Can Crested Geckos Eat Waxworms? Pro’s And Con’s
Crested geckos enjoy eating worms and insects and is part of their diet in the wild. However, some worms are more nutritious than others. Whereas, other worms can only be fed as an occasional treat.What about waxworms? Can Crested geckos eat waxworms safely? The short answer is yes. However, waxworms can’t be used as a staple diet because they are too fatty
Feeding your Crested gecko a nutritious and varied diet is essential to their health and it helps prevent many illnesses. So, where does the waxworm fit in the Crested gecko diet?
In this article, we will be covering the following topics:
- Crested gecko diet – in the wild vs in captivity
- What worms can Crested geckos eat
- What are waxworms
- Can Crested geckos eat waxworms
- How To feed waxworms to Crested geckos
- Price of waxworms
.. and more.
Before diving into answering the question – can Crested geckos eat waxworms, it’s important to know what is the gecko’s diet in the wild and if worms are part of it.
Crested Gecko Diet – In The Wild vs In Captivity
In their natural habitat, the Crested geckos are omnivores. This means that they eat a variety of fruit, insects and plants.
Native to the island of New Caledonia, the Crested geckos are known for eating the following diet:
- Insects 49.6%
- Fruits 11.7%
- Fruit nectars 7.52%
- Seeds 1.8%
- Pollen 10.3%
As Crested geckos are omnivorous, there are two diet routes to choose from when kept as pets:
- Commercial diet. A commercial diet is the easiest option. The formula is designed to provide your Crested gecko with all the nutrients they need to be healthy and thrive. Therefore, worms are not needed from a nutritional point of view. However, they can be offered as an occasional snack
- Homemade diet. If you have decided to go down the route of homemade diet, you will need to do further research into how much and how often you should feed them a variety of insects/worms/bugs fruits and vegetables. Providing your Crested gecko with a well-balanced homemade diet is not an easy job and it’s not recommended for beginners unless you have done extensive research beforehand
Although, worms are part of the Crested gecko’s diet, you need to know what nutritional values you to look at before feeding them your gecko.
What Worms Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested geckos consume plenty of insects, worms and fruits in their natural habitat. However, when kept as pets, insects and worms should only be offered in moderate amounts.
If your Crested gecko is on a commercial diet, worms should only be fed as an occasional treat 1 to 2 times a month.
On the other hand, if you’re feeding them a homemade diet, worms can be fed more often. How often worms can be fed to your gecko depends on their nutritional value.
The goal is to provide your Crested gecko with a well-balanced and nutritional diet. Therefore, you need to know the following information when feeding your Crested gecko worms:
- Are they easily digestible for the Crested gecko? The exoskeletons of some insects such as beetles and mealworm, can sometimes cause problems in your Crested gecko. These problems include constipation, dehydration and impaction
- Size. You shouldn’t feed bugs to your Crested gecko that are bigger than the distance between their eyes
- The nutritional value of the worms you feed your gecko such as fat percentage, protein and calcium. For that information, check out the table below:
According to the table above, the best insects and worms to feed your Crested gecko from a nutritional point of view are:
- Dubia Roach
- Silkworms. This type of worm is the better option than a mealworm because the silkworms doesn’t have a hard exoskeleton
The waxworm didn’t make this list, but why? Before figuring out can Crested geckos eat waxworms as part of their diet, let’s take a look at what waxworms are and what is their nutritional value.
What Are Waxworms?
The waxworm is the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. There are two related species that are commercially bred – the lesser wax moth and the greater wax moth.
Normally, the larvae of the lesser wax moth will be half a inch (1.27 cm) in length. Whereas, the larvae of the greater wax moth can reach up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length.
Waxworms are known for being a good food source for some birds and reptiles.
Can Crested Geckos Eat Waxworms
And now, the answer to the main question – can Crested geckos eat waxworms safely? The answer to that questions is – yes, waxworms can be safely fed to your gecko.
Waxworms are high in palmitic, other saturated fats and have very high oleic acid content. This has beneficial hypotensive effects in humans. But what about in Crested geckos?
The following are the positives and negatives of feeding your Crested gecko waxworms.
- Waxworms are safe to feed to your crested gecko. This is mainly because they don’t have a hard exoskeleton. Therefore, there is a minimum risk of impaction and other complications
- The fatty content can be positive in some cases. A great use of waxworms is when you’re trying to add fat to your Crested gecko’s diet if they have stopped growing or when your gecko’s sick/recovering and refusing to eat
- Waxworms have a content of 16% Protein, 61% Moisture and are high in Calcium. This is beneficial for your Crested gecko.
