What Worms Can You Feed to Crested Geckos?
Crested Geckos are omnivorous. They eat a variety of soft fruits and insects. Given their wide palate, it’s both easy and recommended to diversify their diet as much as possible.
Many people keep their Geckos on a monotonous diet of crickets, fruit smoothies, and supplement power. But you can also add other foods, including worms!
Worms are available in most pet stores. They’re a cheap and nutritious alternative if you can’t find other insect feeds.
There’s also a huge variety of worms you can choose from. Pretty tempting! But should you do it? And if so, how? Find out the answer to these questions in this article!
Are Worms Safe for Crested Geckos?
Worms aren’t the ideal feed, but they’re a safe option for your Crestie. Just know that they should be fed within reason.
Worms should be more of a treat and not a common menu item. When fed in appropriate quantities, worms can provide useful macronutrients and vitamins for your pet.
However, when fed too often, worms can cause problems. Some potential issues to be aware of include:
- Digestive upset
- Weight gain
- Fatty liver disease
- Intestinal blockage
- Nutrient imbalances
These issues arise because worms aren’t a balanced food for Geckos. They contain plenty of fat, which can cause weight gain and liver problems.
Depending on the species, worms might also contain a lot of chitin. This makes them hard to digest and is likely to cause digestive upset and constipation.
Excessive consumption of worms can also upset the calcium and phosphorus balance in your Gecko’s body.
Worms can have a calcium to phosphorus ratio anywhere between 1:6 to 1:18. This makes gut-loading and dusting all the more important when feeding worms to your Gecko.
What Worms Can Crested Geckos Eat?
Crested Geckos aren’t picky. They’ll enjoy most types of worms.
Some of the most popular feed options include mealworms, waxworms, superworms, silkworms, butterworms, hornworms, earthworms, red worms, red wigglers, bloodworms, and grubs.
Out of this list, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms are the most common and easiest to find. You can feed your Gecko live or dried worms. Both options are safe, and each one has its advantages.
Dried worms store better, but you can’t gut-load them. Live worms are fun for your pet to eat, but some might also fight back and bite your Gecko.
Where to Buy Worms for Crested Gecko?
There are lots of places where you can find worms for your Gecko. You can purchase some of the most common worms in any local pet shop.
You can also order some online off Amazon, Petco, or Petsmart. Finally, you may even find live worms in a local fishing shop!
Petco and Petsmart provide a wide variety of worms to choose from. You can choose your worms based on species, size, and quantity.
You’ll find both live and dried versions, so there’s something out there to suit your every need! Amazon also has lots of products to choose from.
I recommend choosing worms labeled as pet feed. Buying fishing bait worms should be your last option, as these worms aren’t usually sterilized.
Tip: if you can’t find Gecko feed, try browsing the turtle and bird sections as well.
How to Prepare the Worms for Your Crested Geckos?
There are just three easy steps to remember when prepping the worms for your Crestie. If you’re only using dried worms, you’re down to just two steps!
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Gut-load the worms.
By themselves, worms aren’t all that nutritious. They have a lot of protein, fat, and vitamins. But most aren’t very high in minerals.
Thus, you can’t serve them as they are. To solve this issue, you’ll have to gut-load them first.
This process involves a 12-24 hour period of feeding. You’ll have to give the worms a highly nutritious diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and gut-loading powder supplements.
After the worms are properly stuffed with goodies, they’re ready to be served!
Obviously, you’ll have to skip this step if you’re working with dried worms.
2. Size the worms appropriately.
Geckos should be eating small, easy-to-chew servings. If your worms are too long, you’ll have to chop them up.
The appropriate size for solid food is maximum or less than your Gecko’s head.
Use the distance between the Gecko’s eyes as a measurement. Select only the worms that fit this measurement. If all your worms are too long, cut them into separate pieces before feeding.
3. Dust the worms.
Dusting will increase the worm’s nutritional content even further. It’s the best way to make up for the nutrients most lacking in worms— calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin A.
