Monday, February 09, 2004

More How to do Stuff: Gutloading Feeder Insects!

Feeder insects are bugs raised with the specific intent of feeding them to something else- in my case, a leopard gecko. The two most common feeder insects are mealworms (which are actually beetle larvae) and crickets. Mealworms are good because you can keep them in the fridge, where they can live for months without turning into beetles. Crickets allow your animal the fun of chasing them down. However, if you don't "gutload"- feed nutritous and vitamin/mineral rich food- your bugs, your animal won't get any real benefit from them.

Here's how I gutload my mealworms.
1. Buy mealworms. Sift them out of the wheat germ they're in and set aside.
2. Put 1 part Repti-Cal and 1 part Herpti-Vite in the bottom of a container with a secure lid. Exact directions on the jars- the amount depends on the size of your container. Mine's a plastic jar with a screw on lid that used to have washed river rocks in it, and I use a teaspoon of each powder.
3. Fill the container about 1/3 of the way with mult-grain baby cereal.
4. In a mortar and pestle, grind 4 generous pinches of fish food flakes to a powder. Add this to the container, put the lid on, and shake to mix.
5. Add the worms.
6. Add more cereal so the worms are covered and the jar is about half full.
7. Put a slice of apple/potato/some other moist fruit/veggie OR a wet paper towel on the top to provide mositure.
8. Let the worms eat for at least 24 hours at room tempurature before feeding to your animal.

Periodically sift the bedding/food to remove shed skin or clumps, and to keep track of how many worms you are using.

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