If you own exotic pets, you sure have been feeding them insects. But are you feeding them mealworms? Read to know why mealworms can be beneficial for your exotic pets.
Exotic pets can be quite challenging, their lifestyles, health, and food habits are very different from conventional pets. Animals, such as lizards, rats, fish, and even birds need to be fed insects. If you own an
exotic pet, you probably know that.
Did you know that mealworms can be an amazing addition to your pet’s food menu? Mealworms are not only nutritious but the juicy and delicious food your pets would love! In this article, we have gathered information on why mealworms are great as the food and where to find them.
Benefits of Mealworms
Mealworms are rich in proteins and fibers. Proteins help your pet to stay healthy and for growth. They also help fight diseases. Fibers on the other hand are important to maintain their gut health. These are the main reasons
why mealworms are so good for your pet.
They are usually fed to birds like chickens, reptiles like lizards and iguanas, and turtles. Mealworms can be found in two forms.
- Dried and
- Fresh mealworms.
Fresh mealworms are living raw mealworms. They not only contain proteins and fibers but also have a good amount of water content in them. Since these are live animals, they are more attractive to pets and also encourage hunting behavior in them.
Dried mealworms are not alive. Fresh mealworms are heated or freeze-dried to remove the water and make them dry. Unlike the fresh ones, these don’t promote movement in your pet. They are also less nutritious. However, they are easier to feed and store than fresh mealworms.
How to Feed Mealworms to Your Pet
Mealworms can be fed to pets as well as wild birds, amphibians, and other animals. Mealworms must be controlled for your pet to have its fair portion of food. If you are feeding your pet fresh mealworms, simply throw a few of them in front, and they will gulp the worms down.
If your pet is a juvenile, you can use tweezers to feed them. On the other hand, if you are going for dried ones, they are much easier to feed as they won’t move like the fresh ones. Beware of worm infestations in your house. Here’s how to prevent it.
How to Take Care of a Mealworm
Your pet would require healthy mealworms. So make sure that the worms are not diseased. But how do you know if the mealworms you are feeding are healthy? For this, you need to know their life cycle.
Though mealworms do not require much care, certain elements such as feeding, the hygienic state of the container they are housed in, and so on should be considered. Certain precautions need to be taken to care for the breed, as outlined below.
1. Are your mealworms being shipped? Every time you receive a parcel, make sure to transfer the worms in a fresh container.
2. How do you prepare bedding and food for the worms? Simply line a wide, plastic container, preferably with a lid, with crushed wheat, cornmeal, oatmeal, or oat bran. Poke holes in the container’s lid to allow airflow. Close the container’s lid, and place the mealworms inside to prevent them from climbing out.
3. Mealworms may eat a wide variety of foods. Fruits and vegetables can be fed to the worms. Feeding other items such as meat, cheese, and dairy products, onions, oils and citrus fruits, etc. is not a good idea. Slices of apples, bananas, carrots, and potatoes can be used instead.
4. Before storing the food in the container, crush or cut them into smaller pieces. Worms are avid eaters, thus the food source must be replenished every three days. Make sure the bin has a source of moisture, so the worms don’t perish from dehydration.
5. Keep the bin clean and remove any rotting fruit to avoid harming the worms. Mealworms should be fed additional food or substrate regularly. Always ensure that the substrate is adequate, and if the level falls, replenish it as soon as possible.
6. Store the container in a cool, dry location in a room with a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees. Light is also not required because these worms enjoy the darkness.
7. When it comes to mealworm care, cleanliness is another vital factor that should not be overlooked. For healthy mealworms, clean the container once a month. While cleaning the container, transfer the worms to a different jar or box.
Remove any remaining substrate from the container and clean the bin. Before reinstalling the bedding and substrate, allow the bin to dry fully. Return the worms to the new container and close the lid.
How to Find Mealworms
Mealworms can be found and stored in a few locations. Furthermore, if you intend to serve your pets well, you must discover a suitable resource to do so.
Though uncommon, Darkling beetle larvae can live in the fields with a variety of wild grasses and seeds. They will create their living area under large rocks or logs.
If you enjoy fishing, breeding worms is a great way to save money on bait. They’re also good at getting rid of food waste and paper in an environmentally friendly manner. Take a plastic container to store your worms.
Make sure to poke holes at the bottom to keep space for breathing. A compost bedding and soil will give nutrients to the worms.
Now you can add worms in the container and feed them manure, or grains (mealworms will eat anything that decays)! You can transfer half of the soil with the worms every 3 to 6 months to harvest.
Mealworms can be obtained in pet stores as well as online. Make certain that you get this pet food from reputable suppliers. Remember to feed your pet only nice, healthy mealworms.
How to Store Mealworms
If you are to feed your pet with these insects, you have to store them, at least for a certain period. For storing worms there are two strategies.
When stored in a cool, dark corner of the house, mealworms can take up to three months to mature into beetles. The packaging that mealworms deliver isn’t ideal for storing them. Pour them into another container with food and a source of moisture where they can live for several weeks.
The life cycles of mealworms slow down in the refrigerator and can be preserved for several months. Mealworms can be stored in plastic containers with a 1-inch layer of grain for a long time.
Remove any vegetable or fruit bits. Cover the container with a lid that enables air to circulate. Label the container and place it in a refrigerator corner.
To Wrap it Up…
Is it important to understand that your pet needs variety in their diet? Just like you don’t eat only one type of food, your pet can’t do it either.
They derive different nutrients from different foods, so for good health, it is important to give them different foods, and mealworms can be a healthy addition to their diet.