These nutrients are crucial for your Crestie’s bones, immune system, skin, and eye health.
All you have to do is purchase a powder supplement containing these nutrients. Place the worms in a small container and sprinkle the powder on top.
Cover the container and shake well. This will evenly distribute the powder.
And voila! The worms are ready!
How to Feed Worms to Your Crested Geckos?
The most important step in worm-feeding is the prep (see the instructions above). After you’ve got that down, it’s time for the actual action.
The feeding itself is pretty straightforward. You can either hand-feed the worms or use a feeding dish.
For hand-feeding, you can use a pair of gloves or even some feeding pliers. Maintain a light grip and let the worm hang and wiggle.
Just wait and watch your Gecko do the work! This is a nice bonding activity for you and your pet.
Alternatively, you can use a small feeding dish. Place the worms in a small container. Choose one with walls tall enough to prevent the worms from escaping.
Place the container in the enclosure. Again, your Gecko will take care of the rest.
NEVER chuck the worms directly into the enclosure. These squiggly bastards are born to burrow and hide.
They’ll make their way through the substrate and you won’t even know. You’ll wake up with some unpleasant surprises.
How Many Worms Can Crested Geckos Have?
You shouldn’t feed your Gecko too many worms, even if they’re dusted full of nutrients. The added vitamins and minerals don’t offset the extra fat content.
Ideally, you should only offer 2-4 worms per feeding. This is a fitting serving size within the context of a balanced diet.
Also, note that the worms should be appropriately-sized. Never feed your Crestie worms that are larger than its head width.
Worms should be fed once a week at most, but ideally less often. Try feeding your Gecko worms 1-3 times a month at most.
Your Gecko’s age will also influence how many worms it can eat. Hatchlings shouldn’t be eating worms at all. Juveniles can safely eat worms, but they should eat less than adult Geckos.
Why Is Your Crested Gecko Not Eating Worms?
There are many possible reasons for your Gecko’s disinterest in worms.
Here are just some of the most common ones:
The worms aren’t moving.
Geckos are born hunters and they love a challenge. Eating live insects is supposed to bring out these instincts. But if the worms are dried or chopped up, they’re already dead. So, there’s no movement, nothing to make your Gecko perk up.
Maybe your Crested Gecko is just thinking “How boring! Why even bother?” but we’ll never know for sure. Luckily, you can easily solve this issue using a vibrating food dish. The vibration will simulate a natural movement, drawing your Gecko’s attention.
Worms are too slow-moving.
Truth be told, worms aren’t all that exciting in general. They’re slow and unagile. Even live worms might not catch your Gecko’s interest all that much. Cresties are way happier to hunt quick and lively insects like crickets or grasshoppers.
The worms are too small.
I usually say go smaller than too large when feeding your Gecko. Live worms are already a choking hazard. But if the worms are too small, your Gecko might not feel as motivated to hunt for them.
Your Gecko just doesn’t like them.
If your Crested Gecko has had worms in the past but doesn’t anymore, maybe the food is just “meh”. Your pet has its own tastes and preferences when it comes to food. Perhaps the worms just don’t taste very nice for your picky eater.
Your Gecko has a poor appetite.
If your Gecko refuses worms and any other food, perhaps something else is going on. Your pet might have a poor appetite. This happens for a variety of reasons, including stress, intestinal blockage, dehydration, improper parameters (temperature, humidity), brumation, or sickness. If the issue persists, take your Gecko to a vet asap!
Worms are a safe option to include in your Gecko’s diet. Gut-loading and dusting make the worms a nutritious and rich meal your pet will enjoy as an occasional treat. But you have to keep the serving size low.
Worms are quite high in fat and chitin. Overeating on these nutrients might lead to unpleasant issues like digestive upset, constipation, or weight gain. You can easily avoid these issues if you feed your Crestie worms up to once a week.
As for what worms you can feed to your amphibian friend, the possibilities are seemingly endless.
You can choose between mealworms, waxworms, superworms, silkworms, earthworms, red worms, and grubs, just to name a few.