Hornworm addiction

newboxiemama

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How often can I feed my boxie hornworms? I know they are notoriously fussy eaters, but since I gave him his first hornworm it is almost impossible to get him to eat anything else. He was even eyeballing my turquoise ring the other day!

Earthworms are no longer interesting and vegetables are pretty much an insult at this point. I have tried making him salads of shredded collards, grated squash, chopped earthworms (gross, but the pieces keep wiggling which usually keeps him engaged), sliced blueberries and a light drizzle of tuna juice. He just climbed on top of it and wouldn't take a bite.

His earthworm cup is bright blue - he is so excited when he sees that color and is so disappointed when he sees what is inside!

My questions are...how many hornworms are safe for him to eat a week (not too large) and how long until he gets hungry enough to eat veggies again? These things must be pretty delicious because my bearded dragon is behaving the same way right now and shunning all other forms of food 😂
 

wellington

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My chameleon I used to have loved those worms too.
I don't know if thry are bad to feed a lot of but it is bad to not feed/eat a varied diet. I think you may have to do tuff love and stop the horn worms and get him to eat other things.
What if you chopped the better/other foods up really fine. Spritz with water and let the worms walk thru the chopped foods so that the food with stick to the worms? Then slowly try to take the worms away altogether.
 

ZenHerper

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The Hornworm protein:fat ratio is not bad...but the calcium: phosphorous ratio is upside down.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to view a basic table of feeder nutrition values:

A couple of things to try:

*cut up some earthworms and let them get stuck to the Hornworm

*save the shell from boiled eggs...dry...crush into a fine powder that can be sprinkled on fruit or flowers

*see if you can get away with adding calcium-rich greens to his meals...chop very finely and mix with things he already likes, or spritz the Hornworms with water to get bits to stick

*Black soldier fly larvae are a good protein, fat, and calcium food...you may find them advertised as Phoenix worms. You can get them live or dried.

*Isopods. They are USDA regulated and cannot be legally shipped across state lines, but they can be found locally if you hunt around cra*gslist, eb*y, or find an in-state retailer. Their ca: phos ratio is like 20:1, so they can be used to supplement calcium for animals that only want moving targets.

****************************

Spring is a time to regrow muscle and fat...it is not uncommon for a turtle to go for juicy meats. Not an unusual occurrence, and it's fine for him to binge as long as you adjust the calcium. Just keep offering other things so he has the choice as time passes.

An expanded nutrition chart:
 

newboxiemama

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THANK YOU!!! That chart is awesome. I never thought about getting other foods to stick to the hornworms - and I seem to remembering him liking Phoenix worms so I will try those again too.

He does enjoy cuttle bones, so he has gotten at least some calcium since this hornworm thing started. He goes through phases where he ignores them, but he has been chomping away the past couple of weeks. Is there such a thing as too much cuttle bone?

Thank you so much for your consistent help!
 

newboxiemama

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My chameleon I used to have loved those worms too.
I don't know if thry are bad to feed a lot of but it is bad to not feed/eat a varied diet. I think you may have to do tuff love and stop the horn worms and get him to eat other things.
What if you chopped the better/other foods up really fine. Spritz with water and let the worms walk thru the chopped foods so that the food with stick to the worms? Then slowly try to take the worms away altogether.
That is a great idea - thank you! Never in my life did I imagine that I would become this comfortable with snipping worms up into tiny bits 😂
 

ZenHerper

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THANK YOU!!! That chart is awesome. I never thought about getting other foods to stick to the hornworms - and I seem to remembering him liking Phoenix worms so I will try those again too.

He does enjoy cuttle bones, so he has gotten at least some calcium since this hornworm thing started. He goes through phases where he ignores them, but he has been chomping away the past couple of weeks. Is there such a thing as too much cuttle bone?

Thank you so much for your consistent help!
As long as there is other food, bulk, and water to carry it through the intestines, he can nibble as much bone as he needs.

If he's binging seasonal flowers, that's fine as well. They don't last and they'll keep his fiber and antioxidant needs met.
 

jeff kushner

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I always look with interest at these threads. Hornworms are expensive to buy so in essence, your turtle has a crack-habit. I don't need to add to the "intervention" suggestions but I do hope for all involved, that your guy can be weaned off the crack, to something more cost-commensurate with his size.

Good luck, the addiction can be broken.....all tongue-in-cheek of course.

FWIW: I bought 200 red wigglers last Oct, placed them in an empty "omaha-steaks" Styrofoam box and fed them. I've added night crawlers and keep them fed, wet and turned...all down each time I retrieve a dozen or so friends for Matilda to have over for lunch. Matilda has been eating well and she will still eat her VD3 coated radishes.

jeff
 

newboxiemama

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I always look with interest at these threads. Hornworms are expensive to buy so in essence, your turtle has a crack-habit. I don't need to add to the "intervention" suggestions but I do hope for all involved, that your guy can be weaned off the crack, to something more cost-commensurate with his size.

Good luck, the addiction can be broken.....all tongue-in-cheek of course.

