Butter worms are one of the best variety diets for your reptiles, with these outstanding benefits:
- High calcium and protein content.
- Hard to breed in captivity.
- Can be stored in a refrigerator for a longer time.
- No need to feed them while storing in the refrigerator.
- Costly but forms an admirable diet for the reptiles.
Butter worms, being the natives of Chile, are the larval form of the Chilean Moth. In South America, they are used as fishing bait. Now-a-days butterforms form a variety meal for many pets like fish, birds, small mammals, geckos, box turtles, many lizards and bearded dragons.
Butter worms are reddish yellow in color with bright coloration and fruity smell that attract even the stubborn eaters. As such, they are also known as sweet worms, and since they naturally feed on the Trevo Bush, they are known as trevo worms or tebro worms. Similar to waxworms, they have fat, soft bodies, but they are larger and can range from ½ inch to 1¾ inch in length.
Except in Chile, butter worms are considered as a pest. In Chile before exporting the butter worms, they are irradiated. This irradiation must be strictly adopted since it kills off the bacteria. It also prevents pupation and hence the butter worms can’t develop into moths. Thus, breeding of butter worms outside Chile is prevented.
Naturally butter worms feed on the leaves of Trevo bush. But in captivity, they neither need water or food. There are two ways to keep these worms alive for a long time. In the first method, keep the butter worms in a plastic shoe box having some table bran. Foodstuffs having low moisture content like carrot, yam or sweet potato is placed inside the box. These foodstuffs help in avoiding the molding of the bran. If molding occurs, it influences the death of the butter worms. The box having the butter worms is kept at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. They must be fed every two to three days and should not be refrigerated. Thus by feeding the butter worms and maintaining dryness in their habitat, they can be kept alive for several months.
In the second method butter worms can be kept alive for 3 to 4 months by refrigerating them at 40° -50° F. Butter worms are kept in plastic cups having an organic substrate – wheat bran or oat meal. This substrate doesn’t feed the worms but they can absorb moisture from the cups. Then they are refrigerated, shipped and sold in markets. Once you purchase them, you have to refrigerate them. At this low temperature, butter worms will remain in hibernate state. So their metabolism gets slower and you don’t have to feed them. Thus the butter worms can be stored for many months without much loss.
Since the butter worms have high protein and calcium content, they function as a fantastic feeder for the reptiles. Reptiles that eat butter worms show enhanced coloration. Compared to the other feeder insects like superworms, mealworms, waxworms or crickets, butter worms are expensive. A pack of 1000 butter worms approximately costs $200. Only their high cost balances the importation charges. Anyhow, butter worms are found to be an eminent feeder for your reptiles.