Keeping And Using Livefoods

A simple guide

For most lizards, live insect prey is an essential part of the diet. In order to gain the best nutrition from your livefoods, you need to care for them; this does not have to be difficult or particularly time consuming if you follow a few simple guidelines.


Housing: The box that your feeder insects are supplied in is suitable for transport and short term housing. In order to get the best from them, they will need rather more space; faunariums work very well, but the livefood care kits work best for most species. They don’t need a lot of decor – some twigs to climb, or you can use the sort of egg crate that comes in the boxes.


Feeding: There are several options when it comes to feeding (also referred to as ‘gutloading’) livefoods. There are livefood feeds, jelly pots, bug balls or fresh food. What you feed depends on which species you are using to feed your pet – don’t worry, we can help you with that! It’s a good idea to feed your bugs for 24 hours before offering them to your pet.


Supplements: Before you feed the bugs to your pet, they will need to be dusted. Use a good quality multivitamin/multimineral powder 2 or 3 days a week, and a plain calcium powder 4 or 5 days a week. This will ensure that your pet gets the extra calcium they need, but not too much of the vitamins that can build up in the body.


Locusts: Vegetarian bugs, very popular with most lizards. Good range of sizes. Keep in an upright container and keep above 25ºC; prefer leafy greens, but will eat any vegetable matter.


Silent crickets: Not truly silent as adults! They do very well on commercial diets, and thrive in livefood care kits . Keep to room temperature, 20 – 24ºC.


Mealworms: These can be kept in the fridge to extend their lifespan, but do need to be warmed up to room temperature before being fed. Mealworms will accept the most varied diet of all the livefoods. Regularly sieve out the mealworms to remove waste and replace the bug grub.


Morio Worms: Need to be at room temperature to thrive. Large and soft skinned, excellent for adult bearded dragons.


Fruit Beetle Grubs: Big, juicy grubs much beloved by larger lizards. Small amounts of fruit keep them happy, and the beetles they become are edible too. 


Waxworms: Chocolate bars for lizards. Need no gutloading, and should be kept in the pot they are supplied in; keep in the fridge to extend shelf life. Treat food only!


Dubia Roaches: Excellent feeder insect, keeps well at room temperature and will eat almost all vegetable matter. Low in fat, and very palatable to most species – cannot climb glass or smooth plastic, so escapees are very unlikely.


Calci Worms: These have an excellent calcium/Phosphorus ratio and make an excellent food source. They will eat anything, and the resulting flies are not only harmless, but greedily taken by most lizards and predatory insects like Mantids.


Fruit Flies: Suitable for very small lizards and especially good for Mantids and small amphibians, such as dartfrogs. Keep at room temperature, and the colony will flourish for a week or more.


Woodlice:  Calcium rich exoskeletons make these isopods a great food for geckos and amphibians. Usually used as clean up crew in bioactive systems, they eat dead leaves, rotting wood and other detritus. Room temperature is fine.


Bean Weevils: More soft bodied than most weevils, these are an alternative to fruit flies or micro crickets for small mouths. The culture contains all the food they need. They don’t hide in the substrate but always climb up, making them easy to catch.