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Nature and Wild Life

Tenebrio molitor

Mealworms are the less extreme version of Zophobas morio. Their smaller size makes them idea for feeding insectivore reptiles and amphibians in bulk or for small/juvenile size invertebrates. Though not as calcium rich nor full of fat like superworms, they are still not the best primary source of food for something like a tarantula. Still though, it doesn’t hurt to feed them to your tarantula every once in a while. Especially if your tarantula is still on the smaller side.

One of the benefits of raising mealworms is that they are one of the easiest feeders to breed besides Dubia roaches. Unlike superworms, they don’t have to be separated to pupate. They will do it on their own. Another pro is that just like superworms, you can keep them with oats substrate and occasionally add some fruits or veggies on a weekly basis. Super easy to feed and super easy to breed. As with superworms, just make sure to look out for mold outbreaks and clean out your oats at least once a month. The warmer your enviromental temperature is, they more likely they are to breed. They will usually live for about of couple of months. Some people keep them in the fridge to slow down their lifecycle and keep as larvae for much longer. Otherwise, they pupate in around 2 weeks.

If you plan on feeding your tarantula mealworms, consider using a small dish or something that will make it hard for the mealworm to crawl out from. You don’t want the mealworm to bury itself in the tarantula’s enclosure’s substrate for it can pupate into a darkling beetle (though not as large as Zophobas morio darkling beetles; it can still give your tarantula some trouble as they can bite. You can kill them before feeding them to your tarantula if you want to be on the safe side by either crushing the head or decapitation. It’s brutal but it’s also humane so... Personally, I never did this with mealworms as they are not really that aggressive to begin with. I still don't let them get into the substrate.

My enclosure setup (which I am lacking a photo of as I had given away my colony months ago) is pretty much the same as my superworm enclosure. I used a plastic tub with some ventilation holes punctured around and on top of the lid. I fill the tub with some oats for substrate and food. I placed a couple of cardboard hides (mainly toilet paper rolls) for the beetles to hide under. Occasionally I’ll throw in some fruits or veggies but clean them out after a week before providing some new fresh food. You can also use a critter keeper which works just a well.

Since my tarantula had molted and is now large enough for some Dubia roaches and superworms, I don't have a need for breeding mealworms so I gave them to another keeper who is keeping a Pacman frog (Ceratophrys sp) which he uses alongside some calcium supplements. I'd love to get one of those some day and perhaps do a new mealworm colony since they are so easy to breed and care for.

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