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butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 28/03/2009 by Row


I've been reading on other web sites that butternut squash deters worms?

Is this right? Also is it ok to give to horfields?

Just wanting some feed back.



Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 28/03/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Row,

I've read that too, also pumpkin, but always like to check things out thoroughly.

We will hopefully very shortly have an exetremly knowledgeable resident vet who will be online evey-so-often to answer questions of this nature and also relating to sick tortoises.

Please leave it with me and I'll check just how effective it is.


Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 28/03/2009 by Row


Know what you mean about checking things out. Would be really interesting to find out as I'm a bit of a chicken when trying new things.


Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 28/03/2009 by vivtpgadmin

Hi, each Halloween I always give all mine some pumpkin, they love it.  I had mine tested for worms in Oct, and some had worms and some didnt, so it certainly isnt a worming treatment, but my leopards that I have had from tiny babies and range from 4 - 5 yrs,  have never tested positive for worms so perhaps it has helped as a prevention?

It is one of those foods tho that shouldnt be given regularly only as an occasional treat, as they will get addicted to it!


Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 28/03/2009 by wilsonathome

butternut squash is a natural wormer but i wouldn't feed it regularly, maybe once per 2 months or more

sue xx

Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 29/03/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Row,

I've checked up on this and it is highly unlikely Butternut Squash would be effective.

The best course of action is to take a stool sample to the vets and have the sample screened for parasites. This is far preferable to having tortoises wormed as a matter of course.


Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 29/03/2009 by tpgNina

This is a difficult one. Butternut squash is in the same family as pumpkins (curcurbita). Pumpkin seeds contain curcurbitin, which has known anti-worming properties, and I expect that butternut squash contains this too, but maybe in smaller quantities.
Botanical online says this about pumpkin (for humans): "To get rid off intestinal parasites, such as pinworms and, for a long time, widely used to extract taenias or tapeworms from the human body."
Here is a recipe for anti-worming for humans from the Plants for a Future Database:
"About 800 peeled seeds is said to make a safe and effective treatment for tape worm[218]. They are ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten."

However, most of the curcurbitin is in the seeds of the pumpkin, and the sprouting seeds produce a toxic substance, so you would need to be careful.

Pumpkins (and maybe butternut squash) also contain mannitol, (in fact pumpkin has an extremely high content of mannitol) which is a known anthelmintic (wormer), and the flesh of pumpkin does contain both mannitol and curcurbitin.

I feed pumpkin flesh (haven't tried seeds) for a couple of days in the autumn when pumpkins are available, on the off chance that it will help with worming, and tortoises do really love it, but I would never rely on it to worm a tortoise with a heavy load of worms (I'd get panacur). The other thing is that pumpkin (and butternut squash isn't the greatest food for torts (although a couple of days feeding won't hurt them either). Here is an analysis of pumpkin:
In 100 grams of raw pumpkin
91.600 % water
1.000 % protein
6.500 % Carbohydrate
0.500 % Fiber
21.000 mg Calcium
44.000 mg Phosphorus
1600.000 IU Vitamin A
As you can see the Calcium / Phosphorus ratio is wrong to use this as a
staple, and when I feed it I add lots of calcium.
So -- sorry to have gone on at such length, but my conclusion on this is that pumpkin is probably a more effective wormer than butternut squash, but I have no idea exactly how effective that is, so I wouldn't rely on it to worm a tortoise with a heavy worm load.


Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 05/03/2010 by Clairestortoise

Crazy question I know lol but if pumpkin and butter nut squash has anti worming properties, Would it work for cats? mixed in with their food..Just a thought... On a sunday when we have left overs from our roast I give my cats their roast dinner, they love it! They all sit waiting for me to finish up then they follow me to the kitchen where I chopped it all up, pour some more gravy on for them so its not too dry and they lap it up.If I were to put some butter nut squash in, cooked of course would this work?? Sorry to go on lol...I do love my cats!! this way I could worm them all ;) without having my hands and arms clawed to bits! Some don't like my getting tablets in their mouth.

Re: butternut squash worm repelent?
Posted: 08/03/2010 by TPGDarren

Hi Claire,

There isn't actually any concrete evidence to suggest butternut squash acts as a worming agent at all - so probably not worth trying it:-)


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