Leopard geckos are popular pet reptiles, known for their friendly personalities and low maintenance care requirements. As a pet owner, it is important to understand what to feed your leopard gecko to ensure its overall health and well-being.
One common food item that many people wonder about is mealworms.
Can leopard geckos eat mealworms? The answer is yes, but it is important to understand the nutritional value of mealworms and how to properly incorporate them into your gecko’s diet.
In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of feeding mealworms to leopard geckos, including the benefits and drawbacks of this food source, and tips for making sure your pet is getting the proper nutrition.
Whether you’re a seasoned reptile owner or a new pet parent, this information will help you make informed decisions about your leopard gecko’s diet.
What are mealworms?
Mealworms aren’t worms at all; they’re the larvae of a species of darkling beetle called Tenebrio molitor. Like many other beetle larvae, mealworms can be found in the soil or under rotting logs.
Even more intriguing is the fact that mealworms’ native range is a mystery; these insects have spread widely across the globe as a result of accidental introductions in cereal grains (where the larvae will thrive if given the chance) and intentional introductions as a food source for birds, fish, and reptiles.
They range in size from one inch to an inch and a half in length and have a hard shell that is a yellowish color with brown rings, depending on their age.
Mealworms may have originated in Southern Europe but also in Northern Africa, but today you can find them all the way over the Atlantic in the United States, in Asia, and even in Australia.
In warmer regions, agricultural areas often face the undesirable presence of mealworms, which reduces crop productivity. They got their moniker because they frequently feast on meals and other dry foods.
How long do mealworms live, and what’s their life cycle?
What’s the big deal about knowing this? Next, we’ll discuss…
The mealworm beetle’s larvae are known as mealworms (Tenebrio molitor, to give it its proper name).
There are four phases in a beetle’s life cycle, just as there are in a fly’s: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. In the span of four to nineteen days, the eggs laid by an adult beetle will develop into mealworm larva.
The mealworm has a lifespan of about three weeks and goes through numerous molts before becoming a pupa, which further develops into the beetle that lays the eggs.
Mealworms for leopard geckos.
Many gecko enthusiasts find that mealworms are the ideal insect food for their pets. Your gecko should eat two insects for each and every inch of its body at each meal. In addition to the mealworms, your leopard geckos will need a steady supply of other insects. Check out these insects, because geckos can survive on a diet of at least half a dozen different kinds of bugs.
Fattier insects like super worms but also hornworms should be treated as rewards only for your leopard gecko. Avoid feeding your gecko anything that will cause him to gain weight.
Knowing when your geckos eat is, in general, quite important. With the help of a well-balanced diet plan, your geckos will thrive.
Are mealworms good for leopard geckos?
Leopard geckos can be fed mealworms, that much is true. Instead of relying solely on mealworms, it’s best to provide a variety of feeder insects.
A diet consisting primarily of crickets and roaches will only get you around 6% fat, whereas eating mealworms will get you about 14%. You should give your leopard gecko a mealworm once a week.
In addition to being a good source of protein, fat, energy, and fatty acids, mealworms are also a good source of the amino acids lysine, which aids in the absorption of calcium, and leucine, which plays a key role in the regeneration of bodily tissue.
Fat content in live mealworms is roughly 27%, but in dried mealworms, it is only 18%. The protein content is much higher in live mealworms, at 49%, compared to 36% in dried.
Because dried mealworms are basically desiccated, they also have significantly higher water content.
For this reason, fresh mealworms are more palatable and nutritious than their dried counterparts.
- Mealworms, when purchased in large quantities, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.
- They will become dormant and have no needs, either for food or water.
- They are silent and odorless in most cases!
- Fortunately, they aren’t a highly active species, making them easier to feed.
- They’re ideal for geckos with special needs because of their low activity level.
- Put them in a feeding dish, & your gecko can snack whenever it likes.
- Your Leo is safe from mealworm nibbling, and there’s no risk of the insects escaping their cage.
Summary: can leopard geckos eat mealworms?
When it comes to live food, mealworms are the clear market leader for lizards and other pets alike. Geckos readily accept them, and they are simple to raise and breed.
Mealworms are a controversial major food source due to their high-fat content and low phosphorus-to-calcium ratio. Mealworms may not seem like the best basic diet for leopard geckos, but they have been endorsed by one of the foremost authorities on captive-bred leopard geckos, Ron Tremper. Everything I’ve experienced confirms this.
Mealworms are the simplest source of nutrients to raise at home, therefore it’s a good idea to keep a colony so you always have a reliable food supply regardless of the weather or other environmental factors.
Mealworm beetles can induce impaction in lions because their shells are too stiff to eat.