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Feeder Insects for Reptiles: A Guide to Choosing the Right Insect for Your Pet

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Feeder insects are an essential part of a reptile's diet as they provide the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for their overall health and growth. Reptiles, especially insectivorous species, rely heavily on these live prey to satisfy not only their dietary needs but also their natural hunting instincts. Providing a variety of feeder insects ensures a well-balanced and diverse diet for your reptile, meeting their nutritional requirements and keeping them mentally stimulated.


Factors to consider when choosing feeder insects

There are numerous factors to consider when selecting the right feeder insects for your reptile pet, such as:

  • Nutritional content: Different feeder insects offer varying levels of nutrients, making it essential to choose one that meets your reptile's specific needs.

  • Size: The size of the feeder insect should be appropriate for your reptile, ensuring easy ingestion and reducing the risk of choking.

  • Availability: Some feeder insects are more readily available than others, making them a more practical choice for many reptile owners.

  • Reptile preferences: Each reptile species has its unique preferences when it comes to feeder insects, so it's crucial to observe your pet's eating habits and cater to their specific tastes.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore different types of feeder insects commonly used for reptiles, discuss their benefits and nutritional value, and offer practical tips for selecting the right insect to meet your reptile's dietary needs. We will also touch upon some general care and storage tips for feeder insects to ensure their optimal health and vitality.


feeder insects for reptile
feeder insects for reptile


Common feeder insects for reptiles

Crickets are one of the most popular and widely available feeder insects for reptiles. They are high in protein and relatively easy to care for, making them a staple in many reptile diets.


Nutritional content:

Crickets are rich in protein, providing around 15-20% of their body weight in protein content. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A.

Benefits:

Crickets are an excellent source of protein for reptiles, aiding in their growth and development. They are also relatively low in fat, which makes them suitable for maintaining a healthy weight in your pet.

Best for:

Crickets are ideal for small to medium-sized insectivorous reptiles, such as bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and chameleons.

Reptiles Eating Promeal Mealworm
Reptiles Eating Mealworm

Mealworms are the larval stage of the darkling beetle and are another common choice for reptile owners. They are high in protein and fat, making them a nutritious and calorie-dense option for your reptile pet.


Nutritional content:

Mealworms contain around 20% protein and 13% fat, providing a good balance of essential nutrients for your reptile. They are also a source of calcium, phosphorus, and other vital minerals.

Benefits:

Mealworms are an excellent choice for reptiles that require a higher fat content in their diet, such as leopard geckos or blue-tongue skinks. They are also easy to store and have a long shelf life.

Best for:

Mealworms are suitable for a variety of reptiles, including bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and other insectivorous species.


Reptile Eating Promeal Superworm
Reptile Eating Superworm

Superworms, also known as king worms or morio worms, are the larval stage of the darkling beetle Zophobas morio. They are larger than mealworms and offer a more substantial meal for larger reptiles.


Nutritional content:

Superworms contain approximately 20% protein and 17% fat, making them a more calorie-dense option than mealworms. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus.

Benefits:

Superworms are an excellent source of protein and fat for reptiles, promoting healthy growth and development. They are particularly beneficial for larger reptiles or those with higher energy needs.

Best for:

Superworms are ideal for larger insectivorous reptiles, such as adult bearded dragons, tegus, and monitor lizards.


Reptiles Eating Promeal BSF Larve
Reptiles Eating BSF Larve

Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL) are the larval stage of the black soldier fly, a species known for its excellent nutritional profile and eco-friendly production methods.


Nutritional content:

BSFL are rich in protein (around 40%) and have a high calcium to phosphorus ratio, making them an excellent choice for reptiles that require additional calcium in their diet.

Benefits:

BSFL are a sustainable and eco-friendly feeder insect option, as they can be raised on food waste and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also have a natural calcium content, reducing the need for additional supplementation.

Best for:

BSFL are suitable for a wide range of reptiles, including bearded dragons, leopard geckos, chameleons, and skinks.


Reptiles Eating  Promeal Roaches
Reptiles Eating Roaches

Roaches, particularly the dubia roach and lobster roach, are gaining popularity as a feeder insect for reptiles due to their high nutritional content and ease of care.


Nutritional content:

Roaches are high in protein (around 40%) and have a balanced calcium to phosphorus ratio. They also contain essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

Benefits:

Roaches are a more substantial meal for larger reptiles and have a softer exoskeleton, making them easier to digest. They also breed easily, providing a sustainable and cost-effective option for reptile owners.

Best for:

Roaches are suitable for a variety of reptiles, including bearded dragons, tegus, monitor lizards, and tarantulas.


