Waxworms are the larval stage of the wax moth. They resemble butterworms or the black soldier fly larvae but are different. In appearance, they resemble maggots or caterpillars from a distance, but they aren’t either of them.
Leopard geckos can eat wax worms as they have a high nutritional value, which benefits the gecko. Since leopard geckos are insectivorous, they enjoy feeding on worms. However, you need to be cautious and feed them moderately as they may become addicted to them and refuse to feed on other meals.
You need to regulate the amount of wax worms you feed your pet gecko, given their high-fat content. Read on and learn the pros and cons of giving wax worms to your pet.
What do leopard geckos eat?
Leopard geckos are insectivores; as such, they feed on living insects as that’s how their bodies are designed, and their metabolism works best when digesting meat.
In the wild, leopard geckos are great hunters and will hunt down several animals for meals, including:
- Small snakes
They are tactful in their quest as they act instinctively and strategically. The Leos will hardly miss their target.
As a domesticated pet, you need to evaluate what you feed your gecko so it enjoys and thrives as it would have if it were in the wild.
You can feed the leopard gecko on:
- Wax worms
Unlike other pet reptiles that can feed on dead or dried feeds, the leopard gecko feeds on live insects. So, you need to plan on how you’ll consistently access live feeder insects before bringing in the gecko.
If you can’t breed the insects, ensure you organize with a breeder or a local store on how you can have the insects continuously. Otherwise, it’d be bad for you to starve the gecko.
Can leopard geckos eat wax worms?
Yes, leopard geckos can eat wax worms and enjoy having them. However, only start feeding them when they get to five months. Avoid feeding wax worms to hatchlings, as that would be too much fat.
Juvenile leopard geckos aged five months and above can be fed on the wax worms; even then, it should be moderate. Start with one time in a fortnight before you can make it once a week.
The reason is that they are in the process of identifying their staple feed at this age, and wax worms aren’t the best, given the high-fat content.
Wax worms should be offered as a treat to the geckos, not as a staple, because they are natural junk. In the same way, you don’t have pizza or junk food daily because you wish to remain healthy. It’s the same thing for the gecko.
Adult leopard geckos can have the wax worms more often, like once or twice a week but regulate the quantity to avoid overindulgence.
Wax worms nutritional value
Reptile pet owners like wax worms as they are easy to keep and can go for days without feeding as long as the temperatures are correct.
Below is a breakdown of the wax worms’ nutritional value.
In addition to these nutrients, the wax worms have calcium and phosphorus at 240 and 2,000mg/kg levels, respectively.
Are wax worms good for leopard geckos?
Wax worms are good for leopard geckos when done right and fed in the right proportions. Some of the benefits they have on the geckos include:
1. Boosting the Gecko’s Appetite
If your gecko is underweight or recovering from an ailment where it’s having problems with feeding, introduce some wax worms, and you’ll awaken its feeding urge once more.
Wax worms are tasty, and the leos find them enticing as children find candy, so you could use them to revive the geckos’ feeding mood.
2. Increase Leopard Gecko’s Weight
An underweight gecko is not appealing to the eye. Instead, it’ll get you worried and guilty. To tackle that, feed some wax worms to the gecko. Since the worms are high in fat content, they will increase the geckos’ weight in due course.
Avoid overfeeding the gecko with the wax worms in your weight gain pursuit, as they may surpass your target weight limit and become obese. As you feed them, dust them with other nutritious supplements, so the gecko enjoys a whole, healthier meal.
3. Good for Training the Leopard Gecko
As your pet gecko grows, you need to train it on some of your desired behaviors and expectations. The wax worms will serve as a great reward after the gecko behaves as per your expectations.
Reward good behavior; through that, the gecko will keep repeating the good behavior, which makes your training easier.
Are wax worms bad for leopard geckos?
Wax worms aren’t entirely bad for leopard geckos but feeding them constantly to your pet carries some risks, which include:
If you fail to control the amount of wax worms your leo can have, you’ll be exposing it to the risk of becoming obese.
Wax worms have a high-fat content which, when accumulated in your geckos’ system, piles and leads to an overweight gecko.
High-calorie intake exposes the gecko to the risk of obesity. Some signs your gecko is obese are a layered belly and fatty spots on the armpits or the gecko are having problems walking. Obese geckos risk developing other life-threatening ailments such as coelomic cavities.
If you constantly feed wax worms to your gecko, you risk having it reject alternative healthier feeds.
Once the gecko gets used to the tasty wax worms, you could have difficulty feeding them on more beneficial insects as they hold up and starve as they wait for the wax worms.
3. Low Nutritional Value
Wax worms carry limited nutrients, leaving the gecko lacking a balanced diet when fed constantly without supplementing for the missing nutrients.
If your leopard gecko gets addicted to the wax worms, you’ll expose it to health complications such as:
- Fatty liver disorder
- Metabolic bone disease,
Sharing wax worms with the leopard gecko needs to be done in moderation, as too much poses different health risks.
How to feed wax worms to a leopard gecko
To feed wax worms to your leopard gecko, you have several options:
- Place the worm on a log or a rock where the gecko can spot it, especially when it crawls.
- Fill the wax worms on a tray or a shallow container used when feeding the gecko.
- Hold out the wax worm with your fingers or use tongs and let the gecko reach out.
The best way to feed wax worms is by sharing them as a treat. Adult leopard geckos should have them once a week to avoid getting them addicted. Ensure you don’t exceed five wax worms per treat.
The wax worms you feed to the leo shouldn’t be bigger than the space between the geckos’ eyes.
Leopard geckos can also feed on dried wax worms, but you need to monitor them as they feed. Since they don’t move, the gecko may not recognize them as food. Place them where the gecko will easily spot them. The same goes for dead and damaged wax worms.
The leos can also feed on wax worm pupae, although it’s not advisable as it’s hard to tell how healthy the pupae are. This can be risky as you may not know if the pupae are infected or dead.
Wax moths and black wax worms are also favorite alternatives that you can feed to your leopard gecko. You, however, need to inspect the feeding to ensure the moths aren’t too big for the gecko as they could choke it or cause impaction.
To build a strong bond with your pet leopard gecko, plan on treating it with wax worms every once in a while. They find them sumptuous and tasty.
Ensure you monitor the number of wax worms you feed the gecko, as too much can be addictive and unhealthy.