Understanding live feeders and reptile nutrition

Part of responsible pet ownership is providing a healthy, species appropriate diet. For many animals, mostly reptiles, that is going to include feeding live foods. And yes, they can be gross for some people, but they meet a need that your pet has like nothing else can.

Why feed live, when there are dried and canned insects available?

Many of our pets are ambush predators, and have to see their food moving by them. Dried and dead insects often will not trigger their appetite, and are not as nutritious as live ones.

Because no food is nutritionally complete, to ensure that your pet gets the best nutrition it’s best to both gut load and dust your insects with vitamin/calcium powders. Gut loading just means ensuring that you insect is eating and filled with something nutritious, so that your pet will receive it, too. Gut loading can be done with a variety of foods, from potatoslices and zucchini to apples and fresh greens – potatoes and zucchini tend to last the longest without spoiling, but always be sure to clean out old veggies and replace with fresh.

Looking for something more simple?  Flukers makes a cricket diet that is packed with vitamins and minerals. Repashy offers Bug Burger, a powder that you make into a unique, highly nutritious gel for all your insect’s needs. These are an incredibly convenient way to deliver high quality nutrition to your feeder insects and, therefore, to your pet.

In nature, reptiles and amphibians are exposed to a wide variety of food items, often much more varied and ultimately more nutritious than those diets fed to captive herps. We often need to give supplements to ensure great health. There is a great deal of discussion in herpetology about vitamins and mineral supplements, and people find this very confusing. How much do you give? What is the difference between calcium with D3 vs without? How much is toxic?