Crickets and Worms: Why Your Pet Needs Them!

Crickets and Worms: Why Your Pet Needs Them!

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For some pets, crickets and worms can make up the bulk of their diet. For others, they are an occasional snack. Did you know that you can feed crickets and worms to your pet? Crickets make up the bulk diet for many reptile species. Many types of birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and small animals also love to snack on these tasty supplements. Plus, the nutritional benefits are excellent! Here’s what you need to know: 

Reptiles

Reptiles are insectivores which means that their diet primarily consists of insects. Reptiles are huge fans of crickets and worms! They love to eat crickets as live prey but also enjoy freeze-dried and powdered insects. Typically, reptiles will prefer live crickets as they taste better and give them something to “hunt” after. Crickets make up the bulk of most reptile diets as they are an excellent source of protein (and are readily available at your local Petland).

Bearded Dragons, for example need crickets for protein, fruits and veggies for general health, and mealworms as a tasty treat. Before feeding your reptile crickets, you’ll want to make sure the crickets are gut-loaded. Gut-loaded means that the crickets are fattened up with a nutritionally optimal diet so that your reptile can, in turn, receive optimal nutritional benefits. In order to gut-load your insects, you can either feed them a diverse mix of fruits and vegetables, or you can buy them nutrient-dense food such as Flukers Orange Cube Complete Cricket Diet. This diet ensures that your crickets are hydrated, fed, and nutritiously dense for your reptile! You can also try Fluker's Calcium Fortified Cricket Quencher to gut load crickets with calcium.

Fluker's Fluker's Orange Cube Complete Cricket Diet

Fluker's Fluker's Original Formula Cricket Quencher

Fluker's Freeze Dried Crickets are a great example of gut-loaded crickets. These crickets are gut-loaded with calcium. These make excellent snacks for your reptiles too!  

Fluker's Fluker's Freeze Dried Crickets

Want to keep live crickets for your pet reptile? Try a cricket pen such as the Exo Terra Cricket Pen. This makes gut-loading them easier too, as all you need to do is provide the gut-loading snack in the bottom of the pen and they're chow down! 

Exo Terra Exo Terra Cricket Pen

Speaking of calcium, it is good practice to coat your crickets (and other insects) in a calcium powder, as a lot of reptiles are naturally deficient in calcium and can develop metabolic bone disease if they do not receive calcium supplements. We use Flukers Calcium with D3 supplement for the reptiles in our store. This product provides essential calcium, vitamins, and trace minerals to cover all nutritional bases! You like to put our crickets in a bag or container and coat the crickets in the calcium powder (kind of like a powdered donut!).

Fluker's Fluker's Calcium with D3 Reptile Supplement

Mealworms and Superworms are like fast food; Fatty and carb-filled, but very tasty, and should therefore be an occasional treat. Both of these worms are available at your local Petland (call to make sure they are in stock) in live varieties, as well as canned, freeze dries, and cooked! When it’s time for a convenient treat but you don’t have any fresh worms on hand, you can feed your reptiles Exo Terra Mealworms Canned Specialty Reptile Food. These mealworms are cooked in the can to maintain nutritional value, flavour and aroma.

Exo Terra Exo Terra Mealworms Canned Specialty Reptile FoodExo Terra Exo Terra Superworms Canned Specialty Reptile Food

Amphibians 

Amphibians love worms and crickets too! Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates without scales. Common amphibians include frogs, newts, axolotls, salamanders, and more. Frogs for example love to eat crickets, flies, locusts, and more as an essential part of their diet.

Mealworms offer the natural nutrition amphibians require, providing a high source of protein and essential amino acids. Similar to reptiles, amphibians will almost always prefer live insects to freeze dried or frozen. If you are in a pinch for food, we do carry Fluker's Freeze Dried Mealworms, which are conveniently frozen, dried and ready to feed to your pet! Flukers also has freeze-dried crickets

Birds

Insects are an essential food source for wild birds, and you can feed them to your pet bird as well. Birds need a diet of seeds, nuts, fruit, veggies, and pellets. Many birds love to snack on insects as a treat. Birds find mealworms in particular to be very tasty, especially live ones! 

Small Animals

Some small pets such as hedgehogs, hamsters, rats, and gerbils, are omnivores. This means they also enjoy a meaty treat from time to time! When offered live or freeze-dried insects as a treat, they can't get enough of them! Our favourites to offer them are the Living World Green Gourmet Insect Toppers. They have a variety of insects in their mix that make for a great treat or an awesome topper for their usual food! Living World Living World Green Gourmet Toppers - Insects

 

Many pets benefit from the nutrition insects have to offer. It’s important to note that insects, particularly crickets, should monitored when feeding, as overfeeding can lead to excess crickets in your terrarium, which can cause them to bite your pet causing scabbing that can lead to infection. It’s also important to feed your pet the appropriate size of cricket, and that would be one that fits comfortable in their mouth as they can choke if the cricket is too big.

Here are the different live insect varieties that can be commonly found in Petland stores! 

Crickets (available in different sizes): 

Mealworms: 

 

 

Superworms:

Waxworms:

Hornworms:

Silkworms: 

Red Wigglers:

Don’t see something you’re looking for? Call or visit your local Petland and speak with their Fish and Reptile manager about special ordering insects!

 


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