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 The 7 Best Live Feeders for insectivorous reptiles 

BSFL   Silkworms  |  Hornworms  |  Butterworms  |  Waxworms  |  Superworms  |  Live Crickets  |  Mealwowrms  |  Frozen Mice

Live Feeders

I am Annie Brenner 'The Worm Lady'. I breed, raise and supply Live Feeder Insects for Reptile Pets and Exotic Pets.

Here I will list the Top Seven Feeders in order of nutrional value, from #1 being the best down to #7 being the lowest, for your insectivorous Exotics, and explain why I feel all of these are necessary and advantageous, when fed in a balanced proportion, to achieve a balanced and healthy diet for your reptile pets.

#1.Black Soldier Fly larva

Black Soldier Fly larva (BSFL) sold as:'ReptiWorms', 'Phoenix Worms' and Calci Worms' are the NUMBER ONE 'Superior Calcium-Rich' live feeder for most insectivore reptile and exotic pets, especially for bearded dragons, chameleons, etc. as they need a 2:1 ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous for optimum health, which ONLY the BSFL grubs can provide.

No other live feeder, anywhere, can give your bearded dragon this almost perfect 2:1 Calcium to Phosphorous ratio, which helps to prevent metabolic bone disease and at the same time prevents vitamin D3 overdosing which can cause calcification of the kidneys and liver, sometimes causing premature death of your dragon. All other larvae and insects have too high a ratio of Phosphorous to Calcium making them less desirable than the 'BSFL', and also the Silkworm.

These grubs are actually the larva of the 'black soldier fly' and have been studied for decades by a scientist at the University of Georgia who was awarded the first ever US registered trademark: 'Phoenix Worm', for any live feeder insect. Dr Craig Sheppard, University of Georgia entomologist and the developer of this unique new feeder insect, developed a non-food substrate which helps to preserve the larvae in a sealed container for weeks with no food or any care requirement, making them a preferred 'maintenece-free' live feeder by reptile pet owners all over North-America. This patented sytem insures that you have a maintenance-free Calcium-Rich Live Feeder (no feeding or cleaning is ever required to keep them alive for several weeks when kept cool - the fridge door top shelf is an ideal temperature at about 50F).


Silkworms are definitely a great feeder for reptiles, second only to the 'ReptiWorm', since they provide so much nutritional value.
Since silkworms are soft bodied live feeders, there is no worry of impaction in small or young exotics. Silkworms are a high source of Calcium, Protein, Iron, Magnesium, Sodium, and Vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

Because of their high calcium content, silkworms are especially great for gravid females since they help ensure strong and healthy eggs/offspring.
Considering their excellent nutritional value, high protein, iron and magnesium levels, low fat content, and ease of keeping, silkworms are now building a strong demand and should be a part of every exotic’s regular diet of live feeder insects for a balanced diet.

Silkworms have the lowest fat and phosphorous content with the highest protein content, out of the five most popular live feeders (Silkworms, Mealworms, Waxworms, Butterworms and Crickets). One or two Silkworms will give your Exotic Pet a very nutritious and balanced meal.

Silkworms also contain an enzyme called serrapeptase which has many beneficial properties: it is an excellent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, it aids calcium absorption, and it also fights arterial plaque!!


Like the silkworm, hornworms have no chitin or exoskeleton so they are easy to digest and there is no worry about impaction in your juvenile reptile pets. When horn worms are fed their proper diet (our tan-coloured horn worm chow special recipe), they possess a healthy nutritional content of: 9% Protein, 3.07% Fat, 46.4mg/100g Calcium, and 85% Moisture.

Hornworms are hardy, easy to keep, very low maintenance, and are a wonderful feeder to help ensure your exotic's proper hydration. Many bearded dragons will rarely drink water from a dish, since it is unnatural for them to do so, and get badly dehydrated. Hornworms get the job done in hydrating your lizards because they are very high in moisture. The Worm Lady's hornworms will keep up to three weeks (refrigerated at 50-55F) if you get them medium sized (1.25"-2.0" long - in their 3rd instar) and feed them our special hornworm yellow chow.

