Our Reptile Food: Questions & Answers
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Top Quality Feeders
Here at Nature Box Pet Emporium we believe that one of the most important aspects of keeping a pet is it’s food; after all, you are what you eat, right? We go to great lengths to ensure that our customers have the highest quality pet food at the best prices possible. And we continuously work hard to maintain the greatest variety of feeder types in the Denver area.
Rodents – Live and frozen rodents are a nutritionally great, whole, food item for many species of larger frog, lizard, turtle, and in fact is a staple diet of many snakes. A pinkie mouse is only about 5% fat, packed with protein, and that white belly is a goldmine of calcium.
We are proud to be a PACFA licensed facility, and to partner with several other licensed facilities. Our rodents are cleaned and sorted twice a week, given fresh water daily, and provided with the highest quality bedding and food on the market. This means that we are able to provide you with clean, pest free, and extremely healthy feeder (or pet) rodents in a variety of sizes. We offer the domestic mouse and rat, and african soft furred rats regularly. Occasionally we offer african pygmy mice as well.
Crickets - The humble cricket is probably the #1 feeder when it comes to any insectivore, they are easy to gut-load, house and keep alive. At Nature Box Pet Emporium we stock 3 sizes of the domestic house cricket: Small, Medium and Large. Around 2010, a cricket virus struck nearly all American cricket farms, this caused several long time businesses to close. Several changed the type of cricket they produced while even fewer were able to avoid the virus all together. This was only possible with the very best in quarantine procedures, quality control and attention to detail.
Our crickets come from one of the few farms that still produces the Achetus Domesticus (common house cricket) and was never affected by the virus. We order on average 25,000 crickets every single week that are overnighted from the farm to our store. These crickets are kept in spacious enclosures with fresh water available to them at all times and fed a high quality insect diet, so they are ready to be dusted with the appropriate vitamins and fed to your reptile right away! We offer our crickets at individual and bulk pricing.
Roaches - Roaches are quickly becoming a mainstay in the reptile world as they tend to be a more nutritious feeder insect type for many reptiles that have historically been raised on crickets. Roaches typically have more protein (meat), allowing you to feed less quantity to achieve the same nutritional value. They have large stomachs allowing you to gut-load them with all sorts of great things that passes the benefit onto your pet reptile. Also of benefit to the keeper (you!) is the fact they are longer lived then crickets, meaning less die off before your reptile has a chance to eat them, and have less smell then crickets.
At Nature Box Pet Emporium we produce many roaches in house, and partner with a few local insect enthusiasts. Primarily we offer Blaptica Dubia, but a few other exotic types of roach are available including madagascar hissing cockroaches, green banana roaches, giant cave roaches, giant speckled roaches, and discoid roaches.
We love our exotic feeder varieties at Nature Box! Our roaches are fed a high quality insect diet and always have access to water. Because we have our own colonies we can offer very competitive pricing however, at times we may be limited as to what we can sell because we have to keep enough for our groups to reproduce.
Flightless Fruit Flies - Fruit flies are one of the best foods for any micro sized amphibian, reptile, or insect. They are the diet of choice for most poison dart frogs. The cultures they grow in are able to sustain themselves for weeks at a time producing a consistent supply of food for your pet.
At Nature Box Pet Emporium we produce most of our own cultures on site, and partner with several local insect enthusiasts. We believe that the cultures we offer are superior to others for several reasons; our cultures are made with a mold inhibiting media that we produce ourselves, we include more media which means a longer life for your culture, our cultures are seeded with more flies to ensure your colony will not fail, and we include a generous amout of ‘fly fluff’, the media that the flies live in to ensure they don’t get overcrowded.
We consistently supply two different types of Flightless Fruit Flies in 32oz cultures, the Drosophila Melanogaster (small flies) and the Drosophila Hydei (large flies). Occasionally available is the turkish glider 32oz, a more active, gliding species of fruit fly.
Bean Beetles - Like fruit flies, these tiny little beetles are great for any small, or juvenile, reptile or amphibian. They are about the same size as a D. Hydei fruit fly and they live and feed solely on beans making them super easy to house in between feedings.
We are happy to produce our own cultures of these beetles on site. We offer 24oz, pest free colonies of beetles that will continue to produce feeder insects for 2-4 weeks. Bean beetles are great for providing environmental enrichment and variety in diet to any small, captive kept reptile, amphibian, or insect.
Super Worms - Are a great choice of daily feeder worm as they are very active, inspiring your pet to give chase. They range in size from 1.5" to 2.5" in length and have large stomachs allowing them to be gut-loaded, passing on the benefits of that nutrition to your pet. Turtles, large fish, bearded dragons, skinks, and many more adult animals do very well with superworms added to their diet.
