Reptile keepers and breeders have been culturing live food for their pets for almost as long as they’ve been keeping reptiles in captivity. Live insects, worms and larvae are natural, high in protein, and usually nutritious (and can be gut-loaded with more nutrients). Feeding them stimulates the hunting instinct in pet lizards (Geckos, Bearded Dragons, Iguanas, etc.) and other reptiles in captivity. These days, many live foods are available from stores and clubs, or you can culture your own at home. While collecting insects outside is an option, the use of pesticides makes it risky.
When selecting a live food for your reptile, you must first consider the species, size, and special nutritional requirements. It’s also important to balance your live feeding so it replicates the wild diet as closely as possible, without overdoing it on the “treat” foods. Failure to properly research the diet of your specific pet reptile can result in problems related to nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues. Additionally, you’ll need to use what you’ve learned about their natural diet to select the appropriate supplements, which usually includes “dusting” the insects with a powdered supplement and bio-encapsulation (gut-loading). It’s a big responsibility, but learning about the natural care of your reptile friend can be as easy as taking a trip to the library and seeking reliable sources of information online.
Top Live Food Choices for Pet Reptiles
“Locust are probably the most popular live foods out there in the reptile world,” says Ben Muddeman, Reptile Expert for Swell Reptiles. “This is not only because they provide a great source of protein that most reptiles enjoy, but because the sizes vary from small through extra-large and adult ‘hoppers’, making them suitable for nearly all insect eating reptiles. The best way of feeding these to your reptiles is to gut-load them first – feed them plenty of potato and vegetables to load them with nutrients and then sprinkle calcium dust onto them before they are placed your reptile enclosure to make them even more appetizing and nutritious for your reptile. This means your reptile gets the best of both worlds – taste and nutrition.“
The top live foods chosen by pet reptile keepers are:
- Calciworms (Soldier Grubs)
- Feeder Cockroaches
- Worms – Most earthworms fall into this category.
- Flightless Fruit Flies
Here’s an “infographic” for easy sharing on social media or your blog:
What are your favorite live foods to feed to your pet reptiles? Please share your suggestions below.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Live Fish Food Cultures for the Home Aquarium
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