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Feeding Your Insect-Loving Reptile – Cricket Alternatives

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Many reptiles survive and thrive on a diet of insects. For most, this means crickets. But sometimes, having a diet of just one type of insect gets a little tiresome and may even be nutritionally deficient. Spice up your reptile's diet by adding a variety of insects and other creatures.

You may have the time and inclination to collect insects or worms in your yard with the use of butterfly nets and spades. The biggest concern associated with wild-caught insects is the potential for pollution and pesticides to affect your reptile. If these are not prevalent in your area, spend some time outdoors and catch a few bugs. Bees, wasps and lightening bugs should be avoided. Don't feed anything you cannot identify. Smooth caterpillars, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, crane flies, aphids and even maggots can all be fed to your insect-loving reptile. If your reptile can eat slugs, snails and earthworms, you should place these wild-caught tidbits in clean moss for a couple of days to allow their guts to be cleaned. Feed them lettuce and other vegetables with added calcium to help cleanse their body.

If finding your own diet doesn't sound to appealing, purchase or order some other types of insects from your local pet store. Wax worms, meal worms, trevo worms and fruit flies are all available and make good alternatives to crickets. Moth larva, beetles, silk worms and springtails are other options. For larger reptiles, consider offering some hissing cockroaches or exotic earthworms.

Whether you catch your own or pick them up at the pet store, offering a variety of food, all properly gut loaded or dusted, will keep your reptile healthy and happy. The more natural an environment you can offer your herp, the more content he will be.

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