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Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms?




A hornworm on a tomato plant - Can leopard geckos eat hornworms?

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Feeding our pets is our duty as pet owners, and with the rise of unique pets like leopard geckos, more owners than ever are doing research into the care and keeping of reptiles.

Hornworms are a perfectly appropriate food source for leopard geckos. While crickets are usually considered the ideal primary food source for most reptiles, hornworms can make a good treat or even a primary food source if your gecko is picky.

The essential information any pet owner needs is how to feed their pets properly. Keep reading to know more on what to feed to your pet leopard gecko.

Why Feed Hornworms to Your Leopard Gecko?

Leopard geckos eat hornworms, which are very nutritious feeder bugs. They have a protein content of 9% and a fat content of 3%. They also contain an 85% moisture content, making them an excellent diet for geckos that refuse to drink.

Hornworms are also a good source of calcium, containing 46 mg per 100 grams. Hornworms are an excellent feeder insect for preventing metabolic bone disease due to their high calcium content.

Hornworms develop rapidly, so don’t leave it too long before feeding them to your gecko. A little hornworm may grow to full size in a matter of days, so you’ll need to act fast if you wish to give one to a young gecko.

It would be best never to feed your leopard gecko wild-caught hornworms because they can carry parasites and germs that can make your leopard gecko sick.

Do Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms in the Wild?

The first step in keeping your pet healthy is to feed them food comparable to what they would have eaten in the wild. So, in their native habitat, wild Leopard Geckos eat hornworms.

Leopard geckos are strict insectivores in the wild, feeding on various insects. Hornworms are prevalent in nearly every corner of the planet and appeal to the Leos’ taste senses. Thus they are undoubtedly a component of their natural diet.

PROS and CONS of Feeding Hornworms for your Leopard Gecko

Any meal that you feed your Leopard Geckos has benefits and downsides. As for hornworms, these are the pros and cons of feeding them to your Leopard Gecko.


  • Hornworms have a vivid green body color that makes them appear even from afar, making them enticing to your Leopard Gecko.
  • Your lizard will easily capture them because they are slow-moving worms.
  • Hornworms are abundant in calcium and protein, making them a good source of these minerals.
  • These caterpillars are a wonderful remedy for unwell Geckos, especially those suffering from dehydration due to their high moisture content.
  • They don’t contain chitin, so they’re easy to digest, and the minimum fat content keeps your pet in shape
  • There is no need to store or maintain hornworms because they arrive in a cup with all essential nourishment.
  • The nice part is that each packet has a variety of worm sizes. Consequently, whatever age, your Gecko will have appropriate bites.


  • Hornworms have a lower protein content compared to mealworms, crickets, or super worms.
  • Geckos like the flavor of hornworms and might get hooked if they eat them too frequently.
  • Hornworms develop quickly, making it impractical to feed hatchlings and juveniles in the same container for an extended period.
  • Gut-loading hornworms is not a long-term solution since they are suckers for sweets and do not consume other food.
  • Because these caterpillars have a limited lifespan, you can only keep them for two months.
  • Hornworms are a pricey meal that is tough to get by.

Can You Feed Your Baby and Juvenile Leopard Gecko Hornworms?

Although adult geckos only consume insects, hatchlings have quite different dietary requirements. They eat more often, can only digest minute insects, and have greater calcium needs.

The ideal approach is to feed your young gecko three meals a day, each of which should consist of tiny, easily digestible insects and worms. On the other hand, six-month-to-one-year-old lizards only require meals once or twice daily.

Hornworms are generally safe for hatchlings to eat, but you should only feed them in little amounts. Some experts claim that feeding even four hornworms to a young gecko is completely safe and beneficial.

Can You Feed Your Leopard Gecko Only Hornworms?

There are 1,200 hornworm species on the planet, with 120 to 130 species found in North America and several other worm species. There are also a variety of different worm kinds available on the market.

They all have different nutritional values, but none of them will meet all of your Leopard Gecko’s requirements. Proteins are essential in your Leo’s diet, as you are aware. Furthermore, because this species is prone to weight gain, you must provide a low-fat diet.

As a result, no matter what combination you choose, it’s nearly difficult to give your pet all the elements by giving them solely hornworms. The majority of worms are deficient in proteins and have excessive fat.

Lizards of every temper, style, and color dwell here, seemingly as happy and companionable as the birds and squirrels.

John Muir

Can Hornworms Harm Your Leopard Gecko

Are hornworms toxic?

While hornworms themselves aren’t harmful to your Leos, they may contain parasites or germs. Once these bacteria have entered your pet’s body, they will reside in their intestines, gradually making them worse.

Let’s pretend you collect hornworms from your backyard or garden for your Leos. These worms are wild, and they may have consumed solanine-containing leaves and pesticide- or fertilizer-sprayed plants. If your pet eats these worms, they will almost certainly become unwell.

In this case, we advise you to get hornworms from a reputable local supplier or pet store. If you’re still not convinced, you may get them online.

Can hornworms be choking hazards?

Hornworms are larger than typical worms, making them tough to swallow for your Leo, and is why you must select the appropriate bug size for your pet. As a general rule, give them worms that are the same width as the distance between their eyes.

These worms are also quite fat and powerful, and they are difficult to destroy. Furthermore, when hungry or enthusiastic, Leos tend not to kill or eat their prey correctly, and they may have difficulty swallowing and digesting as a result of this.

Never leave your Leo hungry for an extended time; keep them on a regular feeding schedule. Serve them one worm at a time so they don’t become overly excited and can concentrate on completing the one they have.

Some owners have voiced concern about their pet Leos being harmed by the spike or horn of the hornworms. On the other hand, these horns may look tough, but they are rather soft and pose no threat to your pets.

FAQs about Leopard Gecko

Conclusion on Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms?

The good thing is that hornworms are a perfectly appropriate food source for leopard geckos. If your gecko has a taste for hornworms, you don’t have to worry about feeding them these delectable caterpillars.

While they may not represent optimum nutrition for leopard geckos, hornworms are an excellent food source, and they make great treats.

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