Gut loading is an incredibly important strategy for keeping your pet reptile or amphibian happy, healthy, and thriving. If feeder insects are a major part of your pet’s diet, what’s inside those insects matters. You can amplify their nutritional value with ease through gut loading.
In this blog, we are going to discuss:
- What is gut loading?
- The benefits of gut loading
- Why dubia roaches are an ideal feeder insect for gut loading
- And lastly—how to gut load dubia roaches
If you’re ready to learn how to get the absolute most out of your dubia feeder roaches—read on!
What is Gut Loading Insects?
Gut loading is the practice of ensuring your feeder insects consume whichever nutrients you want your reptile or amphibian to load up on. This way, your pet will end up extracting more nutritional value from their food.
Basically, gut loading is a way of optimizing your reptile or amphibian’s food source for maximum nourishment.
The Benefits of Gut Loading
You may be wondering, “is gut loading necessary?” Our opinion at The Big Shed is a resounding “YES.” Think of it this way…you wouldn’t eat a diet solely comprised of burgers, soda, and fries and expect to be a shining example of health and vitality, would you? Well, it’s no different when it comes to your pet.
We feed all our dubia roaches a well-balanced diet of our proprietary grain blend and fresh produce to ensure they reach you at the very best health and nutritional value possible. But the important work of gut loading doesn’t end when they leave our facility. You can take your feeder insects’ nutritional value into your own hands once they make it to you by following our suggestions below.
How Poor Diet Affects Your Reptile
When reptiles and amphibians don’t consume nutrient-rich food, they can develop severe health problems that affect their quality of life (we’ll address these problems more in-depth in an upcoming blog).
5 Common problems caused by malnutrition (why gut loading is essential for your pet):
- Metabolic bone disease
- Broken bones
- Muscle tremors
It’s surprisingly easy to avoid these health conditions in bearded dragons, crested geckos, leopard geckos, and more by simply gut loading your feeder insects in the days leading up to mealtime.
What Kinds of Insects Can You Gut Load?
Not all insects are ideal for gut loading, but typically you can gut load most staple feeder insects.
Insects you can gut load:
- Dubia roaches
- Hissing cockroaches
Feeder insects that are hard to gut load include mealworms, caterpillars, morio worms, wax worms, and wild-caught insects.
Why Are Dubia Roaches Ideal for Gut Loading?
Here are three top reasons why Dubias are an ideal choice for gut loading:
- Their digestive system can hold anywhere from 2X-3X their body weight depending on when they ate last.
- Additionally, dubias are known for keeping food in their belly for up to three days. This is beneficial because various nutrients are given off during different stages of digestion.
- Another cool thing about gut loading dubia roaches is that because they have specialized bacteria in their guts, they can digest plant matter other feeder insects can’t – releasing otherwise inaccessible nutrients for your reptile.
It’s almost like dubia roaches were designed to provide your reptile or amphibian with the best nutrition possible. Isn’t it?
Gut Loading Your Dubia Roaches
Gut loading your dubias is super easy. Simply feed them whichever fruits and/or vegetables are high in the nutrients your pet needs, and the roaches take care of the rest!
The main thing to keep in mind when gut loading dubia roaches is nutrient density and freshness. Always give your roaches fresh, high-quality produce (some people even try and focus on organic when possible).
Appropriate foods for gut loading your dubia roaches:
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Mustard greens
- Romaine lettuce
- Gut loading flakes
Avoid feeding your dubia roaches beans, citrus, and meat, as they can be bad for the roaches and your pets.
Gut Loading Vs. Dusting
Suppose you’ve been raising reptiles or amphibians for a while now. In that case, you’re probably familiar with the practice of “dusting” or sprinkling feeder insects with calcium or vitamin powders right before mealtime.
We often get asked if feeding dubia roaches such supplements will help with gut loading. We typically suggest saving your supplements for dusting as there is no scientific evidence to support their idea that your dubias will transfer them to your pet via gut loading. This also allows you to keep a better eye on the exact amount of additions your bearded dragon or other pet is consuming as too many supplements can be a bad thing.
Start Gut Loading Today
Ready to plan a nutrient-dense diet for your beardie, gecko, or other pet? Hop on over to our store and order some gut-loadable dubia roaches today!