Bearded dragons are omnivores, and fairly easy to please in the food department. They enjoy a wide range of vegetables and insects, but what about rolly pollies?
Rolly pollies (Armadillidiidae—also known as “pill bugs”) aren’t part of a bearded dragon’s regular diet, but a few won’t harm your beardie as long as they haven’t come into contact with pesticides or fertilizers. Let’s explore this further.
Are Rolly Pollies Safe for Bearded Dragons?
Rolly pollies are a type of woodlice commonly found in yards. According to VCA Animal Hospitals 1, it’s not a good idea to feed your bearded dragon insects procured from your yard due to the risk of pesticides and fertilizers. Parasites are also a potential risk. These could make your bearded dragon sick, so it’s best to stick to insects from pet stores or breeders.
In short, bearded dragons can eat a few rolly pollies as long as they don’t have fertilizers or pesticides on them. In fact, rollie pollies are a good source of calcium and protein, so pesticide and fertilizer-free ones are healthy occasional treats.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t let your beardie have too many, as this could make them sick. These insects have hard shells, so ingesting too many could cause a blockage. As with other insects, it’s best to procure your woodlice from reputable stores and breeders rather than picking them up outdoors. Alternatively, you can raise your own feeder insects.
What Insects Can Bearded Dragons Eat?
Bearded dragons, as omnivores, need to derive protein from various insects. In fact, 25% of an adult bearded dragon’s diet should consist of live animal-based protein sources. Juvenile bearded dragons eat more insects than greens due to the need for more protein while growing, but begin to lean more towards a higher percentage of vegetables when they reach adulthood.
Feeder insects need to be gut-loaded at least 24–48 hours in advance of the feeding time to boost your beardie’s intake of important nutrients.
Rotating these protein sources is key to varying the nutrients your beardie receives and making sure they get enough of each nutrient. It’s important to dust a vet-approved calcium supplement on your beardie’s food every other day—this may need to be done daily if your bearded dragon is a juvenile. Breeding dragons also need extra calcium.
Bearded dragons also require multivitamin supplements, typically once per week, but this may vary. Speak to your vet to ascertain the right amount of calcium and multivitamins and how frequently these should be offered for your beardie’s age.
Are Any Insects Dangerous for Bearded Dragons?
Insects that have come into contact with pesticides or fertilizers may cause toxicity, which is why it’s not advisable to collect insects from your yard or local outdoor areas. As for insects to stay well away from, fireflies are especially dangerous for bearded dragons, as are any other insects or worms that glow due to the presence of harmful toxins.
To recap, a few pesticide and fertilizer-free rolly pollies won’t hurt your bearded dragon and even offer some essential nutrients. For this reason, they make great occasional snacks. However, bearded dragons should not eat rolly pollies as part of their regular diet, and any insects you feed them should come from reputable sources (breeders, reptile stores, etc.) rather than outdoor areas.
If your beardie has a thing for rolly pollies, the good news is that you can find various kinds of feeder woodlice that are commercially sold, including giant orange woodlice.