Factors to consider when choosing feeder insects


Nutritional needs of your pet

Each reptile species has unique nutritional requirements that must be met to ensure their health and well-being. When selecting feeder insects, it's important to consider the protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus content of each insect, as well as any additional vitamins and minerals they may provide.


Size and age of your reptile

The size and age of your reptile will also play a role in determining the best feeder insect for their diet. Smaller or younger reptiles may struggle to consume larger insects, while adult reptiles may require a more substantial meal to meet their energy needs.


Feeding habits and preferences

Different reptiles have different feeding habits and preferences. Some species may prefer live prey, while others will readily accept dead or dried insects. It's essential to observe your reptile and experiment with different feeder insects to determine their preferences.


Ease of care and storage

The ease of care and storage of feeder insects is another important factor to consider. Some insects, like roaches, are easy to breed and maintain, while others may require more specialized care. It's crucial to choose insects that you can comfortably care for and store in your home.

[Image: A reptile owner preparing feeder insects for their pet]


Gut-loading and supplementation


A. Importance of gut-loading feeder insects


Gut-loading is the process of feeding feeder insects a nutritious diet before they are offered to your reptile. This ensures that the insects are as nutritious as possible for your pet, as they will pass on the nutrients they have consumed to the reptile during digestion. Gut-loading is essential for providing reptiles with a well-rounded and balanced diet, as it helps to meet their nutritional requirements and prevent deficiencies that can lead to health issues.


B. Nutrient-rich diets for feeder insects


To effectively gut-load feeder insects, they should be fed a diet that is high in essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This can be achieved by providing them with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and specially formulated gut-loading products available at pet stores. Some popular gut-loading foods include dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, and apples. Avoid using high-fat or sugary foods, as these can negatively impact the nutritional value of the feeder insects.


C. Vitamin and mineral supplements for reptiles


In addition to gut-loading, it's important to use vitamin and mineral supplements for your reptile. Supplements help to ensure that your pet receives the necessary nutrients that may not be adequately provided by their feeder insects alone. Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements are particularly important for reptiles, as they support healthy bone growth and prevent metabolic bone disease. Dust the feeder insects with the appropriate supplements before offering them to your reptile to ensure proper nutrition.


Buying and storing feeder insects


A. Choosing a reputable supplier


When purchasing feeder insects, it's essential to choose a reputable supplier to ensure the insects are healthy, clean, and properly cared for. Look for suppliers that have positive reviews and a good reputation within the reptile community. Additionally, seek out suppliers who prioritize sustainable and eco-friendly practices in their insect breeding.


B. Storing live feeder insects


Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the health and vitality of live feeder insects. Each type of insect has specific housing, temperature, and humidity requirements. For example, crickets should be housed in a well-ventilated container with egg cartons or other hiding spaces, while mealworms and superworms can be stored in a plastic container with a substrate like oats or bran. Always follow the specific care instructions for the feeder insects you are using to ensure they remain healthy and nutritious for your reptile.


C. Tips for maintaining feeder insect health


To maintain the health of your feeder insects, make sure to provide them with a clean environment, fresh food, and water. Regularly clean their containers and remove any dead insects or waste. Keep the insects' environment at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels to prevent stress and promote their wellbeing. By keeping your feeder insects healthy, you will be providing your reptile with the best possible nutrition.


In conclusion, selecting the right feeder insect for your reptile is crucial to ensure they receive the essential nutrients they need to thrive. Different reptile species have unique dietary requirements, so it's essential to provide them with the appropriate feeder insects that cater to their specific needs. By offering a variety of feeder insects, you can help maintain a balanced and diverse diet for your reptile, contributing to their overall health and wellbeing.


Don't be afraid to experiment with different feeder insects to find the best fit for your reptile. By offering a diverse diet, you can ensure your pet receives a range of nutrients while also keeping their feeding routine engaging and stimulating. Monitoring your reptile's response to different feeder insects can help you determine which ones they prefer and which are most beneficial for their health.



To find the perfect feeder insects for your reptile, visit Promeal's shop, where you'll find a wide selection of high-quality, nutritious options. From mealworms and superworms to Black Soldier Fly larvae and various roach species, Promeal is committed to providing the best possible nutrition for your pet.


Reach out to Promeal's experts for advice on choosing the right feeder insect for your pet


If you're unsure about which feeder insect is best for your reptile or need guidance on proper care and feeding, don't hesitate to reach out to Promeal's experts. They are available to answer your questions and help you make the best choices for your pet's unique dietary needs. By partnering with Promeal, you can ensure your reptile receives the highest quality nutrition and enjoys a long, healthy life.






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