- Waxworms can be the perfect treat to use when taming your gecko, getting them used to handling or hand feeding to build trust
- Waxworms have a high fat content. Therefore, they should only fed to your gecko occasionally regardless if they are on a commercial or homemade diet
- Ca:P ratio is 1:6. Although, high in calcium, waxworms have a poor calcium to phosphorus ratio. This is not ideal from a nutritional point of view as the Crested gecko’s staple diet foods should have a Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or more. To learn more about what fruits have good Ca:P ratio click here Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
- If not gut loaded and dusted before feeding, they can have a negative effect on your Crested gecko’s health as they have a low nutritional value
- Addictive. You might find it very surprising that many geckos get addicted to waxworms. These worms are very fatty and if fed to your gecko too often can result in you them becoming addicted and refusing to eat anything else
How Often Can I Feed Waxworms To My Crested Gecko?
As mentioned earlier, waxworms have a high fats content and don’t have the best nutritional value. Therefore, they should only be fed to your Crested gecko as an occasional treat, no more than 2 times a month.
Also, ensure to always provide your Crested gecko with a small water bowl when feeding them foods that are high in fats.
How Many Waxworms Should I Feed To My Crested Gecko?
You should feed no more than 2 to 3 waxworms to your Crested gecko per meal.
How To Feed Waxworms To My Crested Gecko?
Before feeding waxworms to your Crested gecko, you need to ensure that the worm is no wider than the space between your gecko’s eyes. This is to help with digestion and avoid complications such as impaction.
Another thing that you must do before feeding your Crested gecko waxworms, is gut loading.
Most live foods you feed to your Crested gecko needs to be gut loaded beforehand.
Gut loading means feeding the live food before it’s fed to the Crested gecko. This makes the live food more nutritious which will in turn help prevent illnesses and other health conditions.
Normally, the waxworms that are sold in pet shops are the greater waxworm and are at the “caterpillar” stage of a moth. At this stage of their life, they will eat the most given the right diet.
Gut-loading diet for waxworms:
- Mix some bran and honey
- Heat it gently
- Spread it out to cool and set
- After it has dried, the mix can be crumbled and fed to the waxworms
Important points to remember when gut-loading waxworms is:
- Waxworms feed best in slightly dark conditions and warm conditions of 77 °F to 86°F
- The gut-loading needs to be done at least 12 hours and no longer than 24 hours before feeding them to your Crested gecko
The most nutritional way to feed waxworms to your Crested gecko is by adding supplements.
Before feeding waxworms to your Crested gecko, you need to dust the worms in supplements that come in the form of powder, hence the word “dusting”.
The supplement powder contains Vitamins, Minerals and most importantly Calcium.
How To Serve Waxworms To My Crested Gecko?
The best way to feed waxworms to your Crested gecko is by holding the worm with plastic tweezers or tongs and dangling it near their mouth.
You need to ensure that your Crested gecko eats every waxworm. If there are any worms leftover, you need to remove them from the enclosure.
The reason for that is – if the leftover waxworms stay alive and hide somewhere in the enclosure, they can progress into the next stage of their life and turn into a beetle or moth. This can be dangerous to your Crested gecko.
How To Keep Waxworms
Another positive to feeding waxworms to your Crested gecko, is that they are easy to keep and care for until it’s feeding time.
This is because:
- The waxworm can survive for a long time at lower temperatures
- They can live a long time without food
- In this stage of their life, they don’t necessarily need anymore food to survive and can live off the fat supplies in their bodies. So, gut-loading is not always necessary with waxworms
How Much Do Waxworms Cost
The fact that waxworms are quite cheap and can live long when refrigerated, gives them a great value for money.
Waxworms can be purchased online or at a pet shop.
Prices average from $2.99 to $3.99 for 25 waxworms and $26.50 to $40.00 for 1000 waxworms.
Feeding your Crested gecko a well-balanced and nutritious diet is what will keep your gecko happy and healthy. But what is a well-balanced diet and where insects and worms fit in? More importantly – can Crested geckos eat waxworms and if yes – how often?
In this article, we covered many points around waxworms, including how nutritious they are to your Crested gecko.
The following are the most important points to remember in terms of feeding your Crested gecko waxworms:
- In the wild, Crested geckos eat a varied diet of fruits, insects/worms/bugs and plants. However, when kept as pets, worms should only be offered in moderation regardless if your gecko is on a commercial or homemade diet
- Waxworms’ nutritional value is made of: 13.14g of Calcium (per 100g), 16% Protein, 61% Moisture and 20% of Fat. This makes them very fatty and can lead to weight and health problems if fed too often. In addition, their Ca:P ratio is 1:6 which is not ideal as Crested geckos’ staple diet need to consist of foods with Ca:P ratio of 2:1 or more
- Addictive. Feeding too many waxworms can result in your gecko becoming addictive and possibly overweight (high fats)
- You should feed waxworms to your gecko 1 to 2 times a month and 2 to 3 waxworms per meal
- Waxworms are great to use for malnourished geckos. If your gecko is sick/recovering waxworms can be used to help them gain weight back
- Easy to keep. Waxworms are cheap and easy to keep
- More nutritious bugs than waxworms to feed to your gecko include: Butterworm, Dubia Roach, Crickets, Silkworms
Overall, waxworms are cheap and easy to keep and most importantly crested geckos love them. That makes them a great treat but not to be used as a staple diet because of their high fat content.