Earthworms for your Axolotl

Here we go! The BIG WORM POST!

If you don’t want to use a gel food like Repashy the best thing you can feed your axolotl are earthworms (these are far superior in nutrition than frozen foods or feeder fish). Keep in mind that axolotls don’t chew their food and most large earthworms need to be cut up to reduce the risk of your pet axolotl choking.

There are many different types of earthworms and they are not all created equal. They can also be difficult to tell apart because different companies and places will sometimes interchange names on worms.

Worms to avoid:

Red Wigglers – These worms are typically great for composting but not really great for feeding. Red wigglers have a great defense mechanism – they secrete nasty tasting slime (coelomic fluids which are toxic to snakes) when threatened and are usually spit out (or regurgitated later). There is nothing nutritionally wrong with them and they are the perfect size to get away with not having to chop up but very few axolotls will keep them down.

Other names: Red worms, tiger worms, manure worms, composting worms, and trout worms.

red wiggler

Dyed worms –  Canadian & European Nightcrawlers that have been dyed for fishing purposes. The dye is supposed to be safe for the worms and the fish but I would avoid them anyway.

Other names: Green worms, nitroworms.

nitro worm

Alabama Jumpers – These are a lot more like nightcrawlers in size but harder to find as they are not native to the US – they originate from Asia. Many gardeners like using these worms because they are very strong and can tunnel through dense soil and clay. However, they are considered an invasive species of earthworm and are somewhat controversial. They aren’t really suitable for feeding due to their strength and aggressive wiggling – which is how they got their name.

Other names: Crazy Snake Worms

alabama jumper


Things that are not earthworms:

Mealworms – The hard exoskeleton is very hard for your axolotl to digest.

meal worm

Superworms – Basically giant mealworms and if they are not killed during feeding they can actually chew their way OUT of an animal.


Waxworms – Little grubs that aren’t great to feed because they are super high in fat. Long term feeding on any animal (not just axolotls) can lead to overweight animals or fatty liver disease.

wax worm

Worms to Feed:

NightcrawlersCanadian, European and African Nightcrawlers are great worms to feed your axolotl. European are the smallest of the nightcrawlers but may still need to be cut up depending on the size of your axolotl. Some bait shops will carry young nightcrawlers called “Dillies” that are small enough to not have to cut up…but they are typically more expensive.

Other names: Big Reds, Super Red Worms, Dew Worms, Garden Worms.



Where to purchase your worms:

  • PetSmart
  • Petco
  • Walmart (fishing dept)
  • Local bait shops
  • Online
Canadian Nightcrawler vs. Red Wigglers


2 thoughts on “Earthworms for your Axolotl”

  1. I have been looking for this info for a long time I’m happy someone took the time to post this very important question that axolotle owners need to know


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