The Worm Lady's 'Best Top Quality Hornworms' are easily digested and are often used to break a hunger strike, or for recovering reptiles, and are great live feeder insects which should be a part of your exotic’s highly nutritious regular balanced-diet. With their enticing teal colour and black and white stripes that exaggerate their movements, hornworms will be pounced on in no time flat!


SuperWorms are VERY active making them excellent live feeders for animals that love to hunt and chase their prey.

Superworms are readily accepted by lizards, turtles, frogs, salamanders, birds, Koi and all other insect-loving animals. Their hard chitin may make them less suitable for arachnids, some predatory insects, and baby or infant reptiles, since this may cause impaction (and possible death).

Superworms contain less chitin (the stuff your nails are made off - that makes their shells hard) than mealworms do, making superworms easier for your animals to digest than crickets or mealworms.


Butter worms are extremely high in calcium ... more than twice that of most other feeder insects (except for Phoenix Worms in their mature phase - just before they reach the pupa stage). Butter worms are an absolute favorite of Box Turtles, Bearded Dragons, Geckos, and most lizards. They are a good live feeder insect addition for added variety in your exotic's diet. Note: Butterworms are high in fat content and should only be given as a treat, not used as a every day staple feeder.

Butterworms can be stored for up to 4 months in a refrigerator at 40-50° F, about 5-10° C, and require no maintenance, nor need any feeding or any special care whatsoever, making them one of the easiest live feeders to keep and feed to your pets.
THey are a great worm to give your reptiles for providing the necessary variety, essential in creating a good balanced diet, for any 'herps' (Bearded dragons, chameleons, geckos, anoles, newts, turtles, frogs, birds, fish, etc.)


Waxworms are a live feeder insect and a favorite treat of bearded dragons, neon tree dragons, geckos, brown anole, three toed box turtle, and amphibians such as frogs, salamanders or newts.
Waxworms are medium-white caterpillars with black-tipped feet and small, black or brown heads. When kept in captivity, they can go a long time without eating, particularly if kept at a cool temperature. Captive wax worms are generally raised on a mixture of cereal grain, bran and honey.

Waxworms are used to rehabilitate rescued or sick reptiles, to fatten them up, and bring them back to a healthy condition.
These are popular since they do not need to be fed, can be kept in the fridge (no lower than 50 degrees) and last for months without any maintenance whatsoever. Their substrate, usually wood shavings, should be kept dry.
Wax worms are a popular common reptile/amphibian food but they should only be fed as a treat since they are high in fat. Think of them as candy bars for your critters!


Crickets are an important food source for many insectivorous animals, such as lizards, tortoises, frogs, salamanders and spiders. They are generally quite inexpensive to buy also making them a favorite of pet owners.
Crickets are composed mainly of ash so they are lower in nutritional value than other common insects, like Phoenix Worms, silkworms, hornworms, superworms and wax worms, as larval insects contain more protein and digestible energy than adult crickets. The cricket's hard chitin is hard to digest, sometimes causing impaction, and occasionally even death of your pet. Smaller crickets are softer and therefore much preferable for feeding your juvenile pets. Always remember this simple rule of thumb; the live feeder cricket should be shorter in length than the space between the eyes of your pet.

Crickets must be dusted with calcium, just before feeding them to your pets, in order to provide some nutritional value and they should never be used as the sole or staple food in the pet's diet.
Live crickets do provide some added variety in the implementation of a balanced and healthy diet for your exotic pets.

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The Worm Lady®

4 Lilac Court, McGregor, Ontario, Canada, N0R 1J0  /  tel; (226) 787-8286


Suppliers/Breeders of high quality live feeders :

ReptiWorms . Silkworms . Hornworms . Butterworms . Waxworms . Superworms . Crickets . Mealworms . Mice & Rats . Red Wigglers, Canadian Night Crawlers


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