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Old 04-27-2019, 10:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Did you ever checkout those links in my post when we happened to post at the same time?

You can get live mealworms at any pet store. I use them for my birds too. They come in a little container in what has the appearance of shavings or sawdust. They are refrigerated. I use a plastic spoon to sift through and find them. They start moving about once they get warm.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I always get confused on the issue of dried vs canned insects.

We’re always told to avoid dried insects entirely, or at the very least keep them as the rare occasional snack, as the drying process destroys the enzymes which allow the animal to digest the chitin found in the exoskeleton. Without those enzymes, the animal is unable to properly digest the chitin and it can lead to issues with impaction.

But… basic biology will teach you that heat can destroy enzymes, and canned insects clearly state that they are “cooked in the can” - implying that heat was used. So what makes them different to dried bugs? The fact that theyre moist, so the exoskeleton is softer thus a little easier than dried to digest?...

Personally; I absolutely do not agree that canned insects are a comparable substitute for live entirely. I use canned occasionally, just to add variety; just for snails & locusts. But I feed live black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, (occasional) morio & wax worms, dubia roaches, crickets, and more recently added giant orange woodlice. < You dont technically 'need' that much variety, but they are insectivores and they do love their bugs. I would argue that canned insects are a fine complementary feed, but live should still be offered. IMO, at least.

^ Canned also dont last very long in the fridge, and it can get expensive pretty quickly.

Last edited by Emc; 04-27-2019 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 04-27-2019, 10:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Freeze drying is an extremely low temperature dehydration process where the product is frozen and then separated from the ice. The freezing will destroy and break down a fair number of things including enzymes. Canned insects are simply cooked- like if you were to make a mealworm stir fry. The heating process isn’t as harsh as the freeze drying process and thus retains most of the nutritional value.

Buddysmom, since you asked if canned insects were better than freeze dried then yes you are correct. They are more costly though as Emc said than live insects. Live insects will also provide a more enriching feeding for your hedgehog, but depending on how much of his diet are insects every day, they’re a perfectly fine substitution to live.
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Old 04-27-2019, 11:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, there’s two different drying processes: freeze drying, and then the more common method - drying via heat.

Heat dried mealworms are dried at low temperatures, so this is why I don’t really understand why canned insects - if they are supposedly cooked at similar temps - are somehow more equal to dried insects?… It just doesn’t make a whole lotta sense to me. I think (personally) that both are pretty poor nutritionally speaking (cooking process will also lose you some nutrients!) and are far from equal or being a substitute to live feeders.

I’d genuinely love if someone could explain, because I’ve wondered about it for the longest time haha. I’m not saying that canned insects are ‘bad’, I just think it’s a stretch to suggest that they could be used as a replacement to live.

I understand you asked if canned are better than dried, Buddysmom, and I really did not mean to bring this off topic (though I do believe its somewhat relevant, given the question at hand!). But I am personally of the opinion that canned insects really arent a whole lot better than dried, and that live insects really do need to be offered. They make an absolutely fine treat, but the majority of their insects should be live.
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Old 04-28-2019, 03:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Canned insects are cooked yes, but it depends on the method they use to cook it - all companies that do canned insects do it differently.
But also they arent cooked for as long as the dried ones, just enough that the insects get killed, while the dried ones are left in to completely dry out therefore loosing ALL nutrition they had.
If the people are cooking them by steaming them (which is possible to do) then they wont loose as many nutrients.

But either way they are still MORE nutritious than dried or freeze dried. Which is why they can be a replacement to live insects.

Live insects will always be the better option yes. Or buy them live gut load them for 24 hours then put them in the freezer to freeze them for 24-48 hours to kill them yourself. Either way these two are always going to be the most nutritious methods to canned, dried or freeze dried.

To me the canned insects are in the middle of the dried and freeze dried (being a best avoid) and the live/ frozen to death in your freezer after their last meal.

Zoomed and herp are the better ones to go for since they do try to keep all nutrients - Other ones I cant be 100% sure since I dont know every single one out there.

Also canned dont last long un the fridge yes, but you can empty them out the can into a small plastic container and put it in the freezer, they last you longer then as they can then be kept in there for months.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:07 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I just don’t believe we should be encouraging people to use canned insects over live for an insectivorous species unless there is genuine reason to do so. I.e; the hedgehog, for whatever reason, won’t eat anything else or if they are being used as added variety to a diet where live insects are already fed.

We really have no idea what cooking process they use (unless it states it on other cans? But it does not state it on mine), so we have no idea how the enzymes are affected, nor do we have any scope on nutrient loss at all. We also cannot know how nutritious those canned insects really are - what were they fed prior to being killed? Bugs are just empty shells if they werent gut loaded with a high quality diet.

Like yes, they may be a little better than dried... but I just don’t believe they are an appropriate supubstutute to live feed.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:05 PM   #17 (permalink)
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So confusing and stressful!! I read the links above, I researched other sites, and I’ve got the just of what to look for but when I go to the store I can’t find what I need! The ingredients lists are still junk! What brands do you all use? Please help, I’m freaking out!!
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I too had a hard time finding ones from the list that were available locally. I was able to find some eventually.

I use a mix of Pure Balance chicken & brown rice formula and Wellness Core grain free deboned chicken, turkey. The Wellness is a little high in protein but since mine is still young (like yours), they can handle the higher protein.

If you do find something, remember to transition by mixing old with the new.
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Old 04-29-2019, 05:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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For kibble, I use a combination of a few foods; Acana, Orijen, AATU, & James Wellbeloved. Some of the Acana and Orijen foods can be very high in protein though, and can also on the higher end for fat (20%), but my girl is extremely active, and it works perfectly fine for us.

^ I use the cat version of all of the above - just because the kibble size is best suited to hedgehogs, but you could always break up dog kibbles and use that if you really wanted to.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Oh... I should have stated mine were cat foods.
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