There is an old saying that I am sure you have heard your mom tell you after eating too much pizza, "you are what you eat". Well, there is truth to the phrase, especially when it comes to feeding your reptiles. Feeding your food might feel silly, but it holds a great importance to the health of your reptile or amphibious friend.
Emulating the Food Chain
What goes into your cricket, goes into your pet. If your crickets are dying and malnourished, your reptile is not going to extract any nutrients. In the wild, crickets feast on tasty plant materials, fruits and veggies. Gut loading is the process by which an animal's prey is raised and fed nutritious foods with the intention of passing those nutrients to the animal for which the prey is intended. Crickets, various worms (meal worm, super worm, horned worm, etc.), roaches and all other insects should be gut loaded before feeding to your pet.
Most feeder insects share a very similar diet and can be fed the same produce, like fresh fruits and vegetables. For horned worms, Pisces recommends: Repashy Superhorn Gutload Diet. Superworms and mealworms DO NOT need hydration or misting. They will get all the hydration they need from fruits & vegetables, adding water to the substrate can cause health problems. Crickets and roaches, on the other hand, require hydration. Pisces recommends: Fluker's Orange Cube Cricket Diet, these cubes will provide your crickets with both nurishment and hydration. If you are feeding your crickets produce or dry foods, an invertebrate water dish is ideal to prevent them from drowning.
Some great common produce you can feed your insects are:
- dark leafy greens (arugula, mustard greens, kale, collard greens)
- sweet potatoes
- potatoes (peelings are fine)
The last step to properly gut load your food is to dust them. What is dusting? Dusting is when you coat your insects in a vitamin/mineral (usually calcium) powder before feeding to your reptile. It is important to know what calcium formula is right for your pet, whether it be no D3, low D3 or high D3. If your reptile gets UVB from a light source, low D or no D is usually the best. Always consult your local pet store before dusting to make sure you have the best formula for your reptile.
Pisces Pet Emporium carries an array of products for reptile feeding, including the cricket pen, cricket shaker & cricket diet! Please call or visit us in-store for our most up-to-date selection!