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can leopard geckos eat earthworms

Leopard geckos are insectivores, making it difficult to offer a varied diet to these reptiles. If you need your leopard geckos to develop as they should, you’ve got to offer them several worms and insects. Earthworms are easily sourced and can be a part of other reptile’s diets.

 But, this begs the question can leopard geckos eat earthworms?

Leopard geckos can eat earthworm, but these worms should not be a top-pick for your reptile. Earthworms secrete a substance that leopard geckos find offensive, which may make them unsuitable as a staple feeder insect. Furthermore, although they are high in protein, earthworms are low in calcium.

Through this post, we’ll get to see what else leopard geckos can eat besides earthworms. If you’re keen on assuring a balanced diet for your leopard gecko, this post has all you need.

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Why You Should Feed Earthworms To Your Leopard Gecko

Resistance to parasites

Even if earthworms tend to burrow into the soil, most of these worms don’t carry much parasites. The ability of earthworms to resist several parasites is one of its most attractive features.

Feeding your gecko this worm could be a great idea especially if your reptile likes it as a snack.

Easy digestion potential

Earthworms have very low chitin content and are perfect for reptiles that need easily digestible insects. These worms have a very soft exoskeleton and can be eaten by leopard geckos across ages.

During collection, avoid soil with animal waste (feces), as well as newly fertilized soil. Ingesting substances from contaminated soil can be dangerous to your pets.

Before offering earthworms, make sure this worm isn’t too large for your reptile. It’s also worth noting that not all leopard geckos will accept earthworms. Sometimes, it is a matter of your pet’s preference.

Low fat content

Unlike butterworms and superworms that are high in fat, earthworms have less than 2% natural fat content. The low fat rating of earthworms makes it a top pick for owners that need low-fat treats for their gecko.

Why You Shouldn’t Feed Earthworms to Your Leopard Gecko

Secretions

Earthworms secrete a liquid that leopard geckos find offensive. The fluid released by earthworms is for protecting its eggs. However, most geckos will never eat earthworms after ingesting this substance. Some won’t eat earthworms again no matter how attractive you make them.

Apart from secreting fluids to protecting eggs, earthworms also secrete mucus for moisturizing their bodies. The mucus secreted by earthworms also helps respiration and fluid movement.

Low preference among geckos

Some geckos may never eat earthworms from the get-go. Before ordering for a large batch of earthworms from a pet shop, ensure your geckos like eating this worm. If they don’t, then you may have just wasted money you would’ve used for something else.

High moisture content

Earthworms have high water content that may not be the best for your leopard geckos. Earthworms can contain more than 80% water, making it difficult for them to offer much to your reptiles.

Low calcium-to-phosphorus content

Leopard geckos need more calcium than phosphorus in their diet. On average, the calcium-to-phosphorus content in a leopard geckos diet should be 2:1. However, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in a leopard gecko’s diet is about 1:4. With such nutritional disparity, your geckos could suffer health trouble from eating too much earthworms.

Low nutrient density

Apart from being terribly low in calcium, earthworms have measly benefits to offer in nutrition. The low nutrient density of this worm makes it an unsuitable part of a reptile’s main diet.

Chance of roundworm infections

Roundworm could accompany earthworms, increasing the chances of infection. It is important to confirm where the worm came from to avoid infecting your gecko by accident.

Soil issues

Where your earthworm was picked from could determine if it carries parasites or not. You need to know the origin of earthworms your leopard geckos eat if you care for your reptile’s wellbeing. Earthworms picked from soil mixed with feces or other septic material could be deadly to your leopard gecko.

From what we’ve seen above, the negatives of eating earthworms significantly outweigh its benefits. With so many reasons not to feed your leopard geckos earthworms, it’s better to offer other insects to your reptiles.

Can Leopard Geckos Eat Earthworms and Suffer Digestive Issues?

If your gecko begins refusing earthworms in its diet, the chances of impaction become higher. Any gecko that refuses earthworms may not digest these worms easily. Impaction, constipation, and vomiting may accompany such digestive problems in leopard geckos.

Offer earthworms to your leopard geckos only when they are drawn to this insect. The moment earthworms become unsuitable for your gecko, refrain from feeding this worm to your reptile.

Other Healthy Food Choices For Your Leopard Gecko

Worms

There are different species of worms, but not all are edible for leopard geckos. Some healthy worms for geckos include

Mealworms

Your geckos can eat mealworms and it is used to feed fishes, reptiles and birds. But mealworms shouldn’t be a staple for geckos, as they may cause impaction due to their tough exoskeleton.

Waxworms

Waxworms are safe, and are relatively easy to swallow. With the low risk of impaction, waxworms are an ideal feeder insect for birds and other reptiles.

Superworms

These too are ideal worms to feed your leopard gecko, but they possess very strong and sharp jaws. Break off the jaws if you want to feed these worms to leopard geckos. However, adult leopard geckos will find no trouble eating superworms.

