Vivarium Animals feeding guide
1- Super worms :
- How to Care for Your Super Worms
scoop on Zophobus morio
Super Worm Factoids
Origin : Central and South America
Size : Two inches
Temperature : Room temp fine
Foods : Any grain or cereal -- keep dry but …
Add Water Source
Carrot, potato, apple
Container : Any slick sided container with a cover
Culture Medium : Bran works best
Feed to … : Lizards, hedgehogs, birds, fish, turtles
Biggest Threats : Cannibalism, mice, ants, mold
Breeding Comments : Hard to breed
Lots of superworms -- and that's just the top.
Origin. Frankly, I don’t know where these feisty “worms” originally came from exactly. I can narrow it down to Central and South America. Happily, they are readily available commercially.
Un-Worms. First, superworms are really insects – the larval form of a chunky beetle. Excuse us for calling them worms. But, gee, mom, everyone else does it.
uperworms grow much larger than regular mealworms.
As superworms grow, they shed their skins.
Softer and tastier at this stage.
Size. :Superworms weigh in at a hefty two inches long. You will not feed these guys to small lizards. You can get a good idea of their size from their picture.
Biters. :Don’t toss a raft of these guys in with your lizard regardless of size. These guys can bite. They’ll bite your lizard (and you) – especially if you overfeed. Superworms even gnaw their way out of those hard plastic cups they are sold in. They start chewing on one of the pin-sized air holes and make it large enough to wriggle out of.
Feeding Technique. : If you just toss your superworms into your lizard tank, they will burrow into your lizard’s substrate and “bug” your hungry lizard later. Put them into a slick-sided container with sides too high for them to clamber out of – sort of a lizard buffet.
Super "worms" shed their skins as they grow larger.
Recently shed superworms are softer and less bitey.
Critter cages like these successfully hold hundreds of superworms.
Recent Instars. Superworms that just finished “molting” are softer and easier to chew. Doubting Thomas? Try a test bite or two.
Increase Their Nutrition. You can successfully keep your superworms in the original medium they came in. But before you feed them to your critter of choice, you may want to gut load them or as the Governator says “We will plump them up.” Put them in a small container with a highly nutritious food – any of the cricket gut loading foods will work. We use chicken egg-laying mash. You cannot dust them like crickets because of their Teflon-like exoskeleton.
Housing. Any kind of slick-sided container with a ventilated top will work. A tightly sealed lid runs up the humidity and encourages mold.
Plain ol' bran works best for us. You can give them many different media to live in.
Culture Medium. We tried some different media and finally came back to plain old bran. Superworms, eat, hide in, and breed in their media. It will probably last two months before they totally consume it.
Carrots make an excellent water source for superworms.
Nutritional Content :
Protein : 19.06%
Fat : 14.19%
Moisture : 61.92%
Calcium : 173 ppm
Water Source.: We prefer carrots as their water source. Without the carrots, they devour each other for moisture. You find a lot of dried heads with no bodies attached. Potatoes and apples also work but not as well. Apples seem to increase the humidity too high.
You can scoop your super worms sans medium if you use a scoop with the right size holes.
Capturing. Catching superworms one at a time is time-consuming but it will help you learn that they bite. Use a colander with the right size holes to “separate the worms from the chaff” so to speak. Drop them into a non-chewable container and feed them out as needed.
When you lift up their opaque cover, you'll find where your superworms hang out.
Capturing Hint. If you leave something opaque on the surface, many of your superworms will congregate immediately below its surface. They do not like the light and prefer to spend most of their time below the surface of their media.
August 16, 2005. Separate out individual superworms and they will pupate.
August 27, 2005. First pupa emerges
August 28, 2005. More are making the change to pupae.
Pupa Comments. You actually have to force superworms to pupate. Otherwise, they remain larvae. The ones that curl up (above) tend to pupate successfully in a couple of weeks. Some people use those tubes film comes in You gotta punch a small hole in it. Add a bit of bran and check every so often. We use that 24-section tackle box above. It costs $3 and lets you see all your potential pupae with a minimum of effort. Separating the individual larvae protects the pupae from their cannibalistic brethren.
Pupae develop into beetles that redden over time. They need a bit of moisture at this time.
Beetle Comments. Your pupae will convert to beetles in another week or two. These beetles are the breeders of your next generation. Each mama beetle lays hundreds of eggs. I’ve never counted them so I can’t give you an exact number. They lay eggs in your media for at least two months.
Last Word. Few people want to breed their own superworms. However, now you know how it’s done.
- Breeding Superworms: A guide to raising and breeding superworms :
Choose the largest superworms possible and place a single worm into an empty 35mm film container. I’ve found film containers work best as they require very little space. Due to the digital era they are becoming harder to find but I’ve always had good luck at the Wal-Mart and Costco photo centers. If you can’t get them you can always use plastic bead boxes for crafts, baby food jars etc.
In today’s economy we are all searching for ways to save money. Breeding your own feeders is one of the best ways. For the past several years I’ve been breeding superworms for all my geckos. It’s a fairly simple process and with some time and patience you can raise your own feeders.
Stages of life :
Superworms have 4 stages of life: egg, larva, pupae and beetle. The beetles are the only ones that reproduce. Breeding superworms is very similar to that of mealworms but with one difference. They will need to be separated individually so they can pupate. If you keep them together you will never obtain beetles to start another generation. Superworms grow slowly and it can take 5 months or longer (depending on the temperature you keep them at) to become large enough to start the “morphing” process. Pupation is an essential process and the only way to obtain beetles for breeding. I keep all stages of superworms at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leave the superworm in the empty film container with no food or water. Adding food or water to the film container prolongs the time it takes them to pupate and makes a bigger workload for you. As long as they are very large larva you should have very few to no deaths.
After several days the worms will become dormant and begin curling to a letter “c” or “e”. This is the start of the morphing process. Any superworms that are straight looking, hard or black are probably dead. The process from larva to pupae takes 1 to 2 weeks.
Once the worm has pupated it will look like a white or cream colored “alien” as most people call them. This is their third stage of life. You can either leave them in the film container or place them all in a separate container. I remove mine and place them in a separate container as it saves space and then you can start another larva in the film container. When their legs turn darker in color you’ll know a beetle is about to emerge. The process from pupae to beetle takes about 2 weeks.
Superworm beatles :
Before removing these beetles you need to put together a new breeding container. I use trays that are (14” x 10” x 3.5”). You can use really any type of container such as Rubbermaid and Sterilite but I’ve found cat litter pans to be most effective. Add about 1 inch of wheat bran or a pre-made gutload to the bottom of the container. The beetles will eat and lay their eggs in this. Try not to use coarse bedding such as oats unless you blend it to a powder. This will make it easier to separate the superworms later for cleaning or feeding your animals. In one corner I add a small piece of egg crate so the beetles have a place to gather. Otherwise they may wander through the container digging up eggs and eating them. You may now move the beetles to this container. Offer potatoes, carrots, fruits or water crystals as a water source. Moisture is extremely important for the beetles just as it is for the superworms themselves. A lack of moisture will result in beetles preying on eggs, newly hatched babies and other beetles.
About every 2 to 4 weeks (depending on how many beetles you have in one container) remove the beetles from the bedding and place them in a fresh container as described above. This allows the eggs to hatch and furthers your chances of obtaining more babies. If the beetles are left they will prey on the eggs and possibly the newly hatched larva. The newly hatched worms could do the same with each other. Adult beetles can live up to 5 months with a female laying nearly 500 eggs in her lifetime.
Raising baby superworms :
The key to hatching is heat and most importantly moisture. For the babies I keep the temperature around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Add small chunks or slices of potato, carrot, apples etc on the bedding surface. This will provide moisture for the newly hatched babies. Once the babies grow larger you can use water crystals if you wish.
That’s it, you’ve bred superworms!
Congratulations! You have now successfully completed your first breeding cycle. It will take time before your colony is established but once it is you’ll have a continuous supply of superworms!
Breeding Superworms: Quick Step By Step
How To Breed Superworms (Best Method)
Superworm breeding the easy way
Superworm breeding the easy way
- How to breed Blaptica Dubia cockroaches
Dubia roaches are one of the most popular livefoods for exotic pet keepers to breed. They are a tropical, livebearing species from Central and South America, and make an excellent staple food for most insectivorous pets. Unlike some other species of cockroach, they are not a pest species and require tropical temperatures to breed. This species is also unable to fly, jump, or climb smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic and if kept correctly, their culture should not smell. Females give birth to 20-40 nymphs every month, making them a very productive feeder.
Culturing Blaptica dubia :
The most common method of housing Dubia roaches is a large plastic storage box with a tightly fitting lid. A soldering iron or drill can be used to make a large number of holes in the plastic lid to prevent condensation and increase airflow.
Inside the tub, you will need areas for your roaches to hide. The easiest way to achieve this is to use cardboard egg trays, which are often available for free from your local grocers or supermarket. These cardboard flats provide a large surface area, which accomodates many roaches, and if stacked vertically, allows the frass (cockroach waste) to fall to the bottom of the tub.
A small heat mat recommended for reptiles and amphibians should be placed under the roach tub to provide heat. These are usually low wattage and are inexpensive to run. Dubia roaches breed well when the temperature of the tub is kept between 29-35°C, which can be controlled with the use of a thermostat, ensuring the culture box does not get too hot or cold. Alternatively, the culture box can be placed in a warm area of your home, such an an airing cupboard, or on top of a heating vivarium.
Two small containers should be added to the tub, one to hold dry food and another for water gel or fresh vegetable matter. Plastic takeaway tubs work well for this, although the smooth sides can make it difficult for Dubia roaches to climb, so it is recommended to use sandpaper to rough up the surface.
When it comes to adding roaches, more is better. They will breed faster when kept in higher concentrations, but as a minimum aim to start with at least 25+ adult females, and 10+ males. As the culture grows, you can feed the males to your insectivorous animals.
Dubia cockroaches will eat a wide range of food, although it is recommended to keep the diet varied to ensure they get a balance of nutrients needed for successful breeding and, ultimately, to transfer to any insectivorous animals that you feed them to.
Dry foods, including cereal, oats, crushed dog food, cat food, fish flakes and chicken layer pellets make up the bulk of the diet, as they are cheap and easy to feed, requiring very little maintenance. If the culture box is well ventilated, these shouldn't become mouldy, and you will only need to add more as it is eaten.
fruit and vegetables, such as potato and carrot peelings, apple slices and orange segments can be offered, both for nutrition and as a water source, however these will foul quickly if not eaten, and will need to be removed after a few days to prevent mould growth.
Water can also be provided using water gel crystals (Polyacrylamide gel), which are commonly used for invertebrates, as they can drown in standing water. Water gel will become fouled with waste from the culture, but will not mould like fresh vegetable matter.
Established cultures of Blaptica dubia are common in the exotic pet hobby, despite high prices for starter cultures online. Ask around to see if a few helpful keepers will send you some spare adults from their cultures to get you started.
Many other feeder roaches can be kept in this manner, including Discoids (Blaberus discoidalis) and Lobster cockroaches (Nauphoeta cinerea).
If you require further information about Blaptica dubia or this article, please email me:
How To Care/Breed Dubia Roaches- ClassyHerps
How I breed my Dubia Roaches
24″x16″x18″ Vivarium/Glass tank
60 Watt bulb
Laying trays (I used the plastic boxes which live food come in from the pet store)
Also We recommend this website :
3 - Locusts :
How to Breed Locusts
Variety is key in feeding your reptiles, frogs, and other small animals, so why not try some locusts? If you have bought locusts before, you should know they are quite pricey to buy weekly. Learning how to breed locusts will save you hundreds of dollars a year if you have the time for it. This easy method will show you how you can set up a locust breeding colony with just a few supplies, locusts, and days.
Locusts Care :
Locusts should be kept in an enclosure with very little humidity. If you can provide a screen top for the enclosure, it will help ventilate the area well to keep the humidity down. You should also keep the temperatures between 84 – 89 °F throughout the enclosure. Some people say they like it really hot and have bred and kept locusts in temperatures in the 90″s °F, but a safe temperature in my opinion ranges from the mid 80’s to the high 80’s. For hides, egg crates will do just fine.
A good diet is key in raising healthy locusts. Remember, the food that your locusts eat will be the food that your pets eat, so you want to make sure you choose a locust diet that is high in protein. You should also feed healthy vegetables to hydrate your locusts. Some people use water bowls for hydration, but it is known that water bowls tend to drown some locusts which is why it is not recommended to use them. Safe vegetables are collared greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens.
Sexing Locusts – Male to Female :
It is very hard to tell the gender of locusts until their color starts to change. The below picture illustrates a pre-adult locust which is about to reach sexual maturity. The color in pink. At this stage, they will not breed just yet.
Pre-Adult Pink Locust, photo by James
Male’s locust that have become sexually mature turn a very bright and vivid yellow like in the picture below.
Male Locust, photo by James
Finally, the female locust when sexually mature, turns into a brown/beige color.
Female Locust, photo by James
Locusts will breed on their own inside their enclosure, as long as you include some laying bins. Laying bins will be where your locusts will inject their eggs. To setup a laying bin, all you need is a plastic container and some sand/dirt. The laying bin should be about your hand size in length and 1/3 of your hand size in depth. The depth is important, because it needs to be deep enough for your locusts to inject eggs into it. Before your place the laying bin into the enclosure, make sure the sand/dirt is moistened with water and is placed into the container loosely. Do not pack the sand/dirt into the bin tightly. Make it somewhat loose so your locusts can inject the eggs into the substrate easily. You should also leave about an inch or two of space from the top of the bin to allow the locusts to emerge easily out of the substrate when they hatch.
Once you place the containers into the enclosure, the locusts will take care of the rest. After about a day or two, you should see holes scattered across the bin. Each hole has an egg pod which can contain anywhere from 10 – 40 eggs. Each female can lay up to 3 pods ranging from every 5 or 10 – 15 days (during autumn). Each pod will have emerging locusts within 7 – 10 days from when the eggs were laid. So once you see eggs in the containers, get them out, place a lid on the container and put them somewhere warm (82 – 86 °F). Once you see locusts emerging from the holes, you can then place the container in a different enclosure and release the lid. They will all normally start to emerge within that day or two. It’s best to house the babies and adults separately.
Incubating Locust Eggs
As mentioned above, you should incubate the eggs in a closed bin somewhere warm. If you live somewhere cold, you can easily make an incubator yourself using a heat pad and an insulation box. Make sure the temperatures stay between 82 – 86 °F in the incubator. If you do not have any lids, you can easily use cling film for your containers. Failure to do so, will result in a BIG surprise when you open up your incubator.
Locust Egg Incubation, photo by James
We recommend to follow this website to farm your own live food at home :
How To Breed Locusts Successfully (cheap and easy)
How to breed locusts
- Breeding Dubia Roaches :
courtesy to : www.clubfauna.com/
Breeding dubia roaches is very easy which is why most reptile and amphibian keepers breed them rather than other roach species. Below is a very easy way to start your own colony of dubia roaches for your reptiles and frogs at home. Once your colony gets started, you will have an endless amount of feeders (for free).
-3 Rubbermaid Containers (1 for adult dubia roaches, 1 for juveniles, and 1 for babies)
-Vinyl Mesh (to convert Rubbermaid container into ventilation)
-Scissors to cut the vinyl mesh
-Hot glue gun to glue vinyl mesh to cover.
-Clear Packaging Tape (to not allow roaches to climb container)
-Egg Crate for climbing and adding space
-Food Dishes with dubia roach diet
-Water Dishes with Water Crystals or fruit
-Heat (Heat Lamp, heat tape, etc…)
-A good amount of dubia roaches. Buy 100 dubia roaches here
Dubia Roach Care :
Follow the directions on how to care for dubia roaches here on this dubia roach care article. You are going to want to keep the environment the same as you would just carrying for them. If your dubia roaches are kept at temperatures below 80 °F, you might want to bump up the temperature using a heat lamp, heat tape, or etc… The higher the temperatures, the more active your dubia roaches will be. The cooler the temperature, the harder it will be to breed your dubia roaches. Try to keep the temperatures between 80 °F – 90°F if you can. You will see great success with these temperatures.
Baby Dubia Roach Care :
Once you start breeding dubia roaches, you will have what we call nymphs (baby dubia roaches). Nymphs can climb uneven surfaces and can sometimes even climb up smooth surfaces like a sterilite tote, making a lid a necessity. If you want to stop them from climbing, get your clear packaging tape and apply a single line 3/4 of the way up the container. Make the line going horizontally all the way around the entire container. This will make the wall very slick, slick enough to stop your nymphs from climbing up to the top. The last thing you want are escapes.
Humidity & Hydration :
Humidity levels should be around 50 – 60% for successful breeding. You can easily reach these percentages by adding a bottled water to the container with a few holes punched into the top and by spraying down the sides of the enclosure from time to time. Even though dubia roaches like their environment humid, you still need ventilation. Ventilation will help keep the enclosure smelling somewhat clean and will help keep mold and bacteria from growing. Too much humidity can cause bacteria to grow and can sometimes even attract mites. Most plastic tubs come with plastic covers. You will have to modify the plastic cover in order to provide ventilation. You can do this easily by cutting a hole in the cover, at least 8”x8” and hot-glue some vinyl mesh over the opening.
Hydration can be done by providing water crystals or fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to feed more vegetables than fruits though. Vegetables are more nutritional for your roaches and pets than fruit. Make sure to remove any uneaten fruit and vegetables every other day. Left over food can make the enclosure smell bad.
A good diet is the key in raising healthy dubia roaches. Remember, the food that your roaches eat will be the food that your pets eat. So you want to make sure you choose a roach diet that is high in protein. Oranges are said to help speed up the breeding process, but try not to over-feed oranges as it is high in citrus and is not the best type of food that you want your pets eating.
How to Tell the Gender of Your Dubia Roaches:
Male Dubia Roaches – Have fully developed wings and are smaller in size.
Female Dubia Roaches – Have underdeveloped wings and are larger in size.
Baby Dubia Roaches (Nymphs) – Have no wings and are tiny in size. Be careful, baby dubia roaches can climb most surfaces that are uneven.
Breeding Dubia Roaches :
Here are a few rules that you might want to remember:
You’ll want to have 3 to 5 females for every male in your colony for breeding purposes.
Females give live birth anywhere from 20 to 35 nymphs after having carried the eggs to gestation (28 days) in a process known as ovoviviparity. They will do this every two months.
It takes 3 – 5 months for nymphs to reach maturity to start breeding.
Dubia roaches live for about 1 – 2 years. Females usually live longer than males.
You are going to want to start off with about 100 – 200 roaches. This amount will give you enough to breed and to feed off to some of your animals. You should start off with at least 50 adult dubia roaches. The rest should be close to the size of adults, but not adults yet. Normally, you will get a few females already pregnant, so you might see nymphs on week 1 of getting the roaches. You don’t have to do much to get the process going, just make sure they are somewhere warm.
You should have three Rubbermaid containers ready for your roaches. The reason for three containers is to sort out your dubia roaches in an organized way. In one container, you should keep your adult dubia roaches (do not feed these to your animals). In the second container, you should have the pre-adult roaches so you can grow and feed some off to your animals. The third container, you should have ready for your baby dubia roaches (nymphs) for when they start to show up. Keeping your colony separate and organized like this will allow you to know which roaches are new, which are old, which you can feed off, and etc. You can have more containers if you choose to take your organizing skills to another level, but three is usually enough.
Once you see nymphs running around, you can separate them easily using buckets as described in the video below.
If you want to see what baby dubia roaches (nymphs) will look like when they are born, check out the video below. The white color will be what they look like right when they hatch. They will become darker once they start eating and molting.
Dubia Roaches Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Do dubia roaches fly?
They can glide and fly short distances. However, they don’t do it often.
- Do dubia roaches bite?
Anything with a mouth can, but dubia roaches will not bite you if you handle them. Don’t worry.
- Do dubia roaches eat each other?
