Gut loaded crickets can help improve your pet's health, buy offering a boost of nutrients into their diet.
Crickets by themselves can provide many vital minerals and nutrients for your bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and any other type of insect-munching pet that lives in your house. But those crickets that you're buying online, or picking up from your local pet shop are probably missing some important nutrients.
The benefits of gut loading are obvious. They will pass on the nutrients from what they've eaten to the pet that you're caring for. So if the crickets you buy have just been fed a hearty snack of oranges and apples, they will pass those nutrients onto your beloved pet.
And when you're caring for your bearded dragon, you'll know that gut loading your crickets can give them a nice boost of energy. But don't rely only on gut loaded crickets. Bearded dragons also need fruits and vegetables in their diets. The older they get, the more important it is that they receive the nutritional benefits from greens. So don't skip that important step.
And caring for your leopard gecko is the same. The only difference is that leopard geckos are insectovores, and do not eat the greens that bearded dragons will eat. So to satisfy their caclium glands, it's important to not only gut load your crickets on their behalf, but also dust your crickets with calcium powder.
Cricket Dusting is another way to provide nutrients for your pets. The goal is to add some calcium powder onto the crickets before you offer them to your pets. This will add a little more nutrients to your crickets, which benefits your pet.
But cricket dusting isn't that easy. So the best method is to first place your crickets into a bag. Then, add some some cricket dust into the bag. Gently shake the bag so that the crickets receive a nice, even layer of dust. Then offer the tasty crickets to your beloved pet.
It's great to dust your crickets for any pet. But it's most beneficial for leopard geckos. Leopard geckos don't eat greens, and have a hard time getting their calcium requirements from only insects. So dusting with calcium will give them the nutritional boost they need to live a long and healthy life.
But what are gut loaded feeder crickets?
The term "gut loading" is reference to the act of feeding crickets food that would benefit your pet. Think of the cricket as a small pill capsule. And inside that capsule, like a typical pill, is a blend of elements that are designed to improve the user's overall health. And in this situation, that health is for the bearded dragon or leopard gecko.
So the pill analogy comes full circle when you feed your crickets with the healthy food that your pets require. Remember, your pets aren't only eating the crickets. They are also eating the nutrients that your crickets were eating, prior to being fed to your pet.
But then the next logical question would be, "what should I feed my crickets?" And since you're clearly not a cricket farmer, it makes sense that this is a common mystery. But feeding crickets is easy, as there aren't picky eaters. But here's a list of the best food to gut load your crickets:
- tropical fish flakes
- dark leafy greens (romaine, mustard greens, kale, collard greens)
- sweet potatoes
- potatoes (peelings are fine)
- baby rice cereal
- wheat germ
- prepackaged reptile foods
- dry cat food
If you're not reading through these items quickly, then you'll notice that there's a common theme: healthy food. So you don't need to sprint to the store for fish food or baby rice. Just use some baby carrots, fresh fruit, leafy greens, or any other healthy food that you have lingering in your household.
Aren't all crickets gut loaded?
The sad truth is that many crickets aren't going to be gut loaded. The crickets that you find in pet stores are only going to be fed with a generic cricket feed. That cricket feed is mostly made from processed wheat, which won't offer your pets too much nutritional value.
But many cricket farmers have the capability and capacity to offer their crickets a more nutritional diet. So although it might be easier buying crickets at the local pet store, you could increase the quality of life for your pet if you provide them with a better cricket. And those better crickets will be easier to find online.