Can Crested Geckos Eat Hornworms?

Can Crested Geckos Eat Hornworms?

 

Can Crested Geckos Eat Hornworms? Can Crested Geckos Eat Hornworms?

Crested geckos are one of the most popular reptile pets in the world. They are easy to care for, have a variety of colors and patterns, and can live up to 15 years in captivity. Crested geckos are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and animal matter. They need a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, and commercial crested gecko food.

One of the insects that many crested gecko owners wonder about is the hornworm. Hornworms are large, green caterpillars that have a horn-like projection on their tail. They are often sold as live feeders for reptiles, birds, and fish. Hornworms are high in moisture, calcium, and protein, which makes them seem like a good choice for crested geckos.

But can crested geckos eat hornworms? Are they safe and healthy for them? How often and how much should you feed them? In this article, we will answer these questions and more. We will also give you some tips on how to prepare and offer hornworms to your crested gecko.

Key Takeaways

  • Crested geckos can eat hornworms, but only as an occasional treat. Hornworms are too large, fatty, and watery for crested geckos to eat regularly.
  • Hornworms can be a good source of calcium, protein, and hydration for crested geckos, but they also have some drawbacks. Hornworms can cause impaction, obesity, diarrhea, and nutrient imbalance in crested geckos if fed too often or too much.
  • You should only feed hornworms to adult crested geckos that are at least 8 inches long and weigh more than 35 grams. You should also cut the hornworms into smaller pieces to prevent choking and impaction.
  • You should only feed one or two hornworms per week to your crested gecko, and always as part of a varied diet. You should also dust the hornworms with a multivitamin supplement to balance their nutritional profile.
  • You should always buy hornworms from a reputable source and keep them in a clean and well-ventilated container. You should also gut-load the hornworms with nutritious food before feeding them to your crested gecko.

Benefits of Feeding Hornworms to Crested Geckos

Hornworms are not a staple food for crested geckos, but they can have some benefits if fed occasionally and in moderation. Here are some of the benefits of feeding hornworms to crested geckos:

  • Calcium: Hornworms are one of the few insects that have a high calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which is important for crested geckos’ bone health and egg production. Hornworms have about 464 mg of calcium per 100 g of dry weight, compared to 75 mg of phosphorus. This means that hornworms have a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of about 6:1, which is ideal for crested geckos. Most other insects have a lower or negative calcium-to-phosphorus ratio, which means that they need to be dusted with a calcium supplement before feeding them to crested geckos.
  • Protein: Hornworms are also a good source of protein for crested geckos, which is essential for their growth, development, and muscle maintenance. Hornworms have about 46% of protein per 100 g of dry weight, which is higher than most other insects. Protein also helps crested geckos shed their skin and heal their wounds.
  • Hydration: Hornworms are very high in moisture, which can help crested geckos stay hydrated. Hornworms have about 85% of water per 100 g of fresh weight, which is higher than most other insects. Hydration is important for crested geckos’ overall health and digestion. However, too much moisture can also cause problems, as we will see later.
Nutrient Hornworms (per 100 g of dry weight) Crickets (per 100 g of dry weight)
Calcium 464 mg 75 mg
Phosphorus 75 mg 185 mg
Calcium-to-Phosphorus Ratio 6:1 0.4:1
Protein 46% 38%
Fat 18% 14%
Moisture 85% (per 100 g of fresh weight) 70% (per 100 g of fresh weight)

Drawbacks of Feeding Hornworms to Crested Geckos

Hornworms are not a perfect food for crested geckos, and they have some drawbacks that you need to be aware of. Here are some of the drawbacks of feeding hornworms to crested geckos:

