mealworm food

e30nate

New Member
what should i be feeding mealworms to keep them healthy for my cham? can i gutload them like crickets or roaches?
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Feed mealworms like you would superworms/kingworms. You can have a bit of bran and / or oats and/or alfalfa as a substrate, with small pieces of Carrot, apple, squash, yam, dandelion, placed on top of the substrate. Also good to include grounds nuts and seeds, powdered kelp and such to the dry substrate.

Use mealworms sparingly, as too many can cause digestion issues
 

fluxlizard

New Member
You can gutload them like other insects- the powdered commercial gutloads for crickets are taken by mealworms as well. Ferguson found when fed identical commercial gutloads, mealworms had more calcium content than crickets.

Yes, they can be dusted with calcium just like crickets. I do when I feed them, but it often doesn't stick as well on their smoother exoskeleton. Some does stick though.

Personally, I've been using mealworms as one component of a varied diet for lizards for 30+ years and IMO if your lizard has a problem digesting them then it is probably a sign that your lizard is unhealthy, or parasitized, or being kept in too cool of an environment for it's digestive system to function properly, or dehydrated, etc. In short something is wrong with the lizard. Healthy lizards have no problems digesting them at all. Breaking down chitonous exoskeletons is what healthy insect-eating lizards do for a living.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, you can dust with calcium

And I agree, mealworms can certainly be part of a varied diet without any digestive issues. I've been including them in my chameleon's diets for over a decade without problems.
 

Elgato

New Member
So I'm assuming keeping the worms in the container they come in and in the fridge isn't enough or not right?...

If so where should they be kept?
 

jdog1027

Established Member
I've recently switched the bedding from which I keep my mealworms and superworms from food processed oatmeal to a wheat bran/spirulina mixed at a ratio of about 80/20%. I was worried about the high phosphorus content of oatmeal causing calcium binding issues. It may be just all in my head, but I chose better to be safe than sorry. And as Fluxlizard mentioned, for the record, I have never had any problem whatsoever with using mealworms as a major portion of my chameleons diet, and I say this with experience. I had some unexpected Jacksons chameleons born last December and I didn't have any crickets or fruit flies going. I did however have 3 small shoe box sized containers with mealworms from adult sized down to 1/8". Mealworms made up about 50% of their diet for the first 4 months or so of their lives and they are all doing great today. But as for the OP's original question, I personally don't keep my worms on oatmeal anymore.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
So I'm assuming keeping the worms in the container they come in and in the fridge isn't enough or not right?...
If so where should they be kept?
That's how you can store them for awhile, if not planning to use them.
You definately should allow them to warm up and eat for a week or so before offering as prey, to make them as nutritious as possible.

This is roughly what I use as a substrate / food for mealworms and superworms:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/443-superworm-substrate-gutload-one.html

I personally had a chameleon (though only one among many) that suffered an impaction which was attributed to mealworms making up more than 30% of his diet for several months running. Its common examples such as this, along with their limited nutrition content even when gutloaded, which cause the majority to suggest that mealworms should not form the major part of the diet. Unless your chameleon is also getting a lot of softbodied feeders as well, like hornworms or silkworms. Im not saying its not possible for mealworms to form more than 10% or even more than 20% of their diet, just that IMHO it is safer and better if they dont. Indeed I believe NO one feeder should form more than 20% of a chameleons diet - a varied diet allows the chameleon a varied nutrient intake and ensure they dont get bored with their prey choices.
 

fluxlizard

New Member
I personally had a chameleon (though only one among many) that suffered an impaction which was attributed to mealworms making up more than 30% of his diet for several months running. Its common examples such as this
I haven't, although I have seen sick imports throw them up undigested. One lizard among many is more likely to be an example of a lizard with a problem rather than an insect that caused the problem. As for common examples- there are "common examples" of superworms chewing out of the stomachs of live lizards as well- but that is complete nonsense in spite of the ignorant perpetuation of this ridiculous claim.

their limited nutrition content even when gutloaded
So here is my question-

What exactly is the nutritional content of a mealworm and also a mealworm that is gutloaded.

And by nutritional content I don't mean calcium phosphorous and ash alone- I mean vitamins and minerals and calories etc.

For that matter I'm even a bit suspect of the nutritional info that is provided (calcium, phosphorous, protein, ash, fat). Because I wonder if these are well fed or gutloaded insects or are they insects fed whatever cost effective feed ghanns or rainbow mealworms feeds them?

Although I see the "not very nutritious" claim put out there all the time, I haven't been able to find the above information for any feeder insect. I know it must be out there somewhere- ferguson had the calcium content of his gutloaded mealworms checked and they were found to have more calcium than crickets he gutloaded with the same gutload. And I read about a study once that proved that insects raised on a nutritious food were more nutritious than insects simply gutloaded for a few days. It seems to make a difference in nutritional content depending on what materials the insect builds it's body from as it grows...
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
.... As for common examples- there are "common examples" of superworms chewing out of the stomachs of live lizards as well- but that is complete nonsense in spite of the ignorant perpetuation of this ridiculous claim....
There is a big difference between true factal issues with excessive use of mealworms (high chinton feeders generally) and myths about superworms and mealworms chewing through stomachs

Im not going to argue about this with you. To do so is ridiculous.

We both AGREE than mealworms can be included in a chameleons diet. I think we also both agree a VARIED diet is best. So let's leave it at that, eh?
 
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