Hornworm question


New Member
In the resource section on feeders, it says, “Be careful with wild hornworms that have been eating tomato plants as they can be toxic.”

Can anyone clarify this for me? Is it because the tomato leaves themselves are toxic to chameleons, or is because of the potential for pesticide ingestion, or some other reason altogether?



Established Member
Here's a related thread that's old:
I suspect it has something to do with how the hornworms are processing the tomato plants? It's a good question, haha. I think you obviously want to avoid pesticides, but there's definitely more to it when it comes to this topic. You do not want to feed hornworms to a cham who has fed on tomato plants. Those hornworms would be toxic to your cham, for some reason I can't easily find.


Established Member
Ooo, I couldn't help myself and found this on a bearded dragon site... Now, keep in mind someone just posted this and I have no idea who they are so if this information is correct? Who knows.

"Wild horns eat tomatoes. Tomatoes are actually toxic to not only beardies but all reptiles because they contain an alkaloid called tomatine that interferes with cholinergic nerves and cause some serious gastrointestinal distress. Tomatine is actually toxic in high doses to humans as well however the highest concentrations are generally found in the stems and leaves which we do not ingest.This poison in the leaf is actually used as a pesticide.The plant itself is in the nightshade family along with other plants like tobacco and potato. Hornworms have developed a resistance to that particular alkaloid however it is still present in their system and will transfer to whatever eats it.The tomato itself is also actually very high in oxalates which is also not a good idea for a beardie."
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