Can Leopard Geckos Eat Dried Mealworms?

can leopard gecko eat dried mealworms?

Today, many owners prefer feeding mealworms to their Leopard Geckos due to their rich nutrient content. But, what about dried mealworms? Can Leopard Geckos eat dried mealworms? 

Leopard geckos can eat dried mealworms, but as dried mealworms don’t move, leopard geckos might not recognize them as food and won’t eat them. Also, since dried mealworms are very high in fat and low in moisture, feeding them too often can lead to nutritional deficiencies in leopard geckos.

Now, if you are still planning to provide dried mealworms to your Leopard Gecko, read on to know everything about it!

Leopard Geckos Can Consume Dried Mealworms

Mealworms are the larva version of the adult mealworm beetle. Live mealworms are a popular option amongst Leopard Gecko owners due to their high protein content and quiet nature. 

But, you will also find dried mealworms that are prepared by freezing or heating mealworms.

Note that you can feed dried mealworms to your Leopard Geckos as they are easily consumable. Yet, you should never rely on dried mealworms to provide full nutrition to your Leo.

The nutrient content is significantly less in dried mealworms than live mealworms. 

Another thing you should keep in mind is that most Leos like their food in the form of prey – crawling and breathing. So, they may not feel enticed enough to feed on dried mealworms.

Benefits of Feeding Dried Mealworms to Leopard Geckos 

There are negligible benefits to feeding dried mealworms to Leos. Some of them are listed below. 

No Escaping Situation 

Although live mealworms are pretty slow, there are still chances that they may escape from your Leo. If you opt for dried mealworms, your pet may not face this issue at all.  

Note: Keep in mind that live mealworms don’t bite. So, there is no risk in feeding either live mealworms or dried mealworms to Leos. 

Easy to Feed and Maintain

Dried mealworms are a suitable option if you currently don’t have time to gut-load live insects. You just need to dust them with extra supplements to make up for the lost nutrients. 

Risks and Limitations of Feeding Dried Mealworms to Leopard Geckos 

There are many limitations and risks, compared to the benefits, involved in feeding dried mealworms to Leopard Geckos. 

Low On Nutrients and Moisture

One of the major drawbacks of feeding dried mealworms to Leopard Geckos is their low nutritional content. 

Similar to other dried insects, dried mealworms are extremely low in moisture content. For instance, live mealworms contain 62% moisture whereas dried mealworms just contain 5% moisture.

The fat content in dried mealworms also increases as the live ones contain 13% fat whereas dried ones contain 28% fat.

In all, live mealworms provide hydration and nutrients with less fat content, whereas dried mealworms don’t.

Might Cause Impaction 

Impaction is a common risk with mealworms, be it live or dried. 

Typically, the exoskeleton of mealworms is quite tough and hard to digest. Thus, leading to impaction.

However, in this case, too, dried mealworms may be worse than live mealworms as the moisture content decreases significantly. 

We explain the risk of impaction in leopard geckos that eat mealworms here.

can leopard geckos eat freeze dried mealworms?

Not Appetizing For Most Leopard Geckos 

As we mentioned earlier, Leopard Geckos love to consume insects that they consider as prey. Hence, you will find that Leos are more willing to eat insects that move and crawl around instead of dead ones due to their hunting instincts.

Therefore, most Leopard Geckos might not even pay slight attention to dried mealworms or feed on them. 

Tip: If you want to learn how to make your leopard gecko eat dead food, read our article here!

Hard to Swallow 

Due to the low moisture content, dried mealworms become hard to swallow and digest. So, you should avoid feeding them to at least baby Leopard Geckos.

As for adults, they’re good as an occasional treat only.

Comparison Table: Dried Mealworms Vs. Live Mealworms 

CategoryDried MealwormsLive Mealworms
Protein Content53%20%
Fat Content28%13%
Moisture Content5%62%
Fiber Content6%2%
Gut-loading Gut-loading is not possible in the case of dried mealworms, as they’re dead.Gut-loading is done in the case of live mealworms to increase their nutrient levels.
DustingDusting is beneficial in the case of dried mealworms.You can dust live mealworms too.
Maintenance RequirementsNegligible as you just need to keep them in sealed bags in cool areas.You need to keep live mealworms in containers, along with food, at room temperature.
Shelf LifeTwo to three yearsOne month (approx.)