We order our worms from a farm that has been in business for 30+ years, they have the best quality worms that we have been able to find. We keep our worms in large tubs with high quality insect diet, fresh greens, and organic bedding. They are sold cupped in quantities of 12 to 50 and can be housed in their cups for a month or more as long as the food source lasts and they are kept hydrated. A small piece of apple, potato, or cube of cricket water works well. Just be careful about over watering, a wet culture will spoil. Do NOT refrigerate.
Meal Worms - Mealworms vary in length from 1/4" to 1" and are great for most smaller ground geckos, lizards, amphibians, and fish. In combination with other feeder types and properly gut loaded the meal Worm is a great feeder insect choice. They cannot climb so when placed in a small glass or ceramic feeding dish they make a readily available food source for your reptile, especially the nocturnal ones that may not be ready to eat during the day.
Our Meal Worms come from the same farm as our Super Worms and come pre packed 50 to a cup. They can be housed in their cups for a month or more at cool temperatures as they enter a dormant state. They can be house for up to a month at room temperature as long as their food source lasts, and they are kept hydrated. A small piece of apple, potato, or cube of cricket water works well. Just be careful about over watering, a wet culture will spoil.
Wax Worms - Waxworms are great, soft bodied grubs that are easily digestible for most species. They tend to be high in fat so should not be fed as a sole source of nutrition, but make a great addition to a varied diet as they have about twice the calcium of other feeder worms. They are great for fattening up a reptile that may have just come out of brumation, mommas, a reptile that may be impacted by metabolic bone disease, or a pet that has not been eating as much as it should.
Wax Worms are packaged 50 per cup and are kept at cool temperatures to keep them from turning into moths. When you are ready to feed them, simply take a few from the container and let them get to room temperature which will get them moving again.
Silkworms and Hornworms - Silkworms and hornworms are nutritious, soft-bodied caterpillars that stimulate picky eaters and provide a good source of moisture to avoid dehydration. They are an easy-to-keep staple and can be helpful in rehabilitation One fully grown hornworm has the mass of approximately 20 crickets, making it an excellent bang for your buck. The silkworm is not quite as large as the hornworm making it a little more versatile for smaller species.
We package ours in easy to harvest cultures, or they can be bought singly and fed immediately. Never feed hornworms from your garden as they may be toxic from eating tomato plant leaves.
Red worms/earthworms – Nutritious prey item packed with vitamins, including A and E, that most amphibians, skinks, land turtles, and many more will devour with gusto. Axolotls especially love worms. They come in a variety of sizes and can be chopped up for consumption by smaller species.
We sell red wigglers in 50 count cups and earthworms, in small and large sizes, in 12 and 15 count cups that the worms can be housed in for a month or more at cool temperatures.
Phoenix worms - Phoenix worms, sometimes called calci-worms, are a fairly new food item that has been sold commercially for the past five years. These black soldier fly larvae are raised on a grain based diet and have more available calcium than any other feeder due to the 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio. For this reason they are an excellent food for hatchlings, fast growing species, mommas, and reptiles that may be impacted by metabolic bone disease. Bearded dragons relish them and do very well with these as a staple food source. The worms at their smallest size are a great food source for very small amphibians and baby lizards as they are bite sized and very wiggly, stimulating appetites.
Availability of this food item tends to be better in the summer months. We prepackage these in cups of moist mulch that they can be housed in for a couple weeks before feeding.
Feeder lizards – Live lizards including some species of anole and gecko are a staple diet for some snakes and can be a fun occasional addition to the diet of some larger amphibians and lizards. They can also be useful in scenting frozen rodents for a picky snake. They are active and offer stimulation to the reptiles they are fed to.
Our feeder lizards are housed in naturalistic terrariums to reduce stress and illness, always have access to water, and are fed a varied diet themselves so they are sure to offer the best nutrition for your pet.
Fish – Live fish including minnows, guppies, and goldfish are one of those important whole food sources, as opposed to cut up pieces of seafood, and can be a good occasional addition to the diet of many aquatic and semi aquatic reptiles and amphibians. The stimulation of the chase helps to keep aquatic herps active, alert, and healthy and prevent a bored reptile from becoming sedentary. Many larger amphibians such as pacman frogs, bullfrogs, axolotls, and salamanders appreciate a taste of seafood. Some snakes even eat fish as a staple part of their diet.
We house our feeder fish uncrowded in cycled aquariums to reduce stress and illness. They are fed a varied diet fo commercial fish foods, frozen and fresh foods, and occasionally live insect larvae to ensure they are as nutritious as possible for your aquatic pet.
Salad – For our own animals we mix organic greens and other assorted fruits and vegetables in roughly an 80/20 mixture suitable for most vegetable eating reptiles. Supplemented with calcium, D3, multivitamin or plain.
Other Feeders - From time to time we will also have other live feeders including: Soldier ants, springtails, isopods, houseflies, grasshoppers, snails, and shrimp. If you are looking for a feeder that we don’t stock simply Contact Us and we will do our best to get it for you!
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