yogurt as a gut load?!

Discussion in 'Chameleon Food' started by Franquixote, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    In the late 80s there was a product called benenac that had live digestive cultures similar to yogurt. We ised it on reps that were doing poorly in our retail space.
    Does anyone know if yogurt can be used as a cricket or roach gut load, or if a small bit on a feeder would benefit a chameleon?

  2. Matt Vanilla Gorilla

    Matt Vanilla Gorilla Chameleon Enthusiast

    Some keepers do use it sparingly and claim it is safe. I do not know if any research has been done to proof that it is safe or not. Sorry
  3. nightanole

    nightanole Chameleon Enthusiast

    Generally dairy and animal protein is frowned upon. You want to know the quickest way to give a rat cancer, feed it whey protein. Its not that bad with lizards, but insect/veg protein is best.
  4. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    gut loading bugs with yogurt though?

    There is non dairy yogurt BTW
  5. nightanole

    nightanole Chameleon Enthusiast

    By definition a gut load is something the bug cant digest and is in the digestive track.

    I assumed it was dairy yogurt, as you did not say non dairy. Yes i know they make mayo without eggs, but they make a big fuss about it :p

    Im just stating for future reference, its not a good idea for primary insect eaters to ingest animal protein and dairy products. Yes the "can" eat pinkies and maybe bits of cheese as a treat, but its not going to increase their health.
  6. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    I never heard a gut load defined that way- I am not suggesting you are wrong, just never had it explained that way to me.
    My goal in feeding insects is to provide a ore nutritious source of food for my chameleon. I don't know enough of entomology to now whether which common bacteria such as acidophilus are present in reptile or insects. I just looked up Bene-bac and it is still available: https://www.amazon.com/Bene-Bac-Bir...id=1507825268&sr=8-1&keywords=benebac+reptile

    I wonder how much value it has in a regiment, or what we can do to take it a step backward and start with the insects.
    kinyonga likes this.
  7. JoeDigiorgio

    JoeDigiorgio Avid Member

    Gut loading itself is often poorly understood. By definition it's as simple as filling the gut with things nutritious to the final consumer like a chameleon or other pet reptile.

    Many advanced keepers take it further into their insect husbandry to ensure only the healthiest insects are ever offered to their pets. I agree with this technique.

    You can't force an insect to be 'high in calcium' or anything else really. They don't store calcium that way. They don't have bones and the exoskeleton is made of chitin which is basically just fiber. They will store what they are biologically programmed to, just as we do, and poop the rest out. Feeding insects a high calcium diet only makes them as 'high in calcium' as the gut load currently sitting in their gut. Hence the term.

    On the subject of yogurt, I wouldn't recommend using it as a gut load in the sense of feeding it in the hours leading up to using the feeder insect itself. I don't think it's a good idea to have it still in the gut for the chameleon, at least not often. Having said that, it's probably got legitimate value nutritionally to some species of omnivorous insects if you are breeding them. It would need further looking into.

    I rotate my feeder species to keep my chameleons interested. I like to offer dog food to my roaches once a month, and I keep many species of roach. I feel some protein is good for the roaches. I don't feed dog food to the roaches I'm feeding off that day or the next day though. I'll usually give the bin I just fed from today the dog food. It'll be gone by morning and I won't be feeding from that bin again for a few days at least. I don't want it in the gut when they get to meet my chameleons.
  8. Matt Vanilla Gorilla

    Matt Vanilla Gorilla Chameleon Enthusiast

    This topic was braught up and discussed about a year ago. If I remember correctly the conclusion was that the beneficial digestive bacteria in yoghurt is beneficial for feeder bug and chameleon alike. It was also concluded that the yoghurt flora will remain in the gut long after the yoghurt has passed through the gut. And that the chameleon can benefit weeks after the yoghurt feeding was done. So just don't feed off bugs that are freshly gutloaded with yoghurt.
    JoeDigiorgio likes this.
  9. Franquixote

    Franquixote Established Member

    I don't know why but my feeders barely touch what I offer. I have had a dubia colony 2 months and have only had 1 adult die but there is always what seems like almost all of the food left over. To put it into perspective I have about 60 adults and 100 nymphs from .5cm to 3/4 full grown and I put in about the equivalent of 2 slices of banana and 1 tablespoon of roach mix plus around 50 grams of asst'd other fresh food items along with a fortified water replacement gel equal to an ice cube in size. I hate throwing out all the leftovers and since there is so much leftover I have to change it in less than 24 hours time or it starts looking bad.
    To simplify, how much should 100 adult roaches (dubia and orange head) eat in a 24 hour period and what is the consensus on the best type of protein (considering using beans, nuts, or dry pet food for cats/dogs but am open to suggestions) ?
  10. JoeDigiorgio

