​All About Hornworms!

When asking reptile owners what their pets’ favorite snacks are, one of the most common responses will surely be hornworms! Hornworms are a huge favorite among many reptiles and their owners. They bring a great form of variety to our pets’ diets and usually can’t be denied by even the pickiest of eaters!

So, what is a hornworm? Hornworms are a beautiful light blue or green caterpillar who are native to the United States and are commonly seen as a pest to hobby gardeners. Hornworms, also known as tomato hornworms or tomato bugs, commonly feed on tomatoes or tomato leaves but they will snack on other vegetables that they may find in your garden. As you may be able to guess, hornworms get their name from the small red or black horn at the end of their tails. Hornworms use their horns as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. Hornworms are the babies or larvae of hummingbird moths or hawk moths. These are large moths with a wingspan of about 4 to 5 inches and short fuzzy bodies.

The Life Cycle of a Hornworm

What came first, the hornworm or the egg? Who really knows! For this article, we will start with the egg. After mating with a male, a female moth will lay her tiny, light green eggs along the top and bottom of a nightshade plants’ leaves. This is typically done during the night. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae begin feeding on the leaf that they were born on. They will basically eat for 3 to 4 weeks until they begin to enter their next life stage. When they are ready to enter the next stage, the pupa, they drop off the plant that they live on and bury themselves in the dirt below. This is where they will pupate and then stay for around 2 weeks until it is time to come out as moths. The pupae are a dark red and brown color with a small loop on one end. In the spring, beautiful adult moths will emerge from the dirt and begin the cycle all over again with a whole new generation of hornworms.

Why Are Hornworms Such Good Feeders?

Hornworms are great feeders for a few reasons. They have a very high water content and no hard exoskeleton. This means that hornworms are very easy for animals to digest. They provide a good form of hydration for pets that may be slightly dehydrated. They also have a relatively low fat content. Another great thing about hornworms is that they are virtually irresistible! Even the pickiest of eaters can’t easily turn down a delicious, juicy hornworm.

Hornworm Ordering Guide

When you order hornworms from us, depending on what quantity you, they will either be shipped in a 16oz or 32oz deli cup with a small amount of food in the bottom of the cup. We have 6 count, 12 count and 24 count hornworms available on our website as well as extra cups of food. For larger quantities, we highly suggest grabbing an extra cup of food so that you can split your worms up and so you have enough food to get them through their lives. The hornworms may be tiny when you receive them but, when kept at room temperature, the worms will grow rapidly and you may find that they quickly become too big if you have a smaller pet. For this reason, we suggest being mindful of the pets you have when deciding what quantity to order. If you are able to keep them at slightly lower temps, between 55 and 60 degrees, you can slow down the pace that they grow.

As you can tell, hornworms are extremely interesting feeder bugs. They are also beautiful and amazing to watch as they grow. If your pets have never tried them, we think that they would love them! As with all of our bugs, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have about our hornworms.