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How to Gut Load Crickets and Mealworms for Your Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

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gutload for crickets

Flucker’s makes a complete diet so you can easily gutload your crickets before feeding. You can buy this on Amazon.

When herp keeping, you need to know how to gut load crickets and mealworms. Gut loading crickets to keep your pet reptiles and amphibians healthier.

Reptile and amphibian keeping is certainly not for the squeamish. Not only do you have to feed your gecko or other carnivorous pets live bugs, but you also have to feed and care for the insects properly. That’s right, the care of pet reptiles and amphibians requires that you understand the nutritional needs of your four-legged (or no-legged for some) creatures, as well as for the six-legged bugs meant to be the food. Knowing what to feed crickets is just as important to the health of your pet as knowing exactly what to feed your pet.

Insects, such as mealworms, crickets, and roaches, purchased directly from the pet store or by mail come with empty guts.  This makes them an unhealthy food for any animal because other than the chitin in their exoskeleton, insects with empty guts have little to no nutritional value. Feeding crickets or other insects in preparation for feeding them to pets is called “gut loading.” You are essentially loading the guts with nutrients. In fact, if the insects are not gut loaded or dusted with vitamins, your pet reptiles or amphibians will not live a long healthy life.

What to Feed Crickets, Mealworms, and Roaches

Use a dry dog food as a main source of food for the mealworms, crickets, and roaches. Any dry dog food works fine, however higher quality dog food is also higher quality food for the insects—and your pets.

Feed fruits and vegetables daily for added nutrients and to hydrate the insects. Banana peels, leafy greens, and yams are great choices. Keep the pieces small for roaches and crickets. For mealworms use larger thin slices. If the fruit or vegetable slices are too thick, the larvae will burrow in never to be seen again.

Supplements for the Insects

Sprinkle some dry evaporated milk into the mealworm bin or over the cricket and roach food pieces. This adds calcium to the gut. For the roaches and crickets, since they are fed a small amount in a small bowl, you can even sprinkle some reptile vitamins on their food for them to eat. However, for mealworms, this isn’t practical.

Cleaning

Clean out the fresh food remnants every day and replace. Otherwise your bug bin will start to smell and become moldy, eventually killing your reptile food.

Pet Reptiles and Amphibian Vitamin Supplements

Do sprinkle, or “dust” the insects with a reptile vitamin supplement every few feedings to give your pet reptiles and amphibians any nutrients that may be missing in the gut of the bug. Even when gut loading crickets, mealworms, and roaches, many herp experts recommend supplemental reptile vitamins.

How to gut load crickets Easy Cricket Feeding

If you want to make it easy, there are several products on the market to gut load your crickets and mealworms. These also contain calcium and other supplements. With these, you don’t have to prepare meals for your insects.

 

 

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