may thus block the intestine or gut of your scaly pet and cause infection. It could then lead to further complications requiring an urgent visit to the Vet.
4. Poor Nutritional Value
This critter only contains a small amount of protein that can’t meet a lizard’s nutrient requirement.
The problem is that you can’t feed too much of this insect to your pet without causing the health risks mentioned above. It’s thus better to stay away from ladybugs and serve the best protein sources to your lizards, like mealworms, Dubia roaches, and crickets.
As mentioned above, these insects naturally contain alkaloids, and some species have higher levels of this toxin in their blood. However, that doesn’t make critters with lesser alkaloid levels safer for beardies to eat.
Eating less toxic bugs may still irritate the gastrointestinal tract of a lizard. Besides, such crawlies still pose other risks to your scaly pet, like deadly chemical exposure and gastrointestinal impaction.
It’s thus better to avoid feeding any ladybug species to your pet to keep them safe.
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You may keep these nasty insects away from your bearded dragon’s meals. However, your lizards may still accidentally eat some critters they could reach. Here’s what you should do in that situation:
1. Watch Out for Symptoms of Toxicity
Observe your dragon within 24 hours after eating a toxic bug, and watch out for these symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Less energetic than usual
- Loose and discolored stool
- Mucus secretion from the nose
- Red and teary eyes
- Skin discoloration or reddening of scales
2. Rush Your Pet to the Vet
Eating a few of these insects usually doesn’t hurt an adult beardie. However, immediately bring your scaly friend to the veterinarian if you notice any of the symptoms above.
Remember that a typical household insect may carry deadly chemicals and could quickly make your pet sick.
3. Clean Your Dragon’s Enclosure and Your Home
Your dragon would only consume a bug it could reach. So, thoroughly clean your pet’s enclosure and your home to keep nasty pests away.
As mentioned above, keeping harmful insects away is crucial for your scaly pet’s safety. So, remember these tips to ensure ladybugs won’t stay in your home:
- Seal cracks and holes like those on the walls, doors, and windows. These holes are excellent passages for nasty critters to enter and reach your pet.
2. Spray citrus scents in areas where the pests love to stay. The smell of citrus is a popular deterrent for common household insects. Don’t use pesticides to avoid harming your lizard.
3. Plant mums around your house, as these flowers could deter the pest. They also bloom at the end of fall, which is the season when the nasty insects usually come indoors.
4. Call a professional pest control service if there’s already an infestation in your home. Hire a service that could solve an infestation without using harmful chemicals and could prevent the pests from coming back.
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So, can bearded dragons eat ladybugs?
The answer is no. You should keep this insect away from your bearded dragons as they pose significant health risks to reptiles. They could make a lizard sick or even cause death, especially if the crawly carries harmful chemicals on its body.
So, focus on giving the best food options to your scaly friend, like crickets and vegetables. Make sure to keep the nasty insect away from your home to keep your reptile from reaching them.
Consult the Vet if your pet shows any unusual symptoms of poisoning.