Hornworms

When feeding hornworms, please do not feed wild varieties to your leopard geckos. Wild hornworms could contain toxins that may be harmful to your leopard gecko. Buy captive breed hornworms whenever you need to feed these worms to your reptiles.

When feeding worms to your gecko, it is important to gut-load them with nutritious fruits and veggies. Gut-load your leopard gecko for at least twenty-four hours before feeding them to your gecko

Also, don’t forget to dust these worms in calcium and vitamin supplements. Dusting will help your leopard gecko obtain the needed nutrients to thrive. Some vitamins to dust with include calcium, vitamin A and D3.

Butterworms

Several butterworms species are high in fat and may cause your gecko toad unnecessary weight. You shouldn’t feed your geckos butterworms as a staple. Offer these worms to your geckos no more than once or twice a month.

Silkworms

Buyers of silkworms should have a massive budget as these worms could be expensive. Silkworms could be addictive to your leopard geckos, so be careful when feeding your reptiles these worms.

Insects

Apart from being an avid worm eater, leopard geckos also love to eat several staple insects. Here’s a look at the top feeder insects for leopard geckos:

Dubia roaches

Several owners of pet reptiles have an increased demand for dubia roaches. These roaches are easy to digest and could be ideal in a crested gecko’s diet. A box of roaches is inexpensive and could feed your reptiles for long periods. However, you need to feed these roaches with the right gut-loaders to make them nutritious to your gecko.

Crickets

Most reptiles rate crickets as an ideal staple insect. If you want an insect that offers a lot of nutrients and much-needed liquids, crickets are ideal.

A box of crickets is inexpensive and is easy to breed at home. Feed your reptiles crickets that aren’t larger than the space between its eyes.

Fruits

There are many healthy fruits to feed to your leopard gecko. These can be cut into small chunks or blended into smoothies for your leopard gecko. Some of these include:

Commercially made gecko food

This is an all in one package, it contains everything your gecko needs and comes in different types. While some are made of nutritious food blend, others are a combination of fruits, insects, bee pollen, and probiotics. These are usually blended into powder and sold in packs. Feeding your gecko a highly nutritious, commercially made food comes with a truckload of benefits.

To feed this to your gecko, simply add sufficient amount of powder to water, creating a paste. Put the paste in a small dish and feed directly to your leopard gecko. These commercially made food are packed with all essential vitamin needed to keep your leopard gecko alive, healthy and happy.

While some owners opt for commercially made food only, other choose to go for insects and fruits as well. I personally love the mixed diet (commercially made food, insects and fruits) and will recommend it to other gecko owners as well.

Although leopard geckos can go for a long time without eating, endeavor to take your pet to the vet if it stays for two to three weeks without food.

Water

Your gecko’s diet will not be complete without water. the importance of water cannot be over emphasized. In all species, taking enough water helps the body to flush out toxins, keeping the body healthy. Same applies to leopard geckos. There are different ways a leopard gecko takes in water. Some of these include:

Direct drinking from its dish

Here’s how a leopard gecko could take water from its dish:

It’s worth noting that some geckos could fancy taking a dip in their drinking water. If this happens regularly, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Leopard geckos rarely dip in water, but when these reptiles do, it’s mostly for temperature regulation.

Misting

Some geckos may not want to take water directly from their bowl. These reptiles usually resort to drinking water misted into their tank. Fill a spray bottle with water and mist the glass of the tank, as well as leaves of plant inside the tank. Your gecko is most likely to drink water droplets resting on the leaves in its tank.

Baths

Bathing your leopard gecko is a good way to encourage it to drink water. However, do not bathe your leopard gecko at every given opportunity. Leopard geckos could

FAQs

Can leopard geckos eat earthworms?

Earthworms are nutritious to geckos, but many reptiles may refuse this insect after some time. However, if you mix your leopard gecko’s diet with roaches, crickets, and other insects, it could benefit from eating earthworms.

What kind of worms can leopard geckos eat?

Types of worms leopard geckos can eat

Can leopard geckos eat nightcrawlers?

Nightcrawlers, also called angler worms, have several nutrients leopard geckos can benefit from. However, some geckos may not want to eat angler worms, especially if they weren’t groomed with these insects.

Do house geckos eat earthworms?

House geckos can eat earthworms, but these worms shouldn’t be a main part of your reptiles’ diet. Earthworms don’t really offer much nutrients to leopard geckos and your reptiles may ultimately refuse these worms later on.

Final Thoughts: Can Leopard Geckos Eat Earthworms?

So – can leopard geckos eat earthworms? The response you’ll get depends on who you ask. Leopard geckos eat earthworms at different stages, but many of these reptiles don’t fancy this worm as a staple.

Since leopard geckos cannot eat fruits and veggies, adding earthworms to their diet may not be bad. However, if your leopard geckos refuse to eat earthworms, it’s better to leave these worms out.

Earthworms release a hormone most leopard geckos will find too offensive to accommodate. Whenever you notice your leopard geckos turning its head from earthworms, stop feeding these worms to your reptiles.

With all this information, you won’t shy off whenever someone asks “Can leopard geckos eat earthworms?”

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