If you are considering feeding your Leopard Gecko Mealworm beetles (also known as Darkling beetles), there are many factors you need to take into consideration. Below we get into all the nuances and describe how to feed them to your Leo safely.
Leopard Geckos can eat Mealworm Beetles. Darkling beetles are an excellent source of nutrients, such as calcium. However, they are quite large in size and can be aggressive. You have to be careful when feeding them to your leopard gecko.
Darkling beetles are the full grown version of Mealworms and are easily found close to human habitats, including gardens and animal barns. They thrive in dry, cool, dark areas and mainly feed on dead animals and plants. First, Mealworms go through a pupa stage before hatching into beetles. Leopard Gecko’s can also eat the Mealworm pupa.
Do Leopard Geckos Like Mealworm Beetles?
Although leopard geckos feed on mealworm beetles from time to time, these aren’t their favorite food for various reasons. Firstly, they just aren’t that tasty, and their availability is limited. Secondly, full-grown mealworms have chitin which the leopard geckos find hard to chew.
Darkling beetles often grow to a large size, which may threaten the smaller and sickly leopard geckos. Also, they have a terrible smell that is repulsive to the leopard geckos; therefore, the geckos may not feed on them continuously or in large amounts.
Are Mealworm Beetles Safe for Leopard Geckos?
In most cases, mealworm beetles are safe for leopard geckos if they’re significantly smaller or younger. However, they could cause harm by eating through the stomach of your leopard gecko.
Also, the leopard gecko should be wise enough not to bite the mealworm beetle by its tail as it can easily spin around and hurt the leopard gecko in its eye.
In addition, feeding larger beetles to small leopard geckos may cause choking. The hard exoskeleton found on the grown darkling beetles may result in digestive problems. You should try dubia roaches for smaller geckos.
You should cut the mealworms into small portions and feed the leopard geckos at intervals. Similarly, the brutal jaws of adult mealworms may harm the leopard geckos when feeding. Therefore, you should also aim to provide the leopard geckos with mealworms recently hatched since they’re softer.
Do Darkling Beetles Bite?
Yes, they do. Mealworm beetles, also known as darkling beetles, have well-developed jaws when fully grown. These jaws are strong enough to bite and chew their prey. Using their mandibles, they can bite humans but are not harmful. However, grown beetles can bite sickly leopard geckos that can’t defend themselves.
What is the Right Size of Mealworm Beetles to Feed Leopard Geckos?
Well, it all depends on the size and age of the two. At any given point, for a leopard gecko to feed on a mealworm beetle, the latter has to be smaller.
Therefore, you should select shorter and smaller mealworms that your leopard gecko can comfortably feed on. If possible, focus on the younger darkling beetles for best results.
Furthermore, as earlier highlighted, fully grown mealworm beetles have chitin, making them hard to chew, which can cause damage to your leos digestive system. Therefore, leopard geckos prefer smaller prey.
How to Maximize the Nutrition of Your Mealworms Beetles
Although you can easily find mealworm beetles in the wild, you need to ensure they have enough nutrients for your leopard geckos. Therefore, having a mealworm breeder will go a long way in ensuring you have an ample supply of healthy and nutritious darkling beetles for your leopard geckos.
You can gut load mealworms by feeding them finely chopped vegetables such as spinach and carrots in order. Also, sweet potatoes and oats are excellent sources of nutrients. Ensure the breeder has the correct temperature and humidity levels to facilitate the faster growth of the mealworm beetles.
What is the Best Type of Mealworm Beetles for Your Leopard Geckos?
There are various types of mealworms in pet shops; however, it’s up to you to select the most appropriate one. Some pet shops have mealworm beetles that are either organic-bred or hormonal-bred.
The hormonally bred mealworms may be cheaper and readily available, but they contain fewer nutrients since they rarely mature fully. On the other hand, organic-bred mealworms that develop fully are more nutritious to the geckos.
Are Mealworm Beetles Easy or Hard Prey for the Leopard Geckos?
Leopard geckos have a sticky tongue that’s ideal for catching beetles, making them easy prey. Furthermore, mealworm beetles can’t fly.
However, don’t be fooled by the squirmy nature of Darkling beetles since they have a self-dense mechanism. They have glands at their abdomen that secrete an awful smell to protect them from predators. For this reason, they are repulsive to the leopard geckos.
Mealworm beetles can be a great source of nutrition. However, the size of both the leopard gecko and the beetle has to be considered. Ideally, the leopard gecko should be larger. Also, avoid feeding the geckos with grown darkling beetles since they have chitin which isn’t easily digestible.