Gut loading is feeding insects a specific diet before your pets, reptiles, and amphibians can consume them. It’s done to ensure that the animal gains from the specific nutritional value of the insects and the food they feed on.
To gut load superworms, place them in a clean container with the food you plan to gut load them with. After 48 hours, feed them to your pet. The best foods for gut loading superworms are fruits, vegetables, packaged feeds, flakes, baby foods, and supplements. They benefit the pet’s health.
You can gut load insects such as crickets, mealworms, and superworms. If you choose to gut load super worms, you need to read on and learn how to do it right.
What are superworms?
Superworms are the larvae stage of a darkling beetle. They are also referred to as king worms in some quotas. They earn the name from their big size and high nutritional content.
Mostly, the superworms are used as feeder insects for pets, reptiles, and amphibians. Rats, which also ear insects, can feed on superworms together with other small mammals.
In appearance, the superworms have a tan body color and a brown head. Their tail has brown stripes, and the superworm body is segmented and features six legs.
As a feeder insect, the superworm has a high nutritional value. Take a look at this breakdown:
All these nutrients are vital in the growth and development of your pet. For instance, proteins will help strengthen your pets’ tissues, cell formation, and regeneration. The fats aid in the absorption of other nutrients in the body.
Calcium is critical for bone formation and strength, while moisture keeps the animals hydrated. Fiber comes in handy in digestive and ingestion processes. Calcium is particularly important for pets with shells such as turtles. Turtles eat most insects including mealworms and superworms.
Do I need to gut load superworms?
You need to gut load your superworms due to the following reasons:
- To boost the nutritional value of your pet food.
- Improve the health of the pets or reptiles that will feed on the superworms.
- Fill the gaps missing in the superworms’ diet necessary for your pets, such as minerals.
- To prevent hypovitaminosis from affecting the pets.
Gut loading has become a popular practice, given the results it yields. By simply getting gut loading right, you can easily transform your pet’s health status, reptile or amphibian.
You must have heard of the saying “you are what you eat,” and it applies even to animals. If you detest weak, feeble pets, gut loading is the way to go.
How to gut load superworms
Before you gut load the superworms, you need clean containers, food to feed the superworm, and potato slices, orange fruit or carrots. Superworms eat plants just like crickets.
Once you have these setups, you can proceed to gut load. Here is how:
- Place the container with the superworms feed on a stable surface at the bottom.
- Place some rocks or soft cardboard that you have pricked out some holes. It makes them feel like they are in their natural habitat as they feed.
- Place the carrot or slices of orange fruit in the container. This allows them to draw water as they don’t take water directly. Orange is better as it has vitamin C.
- The superworms are the last to add to the container. If properly set, you’ll notice they start feeding immediately. Allow them time to consume the feeds, approximately 48 days, to maximize their feeding potential.
- The superworms are now ready: you can feed them to your pets.
Gut loading can be tuned to what you want your pet feeding on the superworms to obtain from eating them.
Best Foods for Gut Loading Superworms
Here are the best food options you can use to gut load the superworms:
The superworms don’t take water directly. They depend on water and moisture from the fruits. Get fruits with high moisture content such as oranges. These are good as the superworms will also sip out other vital vitamins in the process.
Remember to change the leftover fruits to avoid rotting. That could attract the bad bacteria which could harm your pets.
These come in handy as a gut loading option as they provide critical vitamins for your pets. Go for vegetables with high moisture content to keep the superworms hydrated. Examples of the best vegetable for superworms include squash and leafy greens.
Consider what you intend to feed the superworms after gut loading, as some vegetables can be toxic. For instance, reptiles and amphibians find spinach to be toxic.
Remove the leftovers of the vegetables to avoid accelerated rotting that could infect the worms.
3. Packaged Feeds
These you will find in the pet stores. Mostly, the feeds are prepackaged and include essential vitamins. Before purchasing, read on the label the contents of the prepackaged feeds. Go for the one you feel will benefit your pets the most.
Check the expiry dates and any other precautions stated on the packaging. Choose a quality brand valuable for your pets.
If you settle on shopping the prepackaged food online, read the reviews and their quality guarantee policy. You could buy small quantities first and observe how well they work on your pet before restocking in large quantities.
There are different options under these. Fish pellets work best. Oatmeal, cornflakes, bran, and other cereals flakes can also serve you well.
The most important benefit from the fish feeds and flakes is that they come premixed with vital nutrients, including vitamins essential for the pets. They contain algae which is a critical component for superworms.
Flakes, pellets, and fish feed also provide the best bedding for superworms.
5. Baby Food
It contains the best nutrients as they are packed with critical food nutrients for the growth and development of the baby. They have a similar impact on your pets.
For instance, the calcium content will aid in the formation of strong bones in your pets.
Say you notice your pets lack calcium, vitamins, or other vital minerals. The best way to go about it is to gut load the superworms with the relevant supplements, as they will be indirectly be passed to your pets.
Precautions when gut loading superworms
Gut loading should be closely monitored as whatever the superworms feed will end up in your pet.
Here are a few things you need to be cautious about:
- House the superworms together in a smooth-edged container. This will prevent them from pupating into beetles before feeding them to your pets.
- Keep them well-fed to prevent them from eating each other.
- Do not refrigerate the superworms. Maintain them at room temperature.
- Provide enough flakes to act both as bedding and food for the superworms.
- Place slices of potatoes in the container where the superworms get their water.
- Avoid placing water in the containers as the superworms don’t drink water directly.
- Avoid buying pre-gut loaded superworms from the pet stores. Simply because you can’t be sure it was done right or the quality of what they were fed. Do it yourself.
Like dusting, gut loading has lots of benefits for your pets.
Gut-loading the superworms goes a long way in providing your pets with what they could be missing in the diet. Their health is purely dependent on what they are fed.
The process is easy and doesn’t consume much time. The process also helps you plan the feeding schedule of your pets. Allowing the superworms two days to consume the feeds then feeding the pets gives you a clear picture of managing the pets’ scheduling and costs.
If you want to boost and hasten the growth of your pets, consider gut-loading superworms, you’ll enjoy the results.
The Veiled Chameleon. Home Care.
Louisiana State University. Assessing the Nutritional Value of Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens) Used for Reptile Foods.