Sugar gliders might be the cutest pets ever. They look so sweet and innocent; it just might be time to add change the phrase “puppy dog eyes” to “sugar glider eyes”. No doubt, if you’re reading this, you absolutely love your suggies and want to spoil them as much as possible!
If you shop at a pet store for your sugar gliders and other pets, you’ve likely seen the wide array of bugs available for purchase. Rather than getting a new food for your sugar gliders and hoping for the best, it’s always best to look up whether or not it is okay for your sugar gliders to eat it.
So, what about hornworms? Can sugar gliders eat hornworms? The quick and easy answer is: Yes, sugar gliders can eat hornworms. However, there are some caveats to consider.
Are Hornworms Nutritious for Sugar Gliders?
As omnivores, wild sugar gliders eat all sorts of different foods. As their name suggests they especially love to eat sweet fruits. But fruit alone doesn’t give sugar gliders everything they need to live a healthy life. Sugar gliders also feast on different vegetables and insects.
Just like fruit isn’t enough to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fat and protein sugar gliders need, neither are hornworms. However, as a treat that is matched with a well-rounded diet, hornworms are a good treat to be matched with a nutritious diet.
On one hand, hornworms contain a lot of protein, which is great for your sugar gliders. On the other hand, they have a backwards calcium to phosphorus ratio compared to the 2:1 ratio most sugar glider owners strive for. Additionally, hornworms do have more fat than the fruits and vegetables that should be a larger part of your suggies diet.
As you can see, hornworms shouldn’t make up a majority of your sugar gliders’ meals. But as treats hornworms are fine for sugar gliders to eat.
Can Sugar Gliders Eat Hornworms I Find Outside?
While sugar gliders love hornworms, and hornworms do make an excellent and healthy treat from time to time, not all hornworms are considered okay for your furry friends to eat.
When hornworms are bred in captivity the breeder can control what they feed on. It is simply impossible to know everything a hornworm in the wild has consumed. They often like to feed on tomato leaves and tobacco leaves. Both of these are toxic to sugar gliders.
Not only do hornworms in the wild feed on toxic leaves, there is a good chance they’ve also consumed pesticides. Since you don’t want to feed these toxic leaves or pesticides to your sugar gliders, it is best if you don’t feed your wide-eyed pals hornworms found in the wild.
The good news is, hornworms from the pet store are inexpensive, so you’ll be able to easily supply your sugar gliders with all the hornworms you want.
Feeding Hornworms to Sugar Gliders
Compared to many other worms that sugar gliders can eat, hornworms have a very soft exoskeleton. This is great because the hard chitin from other worms have been known to cause problems (such as getting stuck in their mouths) for sugar gliders.
Hornworms can get quite large. So, it’s better to store them in a way that will limit their growth if you end up with a lot of them. There are various methods recommended to do this, you’ll have to research them and decide which one works best for your circumstances.
You can put a hornworm in your sugar gliders’ cage and let them go for it. However, remember that hornworms are larvae, and these larvae eventually turn into hawk moths.
While harmless to humans, you still probably would prefer not to have hawk moths suddenly appearing in your house. So, rather than drop the hornworm your furry friends’ cage and walking away, you probably want to make sure your sugar gliders actually eat the hornworm, and it doesn’t somehow escape.
Summary: Can Sugar Gliders Have Hornworms?
Can sugar gliders eat hornworms? In a word: Yes! Sugar gliders can eat hornworms, but make sure hornworms are a treat on top of an already healthy diet.
Remember, the calcium to phosphorus of hornworms is in the wrong direction, so make sure your sugar glider’s diet also includes plenty of sources of calcium that are low in phosphorus.