It's just that I read that the freeze dried ones are harder. The canned ones are suppose to be softer (my poor Quigley has very dull teeth)
So I think the can I have has gone bad because it's started to smell weird and my hedgie had green BMs the other night after eating one. He didn't eat anything else that night except his regular food. Also after that night I stopped giving him the worms and he hasn't had a green BM since so I'm pretty sure that was the cause. I'm keeping the worms in the fridge like it says on the can but I was wondering, if I buy more and put some in the freezer do they thaw out ok?
How can I tell for sure that the canned ones I have are spoiled?
There has been a report in which freeze-dried mealworms causing death in hedgehogs [click HERE for the article]. It states that the poor hedgie died of impacted bowels - full of freeze-dried mealworms! :shock:
I first saw this article mentioned on a couple of hedgehog-related mail lists. While they weren't jumping to the conclusion based on just one report, the long-time hedgie caregivers and experts on the lists are taking this report seriously and warning other hedgie owners to be aware of the possibility.
Knowing that mealworms contain chitin that is hard to digest, particularly in a young hoglet's underdeveloped digestive system, this does not surprise me (especially if the necessary enzymes for digestion are lacking as the report claims). So we should be very careful with freeze-dried mealworms.
Btw, freeze-dried mealworms are different from canned mealworms. Canned mealworms contain their own juice and they do go bad after a while, just like other canned food including canned cat food, after being open. So DO NOT feed any canned mealworms if they smell or look funny. As you already found out, they will make your hedgie sick or even worse.
Have you tried live mealworms? You can buy them by the dozen in a pet store or reptile shop. Put them in a small plastic container filled with wheat bran or such and stick it in your refrigerator, and they'll last a long time - at least a couple months. If you're hedgie is having a dental problem, it's far better than freeze-dried or canned mealworms. I'm sure your hedgie will thank you for it.
I would say 2 weeks is the max on canned mealworms. That's about the same as crickets. When they start to smell bad (especially if they smell like they're rotting), then it's time to toss them.
I would do the live mealies if your hedgie will eat them, honestly. If you start a mealworm farm, you only have to buy mealies like twice and then you have a constant supply so it saves you money--especially if you're buying the canned ones at $3-4 and then having to toss half of them.
Thanks for the suggestions and the warning about freeze dried mealworms.
I will definately through out the can of meal worms I have, I definately bought them more than two weeks ago.
I have not tried live meal worms yet because I got Quigley about a month ago and he is over two years old. I know that in his last home he was never fed live insects so I was reluctant to try in case he didn't eat them. I'll try though, now that he knows what meal worms are.
If he will not eat mealworms I will try freezing the can to make it last longer unless anyone has advice against that.