Staple feeders are insects that can be fed to your reptilian pet without any negative effects. These insects are packed with high protein, have a balanced phosphorus to calcium ratio, do not cause overweight, and are readily available in pet shops.
If you have been a proud reptile owner for quite some time then you must have heard of the insects known as staple feeders. They are a key nutrient to a healthy diet for any omnivore, insectivore, or even carnivore reptile.
Adding different types of feeder insects or staple feeders adds variety to their diet and ensures long life. Among all other reptiles, lizards mostly feed on insect feeders and snakes prefer rodent feeders.
Here are the 4 types of staple feeders for your reptiles-
1. Black Soldier Fly Larvae
BSFL or black soldier fly larvae are commonly known as phoenix worms, calci worms, Repti worms, or Nutri worms.
These are the best staple feeders. They contain the highest levels of calcium and an almost perfect 2:1 calcium-phosphorus ratio. This is perfect for the bone and overall growth of your reptiles.
The worms are easy to maintain, keep, and are resilient. They can later grow into black soldier flies that are also filled with rich nutrients. Some reptiles like the chameleons prefer flying insects and most insectivores enjoy a good hunt. Since they are already high in calcium, you do not need to dust them with supplements.
Worms are the primary staple feeders and come in a large variety. There are plenty of options you can choose from.
Waxworms are live feeder insects and are packed with fat. These are mostly used as special treats. If you have rescued a reptile and want to get it back in good shape then feed them waxworms. Since they are high in protein, it helps the reptiles get fat in no time. These are like chocolates for reptiles.
Waxworms are popular choices because they are inexpensive and can go a long time without eating. If you breed them then feed them bran, honey, or cereal grains. They are good to feed for geckos, bearded dragons, and brown anoles.
Many reptiles prefer to hunt and feast. Superworms are ideal feeders for them because they are highly active. These worms are much softer than crickets or mealworms and easier to digest.
Just like wax worms, butter worms also should not be given daily. They can be used as special treats because they are very high in fat and protein.
Butterworms are easy to breed and require no care whatsoever, you can store them in the refrigerator at a temperature of about 40-50 degrees C, and they will last about four months.
Give these tasty treats to your bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, and anoles because they will love it.
Hornworms are also pretty good staple feeders, and they later evolve into hawk moths. Large lizards like both hornworms and hawk moths.
They are rich in nutrients like protein, fat, phosphorus, and calcium, but also contain 85% moisture. If you feed them to your reptile regularly then there is a higher chance of suffering from diarrhea. It is best if you maintain a cycle and mix your reptile’s diet with other staple feeders as well.
Silkworms contain multiple nutrients. They are rich in iron, vitamins, sodium, magnesium, protein, calcium. Silkworms are also very soft, and you can feed them to even the smaller reptiles.
Silkworms are great for gravid or pregnant reptiles because they contain high levels of calcium that is great for the growth of the offspring.
They also contain low levels of phosphorus and fat and are becoming one of the most popular feeder insects for all types of reptiles.
We are going to highlight the top three staple feeder roaches that are available online and in your local pet supermarkets.
Red Runner Roaches
Red runners are common household pests. They are rich in amino acids and are perfect for mid-sized or small reptiles. Red runners, as their name suggests, are fast. This makes them great bait for reptiles since most of them like to hunt and eat.
Dubia roaches have become extremely popular in the reptile community because of their nutritious benefits. They have a relatively low moisture content but have the right amount of protein, fiber, ash, and calcium to phosphorus ratio.
Dubia roaches have a soft exterior but a long lifespan. For people that do not want fast or flying roaches in their house, Dubia roaches can be a better alternative since they are quiet, easy to breed, and keep besides they have a low level of odor.
Discoid roaches are very common and completely legal in the U.S. They are not on par with Dubia roaches in terms of nutrition, but they have a good amount of fiber, ash fat, and protein. This makes them a good alternative to Dubia roaches.
Crickets are the most common staple feeder because they are available almost everywhere and are inexpensive. However, crickets do not provide many health benefits compared to dubia roaches, super worms, wax worms, and silkworms.
Adult crickets also have hard exteriors that are difficult for small reptiles to swallow. It is better to feed them little crickets.
A good way to measure the right size of the cricket would be to check if their length is shorter than the distance between the two eyes of your reptile. Dust your crickets with calcium before feeding them.
The best part about crickets is that they move. These ticks off the reptile’s predatory instincts and makes them attracted to the food.
Staple feeders are ideal for a nutritious diet. Be sure to mix your feeder and not focus solely on one type. Mix it up and make sure there is a variety that provides the best benefits for your reptiles.