How Many Mealworms To Feed A Leopard Gecko? Chart & Guide

Reviewed by Dr. Jerry Ayaebi, DVM

How Many Mealworms To Feed A Leopard Gecko

Mealworms are a cheap and popular feeder insect for Leopard Geckos.

Many owners (myself included) love mealworms because they are cleaner, quieter, and easier to keep than crickets. They are also more common to find and cheaper than dubia cockroaches.

Mealworms are a healthy option, but they don’t have the same nutritional value as other insects. There are also a few downsides that you should consider before adding them to your feeding plan.

Continue reading to learn about the ins and outs of feeding mealworms to Leopard Geckos.

Key Points

  • The number of mealworms to feed a Leopard Gecko depends on their age and size. Adults can have 5-7 mealworms every other feeding, while juveniles should have 2-3 smaller mealworms every other day.
  • Mealworms are not as nutritionally complete as crickets and dubia cockroaches. They are less healthy than dubias, but healthier than other feeder insects like waxworms.
  • Leopard geckos can survive on a mealworm-only diet, but it is generally not recommended. They need a mix of other insects for a healthy diet.

How Many Mealworms To Feed A Leopard Gecko

Age How often How many mealworms to feed
Baby Once per day, in the evening if possible 2-3 small mealworms
Juvenile Every other day 3-4 mealworms
Adult 2 to 3 times per week 5-6 mealworms or 2-3 superworms

Adult Leopard Geckos should have between 5-6 mealworms every other meal.

If you choose to use mealworms as a feeder insect, then baby and juveniles should have fewer mealworms than adults. Baby Leopard Geckos should have 2-3 small mealworms every day in the evening, and juveniles 3-4 mealworms every other meal.

These insects are harder for younger geckos to digest so they should have a smaller proportion of mealworms in their diets.

The numbers above are assuming that you are not just feeding mealworms to Leopard Geckos.

Along with mealworms, they should be fed prey like crickets, dubias, or hornworms.

I feed my Leopard Geckos crickets as a main staple, supplemented with mealworms and dubia cockroaches throughout the week.

Crickets are the easiest and cheapest insects to buy in bulk where I live, so they make up most of my geckos’ diets. Mealworms and dubias are available in smaller quantities, which makes them ideal for me to use as secondary feeders.

You can also adjust how many mealworms to feed a leopard gecko based on how much they like them.

Surprisingly, not all leopard geckos like mealworms.

Author Tip: One of my Leopard Geckos simply refuses to eat mealworms, while the other loves them! If your lizard doesn’t like mealworms, swap them for a different insect. I found my picky eater much prefers hornworms, so she gets a mix of crickets, dubias, and the occasional hornworm. In my experience, most geckos that don’t like mealworms also don’t like superworms.

Feeding Plan


Day How many to feed
Monday 3 mealworms and 3 small crickets
Tuesday 4 dubia cockroaches and 2 crickets
Wednesday 3 mealworms and 3 small crickets
Thursday 4 dubia cockroaches and 2 crickets
Friday 3 mealworms and 3 small crickets
Saturday 4 dubia cockroaches and 2 crickets
Sunday 4 dubia cockroaches and 2 crickets


Day How many to feed
Monday 3 mealworms and 3 small crickets
Wednesday 5 small crickets, 4 dubias
Friday 3 mealworms and 3 small crickets
Sunday 5 small crickets, 4 dubias


Day How many to feed
Monday 2-3 superworms, 4 crickets
Wednesday 5-6 mealworms, 4 dubias
Saturday 2-3 superworms, 4 crickets

Feeding Guide

Mealworms are good feeder insects for Leopard Geckos, but they are not suitable as a main food source.

Compared to other popular insects like crickets and dubia cockroaches, mealworms are higher in fat. They also have a higher ratio of chitin to protein. Chitin is the molecule that builds the tough outer shell of insects, making it hard for younger geckos to digest.

Our veterinary consultant, Dr. Ayaebi (DVM) says, “Mealworms have a high protein level of 52%, so it is good to feed them. However, they also have about 35% fat content and the potassium to calcium level is low.”

For these reasons mealworms require dusting with calcium supplements.

Calcium supplementation is important when feeding mealworms because it will prevent your Leopard Gecko from developing metabolic bone disease.

You can also increase the nutritional value of your mealworms by gut-loading them.

Gut-loading means feeding nutritious, healthy foods to your feeder insects to make them healthier. I use carrots, potatoes, and pieces of apple to gut-load (pictured below).

Gut-loading mealworms with carrot
Carrots are the best choice for gut-loading mealworms.

I have found that carrots are the best choice for gut-loading mealworms because they don’t cause mold, but still have enough moisture to keep the mealworms satisfied.

You should gut-load mealworms at least 48 hours prior to feeding them to a Leopard Gecko.

When shopping for mealworms, you may also see “superworms.”

Both mealworms and superworms are the juvenile stage of darkling beetles, but they are two different species of darkling beetles. Mealworms rarely grow longer than an inch, while superworms (‘giant mealworms’) can grow longer than 2 inches! Their size means that superworms should only be given to adult Leopard Geckos.

Hand feeding a gecko mealworms
Me holding a mealworm and superworm.

Juvenile and baby geckos should be given small mealworms between ½- and ¾-inches long.

Leopard Geckos are usually pretty good at knowing to stop eating when they are full. I have rarely had problems with Leopard Geckos overeating mealworms.

Problems only arise when Leopard Geckos are only fed mealworms, especially babies and juveniles. Too many mealworms can cause constipation because of their high chitin content. It can also lead to a phosphorus/calcium imbalance, which can cause more serious health problems.

Should I Feed Just Mealworms?

Leopard Geckos need a balanced diet to stay happy and healthy. This means that your gecko should not be fed a mealworm-only diet. While Leopard Geckos can survive by eating only mealworms, they run a higher risk of developing vitamin deficiencies.

In the wild, these lizards dine on a wide variety of prey, from grasshoppers to small mammals. They have adapted to eating many small animals because they are better able to find food if they are not picky eaters.

As a result of this adaptation, pets are healthiest when they are given several different insects to eat.

A varied diet will help your lizard get all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly. In addition, switching up foods is a great form of mental enrichment.

Author Tip: Over the years that I have kept Leopard Geckos, I have noticed that adding new types of prey to their diet gets them more excited and interested in mealtimes! Even adding just one other kind of food into the mix goes a long way toward creating a healthy diet.

In addition to mealworms, there are many different types of insects Leopard Geckos like to eat:

  • Crickets
  • Dubia cockroaches
  • Hornworms
  • Black soldier fly larvae

I generally feed a mix of mealworms (or superworms) and crickets, with the occasional dubia cockroach or hornworm thrown in every few weeks as a treat.

My babies and juveniles get 2-3 small mealworms and crickets or dubia cockroaches. I feed my adults 2-3 superworms or 4-5 mealworms per meal, along with 3-4 medium or 2-3 large crickets.


Final Thoughts

Adult Leopard Geckos should have between 5-6 mealworms every other meal.

Mealworms are healthy when used as part of a balanced diet with other insects like crickets and dubias.

Avoid feeding your Leopard Gecko only mealworms or superworms.

Mealworms are fairly high in fat and chitin, which makes them a less ideal choice to use as main feeders. In addition, a mealworm-only diet lacks the natural variety of the foods that Leopard Geckos eat in the wild.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment