can leopard geckos eat hornworms

Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms | Exploring Leopard Geckos’ Diet

Most Leopard Gecko owners know that their lizards enjoy eating a variety of insects, but when it comes to specific species like hornworms, there may be some uncertainty. Hornworms are sizable caterpillars, and the question arises whether it is safe and suitable for Leopard Geckos to consume them. One common question that Can leopard geckos eat hornworms? 

From understanding if leopard geckos can eat hornworms to discovering the right portion size, I’ll equip you with valuable insights to ensure the well-being and happiness of your gecko friend.

As a proud leopard gecko owner, you know how important it is to provide your scaly companion with a diverse and balanced diet. While leopard geckos are insectivores by nature, their dietary preferences can vary. Among the array of feeder insects available, hornworms have gained popularity as a nutritious and tasty treat for these adorable reptiles.

By the end of this guide, you will know whether hornworms can be a healthy and delicious addition to Leopard Gecko’s diet. Let’s unravel the mystery of whether leopard geckos can eat hornworms!

Can Leopard Geckos Eat Hornworms?

Leopard geckos have diverse appetites, but their diet must meet nutritional needs. When it comes to hornworms, also known as “goliath worms,” they are a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts. However, before adding hornworms to your leopard gecko’s diet, consider their benefits and potential drawbacks.

will leopard geckos eat hornworms

In addition, there may be a question in your mind Can baby leopard geckos eat hornworms? Baby leopard geckos may find it challenging to consume large hornworms. It’s advisable to provide smaller prey items or cut larger hornworms into smaller, manageable pieces.

Nutritional Value of Hornworms

Hornworms are the larvae of the hawk moth and are known for their plump size and vibrant green color. Hornworms are highly nutritious, providing essential nutrients for your leopard gecko’s well-being. They contain moisture, protein, and calcium, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin, strong muscles, and healthy bones. Also, hornworms are low in fat, making them suitable for leopard geckos.

Nutrient Amount per 100g
Vitamin A187 IU
Vitamin B20.1mg
Vitamin B31.2mg

Please note that the nutrient content may vary slightly depending on the hornworm’s size and diet.

How to Feed Hornworms to Leopard Geckos

While leopard geckos can consume hornworms, it’s important to consider a few factors before adding them to their regular diet. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

can leopard geckos eat worms from outside

Size and Age 

Can leopard geckos eat large hornworms? While some adult leopard geckos may be able to consume larger hornworms. But it’s important to consider the size and capability of your gecko. Offering appropriately sized hornworms is recommended. 

Leopard geckos, especially younger ones, may struggle to consume larger hornworms. It’s advisable to offer appropriately sized hornworms that are easy for your gecko to handle and swallow. For younger geckos, consider providing smaller hornworms or cutting larger ones into bite-sized pieces.

Variety and Balance 

A varied diet is crucial for leopard geckos’ overall health and well-being. While hornworms can be a nutritious addition, they should not be the sole food source. 

It’s important to incorporate a balanced diet for your leopard gecko, which includes other suitable feeder insects. Additionally, supplements such as calcium and vitamins should be provided as recommended by a reptile veterinarian. 

One common question about diet is how many hornworms feed a leopard gecko. The number of hornworms to feed a leopard gecko depends on its age, size, and dietary needs. As a general guideline, adult leopard geckos can be fed one or two hornworms every few days as part of a varied diet.

Most of the time there is confusion in my mind about whether Can leopard geckos eat worms from outside. It is generally not recommended to feed leopard geckos with worms from outside as they may carry parasites or pesticides. It’s safer to provide commercially bred and gut-loaded feeder insects for your gecko’s diet.

Observation and Moderation 

Each leopard gecko may have its preferences and tolerances when it comes to specific foods. Closely observe your gecko’s reaction to hornworms and ensure they are consuming them without any issues. Additionally, avoid overfeeding hornworms or any single food item to maintain a balanced diet for your gecko.

Moreover, there is a type of hornworm “Blue Hornworms”. Can leopard geckos eat blue hornworms? Yes, leopard geckos can eat blue hornworms. Leopard geckos eat blue hornworms, which are a color variant of standard hornworms. Introduce hornworms gradually into your gecko’s diet to ensure they tolerate them well, just like with any new food item. 

Pros of Feeding Your Leopard Gecko with Hornworms

  1. Nutritional Value

Hornworms are nutrient-dense insects, that provide essential vitamins and minerals for your leopard gecko. High in moisture, hornworms can help keep your gecko hydrated, especially in arid environments. Furthermore, being rich in protein and low in fat, hornworms make a nutritious supplement to your gecko’s diet.

  1. Variety in Diet

Offering hornworms provides variety in your leopard gecko’s diet, replicating their natural feeding habits in the wild. Offering hornworms adds diet variety, replicating their natural wild feeding habits.

can leopard geckos eat large hornworms
  1. Enrichment and Foraging Behavior

Hornworms can stimulate your leopard gecko’s natural foraging behavior. Hunting hornworms enriches and engages your gecko mentally and physically. In addition, it keeps your gecko engaged and active.

  1. Easy to Digest

Due to their soft exoskeleton, hornworms are relatively easy for leopard geckos to digest. This is especially helpful for young or smaller geckos dealing with tougher insects.

Cons of Feeding Your Leopard Gecko with Hornworms

  1. Moisture Content

While the high moisture content of hornworms can be beneficial in some cases, it can also be a potential concern. Providing hornworms exclusively or overfeeding can cause digestive problems for your gecko.

  1. Limited Availability

Hornworms may not be as readily available as other feeder insects in some regions. Depending on your location, obtaining a consistent supply of hornworms may be challenging.

can baby leopard geckos eat hornworms
  1. Cost

Compared to other feeder insects, hornworms can be relatively expensive. If you have multiple leopard geckos or a large collection of reptiles, the cost of providing hornworms regularly can add up.

  1. Not a Staple Diet

Hornworms should not replace staple feeder insects like crickets or dubia roaches. Leopard geckos require a balanced diet, and occasional hornworm treats are essential for their health.

Bottom Line

To conclude, leopard geckos can indeed eat hornworms as part of their diet. These nutritious insects offer a great source of hydration and essential nutrients for your pet gecko. However, feed hornworms in moderation and ensure appropriate size for your gecko’s age and size.

Always supplement their diet with calcium and other essential nutrients to promote good health. As with any dietary changes, observe your gecko’s behavior and adjust the feeding frequency accordingly. By providing a balanced and varied diet, you can keep your leopard gecko healthy and thriving. Hornworms can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your leopard gecko’s menu.


Can I give my leopard gecko a hornworm?

Yes, you can offer hornworms to your leopard gecko. Ensure hornworms are an appropriate size for your gecko to handle and swallow comfortably while offering a nutritious food option.

How many hornworms should a leopard gecko eat?

The number of hornworms your leopard gecko should eat depends on its size, age, and individual dietary needs. As part of a balanced diet, offering hornworms occasionally or a few times a week is sufficient.

How big of a hornworm can my leopard gecko eat?

Leopard geckos can consume hornworms that are smaller than the width of their head. It’s essential to provide appropriately sized hornworms to prevent choking or digestive issues.

Can hornworms bite?

Hornworms do not have strong biting capabilities, and they are not harmful to humans or leopard geckos.

What do hornworms turn into?

Hornworms are the larval stage of the hawk moth. As they mature, they will eventually pupate and transform into adult hawk moths.

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