  • Size: Hornworms are very large insects, and they can be too big for crested geckos to swallow or digest. A full-grown hornworm can reach up to 4 inches in length and weigh up to 10 grams. This is much larger than the size of a crested gecko’s head, which is the maximum size of prey that they can safely eat. Feeding hornworms that are too large can cause choking, impaction, or injury to your crested gecko’s mouth and throat. Impaction is a serious condition where the food gets stuck in the digestive tract and prevents normal bowel movements. Impaction can lead to dehydration, infection, organ damage, and death if left untreated.
  • Fat: Hornworms are also very high in fat, which can be unhealthy for crested geckos if fed too often or too much. Hornworms have about 18% of fat per 100 g of dry weight, which is higher than most other insects. Fat is an important source of energy for crested geckos, but too much fat can cause obesity, liver problems, and metabolic disorders. Obesity can also reduce the lifespan and fertility of crested geckos.
  • Water: Hornworms are very high in water, which can be beneficial for crested geckos’ hydration, but also problematic for their digestion. Hornworms have about 85% of water per 100 g of fresh weight, which is higher than most other insects. Water is essential for crested geckos’ health and digestion, but too much water can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and nutrient imbalance. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, electrolyte loss, and weight loss. Dehydration can impair the function of vital organs and systems. Nutrient imbalance can affect the growth, development, and immunity of crested geckos.
Problem Cause Symptom Solution
Choking Feeding hornworms that are too large Difficulty breathing, gagging, drooling, mouth open, head shaking Remove the hornworm from the mouth, offer water, monitor for signs of infection or injury
Impaction Feeding hornworms that are too large or too often Lack of appetite, lethargy, bloating, constipation, straining, weight loss Stop feeding hornworms, offer water, massage the abdomen, consult a vet
Obesity Feeding hornworms that are too fatty or too often Excess body fat, reduced mobility, difficulty shedding, breathing problems, reduced fertility Reduce the amount and frequency of hornworms, offer more fruits and vegetables, increase exercise, monitor weight
Diarrhea Feeding hornworms that are too watery or too often Loose or watery stools, dehydration, weight loss, electrolyte imbalance Reduce the amount and frequency of hornworms, offer more dry food, provide clean water, monitor hydration
Nutrient Imbalance Feeding hornworms that are too watery or too often Poor growth, poor development, poor immunity, vitamin or mineral deficiency or toxicity Reduce the amount and frequency of hornworms, offer a varied diet, dust the hornworms with a multivitamin supplement, monitor health

 

 

Sure! Here is the second part of the article about “can crested geckos eat hornworms” that I wrote for you. I followed your instructions and included some tips on how to prepare and offer hornworms to your crested gecko, and answered some frequently asked questions about hornworms and crested geckos.

How to Prepare and Offer Hornworms to Your Crested Gecko

If you decide to feed hornworms to your crested gecko, you need to prepare and offer them properly to ensure your crested gecko’s safety and health. Here are some tips on how to prepare and offer hornworms to your crested gecko:

