Aussie Fauna Promoting Education and Pet Nutrition through silkworms
Silkworms are naturally high in protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3, low in fat and phosphorus. With such high nutritional value encased in a soft and juicy body, silkworms are the ideal and yummy alternative to the other feeder insects such as crickets, mealworms, and woodies
Several commercial feeder insect companies started providing silkworms on a large scale nearly two decades ago in the United States. This commercial availability prompted several studies to be published over the years examining the nutritional content of silkworms compared to that of commonly used feeder insects available commercially. These studies have all concluded that overall the silkworm is a highly nutritious feeder with several advantages over commonly feed insects. These nutritional advantages include lower fat content, high source of calcium with a better Ca:P ratio, and highly digestible protein. In one study silkworms were the only invertebrate tested that contained detectable levels of preformed vitamin A. In addition to high levels of Vitamin A, silkworms have also been found to contain high levels of the Vitamin B Complex – all of which play a major role in reptile health.
There are many health and nutritious advantages to adding silkworms as a staple food source to your pet’s menu. After all variety is the spice of life and we should aim to offer as varied a diet to our captive companions – silkworms are a great addition to the list of commercially available feeder insects
Silkworms, unlike crickets, are not noisy, smelly, or jumpy and with our Silkworm Chow, silkworms are now easy to keep! You no longer have to worry about finding fresh mulberry leaves to feed your silkworms.
An additional advantage that silkworms offer is the modest exoskeleton which allows optimal nutritional absorption. Mealworms, crickets, and other insects with have an indigestible chitinous exoskeleton making up sclerotized cuticles which may be difficult to digest. Often, intact mealworm and cricket bodies are passed in the faeces of some insectivorous amphibians and reptiles resulting in minimal nutrient absorption from that meal.
Another component of silkworms is a proteolytic enzyme called serrapeptase, which allows the moths to dissolve the cocoons when they are ready to emerge. This protein is widely used in human alternative medicine and is associated with anti-inflammatory properties and arterial plaque reduction. Although no clinical studies have been performed on its benefits in reptiles, certainly these benefits have been reported by reptile keepers around the world rehabbing sick and injured reptiles. Unpublished reports have also reported success in slowing the progression of corneal lipidosis in green tree frogs due to their low fat levels and the serrapetase benefits of plaque reduction.