The Importance of Gut Loading

The Importance of Gut Loading

Most of us know, even those of us who have never kept a reptile as a pet and never plan to, that reptiles eat bugs. Those of us who do keep reptiles are familiar with a process called gut loading. If you keep a reptile that eats live insects as a pet and you are not familiar with gut loading, this one’s for you.

Lots of people may think that when you buy crickets or any other type of grub for your lizard, all you have to do is bring them home from the pet store and dump them in the tank for your lizard to eat. However, gut loading, or the process of keeping the crickets for 24 hours and feeding them a healthy diet (carrot, potato, or a cricket meal powder), is encouraged by keepers and veterinarians alike. When we feed our lizards crickets, the entire digestive system of the insect is being ingested by our pet. When we bring the insect home from the pet store, we don’t know what’s already in their digestive tract. Everything that cricket ate, our pet will in turn eat. This elevates a parasite risk in our lizards, since crickets will eat close to anything and we can’t monitor them before they are in our possession.

By feeding your crickets a carrot or something else healthy, we can clean out their digestive tract and ensure that everything they eat, is healthy and proper for our reptiles to eat as well. If you are not already gut loading for your reptile, I encourage you to get a cricket keeper and a bag of carrots and let your crickets eat and rest for 24 hours before feeding them off. It is up to us to make sure every part of what we feed our pets is healthy and good for them.

Still confused or wondering what the best insects are to feed your reptile? I can help!

xo, A & P

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