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How to gut load insects


reptile gut loadUpon purchasing feeder insects to feed your herps, experts agree that your insects should be "gut loaded". Ever hear the phrase "you are what you eat"? Well, this is kind of the same theory behind gut loading. Feed your feeder insects a variety of healthy foods, and upon the time that your herptile eats them, the herp is in essence eating what ever you feed your bugs. Many pet shops do gut load their crickets as the trend becomes more mainstream. However many pet stores sell out of crickets so fast, that they just provide their crickets with the old fashioned potato diet. Even fewer shops gut load their worms. You might as well feed your herps candy so to speak as crickets sustained on potato or corn meal (meal worms) are very low in nutrients. Most of the feeder insects that are available to hobbyists are scavengers and will eat almost anything you give them. Some your insects food choices may even appall you. The act of gut loading is simple. Heres what you need; A place to keep and feed the crickets for 24 hours and various food items to feed them. Depending on the quantity of crickets you have will dictate the size of the tank you use. I like to use glass aquariums as the glass is smooth, and assuming it (the glass) stays clean, crickets can not climb out. Mealworms and super worms can be gut load in the same fashion, as can most other feeder insects you might use. Acceptable gut loads are as follow and can be and should be mixed and matched:

Commercial gut loads: These are scientifically formulated and nutritionally balanced and available at most reptile suppliers.

Fruits and Veggies: These provide a vast array of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They also provide moisture.

Dry Cat and Dog food: These provide proteins and fats and crude moisture.

Flake and Pellet fish food: These are often enriched with vitamins and minerals as well as algae such as spirulina.

Other foods: Aside from the above diets, I have also offered crickets frozen thawed pinkies,f/t feeder fish, baby food, sugar glider formula and cotton swabs soaked in fruit juice. Like I said, crickets will eat anything you give them, and ultimately what ever they eat, your herp will benefit from in the end. You might even provide a shallow dish strictly containing vitamins and minerals. Gut loaded insects may also be offered to many species of predatory fresh water fish such as most cichlids, puffer fish, catfish, archer fish and rainbow fish to name a few. Variety is the spice of life, and your feeder insects deserve the very best food. Right up until you feed them to your pets that deserve the very best food.