FWIW: I bought 200 red wigglers last Oct, placed them in an empty "omaha-steaks" Styrofoam box and fed them. I've added night crawlers and keep them fed, wet and turned...all down each time I retrieve a dozen or so friends for Matilda to have over for lunch. Matilda has been eating well and she will still eat her VD3 coated radishes.

jeff
HAHA you are spot-on! I would say this issue is on-par with a crack habit. We have had a family intervention but Spike is resistant to rehab 😂 I have never seen such a frenzy over food. Not only are they expensive, they grow FAST and get gross pretty quickly. I started passing them out to people with kids at work so they could turn them into moths!

The styrofoam container is a good idea. We are definitely attempting to transition back to the red wigglers!
 

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I find this post very interesting since I own two Veiled Chameleons that are considered obese.
I hadn't known there was such a thing!
The cause was a HORNWORM addiction.

Just back off with the feeding of them. REPTILES are stubborn, but every one of them will eat other things when they get good any hungry
You need to trust in that "tough love".
It works.
 

Relic

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I try to think of tortoises as hard-shelled toddlers. They will gorge on a favorite food, when available. In the wild, a favorite food might only be available a few weeks out of the year, hence they stuff themselves with it, when they can. But once the holiday ends and the treat food is gone, they will eventually turn to something else. But, just like a toddler, don't expect them to be quick - or happy - about it...
 

newboxiemama

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I find this post very interesting since I own two Veiled Chameleons that are considered obese.
I hadn't known there was such a thing!
The cause was a HORNWORM addiction.

Just back off with the feeding of them. REPTILES are stubborn, but every one of them will eat other things when they get good any hungry
You need to trust in that "tough love".
It works.
They are SO stubborn! I could not get Spike to eat anything for the past few days - finally he decided it was time to try another red wiggler. My beardie is looking a little chunky too so I think he is about due to go on a diet as well. Seriously, hornworms must taste like cotton candy or something to reptiles..
 

jeff kushner

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Okay.....I admit. When I initially read this thread, after I stopped laughing, I actually ordered a doz Hornworms thinking they could be a nice treat every couple of days. They arrived a week ago.....Matilda looks at them, then hunts for worms!



You guy is addicted and mine wants nothing to do with them.....................who da thunk? LOL
 

ZenHerper

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They are SO stubborn! I could not get Spike to eat anything for the past few days - finally he decided it was time to try another red wiggler. My beardie is looking a little chunky too so I think he is about due to go on a diet as well. Seriously, hornworms must taste like cotton candy or something to reptiles..
Red wigglers don't get very big...perhaps it's time to consider European Nightcrawlers...the larger size may trigger a bite more quickly.
 

newboxiemama

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You know what, that rem
Okay.....I admit. When I initially read this thread, after I stopped laughing, I actually ordered a doz Hornworms thinking they could be a nice treat every couple of days. They arrived a week ago.....Matilda looks at them, then hunts for worms!



You guy is addicted and mine wants nothing to do with them.....................who da thunk? LOL
Boxies can be so selective!! I tried giving Spike a hornworm about a year ago and he REFUSED to have anything to do with it. Tried again this year and all of a sudden it was his favorite thing ever. Maybe it's for the best that Matilda did not develop an addiction...
 

jeff kushner

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LOL...yeah, I thought it was pretty funny that she ignored them.....I MAY have used the term "unappreciative child" when relating her dismissal to my sweetheart on the phone.



LOL
 

newboxiemama

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LOL...yeah, I thought it was pretty funny that she ignored them.....I MAY have used the term "unappreciative child" when relating her dismissal to my sweetheart on the phone.



LOL
LOL! I feel like turtles don't just 'ignore' their food either...they are so expressive that their piercing stare is just overflowing with disappointment and disgust at your food selection...talk about a guilt trip!
 

newboxiemama

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Red wigglers don't get very big...perhaps it's time to consider European Nightcrawlers...the larger size may trigger a bite more quickly.
Thank you!! I will order some because I have noticed that the red wigglers have been a little undersized, especially these past few months for some reason.
 

ZenHerper

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Thank you!! I will order some because I have noticed that the red wigglers have been a little undersized, especially these past few months for some reason.
People bought a LOT of pets and started a LOT of gardens last year. Can't figure out why... =DD

Just as many species of exotics are scarce, so too are their foods! Department store garden shops are ransacked as soon as they are restocked.

But I've known tiny turtles to go for the biggest worm on the plate, so it's probably an expense-vs-benefit type of situation. Bigger food items cost less to eat than a bunch of smaller ones.
 

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Okay.....I admit. When I initially read this thread, after I stopped laughing, I actually ordered a doz Hornworms thinking they could be a nice treat every couple of days. They arrived a week ago.....Matilda looks at them, then hunts for worms!



You guy is addicted and mine wants nothing to do with them.....................who da thunk? LOL
And now you know that they grow from half an inch to about 4 inches in a few days.
Then turn into sphinx/hawk moths.
There's a pretty short window of time that they can be useful.
 
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