Generally, anything that has a mouth can bite, even a Superworm that looks harmless, but the question is what they can bite and whether they have the ability to bite humans and pets.
Superworms, also known as King Worms, Zophobas morio (species of darkling beetle they turn into), or Morio worms have the ability to bite just like other worms, meaning they may bite you and your pets.
In rare instances, Superworms have even been know to gnaw their way out of the storage plastic packs they come in, and there have been studies to show they gnaw through polystyrene with their sturdy mandibles. They can bite and pose a hazard to some pets.
Their bites do not cause intense pain for humans and for some pets, but for some, they can even rarely be fatal (more on this later).
However, for those breeding Superworms, you can prevent this by crushing their head and pincers or by making use of feeding tongs and gloves.
In this article, we will go further in depth into enlightening you on Superworms and their bites; what they feed on, their nutritional value to humans and pets and more.
Read on to learn more about Super worms and their mouth parts!
Do Superworms Bite Humans?
Yes, Superworms can bite and pinch human skin.
All Superworms are known to bite especially the larger ones; they can bite human skin which is startling at first but not terribly painful.
Its bite may leave a small red mark on your skin due to its sturdy pincers, and strong mandibles.
However, a Superworm bite does not cause any side effects because they are not poisonous.
Do Superworms Bite Pets?
While being very popular feeder insects for pets, Superworms can and do bite pets.
This can be a risk for your pet:
- leopard/wall geckos
- bearded dragons
- other lizards species
- and birds
Superworms are unlikely to chew their way through live flesh but have been studied and reported to chew through pets’ stomachs if the animal hasn’t properly crushed its head before swallowing.
While some claim this is a silly myth, there are enough reports on forums where they have caused pets, especially small reptiles and spiders to die before being digested.
Overfed Superworms can inflict painful bites on your pets; you may notice your pet wince or recoil when bitten by a Superworm.
It can be very uncomfortable for your pets when it does this, but super worms are at their most dangerous when they do not digest properly, even leading to fatality.
Do Superworms Have Teeth?
No, Superworms do not have teeth, but mandibles to help chew through things.
The Superworms have a small pin on their back similar to a scorpion which they use to attack once they sense danger and
What Can I Feed Superworms?
All Superworms are scavengers and would eat just about anything they find so long it has the right amount of moisture in it.
During feeding time, Superworms feast on varieties of:
- oat products
- sweet potatoes
- other insect species
- bell peppers
- plant matter
- tree barks
- ..you get the picture
The greater the moisture content in their food source, the more robust and happier your Superworms will be.
If they are hungry enough, they may even end up eating their own kind; this is why they are considered cannibalistic.
Be sure to have an ample amount of fresh fruits and vegetables to feed them daily.
How Do I Feed Superworms to My Pets? The Safest Way
Before feeding Superworms to your pets, in some cases you may want to make sure they are coated in calcium powder; this helps balance the high level of phosphorus in them(giving your pets too much phosphorus can gravely affect their health).
You can do this by sticking the Superworms in a plastic bag filled with enough calcium powder, and shaking them gently until they fully are coated.
After this optional first step, you have a few options:
- You can choose to place the worms live in an enclosed space whereby your pets can hunt them down
(ensure they do not roam free in any enclosure with substrates. The reason is that these Superworms can effortlessly hide in the substrates, making it difficult for some pets to find and feed on them)
Worst case, in a raging attempt to find the Superworms, your pets might end up swallowing the substrate.
Note: substrates can have an impact on the stomachs and gut lining of some pets.
- Another safe way to feed your pet is by using soft-tipped feeding tongs or tweezers to hand feed them if they enjoy this.
- You can also put the superworms into an escape-proof bowl for feeder insects and let your pet feed in its own time.
- The safest way for small lizards, birds and especially spiders, is to crush their heads or mandibles to ensure there is no chance of a bite or damage to your pet.
Do Superworms Have Stingers?
No, Superworms have two tiny stinger-looking things at their back end but these seem to just be for show.
Either way, if you use tweezers or a feeding tong to pick them up by their head, they are left pretty defenseless and can’t bite or sting.
Does a Mealworm Bite Hurt?
No, it does not hurt when bitten by a mealworm; even smaller animals can withstand a mealworm bite without being hurt.
Mealworms have jaws capable of biting, but their mouth is too small to break through any human flesh.
Giant mealworms tend to bite human skin, though it won’t hurt; even when mealworms bite, it won’t cause any skin irritation to you or your pets.
Unlike mealworms, super worms have a better capacity for biting, likely due to their size.
What Happens if A Superworm Bites You? (Are They Poisonous?)
Nothing really happens when a super worm bites you; you’ll just feel a tiny prick on your skin, and you may notice pets wriggle out being startled from the prick.
Superworms are not poisonous, although they may secret a weird “defensive fluid”, it does nothing and isn’t toxic.
They can potentially draw blood from animals with thin skin like reptiles but this is rare.
When they bite, they leave no trace of any mark on the skin besides brief redness on sensitive skin.
Can Superworms Bite My Gecko?
Technically, Superworms can bite all kinds of geckos, especially the leopard gecko; Superworms may leave a bite on them with their strong mandibles.
Although they bite your geckos, they do not pose a threat to mature leopard geckos.
The main concern of every gecko owner and reptile keepers in general are the rare reports of Superworms being swallowed whole by their geckos, this can cause the Superworm to find their way out of the gecko’s intestines..
Don’t believe us? See this report of two reptile’s feeding response to eating superworms who both died (a bearded dragon and gecko)
Can Superworms Chew Through Stomach?
This is a debate that still rages on in forums and in research.
Some claim they have seen it happen, while others laugh at these claims saying it’s impossible that the superworm can survive in a stomach, let alone eat its way out.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what you believe and the risks you want to take with feeding your geckos, bearded dragon or other lizards.
This may result in injuring or even killing the gecko in the process; however small the chance.
Always ensure you monitor your gecko when feeding them with Superworms as they may inflict serious injuries on them in rare situations.
It’s super rare but better to be safe than sorry – we’d recommend crushing their mandibles at the very least before feeding them. Ultimately, you know your pet best.
Can Superworms Bite My Bearded Dragon?
Superworms have been known to bite bearded dragons – it’s just that most times, it occurs inside the bearded dragons’ mouths while chewing.
Even if your beardie should swallow it, it will likely not affect your bearded dragon (though as we saw in rare cases above, it DOES happen); this is because of the high level of acid inside your dragon’s belly which will likely kill them instantly.
So do not worry about witnessing a dreadful scenario of a Superworm munching its way out of your bearded dragon’s neck/mouth.
That will never happen, even in the report above. When they eat superworms, even if fatal, they stay inside the lizard.
Endeavor to feed them under supervision, because one act of negligence can hurt your beardie.
Are Superworms Cannibals?
Yes, they are cannibals.
Their cannibalistic nature shows up when they have gone long without food and water, or when they are restrained in crowded confinement without moisture.
You’ll see them turn on their own and eat their fellow species.
Summary and Final Thoughts
Now we understand that even though Superworms can bite and have a strong bite for their size (unlike mealworms), they aren’t especially painful, just startling.
Their bite has no adverse effect on humans but can be slightly painful for some reptiles and may even be fatal to spiders and tarantulas (rarely for lizards)
We hope this article has cleared all the questions and doubts you had about Superworms and their bite.