CAN BEARDED DRAGON EAT ANTS?
No, ants are not suitable for your bearded dragon. Ants contains formic acid which is harmful to your bearded dragons as they use it protect themselves from predators. The phosphorous content in ants out weighs the calcium content which when taken in excess is dangerous to your bearded dragon. Pesticides are harmful to bearded dragons, as most ants are usually covered with pesticide chemicals sprayed by farmers to prevent their crops from being attacked by pests like ants which feed on them. Ants do not have all the essential nutrients needed by bearded dragons in the right proportion.
These are eusocial insects from the formicidae family, which are also related to the wasp and bees belonging to hymenoptera. Ants are classed differently according to their attributes, we have the ones that bite and attack when threatened, some create wounds on the body without inflicting pain on the victim, there are ants that stings if it senses disturbance from predators, the blood sucking ants, the sugar infesting ants and the likes. The ant species all over the world is about 12000 with each having its own characteristics. Ants uses their feet to detect vibrations in the ground as they have no ears to pick up sounds. The process of inhaling and exhaling oxygen and carbon dioxide is carried out through the tiny holes allover their body as they do not have respiratory system like lungs to channel this operation in their body. They work together in large numbers, in an organized manner just like the human army troops. Judging from their size, they are very easy to trample on. They only come out to search for food in summer times to store up against the rainy periods which makes it impossible for them to move around. Ants are grouped into colonies and each colony has a queen that reproduces in large amounts of thousands and millions. All the other ants work hard to ensure the queen does not die as that can weaken the colony and lead to its death. Which is because majority of them die on the way whenever they are out on food hunting. Ants can be very frustrating as they invade people’s homes and farms in search for food thereby contaminating and destroy food items and crops. The main nutritional value of ants consists of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, folic acid and magnesium. They also offer a good amount of protein. Proceeding with this article, let’s look at some of the
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ANTS TO BEARDED DRAGON
This is the most dominant nutrient in ant, it is about 106mg. It is responsible for growth, maintenance and repair of body tissues and cells. Production of DNA and RNA as body genetic building blocks is enhanced with the activity of phosphorus. Other vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc are effective due to the activities of phosphorus. Bearded dragon can benefit these advantages from phosphorus.
When it comes to healthy bones, strong teeth, blood clotting, muscle contraction, steady heart beat and proper functioning of the nerves calcium is rated in these areas. Bearded dragons are very much in need of calcium as it aids the development of strong bones that helps them keep fit, muscle contraction, healthy reproduction in female dragons and fruitful egg development. Bearded dragons need calcium but it is mostly needed at the offspring stage.
This is also found in ants. It is useful for the treatment of red blood cells to prevent low blood levels in folate and high blood levels in homocysteine. In bearded dragons, to avoid birth defects in the brain area and spine, folic acid is needed during early pregnancy to ensure this does not happen.
One of the nutrients that plays a crucial role in the body is magnesium. It supports to a very large extent the muscles in the body. Nerves also functions effectively due to the activity of magnesium in the body. The daily activity of your dragon is supported by the use of energy so in support of this energy is produced by magnesium.
The body system of both humans and animals needs nutrients to enhance its functionality in different areas. Protein is a good example of a body building nutrient present in various kinds of food. It promotes structure, functionality and regulation of tissues and organs in the body. Cultivate the habit of feeding your bearded dragon with protein rich foods. Natural foods are usually rich in proteins for example meat, fish, beans, egg e.t.c.
SIDE EFFECT OF FEEDING ANTS TO YOUR DRAGONS
The folic acid in ants can harm your dragon. Excessive or regular consumption of ants can lead to a build up of folic acid in the body of your bearded dragon. Which can cause loss of appetite. Stomach pain, sleeplessness, irritations, bloating, gas, skin reactions, seizuers and the likes
Ants come from the family of formicidea and has what is called the formic acid which they use in defending their nest from predator by spraying it on them. Meaning that once they are consumed by bearded dragon they are also ingesting the formic acid in them. Gradually symptoms like eye irritation, nose irritations, sore throat, cough, headache, chest pain and the likes start to surface. Formic acid is very poisonous because they use it as a source of protection whenever they feel threatened. If it comes in contact with the skin of your dragon it can causes skin burns, severe pain and ulcer.
PHOSPHOROUS RATIO TO CALCIUM
The level of phosphorus in ants is higher than that of calcium. From the study of bearded dragon foods rich in phosphorus content should be avoided by dragons as they need more of foods rich calcium content or higher calcium content than phosphorus. When there is an imbalance of phosphorus to calcium in your dragon system especially if phosphorus is higher than calcium, tiredness and weakness, short breath, dizziness, swelling of the legs and feet, diarrhea, organ and tissue gets hardened.
HOW TO FEED THEM TO YOUR DRAGON.
It is best not to feed ants to your dragons as the effect of the risks are more fatal to your dragon than it’s advantages or benefits. Sure, it has some health benefits but the but the concerntration of the acids can be toxic to their wellbeing.
As bearded dragon pet owners, the zeal to feed our bearded dragons can be very high. We can like to get experimental with it, as it can be a fun way of getting to know more about your dragon. However, you still need to be careful about what we feed to our dragon as not all kinds of food work well with their system. Some foods or fruits do not have the essential nutrients needed by bearded dragons in the right proportion. Know your dragon, know what nutrition balances well with their health and capitalize on them.