How Many Dried Mealworms Can Leopard Geckos Eat?

There is no fixed number of dried mealworms to feed your Leopard Geckos. As we mentioned earlier, they are suitable as treats once in a while. Therefore, you shouldn’t feed dried mealworms to Leopard Geckos in day-to-day life.

If you want, you can feed six to seven live mealworms twice or thrice a week. Along with that, you can give a few dried mealworms occasionally. 

How to Store and Feed Dried Mealworms to Leopard Geckos? 

The way you store dried mealworms and feed them to your Leopard Gecko is different compared to live mealworms. Here’s how you can go about it: 

Storing Dried Mealworms 

Given below are a few tips for storing dried mealworms:

  • Keep the dried mealworms in an airtight container or a properly sealed bag. 
  • Next, ensure that you keep the container or bag in a cool place. 
  • You can store dried mealworms in the refrigerator or freezer. However, it’s best to avoid storing dried mealworms there. It may lead to moisture collection, and cause mold or bacterial growth.

Feeding Dried Mealworms to Leopard Geckos

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re feeding dried mealworms to Leopard Geckos:

  • Check if the dried mealworms are safe to consume or not. Inspect for mold or bacterial growth. If you find any, discard the dried mealworms right away. 
  • As dried mealworms are low in nutrients, consider dusting them with essential supplements. 
  • Don’t feed dried mealworms to baby Leopard Geckos. 
  • If your Leo is solely dependent on dried mealworms for some reason, ensure that you provide them with adequate water for hydration. 

Where to Buy Dried Mealworms For Leopard Geckos? 

Dried mealworms are an unhealthy alternative to fresh, live insects. Yet, they are convenient to feed at times. So, if you’re planning to purchase them, you can do so from these online sites:

Chubby Meal Worms has positive reviews with users praising the freshness of the dried mealworms, along with quick delivery. However, if you’re looking for variety, Walmart is the better option. 

Petzome doesn’t have any reviews yet but offers proper packs of dried mealworms. 

You can also purchase dried mealworms from pet stores.

Better Alternatives to Dried Mealworms for Leopard Geckos 

Dried insects or worms are bad for Leopard Geckos. They lack nutrients, and can even get hard to digest. So, instead of dried mealworms, consider opting for live alternatives as given below.

Note: If you would like to have a list of the best worms to feed a leopard gecko, have a look at our article here!

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black Soldier Fly Larvae are easy to manage, provide great nutrients, are available in several sizes, and do not bite.

CategoryDried MealwormsBlack Soldier Fly Larvae
Protein Content53%50%
Fat Content28%35%
Moisture Content5%70%
Fiber Content6%6%
Shelf LifeTwo to three years5 to 8 days
Impaction RiskHighMedium
Biting RiskLowLow

Superworms 

Superworms are rich in moisture content and other nutrients. They are also unlikely to cause impaction. However, note that they are known to bite sometimes.

Moreover, they may not be the best as a staple as they may cause too much weight gain in Leos. So use them as treats.

CategoryDried MealwormsSuperworms
Protein Content53%19.7%
Fat Content28%17.7%
Moisture Content5%57.9%
Fiber Content6%2.7%
Shelf LifeTwo to three yearsOne to two weeks
Impaction RiskHighLow 
Biting RiskLowSuperworms may bite.

Butterworms 

Finally, butterworms are also a suitable alternative as they’re soft-bodied, with a low risk of impaction and high moisture content.

CategoryDried MealwormsButterworms
Protein Content53%16.20%
Fat Content28%5.21%
Moisture Content5%58.54%
Fiber Content6%1.4%
Shelf LifeTwo to three yearsThree months
Impaction RiskHighLow
Biting RiskLowLow 

All of the above-mentioned live worms are low maintenance, usually don’t cause impaction, are low in fat and are easy to feed. They also provide more nutrients compared to dried mealworms.

Final Thoughts

Dried mealworms might be slightly more convenient to feed when compared to mealworms or other live insects.

However, they severely lack nutrients and moisture, which makes them a bad diet option for your Leopard Geckos. Also, they also don’t appeal to most Leopard Geckos.

So, instead of opting for any dead or dried worm, it’s best to feed your Leo with fresh and live insects only.

Leave a Reply