Ask the Vets Pets
A weekly column about pet health care Home
Pet Care Information About us Search
DOGS
CATS
OTHER PETS
IMPORTANT INFO
PET OF THE MONTH
LINKS
 
CONTACT US
2007-27

Dear DRAGO DRAGON

My kids want to know whether they can feed Captain Jack, our bearded dragon, the fireflies they catch outside at night. He usually eats crickets from the pet supply store, but we think fireflies might be a delicious treat.

DRAGO RESPONDS

Fireflies are poisonous to us bearded dragons – and to several other reptiles and amphibians as well – so please keep them away from Captain Jack.

Fireflies contain lucibufagins, which are toxic to the reptilian heart.

Within 15 minutes to two hours of eating fireflies, bearded dragons develop breathing difficulty, head shaking and sometimes regurgitation. Skin color changes to tan or black.

Death from heart failure occurs within minutes to hours. Just one firefly can kill a bearded dragon.

Because death occurs so quickly, often before the beardie can get to the animal hospital, treatment usually fails.

Fireflies aren’t the only critters that are toxic to us beardies. Bees, wasps, monarch and queen butterflies, as well as ticks and spiders are among the many creatures we should not eat.

Caution your children not to feed Captain Jack wild insects of any kind, because they may carry parasites, diseases, pesticides, weed killers or other harmful chemicals that he should not ingest.

If they want to give Captain Jack a treat, suggest worms from the pet supply store or vegetables.

back to index

  Contact Us