Superworms are a popular addition to many Leopard Geckos diets but they have a reputation for being a bit of a dangerous meal and some owners flat out refuse to feed them to their beloved geckos.
While it’s true that superworms do bite, they are unlikely to cause any damage to a full-grown gecko and are safe to feed to your pet.
Can Superworms Hurt Leopard Geckos?
Superworms are one of the more hotly debated feeder insects among gecko owners. They can be a great addition to your staple selection and are widely available but, at a full-grown size of around 50mm, they are too big for juvenile geckos to handle.
As well as their hefty size, superworms pack an extra punch (or should that be bite) with their strong mandibles that they can, and will, use to fight back against anything they see as a threat, including you!
That’s right – superworms will bite your fingers when being handled so be prepared for these little critters to fight back while you’re trying to feed them to your gecko.
So they’ve got the size, they’ve got the teeth, but will they actually use them? Yes! Superworms are very aggressive and won’t go down without a fight.
Depending on your gecko’s nature, this can be a good or a bad thing. We all know geckos are attracted to movement and will only eat insects that are alive and kicking, but some enjoy the ‘hunting’ side of mealtime a lot more than others.
If your gecko is the adventurous type, superworms are a great way to stimulate their predator instincts.
The main concern that pet owners have with superworms are reports of them being swallowed whole and making it into the animals stomach intact where they proceed to eat their way out, seriously injuring or even killing whoever dared to try and consume it.
This theory has been hard to prove though and even anecdotal accounts are few and far between. Could this be one of those internet myths that has taken on a life of its own and been completely blown out of proportion?
Much more likely is the superworm biting the inside of your gecko’s mouth if it doesn’t get fully crushed on the first bite. This is to be expected from any creature trying to defend itself from a predator though and your gecko will respond back by chomping on that worm until it’s in no state to bite anything ever again.
So Will Your Gecko Get Injured When You Feed Them Superworms?
Probably not. Geckos instinctively try to bite and crush the heads of their prey which will leave the superworm unable to bite and injure your gecko.
If the gecko goes for the wrong end of the superworm (or misses altogether), there’s every chance that they’ll get a nip as the super tries to defend itself but again, unless it happens to catch a sensitive area like the eye, it’s unlikely to do any real damage to your gecko.
And how about those bites to the inside of the mouth we mentioned? Again, they’ll be more of a shock (and lesson for the future) than a serious threat so nothing to worry about there either.
Even though the risk is low, be sure to stack the odds in your gecko’s favor and only feed them one superworm at a time. Dropping in multiple worms will only increase the likelihood of one of them finding a way to chomp down on your pet which no self-respecting owner would want.
So in conclusion, no, superworms are not dangerous to a healthy, full-grown leopard gecko.
If you are still worried but want to feed your Leo a superworm from time to time as a treat, simply crush the head of the superworm before offering it. The worm will still squirm and wriggle around but it won’t be able to do any damage to your gecko.