Yes, if food supply is short.
- Do dubia roaches need light?
No, no special lighting is necessary.
- Do dubia roaches need heat?
If you want an active colony of roaches, then yes. But dubia roaches need a minimum of 68 °F
- Do dubia roaches smell?
No, the only thing that will give off a smell would be the left over food.
- Do dubia roaches make noise?
No, unlike crickets, they do not chirp or make any sounds.
- Can dubia roaches infest my house?
If some escape, they wont be able to breed. It is too cold and dry for them.
- How do you sex dubia roaches?
Male Dubia Roaches – Have fully developed wings and are smaller in size.
- Female Dubia Roaches – Have underdeveloped wings and are larger in size.
Other photos , artccles and disscusions about Locusts breeding as a live food :
1- Ok so I got an old fish tank from my girlfriend yesterday and I set to work making it into a breeding tank for my locusts. I finished at about 5 this evening and put my adult locusts in and about 20 miutes ago noticed the female was trying to burrow in to the polysterene so I moved her onto one of the pots she moved over to the other one and then began to lay eggs. I was amazed, anyway here are a few pictures of my setup and I hope to be able to say I have some babies soon.
courtesy to : www.reptileboards.com/
2- I just wanted to show off my setup.
I get this breeding cage off a lovely couple on Freecycle, so it obviously cost me nothing so far. It's 3ft long, 2ft high and 1.5ft deep. It is split in to 2 1.5ft wide sections, each with space for a bulb. It's plexi glass front and top with mesh on the back and sides (very small mesh) with a larger spaced mesh bottom for waste to fall through. Each side has a pull out tray to collect waste.
The centre dividing mesh can be removed to make it one large cage.
The tops have locks on to prevent the kids getting in to it.
Also supplied was 2 plexi glad slides that can cover the large mesh so hatchlings won't be escaping downwards.
Now for the pictures.
The whole setup, I need a new bulb holder for the left hand side so currently only using the one side. Seeing as I've not ordered the bulk locust to start breeding, I've only got a few xl locust to feed off.
I will be getting some egg crate from the bar I help out at, and some plastic pint glasses for laying in.
- Breeding and keeping Locust :
Locusts are a fantastic feeder insect for any reptile or large invertebrate, providing much more nutrition than other livefood, such as crickets or mealworms. They are the largest live food source in captivity, with adults reaching in excess of 8cm, and an ability to take long flight. Not only is the size of these attractive to predators, but also the bright yellow wing case an abdomen, making a perfect treat for large chameleons or geckos.
Rearing Locusts :
Locusts are huge eaters, and will eat most of what is put in for them. However, the best food types would be vegetation, such as cabbage remains, old leaves of fruit or branches, and various other vegetable matter. You can also purchase pre-made formulae, which contains various mixed up foods, ground into a powder. Dry food such as cornflakes, oats and biscuits can also be fed.
Locusts must be kept in a dry enclosure, with humidity at a minimum. Damp conditions can cause the locusts to die of mould or fungal infection.
Feeding is very similar to crickets. They need to be provided with a good supply of dry foods, "bug grub" is an insect feeder that has a mixture of ingredients designed to be fed to insects so that they have a good gut content and provide ample nutrients to your pets. Alternative foods can be used such as bran, weetabix, digestives and bread. Fruits such as grapes, apples or vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage provide extra vitamins and moisture. If moist foods are available on a regular basis then a water dish is not really needed.
Breeding is relatively easy
If you are wanting to breed your own locust them all that's needed is a 4 inch deep dish filled with silver sand or sharp sand. The sand should be kept moist by wetting it and adding a few drops of water each day, you don't want the sand wet though, just moist.
The female locust will position herself over the sand dish and push her back end in to it to deposit up to 200 eggs. Keep if your tank is the correct temperature then the locusts will emerge after 10 - 12 days.
The young can be fed on the same material as the adults and will go through several (5) instar moultings before becoming adult - you'll probably have used them by this time though!
Temperature & Humidity:
Keep locusts at a temperature of 20 - 30C and in a dry atmosphere to prevent fungal infections.
Locust Breeding Set-up ..