Here is the side of owning reptiles that most people don't see or are afraid of... taking care of their food! Ary (panther chameleon) and Petey (leopard gecko) are both insectivores, meaning that they eat solely insects. Drogon (bearded dragon) is an omnivore, and as adults they eat 80% vegetation and only 20% of their diet is insects (though these values are swapped for their first year while they are growing extraordinarily rapidly and require high amounts of protein). I spent the afternoon and evening deep cleaning the insect containers. Fun!
When it was just Bruiser (my previous beardie, RIP buddy 💛), it was easiest to simply purchase feeders, as he didn't require so many where it was terribly expensive or hard to maintain. However, now we have three scale babies! Plus we learned back in Bruiser's necropsy that he had evidence of fatty liver disease. Doctors suspect that was a result of the toxin and not true FLD, but I don't want to take any kind of risks! Superworms were Bruiser's staple feeder and have also been for Drogon. However, I made the decision to start breeding dubia roaches so that I can have the highest quality feeders for all of our babies and also save money! Dubia are very high in protein and very low in fat, making them the ideal feeder insect for all three of our babies! 🐜 I don't have enough to start feeding them to everyone yet, just because the colony needs time to grow, but I expect that in a few months we shouldn't have to order more bugs unless they are special treats! 😊
Also, the mask and gloves are because the feces of the roaches can cause allergies in people with repeat exposure. So the more you can minimize both respiratory and physical contact with the feces, the less chance you have of developing an allergy to it! Plus it's just sanitary, anyway!
The cocoons are from two of the horn worms I had from the other month who were ready to go through their metamorphosis! I strung them up today with string so that they can hopefully finish changing into moths and I can feed them to Drogon as a treat! 🦋 Plus I happened upon a big superworm beatle (what the worms transform into) and gave him some food and water!