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    A healthy lifestyle

    Read our realted article, ‘A healthy Lifestyle – Combining a balanced diet and good lighting; in Practical Reptile Keeping magazine.

    The importance of a varied diet

    The continued improvement of UVB systems for reptiles by Arcadia Reptile, has allowed captive reptiles to make better use of the foods that are offered. But what are these values and what should we be feeding our animals?

    Do we offer enrichment alongside a nutritionally valuable food source? Many shops just offer the trade standards of crickets, locusts and mealworms. Some stores may also have wax worms with a label stating “To be used as a treat”. These insects are farmed by the million every year. Feeding these lab insects as a sole source of food can present big gaps in the nutritional needs of captive reptiles.

    There is now a growing list of insect and grub based foods that can easily kept and used as part of a balanced diet. Variety is the key. We cannot feed crickets to an animal all of its life and expect it to have all of its dietary needs met, despite supplementation. The good news is that many more species of grub and roach are now starting to be farmed all over the world.

    Grubs are readily taken by most animals and offer the animal a range of vitamins and minerals that are not present in large amounts in traditional sources. For instance the silk worm is low in fat, about 40% but higher in Calcium and phosphorus making this species ideal alongside an affective UV system at combating MBD.


    Butter worms also have high Ca but a higher fat content making them more of a treat source. Calci worms for me are a useful additional food. They are packed full of Ca and have a balanced Phosphorus content with only 9.4% fat! This species really could be part of the answer alongside good UV lighting to eliminating MBD from our collections.

    The solar re-creation system provided can only be as effective as the diet that is offered. We should as keepers make sure that as much variety as possible is used in the fight against MBD.

    The following values have been provided by Peregrine Livefoods:

    Species % Moisture % Fat % Protein Ca:P Ratio
    Mealworm 68 8.5 18.9 0.05
    Morio Worm 59.8 15.2 19.5 0.10
    Wax Worm 65.1 15.5 15.5 0.19
    Locust 73.2 5.8 15.9 0.19
    Brown Cricket 70.7 4.4 19.8 0.32
    Dubia Roaches 61.18 6.75 35.60 0.20
    Calci worms 65 9.4 17.30 1.52

    The following values were obtained from online retailers:

    Species % Moisture % Fat % Protein Ca:P Ratio
    Butter worm 58.54 5.21 16.20 2.1
    Silk worm 76 10 64 Double compared to calciworms

    © John Courteney-Smith
    Taken from “lighting for crepuscular and understory reptiles by John Courteney-smith”

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