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Can Leopard Geckos Eat Buffalo Worms?

can leopard geckos eat buffalo worms?

When you envision riveting reptiles like leopard geckos, you probably imagine them eating all sorts of wild insects. One insect you might be familiar with them munching on is worms. But, can they eat buffalo worms? 

For juvenile leopard geckos, buffalo worms are a good food source since they are small, their soft bodies are easy to digest and they are high in protein. For adult leopard geckos, buffalo worms are not ideal since they are not filling enough because of their small size.

We get it. Buffalo worms are not the first worm that would typically spring to your mind when thinking of leopard geckos. But they should be. To know more, keep on reading. 

Why buffalo worms are great for leopard geckos

If you have baby leopard geckos that need a nutritious diet, Buffalo worms, also called lesser mealworms, are highly beneficial. The reason for this is that their small and soft skeleton can be digested easily by leopard geckos.

Whereas these feeds tend to be too small for adult leopard geckos therefore not satisfying their appetite properly.

There is research that suggests Buffalo worms are high in protein and iron, more than beef and grasshoppers. 

There’s a range of benefits to juvenile leopard geckos consuming buffalo worms such as the following:

  • Diversity in their diet
  • They can be easily digested due to their soft skin
  • Contain a lot of healthy fats
  • Low in fat
  • They have lots of nutrients like iron calcium and are low in carbohydrates 
  • Filling

How do they differ from mealworms? 

The main difference between buffalo and mealworms is their structure. Buffalo worms’ skeleton is thinner and, therefore, softer and easier to digest.

When mealworms are swallowed there is also a risk of it not being digested as they have a large amount of a polymer called chitin, making digestion difficult and impaction in some situations.

InsectMealwormBuffalo worm
Protein20% 65% 
Fat13%27.6%
Moisture62.44%N/A
Fiber1.73%3.3%
Calcium/Phosphor Ratio0.04N/A
Size (length)1.25-1.8cm5.5mm- 1cm
Sources: MDPI, EatCricksterLink Springer 

Plus live buffalo worms tend to have a higher protein content than mealworms,  being incredibly nutritious for your leopard gecko.

Moreover, another cool thing about buffalo worms is that they are more lively than mealworms. When you buy buffalo worms from your local reptile store, expect them to wriggle around more.

These worms being more active can help trigger the prey drive in fussy baby leopard geckos to eat.

This video shows you how much buffalo worms wriggle around.

How to prepare buffalo worms for leopard geckos?

When feeding baby leopard geckos buffalo worms, you must keep them in a mealworm dish. If you don’t keep them in the dish, they can easily burrow away and escape as they’re very active!

Plus, you don’t really want to leave them in their tank overnight, as they could easily crawl and burrow in their enclosure, making them difficult to find. 

Dusting

Most feeder insects contain more phosphorus than calcium.

We can only assume that it is the same with buffalo worms, so it’s important you dust them down in calcium and, if needed, even with a multivitamin powder.

Due to buffalo worms having a lot of hairs on their surface, the powders will stick quite well to their bodies which makes it easier to ensure that the leopard gecko absorbs most of it.

Gut-loading

Buffalo worms can eat a lot, like mites, moldy food, parts of dead insects, etc. The best way to gut-load them though is by feeding the buffalo worms vegetables and cereal.

Doing this will allow for better digestion, and it will ensure the juvenile Leo will get a lot of minerals and vitamins from each meal.

Where can you buy buffalo worms for your leopard gecko? 

Buffalo worms are easy to purchase from your local reptile store or online. Often, when they’re sold, they’re dispatched straight from the breeder.

Moreover, these worms are often gut-loaded before packing, so they’re as nutritious as possible for your juvenile leopard gecko. 

You may be interested in getting buffalo worms from some reptile websites from Evolution worms, Swell Reptiles, Internet Reptile, and Reptile Centre.

But always check with the online retailer if they deliver to the country you’re in. Similarly, you might want to check rules and regulations with your country too. 

Often these products come in a plastic bag that is well insulated to allow these worms to stay alive in transit. They tend to have a cardboard box with perforations outside the bag, allowing for breathing space. 

While a few reptile websites sell these worms online, you should visit a breeder or reptile shop nearby you. Doing this will allow you to see the quality of worms and see if they’ve been raised ethically.

Plus, you get to see what they’re like straight away and have the opportunity to buy in small quantities to see if your baby gecko likes them. 

Buffalo worms, or lesser mealworms, are great feeder insects for juvenile leopard geckos.

How to store buffalo worms?

One important factor to note when buying buffalo worms is that they don’t like cold temperatures. Therefore storing them chilled in a fridge or a freezer is a major NO-NO!

Instead, you’ll want to store them in a warm location based on where you’re situated. 

Sometimes people choose to place them on a heat pad. But, if you choose to do this, be careful as you don’t want the dish to become too humid and damp.

Moreover, once the lid has been opened, you will want to ensure that these worms are consumed within a month. 

If unopened, these worms can have up to 12 months of shelf life. Therefore they can be of great value and save you a lot of money!

Alternatives to consider

If your baby leopard gecko has tried buffalo worms and they’re not the biggest fan, or you want to diversify their diet, here are some other worms to try:

Mealworms

These worms are available from any reptile store and are cheap to buy. They’re easy for your gecko to eat as they don’t try to escape from the dish. Plus, they don’t bite.

We created an article on why leopard geckos should or shouldn’t eat mealworms here.

Black soldier fly larvae

These are high in calcium, inexpensive, and well-stocked. This means you can easily locate them from any reptile store or online.

We highly recommend reading our article on why leopard geckos should eat black soldier fly larvae here!

Crickets

Crickets are cheap and widely available from many pet stores. They do bite, though, so you have to be a bit careful when handling. 

If you want to know more about crickets as feeder insects for leopard geckos, read our article on that here! (We also explain the biting problem, etc.).

Butterworms

These are high in protein and calcium, great for any leopard gecko. Therefore, they tend to be large and are suited more towards the adult generation.

Thinking about feeding your leopard gecko butterworms? Make sure you read our article on that here first!

Note: If you would like to have a list of worms that are fantastic for leopard geckos, read this!

Final thoughts

Overall, leopard geckos can eat buffalo worms as long as your gecko is in its juvenile stage. This stage occurs when they’re between 2-7months old.

They’re great for juvenile leos because they have a skeleton that is softer and easier to digest than a mealworm. 

They are also more active, which may activate their prey instinct, making them want to eat instead of being a fussy eater.

You don’t need to gut load or dust them when preparing them for your gecko; all you need to do is store them in a chilled environment.

Sounds good? Let us know if your baby leopard gecko likes buffalo worms in the comments below. 

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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