Can Leopard Geckos Eat Earwigs? (And Should They)

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Earwigs are an easily accessible and cost-effective insect option, but are they safe or nutritional for Leopard Geckos? Here’s some trusted advice on feeding wild insects to Leo and more details on these pincher bugs. 

Leopard Geckos love and will attempt to eat almost any insect. Avoid feeding earwigs to your leopard gecko to prevent injury, infection, malnourishment, or life-threatening poisoning. Wild insects can carry toxins and pose a massive risk to your gecko’s health. 

Should You Feed Your Leopard Gecko Earwigs?

In theory, nothing is stopping a Leopard Gecko from eating an earwig. Whether they should be eating earwigs is a different story. 

Here are several reasons why not to feed earwigs to Leo. 

Possible toxicity

Unlike your store-bought variety of insects, earwigs are found in the wild and may carry harmful substances such as pesticides or other chemical compounds. 

Earwigs are scavengers that enjoy hiding in and eating decaying rubbish, berries, plants, grasses, shrubs, and other insects that may contain or carry harmful toxins. The toxins from the earwigs can easily be passed onto your Leopard Gecko after being eaten. 

Although earwigs are not poisonous themselves, you run the risk of poisoning your geckos and potentially killing them when feeding them wild insects. 

It is always best to purchase your insects from a reputable exotic store where insects have been tested for carrying toxic substances and are considered safe for consumption. 

Pincer induced injury

Earwigs are not nicknamed the pincer bug for no reason. Earwigs have forcep-like pincers on their abdomens for defense against their enemies. 

By offering them to your Leopard Gecko, you risk them being on the receiving end of an excruciating pinch. 

A much safer variety of insects are available for your Leopard Gecko to consume. Even crickets can cause Leo some harm, but not to the extent of an earwig. The injury and pain from an earwig’s forceps can cause your gecko considerable metabolic stress and associated health issues. 

Can earwigs sting or bite Leo?

There is a widely mistaken assumption that earwigs can sting and bite Leopard Geckos. 

In reality, they do not have any stingers and do not possess any venom. They usually will only attack with their pincers when threatened. 

The pincer’s pinches can injure your Leopard Geckos’ delicate skin and inflict unwelcomed pain. 


If severe enough or not left to heal appropriately, an earwig nip can lead to infection. 

Suppose your Leopard Gecko has sustained an injury from an earwig’s pincers. In this case, it is always best to visit a local exotic veterinarian that can treat it early on before infection develops and treatment becomes more complicated.


It is not possible to easily know the nutritional composition or benefits of insects that you find in the wild. Choosing to feed wild insects to your Leopard Gecko comes at a risk as they may lack or have too much of a particular nutrient or vitamin that can be harmful to their health in the long term

It is preferable to purchase your insects and worms from a well-known online or local reptile store where the ingredients, nutritional benefits, and warnings are known. This enables you to make a more informed decision when selecting your gecko’s diet. 

Related: Feeding Nightcrawlers to Your Leopard Gecko

Other reasons why earwigs may not be an owner’s first choice?

Earwigs are also known to emit a harmless yellowish-brown liquid that smells offensive and unpleasant when defending themselves. 

Not the best option when trying to maintain a clean and sanitary enclosure. 

What exactly are earwigs?

Earwigs, scientifically known as Forficula Auricularia, are primarily nocturnal insects found worldwide. 

There are nearly over 200 different species of earwig around the world. They are long, flat, narrow, dark brown, or a reddish-yellow coloration and can measure anywhere from half an inch (1.2 centimeters) to three inches (7.6 centimeters) in length. 

Seeing that earwigs enjoy moist hideouts, they are often found in damp areas or places that have water, such as kitchens and bathrooms. These insects are commonly found in households worldwide. 

The ease in which earwigs can be found and gathered often makes them an attractive consideration for newbie Leopard Gecko owners unaware of the hazards.

Better and safer insect options

As has already been pointed out, earwigs are not poisonous, but the potential to carry toxins and their unknown nutritional value make them a bad choice for your gecko. 

Although some Leopard Geckos owners have attempted to offer dead earwigs that have had their head parts removed, there is really no benefit. 

With pincers removed, the earwigs will no longer be able to harm your geckos, but the nutritional value that they provide is not beneficial enough to risk your gecko’s health and wellbeing. 

Crickets, mealworms, silkworms, beetles, and roaches are merely a handful of the selection of safe and nutritious insects and worms available both online and in-store. It is always best to choose live feeders from a trustworthy source than to collect wild insects.  

Leopard geckos can even eat spiders, but again, just make sure they are store bought.

Final thoughts

Leopard Geckos can eat earwigs, but they rather shouldn’t be due to the risk of toxicity after consumption, the earwig’s unknown nutritional value, and their potential to injure and harm them.    

Leopard Geckos are healthier on a varied un-wild live insect diet. Numerous safer insect and worm options are available at reputable online and local exotic pet stores. 

Related: Can you feed your leopard gecko ladybugs?

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