What Do Hornworms Eat?

Last Updated on April 25, 2021 by Jeffery Jago

When it comes to feeding hornworms, they are not picky eaters! In the wild, they will consume almost any vegetation that is available. Hornworm’s in captivity however should be on a more strict diet rather than “anything goes”.

What do hornworms eat in the wild?

In the wild, hornworms will consume almost any vegetation that is available. They are not picky eaters! This includes foliage of plants and trees as well as fruits and vegetables. The main diet for hornworms in the wild is plant life, though it can vary depending on different factors (what insects they have to compete with; It’s local predators etc).

One of its preferred dietary plants belongs to the nightshade family. While it’s not poisonous to them, it certainly is to our animals. With that said, you should never feed your animals wild hornworms.

What do hornworms eat in captivity?

The diet of hornworms in captivity should be more strict in order to keep the animals that will eat them safe and healthy. Most of the time this comes down to a commercial product that is derived from wheat germ.

These commercial foods tend to have everything the hornworm needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. These also carry over to the animal that will eventually consume the worm.

Bonus: Commercial food turns them a beautiful shade of blue. After all, You are what you eat.

Some other greens they can eat, in case you ever run out of commercial brand food:

  • Dandelion’s
  • Grape leaves
  • Mustard leaves
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip leafs

Hornworms mostly eat solanaceous plants such as tomatoes, potatoes and peppers but are known to consume other greens in captivity if offered. Supposedly they prefer the commercial food that turn’s them blue. Guess it tastes good?

What about water?

Hornworms get all their water from their food. If you’re using commercial food, just follow the directions.