wax worms leopard geckos

Feeder insect review: Waxworms

Today I’m going to review waxworms, aka “Gecko Crack” which is by far my geckos’ favourite food, but one that needs to be fed with caution.

It’s important to feed your geckos a varied diet of live food, because each different insect offers different nutrition and benefits, and also it’s nice for your geckos to have some variety, as their tastes and preferences can change as they age.

For some frequently asked questions I receive around my leopard geckos’ diets, please see my Leopard Gecko Feeder Insects FAQ post.

Wax Worm care

I find waxworms to be a very low maintenance feeder insect, mainly because I don’t really need to do anything at all with them.

Waxworm care
Wax worms kept in a sealed tub with airholes

They come in a tub filled with some sort of substrate like bran, oats or sandpaper, and they are absolutely fine to stay in these boxes for the duration of their lives (unless of course you wish to breed them). At room temperature, the worms will eventually turn into moths, however if you cool them down, this slows down all of their bodily processes, meaning that they will stayin their “worm” form.

They can go a long time without being fed when they are cool, so there’s no need to worry about feeding or gutloading them.

To cool them, I recommend putting them in your fridge door, as this tends to be slightly cooler than the rest of your fridge (you don’t want them to be too cold and die). They will survive for many months like this, which is good news, because you don’t want to regularly feed these worms to your leopard geckos so it’s important that they can last a long time.

When you’re ready to feed one to your gecko, gently pick it out of the substrate, being careful not to be too forceful and squish it. You can use the warmth of your hand to make it start moving, however my geckos find these worms so delicious that they will eat them even when they’re not moving around!

Nutrition

Wax worms are VERY fatty, which is why leopard geckos love them so much. Think of a delicious fatty cheeseburger – it tastes so good but you know it’s not very good for you!

img_4202
Taming a leopard gecko using wax worms

For this reason, wax worms should only be fed to leopard geckos as an occasional treat, because leopard geckos have been known to become addicted to waxworms, and then refuse all other foods. This is bad, because the nutritional content of these worms is so poor, and you want your gecko to be eating a varied diet, rather than getting obese and lacking in important vitamins on a diet purely made up of wax worms.

Due to their poor nutritional profile, it’s important to dust these with calcium powder, so that your leopard gecko is at least getting a little bit of goodness.

If you have an underweight gecko, or one that is recovering from illness or a tail loss, using wax worms carefully can be a good way to build up their fat stores again, and they’re also a great way to make them eat extra calcium.

I also used wax worms sparingly when I was trying to tame my leopard geckos, as hand feeding them built up their trust.

See: How I Tamed My Leopard Geckos in One Week

They don’t smell/ make noise

Wax worms do not smell, and they don’t make noise, it’s easy to even forget that you have them sitting in your fridge.

They move loads

Once they have warmed up, wax worms are quite wiggly, meaning they will catch the eye of leopard geckos. My geckos usually won’t show interest in any insect which isn’t moving, apart from waxworms, which they will eat immediately, every time one is offered to them.

They can’t climb smooth surfaces

I prefer to use insects that can’t climb out of smooth surfaces, because both of my leopard geckos are lazy hunters, and with insects that can get away (such as locusts) my lazy geckos usually don’t stand a change.

I put my feeder insects in smooth clear ramekins so my geckos can easily catch them, with another added benefit here being the worms tend to stay nicely dusted in calcium powder as they will keep wriggling through it in the bottom of the dish, until they get eaten.

Cost

Wax worms are cheap, and they live for ages when refrigerated, which gives them even greater value for money.

Summary

Overall, waxworms are very easy to keep and geckos love them. The fact that they will live for so long in my fridge means that they can be kept for ages as an occasional treat, and I am a big fan of these little worms.

Ease of care: 10/10
Nutritional profile: 2/10
Smell/ Noise: 10/10
Movement: 8/10
Ease of containing: 10/10
Cost: 9/10


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