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Can Gerbils Eat Mealworms? Is it a Yummy Snack?

can gerbils eat mealworms

Our idea of a yummy treat might be a buffalo chicken pizza, a pint of cookie and cream ice cream, or a juicy burger that satisfies all the cravings. In most cases, our pets have a completely different idea of what’s tasty.

Take gerbils for example. They will eat foods like strawberries, blueberries, and sunflower seeds, but they can also eat insects. That begs the question, can gerbils eat mealworms

If so, how should they eat these little critters? Let’s find out!

Can Gerbils Eat Mealworms?

Gerbils can definitely eat mealworms and they find them to be quite scrumptious! In fact, mealworms are one of the best insects for gerbils to eat and are specially bred for that purpose. While it is a good snack for gerbils, Stortvet does mention that it is low in calcium, so it should be paired with other foods for a complete diet.

Do Gerbils Eat Mealworms in the Wild?

In the wild, gerbils feed on insects, seeds, grass, and other foods that are readily available to them.  We cannot confirm with evidence that gerbils feed on mealworms in the wild, but it is possible.

That’s because mealworms are the larvae form of the mealworm which exist in many parts of the world, and may be accessible to gerbils. If gerbils do come across the mealworm, it would certainly be a part of their diet. 

However, for now, gerbil owners purchase mealworms from shops and feed this as a tasty snack for their pets!

Do Gerbils Like Mealworms?

While gerbils can’t tell us whether or not they like mealworms, watching them eat it can tell us all we need to know. We can state with confidence that gerbils (most of them anyway) like mealworms based on how quickly they gobble them down.

Mealworms add a hearty dose of protein to your pet’s diet and they may prefer it over fruits and veggies. The flavor and texture of mealworms are two things that gerbils really enjoy.

Should Gerbils Eat Dried or Live Mealworms?

Gerbils can eat both dried and live mealworms as they both have sufficient nutrients. However, some pet owners prefer live mealworms because they contain more nutrients than dried ones and gerbils can chase live mealworms and catch them. 

Other pet owners choose dried mealworms because of their convenience. You can order them online or head to a local shop to find them. Some gerbil owners use a mix of both dried and live mealworms to add variety. 

gerbils eat insects and mealworms

Are Mealworms a Healthy Option for Gerbils?

Mealworms are a healthy addition to a gerbil’s diet. Not only do they contain protein, but fat, carbs, and fiber also constitute a moderate portion of their makeup. You’ll find that if your pet is lacking in protein, mealworms are an excellent food for picking up the slack.

Mealworms also contain nutrients such as:

  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins B5,B2 and B12

Mealworms benefit your gerbil in many ways and can contribute to optimal health when paired with other healthy foods. The protein in mealworms helps with repairing cells and healing wounds. 

The carbs in mealworms provide energy for your gerbil to run around, play and carry on with its cute antics until it’s time for bed. One benefit you may not have known of is the healthy unsaturated fat that mealworms contain. This helps with controlling blood cholesterol levels in the body which is essential.

Overall, mealworms are a good snack for gerbils and can be consumed moderately by your pet a few times each week. 

Risks of Feeding Mealworms to Gerbils

mealworm risks and benefits

Despite the benefits that come with eating mealworms, there are certain risks to think about too. 

High-Fat Content

Dried mealworms contain 53% protein and 28% fat. Now, both protein and fat are very important, but gerbils should avoid overeating foods with a high portion of fat. If your gerbil eats too many mealworms consistently, it could lead to obesity which they are prone to develop. 

Low Calcium

As mentioned earlier in the post, mealworms do not contain sufficient amounts of calcium to satisfy a gerbil’s daily intake. It is important then, that gerbils eat other foods containing calcium and other nutrients that may be missing from mealworms.

Insecticides and Contaminants 

Mealworms are sold in shops and online as specialty foods for animals and humans alike. Yes, humans eat mealworms too! With that said, mealworms can contain insecticides and other harmful substances. Also, there have been cases where live mealworms carry E Coli, so owners should be aware of the risks. However, if mealworms are bred by reputable sources, this issue can be avoided.

How Often Can Gerbils Eat Mealworms?

Your gerbil might want to eat a handful of mealworms in one go, but don’t let him get greedy! Just a few mealworms in one sitting is fine, but don’t go overboard. Mealworms do contain fat, so your gerbil is at risk of becoming overweight if he indulges in too much.

Feeding your gerbil a few mealworms twice a week is enough and your pet should be quite satisfied. 

Can Gerbils Eat Mealworms?

So gerbils can eat mealworms, but in small amounts and not too often. Mealworms contain protein in large amounts and some amount of fats, fiber, and carbs which your gerbil needs. It makes for a nice supplement to your pet’s diet and can be eaten along with varied nuts, fruits, and veggies. 

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