    JoeDigiorgio Avid Member

    Perfect. There you have it.
  11. nightanole

    nightanole Chameleon Enthusiast

    I would look into "cricket crack" formula. if you google dubia crack, you will find my special blend. I will give you this advice, dubia die with high protein diets. The upper protein limit is cricket crack. Infact cricket crack had to be reformulated with a lower protein content to keep dubia colonies from dieing off.
  12. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    @nightanole said...."By definition a gut load is something the bug cant digest and is in the digestive track"...IMHO it's not meant to be stuff that the insect can't digest but good nutritious food that will benefit the chameleon (and has no bearing on whether the insect can digest it or not). I feed and gutload with the same exact things with the aim of making the insect healthy so the chameleon will be healthy.
  13. nightanole

    nightanole Chameleon Enthusiast

    I break down "gut loads" into 2 categories.

    1) They complete the diet of the feeder. This seems to be what almost all modern gut loads are. The bugs are not lacking any nutrients and are healthy.
    2) Old school gut loads that will kill the feeder after awhile. These are normally high calcium mixes. Most of our feeders have horrible calcium to phosphorus ratios. The sad truth is, if you feed a bug a high calcium diet, you do not get high calcium bugs. You either get less bugs, or dead bugs. Calcium is a poison to insects. So thats what we do, we feed them a high calcium mix, which is impossible to digest, it stuffs them up since its not going to come out the other end, and we have an internally powdered bug for the cham.

    Keep that last sentence in your mind. What goes in one end of an animal, is either going to get; oxidized, stored, or come out the other end undigested.
    The bug will extract the vits and minerals from the food, and break down the harder to digest stuff later. So its that Goldilocks time when the bug has extracted the goodies, but hasnt oxidized them. That is what the cham gets out of the gut load. Anything else just end up coming out the other end of the cham along with the chitin.

    Regardless of what you feed an insect, if you grind it up with an empty stomach, all the same samples of the same species will be the same. A cricket can be raises off of cornmeal or $100 a pound "gut load", feed the samples 2-3 days of just water(or remove the digestive track), and they will all have the same nutritional profile.

    A starved meal/super worm and a "full" worm will have a 10% weight variance, so up to 10% of a worms weight can be "gut load". Who knows what the dry weight of the gut load is. A cricket/dubia is i believe 25%.

    So for your high calcium diet you are feeding your feeders, 10-25% of it could be entering your cham as gut load. Going over the math, an "unloaded cricket as a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:4. A cricket feed a high calcium diet, the highest without killing it within 48 hours(8-10% calcium), can have a ratio of 1:2. Crickets fed 15% calcium diets die within a few days. A healthy reptile needs to be fed a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:1-2:1.

    So your high calcium "gut load" is doing something, its providing up to half of the calcium needed to make your feeders "proper".
    JoeDigiorgio likes this.
  14. kinyonga

    kinyonga Chameleon Enthusiast

    Gutloading...obviously you have a different definition of gutloading than I do.

    "Gut loading simply means feeding the crickets nutritious foods so that the nutrition is passed on to your pet"... It says nothing about being something the insect can't digest.

    "By providing the prey animals with a high quality diet prior to feeding, they become a more nutritious meal for thepredator".... again says nothing about being something the insect can't digest.

    I don't feed/gutload to change the calcium levels of the insect...I feed to try to have healthy insects. I dust to correct the calcium levels.
    JoeDigiorgio likes this.
  15. JoeDigiorgio

    JoeDigiorgio Avid Member

    Yea I think the most important take always here are:

    A. An insect does NOT store what it doesn't need.

    B. When a gut load is discussed in terms of insect diet rather than short term gut packing, the goal is not to alter the insect's composition in favor of the consumer, it is to ensure the insect is not deprived of anything it otherwise needs for itself. Essentially you are just making it the very best roach or cricket or superworm it can be, but remember it can only be as good as its biology allows it to be.

    I think these two points are often lost on people who are researching gut loads and what to use for them.
  16. JoeDigiorgio

    JoeDigiorgio Avid Member

    This is well put. I didn't know the weight gains had been calculated like that. That's good info to have in your pocket.

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