Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius) don’t simply like wax worms (Galleria mellonella). Leopard Geckos love wax worms. As owners, it can be hard not to treat them with wax worms every day, as it makes them so happy. But, this is not a good idea. So, how many wax worms should Leopard Geckos eat?
Since wax worms are high in fat, low in calcium, and addictive to leopard geckos, adult geckos should only eat 2-5 worms once a week at most. Leopard geckos under four months of age should not eat any wax worms to maintain a good appetite for healthier feeder insects.
That’s the quick answer, but there’s much more to consider when planning your Leopard Gecko’s diet. Read on to discover why female Leopard Geckos might need more wax worms, and how to choose the right portion size.
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How Often Should You Feed Wax Worms To Your Adult Leopard Gecko?
There is a lot of disagreement between Leopard Gecko enthusiasts regarding how often wax worms should be given. Some owners believe the answer is never, while some say 3 times per week.
As adult Leopard Geckos only eat 3 times per week, this means that they would get wax worms with every meal. We don’t think that it is right to feed your Leopard Gecko wax worms with every meal.
Wax worms are high in fat and calories, but low in protein. They should not be part of your Leopard Gecko’s staple diet.
A sensible recommendation is to feed wax worms as a treat. Treats should be sporadic and unexpected, in order for them to be most effective for use as rewards. Limit yourself to once a week at most.
Change treats frequently to prevent your Leopard Gecko from expecting wax worms at certain times.
How Many Wax Worms Should You Feed Your Adult Leopard Geckos?
You should feed between 2 and 5 wax worms per treat day. The size of the wax worm that is right for your Leopard Gecko plays a big part in portion control.
Read on to find out how and why to select the right size.
How Many Wax Worms Should You Feed Your Baby Leopard Geckos?
Try not to feed any wax worms to baby Leopard Geckos. They need a lot of protein and calcium during this phase of their life to grow healthy bones.
You can learn more about whether baby Leopard Geckos can eat wax worms in our in-depth article.
Also, young Leopard Geckos can get addicted and refuse other foods, so we try to avoid introducing wax worms too early. However, it is imperative that hatchlings and juveniles eat well with good appetites.
So, if you can’t get your hatchling to try staple feeder insects like crickets or dubia roaches, use delicious wax worms to get their appetite going.
Later, you can craftily switch in staple foodstuffs like mealworms and dubia roaches.
Baby Leopard Geckos up until 4 months of age should eat around 4-8 crickets or 1-3 worms per feeding. Beyond that, they get fed larger feeder insects, but slowly reduce the number of days per week that they eat.
How Often Should You Feed Wax Worms To Your Baby Leopard Gecko?
Baby Leopard Geckos eat every day up until 4 months old. As mentioned above, we don’t really recommend that you give wax worms as treats to hatchlings and young juveniles if they are taking staple feeder insects well.
However, if you are using wax worms to encourage your baby Leopard Gecko to eat, you may need to use them quite often. Observe the behavior of your Leopard Gecko and see if they are coming forward to the dish or tongs with interest.
If so, you could maybe go straight in with a mealworm or dubia roach. If they aren’t showing interest, try coaxing them out with a nice juicy waxworm coated in calcium powder.
Be sure to keep the ball rolling by offering a mealworm right after.
What Size Wax Worm Is Right For Your Leopard Gecko?
Selecting the right size wax worm is important. The right size wax worm is no bigger than the space between your Leopard Gecko’s eyes.
This measurement reflects the width of their throat. Feeding wax worms that are smaller than this will help prevent choking and impaction.
The size of the feeder insects that you give plays a big role in portion control. It limits their portion size in relation to their body size.
Your Leopard Gecko Can Have More Wax Worms If She Is Laying Eggs
If your female Leopard Gecko is preparing to lay eggs, she needs more nutrition. She can have more wax worms during this time to boost her calories and keep her energy levels high.
But, it is very important that she receives the right nutrition during this time. Females who are laying eggs are very susceptible to developing metabolic bone disorder.
This is because making eggs takes a lot of protein and calcium.
If you feed your Leopard Gecko more fatty wax worms, but not more staple feeder insects like crickets and dubia roaches, she will not get enough calcium and protein. Ensure that you increase all her dietary components.
Wax worms have an inverse calcium to phosphorus ratio. Help to improve her calcium intake by dusting her feeder insects thoroughly.
Your Leopard Gecko Needs More Wax Worms If They Are Underweight
Use extra wax worms alongside staple foodstuffs to build up a malnourished, underweight Leopard Gecko.
But remember, they need more than just calories to stay healthy. Ensure you dust your wax worms with calcium and multivitamin powder to increase their nutritional value.
Your Leopard Gecko Needs More Wax Worms If They Have Dropped Their Tail
Research shows that when Leopard Geckos drop their tails, the new tail that they grow back is bigger and holds more fat. It takes a huge amount of energy to regrow a tail.
If your Leopard Gecko has dropped his tail and is regrowing it, increase his diet all around. Increasing the number of wax worms that you feed him will help him invest extra calories in his new tail.
Is It Possible To Overfeed Wax Worms To Your Leopard Gecko?
Yes, it is possible to overfeed your Leopard Gecko with wax worms. This can happen in 2 ways.
Feeding The Wrong Proportion Of Wax Worms
Your Leopard Gecko probably prefers eating wax worms over other, more nutritious, foods. If he eats a large proportion of wax worms and skips his crickets and roaches, he will eat too much fat and phosphorus, and not enough calcium and protein.
This could cause metabolic bone disease. MBD occurs when your Leopard Gecko gets too much phosphorus and not enough calcium.
As a result, his body will draw calcium from his bones. This causes his skeleton to become weakened and deformed.
Feeding Too Many Wax Worms
The other way to overfeed wax worms is to let your Leopard Gecko eat as many as he wants. Though Leopard Geckos are fairly good at stopping eating once they are full, they can overstuff themselves.
Overeating fatty wax worms will result in your Leopard Gecko having too many calories. Over the long term, this will lead to obesity.
Obesity causes many serious health problems, such as hepatic lipidosis. This causes the liver to stop functioning correctly.
Can Wax Worms Cause Impaction If Fed Too Much?
Wax worms themselves are not very likely to cause impaction. They contain a fair amount of fats and have soft shells which pass through the digestive system fairly smoothly.
Remember though, any food can cause impaction. If your Leopard Gecko is fed too much, is dehydrated, or is too cold, he can’t digest food thoroughly.
There are some specific risk factors that could result in an impaction from wax worms. As mentioned above, the first thing to consider is whether the worm is small enough for the Leopard Gecko. It should be narrower than the space between their eyes.
Impaction Risk: The Wax Worms’ Food
Secondly, is what the wax worms have been fed from the breeder that produced them, and in your home. Wax worms naturally eat beeswax and honey. In captivity, wax worms are fed honey, glycerin, and cereals.
But, some lower-quality breeders may feed the wax worms inappropriate materials such as vaseline, or other synthetic fats or waxes.
These pose a threat to your Leopard Gecko if ingested as they will cause a blockage.
Impaction Risk: The Wax Worms’ Substrate
Another risk factor is what substrate the wax worms are kept on. Often, they can be inappropriately housed on pine shavings. Wax worms can eat the pine shavings if they don’t have another food source.
When your Leopard Gecko eats the wax worms, it will also ingest the pine shavings. Pine is toxic to Leopard Geckos. They certainly can’t digest it.
To avoid issues with wax worms, always buy from a reputable supplier. Feel free to ask them questions concerning these hazards. Check out our guide on the right way to feed wax worms to your Leopard Gecko.