Reptiles make great pets; therefore, they are becoming increasingly popular among a wide variety of people. This is a good thing, as long as the scaly ones are appreciated for who they are and are cared for properly. Since reptiles are still significantly less common as domestic animals compared to mammals and birds, there is often insufficient general understanding of their needs. Furthermore, since we are warm-blooded mammals, it is easier for us to understand other warm-blooded mammals (or at least also warm-blooded birds) than cold-blooded reptiles. If a dog spends most of her time quietly laying down in the corner, most owners will become concerned and bring her to a vet. If a bearded dragon does the same, is it normal behavior for a lizard? Therefore, proper husbandry of pet reptiles requires substantial background research and paying close attention to their wellbeing.
In nature, many reptilian species either feed exclusively on insects or have them as a substantial part of their diets. Similar to other organisms, proper nutrition is the foundation of good reptilian health. One important consideration is making sure that pet reptiles receive sufficient amounts of calcium with their food. Otherwise, they will develop metabolic bone disease that has rather terrible symptoms including fragile, easily breakable bones, swollen limbs, twitching muscles, seizures, and difficulty in defecation. The two biggest reasons for calcium deficiency in captivity are unbalanced diet that does not provide enough biologically available calcium and insufficient lightning that does not allow skin to synthesize enough vitamin D necessary for successful absorption of dietary calcium from digestive tract.
Feeding black soldier fly larvae to pet reptiles helps maintaining adequate calcium intake. This species has significantly more calcium than other popular feed insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Furthermore, it has a calcium to phosphorus ratio above 2 : 1, which greatly facilitates calcium absorption following ingestion and is not common among other insect species. In addition, it is a great source of protein, fat, and other nutrients. Consequently, including black soldier fly larvae into reptilian rations is a logical thing to do. It does not mean that pet reptiles will thrive exclusively on black soldier flies – they have diverse diets in the wild, which need to be mimicked in captivity by providing a variety of food items and supplementing them with vitamins and minerals when necessary. However, black soldier fly larvae should be treated as an essential food item for insectivorous and omnivorous pet reptiles.