I’ve heard it all when it comes to pets and their diets. Even crazy questions like “I’m a vegetarian. Does my snake HAVE to eat animals?” (Yes… It is a born and bred carnivore and your snake will die a slow and painful death without meat. No matter what ANYONE ELSE tells you…)
Today we’re gonna go over some popular food items for your more ‘exotic’ pets.
You all noticed the image at the beginning of this post. Most of you probably cringed or scrolled past very quickly. That lovely specimen is called a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach. They’re popular beginner pets and feeders for your larger insectivore or carnivore diets.
They’re one of the largest of the feeder insects.
Normally found in…*insert drum roll*…
They live in and around rotted logs and other such debris. They feed on plants, fruits and rotted leaf litter on the ground. They’re kind of like a herbivorous clean up crew! They’re rather harmless, using only a hissing noise to deter anything being a little too nosey. This noise is created by pushing air out of small orifices just behind their thorax…giving them their nickname “Hissers”.
Keeping them as pets is easier than just about anything else you can own and is the LEAST committed pet. They need a clean environment with access to food (your old veggie drawer that’s starting to get stinky and that old celery that’s finally rubbery… they love that) You can water then by misting their enclosure daily. Keep them warm, but don’t bake them!
-Treat them just the same as feeders too! the healthier your feeder roaches, the healthier your pet you’re feeding them to!
There are a few other roach buddies, just a wee bit smaller than the Hisser!
Dubias, Discoids and lobsters are the other main feeder roaches!
Insects of all shapes and sizes are common among the reptile world! (some mammals, like sugar gliders, love a juicy insect too!)
–Crickets: pinheads, small, medium and large are available!
–Mealworms: small, crunchy and a favorite among leopard geckos.
–Superworms: Like a larger, juicier Mealworm. Wiggly and full of yummy protein and fats, these can be given to just about any reptile (sugar gliders love these guys) that eats insects. They’re not to be a staple diet choice though! both mealworms AND superworms contain keratin and could cause impaction!
–Black Soldier Fly Larvae: also known as Phoenix worms, Calciworms or REPTIWORMS (we sell these) are an amazing staple diet feeder! They contain a natural amount of calcium your reptiles NEED and have NO keratin! They’re even low in fat! (compared to just about every other live feeder)
There are some substitutes available if live feeding creeps you out too much. Some people just can’t get over the idea of keeping bugs in the home. This is not always the healthiest choice for your pet however. It’s the difference between feeding your kids TV dinners every night or actually cooking food.
Finally, there are the furrier feeders like mice and rats. These guys are for pets like snakes, large monitors, large frogs/toads and even some of the larger geckos! They come in a variety of sizes and in both live and frozen (labeled F/T or f/t for ‘frozen/thawed’)
Because the feeders can get pretty cute, some people often ask if they can toss the rat or mouse in the tank and walk away. You never want to leave your pet unattended with ANY live feeder. Even large crickets have been known to leave gaping wounds in large lizards like Bearded Dragons. Imagine the damage inflicted with a Jumbo Rat!
Come check out our always growing selection of feeders and the pets that eat them! We’re always available to answer questions, comments or concerns! Feel free to leave us a message here or on our Facebook page!
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