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  #1  
Old 08-11-2008, 07:30 PM
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Do hornworms bite?

I just started feeding out hornworms since all the silk worms seem to have temporarily disappeared. I was wondering whether those big guys bite? I noticed when I gave one to Steve today that the thing whipped around and it looked like it tried to bite him right in the eye turret. I don't think it did, but I'm feeling a little more wary of them now. Anyone had a bad experience?
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:34 PM
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I don't think the horn worms bite. I have been using them for a while and always hand feed. Super worms do bite.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:37 PM
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Yeah, I hand feed them too. I'm not worried about the things biting ME, I'm worried about them biting my chameleons...
I just wanted to be sure...anyone else?
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:38 PM
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i heard they did bite. dont quote me, but while i was reading on the internet i heard they had quite large mandibles
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:40 PM
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Their mandibles are actually pretty small. If they had big huge mandibles there wouldn't be much doubt for me whether they bite or not, hah.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:43 PM
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I just checked on Ask.com and Hornworms don't bite or sting
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:16 PM
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well i said dont quote me on that one. the internet lies sometimes.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beeze View Post
I just checked on Ask.com and Hornworms don't bite or sting

I should have thought of that myself! Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:27 PM
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Hornworms bite. Take one out of the pod and hold it by its back. It will turn and bite you. Its not painful but it feels wierd and it is definatly trying to harm you.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:49 PM
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yes, they bite

This is an old post of mine from mellerichams:

This morning, I fed out 1 appropriately-sized (not full-grown)
hornworm to each of my largest melleri. I started working in the
next room, and a while later, I heard a hiss/cough noise coming from
the cham room. My largest cham was repeatedly swallowing and then
dry heaving. She had not moved to bask after her meal, she was just
sitting where she'd been fed, and occasionally wiping her mouth on a
branch. Her hyoid was visible in her profile, which is unusual-
something had to be pressing it down. Her color was normal. I moved
her out of the cage for a closer look. Luckily, this particular cham
is a snot, and promptly gaped at me when I looked in her eyes.
There, laying in her throat, hanging onto the back of her tongue by
its mandibles, was her meal! She had not killed it before
swallowing, and it was hanging on for dear life, causing the cham
discomfort.

This is a 17" subadult melleri with a very strong bite and an
attitude. My first thought was to "get the worm off her tongue", but
the second thought was, "without losing a finger!" I grabbed a
sterile tweezers and a wooden spoon. The spoon was needed to prevent
her from biting down on the tweezers and damaging her teeth. I
looked at her, so she gaped, then I lightly laid the spoon handle
across her lower jaw, and tried to remove the worm with tweezers.
The worm was not letting go. Trying to get the worm's head made it
pinch the cham's tongue harder, making the whole scene a moving
target. I managed to irritate the worm into flinging its body
forward, pulled all my tools and fingers away, and the cham bit it.
The chomping made it release its own bite, and the cham swallowed it
without further trouble. I have never been so deep in a cham's
throat before and hope to never have to be again. Thank goodness, it
was a large space to work in, and for all the cham's personality
problems, I did not have her restrained in any way. She LET me fish
in her throat. More reasons to love the giants. LOL I took another
look down her throat, and the worm was way down in the stomach, at
last.

From now on, I will stun or kill the hornworms when feeding them
out, and advise others to do the same. This is the third dangerous
feeding issue I have witnessed with hornworms, and each time, I have
been home to notice and correct the situation before the cham choked
to death or stressed out. I don't even want to think about what
would have happened if I had not been around to hear and see the
problems. First, when feeding a juvenile last year, the worm's last
foot clamped down on its inner lip and similarly caused
choking/gagging until I broke its suction; second, a hornworm (being
chewed) bit a subadult on its eye turret, causing a wound that took
weeks to heal up; this tongue episode is the last straw. I love
hornworms as WC boosting feeders or as treats for growing chams, and
I'll still buy them, but they are too risky as live prey IMO, and
I'm feeding BIG chams, at that. I can't feed them live and then walk
away without a worry in the back of my head. Freshly killed, no
worries.
***********************

Disable the hornworms by cutting them into halves and feeding the halves out fresh OR using fine wire nippers to cut off the mandibles before feeding out a live hornworm (or even a superworm, if you use those feeders). Sloppy, yes, but no one gets hurt except the worms.
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