  • Buy hornworms from a reputable source: You should always buy hornworms from a reputable source that sells healthy and parasite-free insects. You can buy hornworms online or from a local pet store. You should avoid collecting hornworms from the wild, as they may have been exposed to pesticides, diseases, or parasites that can harm your crested gecko.
  • Keep hornworms in a clean and well-ventilated container: You should keep hornworms in a clean and well-ventilated container that has a secure lid and some holes for air circulation. You should also provide some bedding material, such as paper towels, for the hornworms to crawl on and hide under. You should avoid using soil, sand, or wood shavings, as they can cause impaction or infection in your crested gecko if ingested. You should also clean the container regularly and remove any dead or moldy hornworms.
  • Gut-load hornworms with nutritious food: You should gut-load hornworms with nutritious food before feeding them to your crested gecko. Gut-loading is the process of feeding insects with high-quality food that enhances their nutritional value. You can gut-load hornworms with fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, kale, spinach, or squash. You can also use commercial gut-load products, such as Repashy SuperLoad or Fluker’s High-Calcium Cricket Diet. You should gut-load hornworms for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your crested gecko.
  • Cut hornworms into smaller pieces: You should cut hornworms into smaller pieces to prevent choking and impaction in your crested gecko. You should use a sharp and clean knife or scissors to cut the hornworms across their body segments. You should avoid cutting the hornworms lengthwise, as this can cause them to bleed and lose their nutrients. You should also avoid cutting the hornworms too small, as this can make them hard to see and pick up by your crested gecko. You should aim for pieces that are about the size of your crested gecko’s eye or smaller.
  • Dust hornworms with a multivitamin supplement: You should dust hornworms with a multivitamin supplement to balance their nutritional profile and prevent nutrient imbalance in your crested gecko. You can use a commercial multivitamin supplement, such as Repashy Calcium Plus or Zoo Med Reptivite, that contains vitamins A, D3, E, K, B complex, and C, as well as trace minerals, such as iodine, iron, zinc, and selenium. You should dust the hornworms lightly and evenly with the supplement before offering them to your crested gecko. You should avoid using too much supplement, as this can cause vitamin toxicity or reduce the palatability of the hornworms.
  • Offer hornworms in a separate feeding dish: You should offer hornworms in a separate feeding dish that is shallow and easy to access by your crested gecko. You should place the dish in a visible and familiar spot in your crested gecko’s enclosure, such as near a hiding place or a basking spot. You should avoid offering hornworms directly on the substrate, as this can cause your crested gecko to ingest the substrate and cause impaction or infection. You should also avoid offering hornworms in a mesh or wire dish, as this can cause your crested gecko to injure its tongue or teeth.
  • Monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and reaction: You should monitor your crested gecko’s appetite and reaction when offering hornworms. You should observe how your crested gecko reacts to the hornworms, whether it shows interest, curiosity, fear, or aggression. You should also observe how your crested gecko eats the hornworms, whether it chews, swallows, or spits them out. You should also observe how your crested gecko behaves after eating the hornworms, whether it is active, lethargic, or sick. You should also check your crested gecko’s stool, whether it is normal, loose, or absent. If you notice any signs of distress, discomfort, or illness in your crested gecko, you should stop feeding hornworms and consult a vet.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hornworms and Crested Geckos

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hornworms and crested geckos, and their answers:

  • Can crested gecko babies eat hornworms? No, crested gecko babies should not eat hornworms, as they are too large, fatty, and watery for them. Crested gecko babies have smaller mouths and stomachs, and they need more protein and calcium than adults. Hornworms can cause choking, impaction, obesity, diarrhea, and nutrient imbalance in crested gecko babies. Crested gecko babies should eat small and soft insects, such as pinhead crickets, fruit flies, or phoenix worms, as well as commercial crested gecko food.
  • Can crested geckos eat hornworm moths? No, crested geckos should not eat hornworm moths, as they are not nutritious or safe for them. Hornworm moths are the adult stage of hornworms, and they have wings, antennae, and legs that can be hard to digest or cause injury to your crested gecko. Hornworm moths also have less calcium, protein, and moisture than hornworms, and they can carry parasites or diseases that can harm your crested gecko. Hornworm moths are not suitable food for crested geckos.
  • Can crested geckos eat hornworm poop? No, crested geckos should not eat hornworm poop, as it is not nutritious or hygienic for them. Hornworm poop is the waste product of hornworms, and it contains undigested food, bacteria, and toxins that can harm your crested gecko. Hornworm poop can cause infection, diarrhea, or poisoning in your crested gecko. Hornworm poop is not edible for crested geckos.
  • Can crested geckos eat hornworms every day? No, crested geckos should not eat hornworms every day, as they are too large, fatty, and watery for them. Crested geckos need a balanced and varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, insects, and commercial crested gecko food. Hornworms can cause impaction, obesity, diarrhea, and nutrient imbalance in crested geckos if fed too often or too much. You should only feed hornworms to your crested gecko once or twice a week, and always as part of a varied diet.
  • Can crested geckos eat hornworms with the horn? Yes, crested geckos can eat hornworms with the horn, as it is not dangerous or harmful for them. The horn of the hornworm is not a stinger or a venomous organ, but a harmless projection that helps the hornworm defend itself from predators. The horn of the hornworm is soft and flexible, and it can be easily digested by your crested gecko. However, you should still cut the hornworms into smaller pieces to prevent choking and impaction in your crested gecko.

 

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