Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms? (What You Should Know)

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If you’re a leopard gecko enthusiast, you may be wondering if your favorite lizard can eat hornworms. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at whether or not leopard geckos can eat hornworms and provide some tips on how to feed them this type of prey safely. Keep reading for more information!

Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms?

Hornworms can be fed to leopard geckos. Leopard geckos eat hornworms in the wild, and most domesticated pet leopard geckos love hornworms. However, Hornworms cannot meet all of a leopard geckos nutritional needs. So make sure to keep them as a small part of a varied diet.

Hornworm on leaf

Do Leopard Geckos Like Hornworms?

Most leopard geckos love hornworms, but some may be more reluctant than others. If your leopard gecko has never eaten hornworms before, you may want to start by dousing the hornworm with a small amount of honey or fruit baby food to make it taste delicious.

However, every leopard gecko is different, and some may just not like hornworms at all. If this is the case, there are other hornworm substitutes that you can try feeding your leopard gecko. Some hornworm alternatives include silkworms, butter worms, and wax worms.

Are Hornworms Good for Leopard Geckos?

Hornworms are very nutritious; they contain protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients your pet gecko needs. They also have low fat and so are a very healthy food item for your gecko.

A hornworm has soft skin that your pet gecko can digest easily. So your Leo shouldn’t have any digestion issues when eating hornworms.

Hornworms also contain a high moisture content, which is great for leopard geckos who tend to develop problems with hydration.

The Nutritional Value of Hornworms

Hornworms contain:

  • 9% protein
  • 3.0% fat
  • 46mg calcium per 100g hornworm
  • 85% moisture content

Hornworms are, in fact, extremely nutritious. More nutritious than other worms such as earthworms which are not the best for your leopard gecko.

Can Hornworms Hurt Leopard Geckos?

Hornworms are completely harmless to your gecko. Their horn is made of soft skin. It is harmless chitin that is neither poisonous nor venomous. Additionally, hornworms have no real fangs or stingers, so they cannot hurt your gecko.

Can leopard geckos choke on hornworms?

Adult leopard geckos cannot choke on hornworms. Hornworms are a healthy and safe food item for leopard geckos. They have no real choking hazard, so your leopard gecko is not at risk of choking on them.

Are Hornworms Toxic to Leopard Geckos?

No hornworms are not toxic to leopard geckos. They contain no real toxins that will harm your gecko.

Are Hornworms Safe for Leopard Geckos?

Hornworms are generally safe for your leopard gecko. However, hornworms can carry parasites. 

If you buy hornworms from the store, look for hornworms without signs of parasites such as small ticks or mites. It’s best to buy hornworms that have been refrigerated as the cold kills most parasites and makes them safer for your leopard gecko to eat.

You can raise Hornworms yourself. If you do this, make sure to feed them natural foods like carrots and tomatoes, which will help flush out parasites.

It is always best to consult a veterinarian first and discuss the benefits and risks of hornworms for your pet before feeding them to your pet. 

Can Juvenile Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms? 

Baby leopard geckos cannot eat fully grown hornworms as they are too large for them to handle. However, small, young hornworms are a perfect prey item for juvenile leopard geckos. Their small size and soft skin make them easily digestible, and they make great appetizers for young leopard geckos.

If you have juvenile leopard geckos, you can slow down the growth of hornworms by keeping them in the dark and cold environment. Preferably at around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also keep hornworms in the fridge for up to 48 hours without harming them. However, don’t leave them too long, or they will die.

How Many Horworms Should You Feed Your Leopard Gecko?

You should feed an adult leopard gecko 3-4 hornworms at a time. Providing more than this can result in your gecko becoming overweight and sick. Hornworms are a healthy and nutritious food item, but they should only be fed in moderation.

Juvenile leopard geckos can safely consume 1-3 small hornworms in a sitting. Do not feed them more as they may overeat and become sick.

How often can leopard geckos eat hornworms? 

Leopard geckos can eat hornworms once or twice a week but should not be fed hornworms more than this. If you try to feed your Leo hornworms too often, they are at risk of becoming obese and sick.

They also might develop a taste for hornworms and reject other food. Leopard geckos need a balanced and varied diet, so it’s best only to feed them hornworms in moderation along with several other food sources.

Leopard Geckos do find Hornworms very addictive, so you need to be careful that they don’t start rejecting other food sources in favor of hornworms. Otherwise, they won’t get their nutritional needs met.

How to Feed Hornworms to Leopard Geckos

When you’re ready to feed hornworms to your leopard gecko, start by waving the hornworm in front of your lizard and see if it responds. If it does, this means that your leopard gecko is interested in eating hornworms, and you can move on to the next step.

Next, you should take the hornworm and gently push it against your gecko’s mouth so that it opens its mouth. This way, geckos will know what they are eating and more readily accept hornworms in the future. Be sure to be careful and gentle here. Also be patient with your gecko – it may take some time to trust you.

If your leopard gecko begins to eat hornworms immediately, then congratulations! You’ve successfully fed hornworms to a leopard gecko!

If your Leo does not begin eating hornworms immediately, don’t worry. Some leopard geckos are reluctant to eat hornworms at first and need time to become accustomed to them. You can try the next day again or give it a few days before trying again if hornworms are new to your Leo.

Are Hornworms Too Big for Leopard Geckos?

Hornworms may look like they are too big for your leopard gecko to eat. However, hornworms can actually be easily swallowed by leopard geckos because their skin is so soft and elastic.

Can You Feed Leopard Geckos Hornworms that Have Eaten Tomato Plants?

Leopard geckos can eat tomato hornworms. As long as hornworms are fed natural foods like carrots, tomatoes or other vegetables, they are safe to feed leopard geckos.

Dusting Hornworms for Leopard Geckos

Hornworms can be dusted with calcium and multivitamin powder before being fed to your leopard gecko, as hornworms are not as nutrient-rich as other insects.

More Thoughts on Hornworms

Hornworms do not make an effective staple diet for your leopard gecko, only another piece on the pie. They are great for your gecko, but they are not something you should feed it too much.

Geckos can easily get addicted to hornworms and cannot get all their nutritional needs met from this food source. So make sure you feed your Leo a balanced diet. 

It is important to remember that hornworms are not a substitute for live prey, if at all possible. Leopard Geckos function best with live food items in their diet, so try to keep this in mind when feeding them hornworms.

Do Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms in the Wild?

Since hornworms are not native to most parts of the world, leopard geckos in the wild do not usually eat hornworms. In countries where hornworms are found, they can be eaten by leopard geckos in its larval form.

Leopard geckos are not picky eaters, and hornworms can be a great addition to their diet. However, they should only make up part of your pet’s meal, as hornworms do not provide enough nutrition for the leopard gecko on their own.

Horworm FAQ:

What do hornworms look like?

Hornworms are green with dark spots or stripes, depending on their age. They have a horn-like projection on the end of their body and they’re usually about 4 inches long when full grown.

Where can hornworms be found?

Hornworms are often found in their larval stage on tomato plants, but they are also easily available at pet shops that sell insects.

Can hornworm bites hurt leopard geckos?

No hornworm bites or spines will not harm your gecko.

What do hornworms eat?

Hornworms eat organic food such as carrots, lettuce and tomatoes. They also eat other vegetables, and you can buy hornworm chow, a nutrient-rich food for hornworms.

Do hornworms smell bad?

No hornworms do not smell.

How long can hornworms live without food?

The average hornworm will live about three weeks on its own before it dies.

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