Feeding Mealworm Pupa and Beetles? Safe or Not?

Snuffles379

New Member
Messages
61
Location
Michigan
Hello all,

As some of you may remember I have posted previously about my older male leopard gecko and how picky he is about food. I've discussed this with my reptile vet and after going over my enclosure set up we have chalked it up to him being literally picky and wanting diversity as much as possible. However, recently he's found a new food to be obsessed with but I'm just not sure if it is safe for him to eat.

Like I've said before has gone on weeks of hunger strikes and I have tried every feeder available to see if there's something he favors but he decides what he likes seemingly at random. So recently I was trying to get him to eat, going through my routine of offering him any feeder he has previously been willing to eat (crickets, to small mealworms, giant mealworms, superworms, and if he has not eaten in a while I try waxworms) and after him rejecting all the other food I noticed some giant mealworm pupa and thought to offer it to him. He ate it instantly and has accepted them excitedly whenever offered since. Once the pupa had began to turn to beetles I thought to try and offer some of the newly hatched/white beetles and again he's obsessed and eats them every time they're offered.

I've done some preliminary searching on whether these are a safe feeder or not and have not come up with anything negative. I never plan on feeding him the beetles once they are dark, they seem far to hard to even risk trying.

I thought I would visit the forum and get some experienced leo owners opinions on this, has anyone heard anything good or bad about feeding these pupa or beetles? I worry because the side of the pupa are a bit rough but other than that they both seem fairly easy to digest and he hasn't not had any problems passing them so far that I can tell. It's also a relief because he's eating more than he has in at least a year in a half so I'd like to add these to the list of things he's willing to eat if they are safe.

Thanks once again for your time and opinion!
 

DrCarrotTail

Moderator
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3,590
Location
Ridgewood, NJ
Is your male skinny? If not he could just be trying to maintain a healthy weight. I find my adult males eat next to nothing compared to females and maintain their weight.

The beetles and pupae won't hurt him but most geckos won't eat them.
 

B&B Geckos

Member
Messages
600
Location
California
I guess it has a more sophisticated palate ). I believe that beetles tend to taste pretty bad, perhaps a defense mechanism. Anyhow, birds, hedgehogs, squirrels eat beetles without issues. Maybe geckos can too. Monitor his weight, while on this diet and supplement as usual to be sure.
 

GexPex

New Member
Messages
333
Location
Southern California
I've had a couple of my geckos eat the pupa and beetles. They will still eat the pupa if provided to them and if they move enough, but now they refuse to eat the beetles.

What other foods have you tried him on? And like the others say, is he skinny or of a good weight?
As for other foods, try dubia roaches (or other farm-raised roaches...but I find dubias easiest to find and care for...plus they don't climb or fly). You can also try hornworms, silkworms, phoenix worms....
 

lisa127

New Member
Messages
777
Location
NE Ohio
I agree with Lisa. Big, large males don't eat much. I have a large male just over a year old that is 11 inches long and 115 grams in weight. I feed him twice a week and he eats probably about 18 mealworms a feeding. So he eats 3 dozen mealworms in a good week. If he has just shed, he will only eat once that week. If I try to feed him anymore than twice a week he will totally ignore the food.

I will say that he did once eat a brand new, still soft and white mealworm beetle. I would not try to give him an older, darker beetle though. Pupae I feed to my box turtle. She goes crazy for them.
 

Snuffles379

New Member
Messages
61
Location
Michigan
What other foods have you tried him on? And like the others say, is he skinny or of a good weight?
As for other foods, try dubia roaches (or other farm-raised roaches...but I find dubias easiest to find and care for...plus they don't climb or fly). You can also try hornworms, silkworms, phoenix worms....
He is a good weight, he seems to maintain it okay, it might have gone down a bit now from when he was younger but he's about 15 now so I expect that's normal. His weight doesn't seem to visibly fluctuate but I believe it fluctuates about a gram (judging from vet visits).

I have tried literally every safe feeder I can get my hands on. He cannot catch anything fast or that can get a good grip on the ground (and will not even try to eat anything that doesn't make a good deal of movement) so he was completely uninterested in the dubia roaches. I've tried the other worms as well and again he showed no interest. He used to eat crickets always when he was younger, now he rarely will take them. Other than the giant mealworms and their pupa/beetle he'll eat small and super mealworms occasionally and wax worms. Though I hesitate to offer the wax worms as he occasionally will decide he only wants to eat them until he's sick of them so they're a last ditch effort. I keep some of each feeder he'll eat and have a rotation of them going, I have to feed him with tweezers as he will not hunt for anything and cannot catch them, and he randomly seems to pick what he will and will not eat but on a good feeding day he'll eat five or six max of crickets/worms.
 
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Snuffles379

New Member
Messages
61
Location
Michigan
I agree with Lisa. Big, large males don't eat much. I have a large male just over a year old that is 11 inches long and 115 grams in weight. I feed him twice a week and he eats probably about 18 mealworms a feeding. So he eats 3 dozen mealworms in a good week. If he has just shed, he will only eat once that week. If I try to feed him anymore than twice a week he will totally ignore the food.
It's good to hear from you and Lisa that large males don't each much. However your male eats much more than mine has in years. If we have a regular schedule going (which means he's decided to like a certain food for a while) he'll eat about once (occasionally twice) a week and only about three to five of whatever he's into at the moment. This week, like I said, he's obsessed with the pupae so he's eaten about six of them. If he sheds he will not eat at all that week and usually a couple days before or after and he does not eat his shed any longer either so that always worries me. However, before I tried the beetles/pupa he would go two or more weeks without eating. That's why I'm looking into these beetles and pupa, its the first thing he's showed real interest in in a long time so I'm hoping they're okay to feed to him as long as he'll take them.
I also agree that I don't want to risk feeding him the dark ones, they seem far to hard.
 

B&B Geckos

Member
Messages
600
Location
California
Some people clip the back legs on crickets to slow them down, other clip the legs on one side so that they circle. Perhaps this will help him catch them.
 
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Snuffles379

New Member
Messages
61
Location
Michigan
Some people clip the back legs on crickets to slow them down, other clip the legs on one side so that they circle. Perhaps this will help him catch them.

Thanks for the tip! I do that as well but even then he doesn't bother to hunt them. I have to feed him with tweezers always otherwise feeders just hide on him.
 

AndyBunn

Member
Messages
45
My leopard Gecko has started to eat the Mealworm pupae as I had loads in my current batch. He loves them. I haven't noticed any problems with digestion but I'm monitoring. He has no interest in the beetle form.
 
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