As a leopard gecko owner, you might be wondering if you can feed earthworms to your lovely reptile. Of course, leopard geckos are insectivores that can feed on various diets.
What about earthworms? Can you include them in your leopard geckos diet? This article will solve this question.
So can your leopard gecko eat earthworms?
Yes, leopard geckos can eat earthworms. However, it is important to note that earthworms are not a healthy addition to the daily diet of your leopard gecko. If you must feed them earthworms, do it only once in a while.
Can Leopard Geckos Eat Earthworms?
Leopard geckos can and do eat earthworms. Earthworms are high in protein and low in calcium, making them a good choice for your leopard gecko. They contain very little natural fat, less than 2%. In fact, earthworms are one of the lowest-fat foods for reptiles.
However, you must be careful not to feed earthworms to your leopard gecko daily as they might cause health challenges, and your pet might not like them that much. Feed them only once or twice every two weeks. The best worms for leopard geckos are mealworms.
Earthworms release mucus-like substances when they are stressed. You may often notice the sudden emergence of a fluid, yellow. This is not healthy for your pet. Besides, leopard geckos don’t fancy these substances secreted by the earthworms.
Avoid earthworms found in septic material, as these can contain parasites that can cause illnesses.
Do all leopard geckos eat earthworms?
Please note that not all leopard geckos eat earthworms, so don’t be worried if you try feeding earthworms to your gecko and it refuses to eat them completely.
Some leopard geckos will smell the earthworms and reject them instantly.
Related: Should you Feed Your Leopard Gecko Ants?
Can baby leopard geckos eat earthworms?
No. Please don’t feed earthworms to your baby gecko. Earthworms are too long in size. Baby geckos can only feed on worms and insects, measuring approximately 1/4 inches, while the average size of a fully grown earthworm is 10-14 inches.
Your baby gecko will certainly not be in an excellent position to digest an earthworm. They can harm the baby gecko’s digestive system. The best diet for baby geckos includes roaches, crickets, and small mealworms.
What is the nutritional value of earthworms?
Earthworms do not contain significant nutrition, as you can see in the table below;
|82%||10%||1.62%||137 mg/kg||1591 mg/kg||443 mg/kg|
Moisture and proteins are the only substantial nutrients that earthworms can offer your pet.
Your leopard gecko still needs the rest of the nutrients in the chart, and earthworms will not offer them in sufficient quantities.
As we have already highlighted, earthworms are not an ideal inclusion in your leopard gecko’s daily diet. It would be best if you fed them to your gecko only once or twice every fortnight.
Insects offer the best diet for your leopard gecko. The best mixes include superworms, crickets, hornworms, silkworms and mealworms. Mealworms are a particularly perfect staple food for your Leopard Gecko. They’re very healthy, not too big and will be perfect for your pet.
Why are earthworms generally not considered good food for leopard geckos?
Well, by now, we know that leopard geckos can eat earthworms. We also know that they are not highly recommended for inclusion as part of your pet’s routine diet, and here is why in detail;
The lengthy size of earthworms is not suitable for leopard geckos.
Adult Leopard Geckos, hatchlings, and juveniles feed on worms and insects of approximately 21/2 inches, 3/8 inches, and 1/4 inches long.
Contrast this with the average size of earthworms which is about 10-14 inches long. As you can see, the size of an earthworm is way outside the comfortable scope for your leopard gecko.
Leopard geckos struggle to eat adult earthworms or fail to eat them completely. If you must feed them earthworms, you might have to consider going for juvenile earthworms, which might be challenging to find, not forgetting additional costs.
Risk of diseases
Earthworms have been found to carry various parasites, including platyhelminths, protozoa, and nematodes. These can easily harm your pet by causing serious illnesses.
Can a leopard gecko eat earthworms from the backyard?
No. We advise you not to pick earthworms from your backyard as chances are high they could be contaminated with all manner of toxic substances, including but not limited to insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.
Of course, a few contaminated earthworms might not immediately harm your lovely pet to severe levels, but they will harm them over time. They are high in toxic substances and will make your pet sick.
This explains why you always need to source all your pet’s food, including earthworms, from a credible and approved pet store or supplier. You can also order online if you cannot find a reliable store in your locality.
Are some earthworms healthier than others?
Yes, we have found out that a specific earthworm is much healthier than others.
This is known as the California red earthworm, a species of earthworm found in the northern United States that lives in freshwater and moist soil. It’s mostly found in moist environments, including freshwater, and measures about 15 inches.
You can also try feeding your gecko nightcrawlers. Or try feeding them bloodworms.
While leopard geckos can eat earthworms, they are not the most valuable food source for these pets. They release a foul-smelling mucus substance, which can cause a lot of problems for your gecko.
Some leopard geckos can refuse to eat earthworms entirely because of the foul-smelling mucus. Also, note that earthworms are big and oversized; hence not recommended at all for baby leopard geckos.
You can feed them to your adult pets occasionally, though you should keep mixing up your leopard gecko’s diet from time to time to keep it adequately varied.
Buy the earthworms strictly from an approved pet store. It’s best to feed your Leo with various foods, but don’t force it to eat anything you don’t think is healthy for them.
Kolesnyk, N., Simon, M., Marenkov, O. and Sharamok, T., 2022. Red Californian earthworm (Eisenia foetida andrei) as a valuable food item in fish farming (review). [online] https://www.researchgate.net. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329666500_Red_Californian_earthworm_Eisenia_foetida_andrei_as_a_valuable_food_item_in_fish_farming_review> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
Geckosunlimited.com. 2022. Can leopard geckos eat earthworms?. [online] Available at: <http://www.geckosunlimited.com/community/leopard-geckos-food-and-feeding-issues-/85956-leopard-geckos-eat-earthworms.html> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
Ras-Norynska, M. and Sokol, R., 2022. Internal parasites of reptiles. [online] Agro.icm.edu.pl. Available at: <https://agro.icm.edu.pl/agro/element/bwmeta1.element.agro-b8299fd5-fd10-4739-a846-0bbd59858d65> [Accessed 26 February 2022].