Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius) love to eat wax worms (Galleria mellonella). But is it still safe to feed your Leopard Gecko these insects once they transform into a wax moth?
It is safe to feed adult wax moths (Galleria mellonella) to Leopard Geckos. They are not toxic and cannot bite or injure a Leopard Gecko. However, they are more difficult to swallow than the larval stage, also called wax worms. They could cause impaction or choking if too big.
To learn more about the benefits and dangers of feeding leopard geckos wax moths, continue to read our article. We also show you, how to make sure your wax worms become wax moths so that you can feed them your leo.
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Leopard Geckos Can Eat Wax Moths
Wax moths, like wax worms, are totally fine to feed to your Leopard Gecko. They do not naturally contain any toxins. But, they could contain harmful substances if the wax moth larvae were not stored or fed correctly.
Avoid this issue by buying wax worms from a reputable seller. You can read more on these risks in our article about how many wax worms Leopard Geckos can eat.
Nutritional Value of Wax Moths vs. Wax Worms
The nutritional value of wax moths, also called honeycomb moths, is difficult to determine as it has not been widely published. What we do know, is that adult moths contain less fat and less calcium than in their larval life stage.
This is the nutritional value of wax worms. They are very high in fat, but low in protein compared to many other feeder insects.
Wax moths will have a lower percentage of fat than this, but should still be counted as a relatively high-fat feeder insect. As such, we don’t recommend using wax moths as a staple feeder. Instead, you should consider them a treat, and give them sporadically.
You can learn more about the difference between the larval and adult stages of moths, and how it affects their fat content in our article about whether Leopard Geckos can and should eat moths.
Are Wax Moths Better Than Wax Worms?
In some ways, wax moths may be a better treat for your Leopard Gecko than wax worms. As we know, they contain less fat. The high-fat content of wax worms means that they are likely to contribute to obesity and related diseases.
Also, wax moths provide fantastic enrichment for your Leopard Gecko. Enrichment is important for quality animal care. Anything that causes variation in the environment that supports mental or physical stimulation is enrichment.
In other words, Leopard Geckos can get good exercise from hunting wax moths. Many owners report that their Leopard Geckos “go wild” when given wax moths to hunt.
But, for smaller or younger Leopard Geckos, wax worms are likely to be the better choice. They are easier to catch and swallow and less likely to cause impaction.
Wax worms are also easier to dust with calcium powder, which helps maintain the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Could Wax Moths Be Dangerous?
Wax moths in themselves are not dangerous. They cannot cause injury through biting, as they don’t have teeth. They are also not toxic.
But, there is a possibility that wax moths could cause choking or impaction. Wax worms are smooth and soft, and easy to swallow. Wax moths, on the other hand, have wings that can open and bend awkwardly, as well as harder, drier bodies with legs.
Impaction occurs when feeder insects or other swallowed items become trapped in the digestive tract of your Leopard Gecko. It is a common and dangerous health complaint. If the impaction is not passed, it could kill your Leopard Gecko.
Try to offer moths whose bodies are smaller than the distance between your Leopard Gecko’s eyes. This distance shows the width of your pet’s throat and indicates what will fit down their digestive tract well.
Also, wax moths could be dangerous if they are used as staple feeder insects. We know that they are fairly high in fat and low in calcium.
If your Leopard Gecko eats them regularly, he will consume an incorrect calcium to phosphorus ratio. This puts him at increased risk from metabolic bone disease.
Where Can You Get Wax Moths?
To get wax moths, you first need to buy wax worms and allow them to pupate. To do this, store them at room temperature, not in the fridge. You may wish to offer them some food, to help them prepare to spin their cocoons.
Make the food by blending together a mixture of honey, glycerin, and organic oat baby cereal. Add some vitamin powder to the mixture. This addition will help improve the nutritional profile of your feeder insects.
We have put together a handy guide to buying and storing wax worms. Check out our in-depth article that explores whether Leopard Geckos can eat wax worms.