When you raise your pet reptiles in captivity, it can be difficult to fulfill their dietary and nutritional needs. Think back 25 years when there were only minimal types and amount of food available for reptiles.
But now, the market is filled with so many different feeder insects. One of the most talked-about feed for your pet reptiles is the horn worms. Horn worms come packed with a heap of nutrients and calories. If you are planning to raise hornworms to feed your reptiles, there are specific care and maintenance instructions that you must follow.
To start with, here are the basics of how to raise healthy hornworms to feed your pet reptiles.
Raising Hornworms in Different Stages
Maintaining the Larva
The hornworm is the larval stage of moths belonging to the Sphingidae family. An adult moth’s wingspan can reach up to five inches. If you are going to raise horn worms to feed your reptiles, you should learn about their lifecycle. And the first stage of the life cycle is the larvae.
When you order larvae, you will get them in plastic cups along with the substrate. Though the larvae can survive in the same cups for a few days, you should soon transfer them to different containers. The horn worm’s larvae grow fast in a shorter time. The life cycle of the worms lasts about four to five weeks.
The substrates already present in the containers you received will be sustainable for one larva to transform into the pupa stage. If you have transferred them to individual containers, feed each larva with one teaspoon of the substrate and keep increasing it by one teaspoon daily until they mature.
Alternately, you can also house the larvae in plants.
Maintaining the Pupae
Once the larva matures to pupae, you can house them in flight cages or other containers. It will take one to three weeks for it to transform into adults. The larva required underground spaces to transform. You can develop a simulated underground chamber to accommodate them.
Once the pupa turns to dark brown or black color, it means it is now mature. This process takes seven to eight days to mature. Once done, place the pupae in ventilated chambers or flight cages. Within one to three weeks, the adults will emerge.
You do not have to feed them during the pupae stage.
Maintaining the Moths
Before the pupae transform into moths, you have to place the full-formed pupa in ventilated containers or flight cages. Place them at room temperature and keep them exposed to the usual day and night cycle.
Make sure the cage has a vertical surface for the moth to climb and cling to. If you fail to provide this, then its wings may crumble, holding them back from flying. The adult moths emerge in seven to fourteen days.
Just mix two spoons of brown or white sugar in a cup of water. Soak cotton balls in sugar water and place them in a shallow dish inside the flight cage.
If you want to feed your pet reptiles some treats and not spend much time in maintenance, you can blindly go for horn worms. If you raise them in proper conditions without any setbacks, they will make an excellent meal for your pet.