Eating insects like mealworms is becoming a modern-day trend because of their low environmental impact and high protein, vitamin, and mineral content. So, as carnivorous animals, it might get you wondering—can ferrets eat mealworms?
A ferret’s first choice of food wouldn’t be mealworms. Nevertheless, you can use them as treats. We’ll explore the nutritional content of mealworms for ferrets so you can decide if giving your ferret mealworms is the right fit for you.
Yes, ferrets can eat mealworms as they offer your ferret protein, taurine, and unsaturated fatty acids. However, mealworms don’t have all the nutrients your ferret needs for a healthy life.
Therefore, you should never use mealworms to replace other protein sources in your ferret’s diet, such as ferret pellets and raw meat.
As picky eaters, your ferret may or may not like mealworms. In the wild, ferrets consume raw animals, bones, and tissues. Therefore, insects aren’t a food item they’d naturally choose.
However, if a wild ferret were in dire food circumstances and starving, they’d likely eat any insects like mealworms or spiders they encounter.
You should never force your ferret to eat mealworms. But if you offer them some and they like them, there’s nothing wrong with feeding them to your ferret as a treat once in a while.
Ferrets can eat mealworms alive, and these insects can live for months without dying. Live mealworms won’t cause your ferret health issues, assuming you feed them to your ferret as a snack and not as their main diet.
Ferrets are natural predators, killing their prey alive in the wild. That said, your ferret may not feel inclined to eat live mealworms since insects aren’t a part of their traditional diet.
Furthermore, the ferret’s picky ways can mean that they turn up their noses to live mealworms unless they’re really hungry.
Ferrets can eat dried mealworms. If the reason you want to feed your ferret mealworms is to boost their protein intake, dried mealworms are a better option than live ones.
On average, dry mealworms contain about 53% protein, whereas live mealworms contain about 20% protein.
Another advantage of dried mealworms is that you can mix some with your ferret’s regular food. That said, ferrets don’t need mealworms in their diet, so there’s no need to encourage your ferret to eat them unless you have no other better-suited food to offer them.
Mealworms are safe for ferrets in the sense that they’re not poisonous. However, ferrets need animal-based proteins to live a long, healthy life.
Nevertheless, mealworms contain several nutrients that ferrets need for survival. So, they’re safe to use as supplemental food, such as a snack.
Ferrets shouldn’t live off mealworms, but these insects contain several essential nutrients, including protein, taurine, and unsaturated fatty acids.
In case you don’t live near a pet store that sells mealworms, Uncle Jim’s ships mealworms in packages of 1,000 insects. Mealworms can live up to nine months in the bag, making it a great fit since you should only be feeding your ferret a few mealworms at a time.
Alternatively, you can purchase dried mealworms that can have an even longer shelf life.
Mealworms aren’t inherently bad for ferrets because they contain several nutrients they need in their diet. However, feeding your ferret a strict diet of mealworms is detrimental to their health.
That’s because mealworms don’t contain all the nutrients ferrets need to thrive.
Therefore, if you choose to give your ferret mealworms, you should view them as a supplement to your ferret’s primary diet of ferret pellets and raw meat.
There’s little work needed to prepare mealworms for your ferrets. You can feed your pet live or dried mealworms, keeping in mind that the dried version contains more protein.
When choosing mealworms for your ferrets, you should look for a kind that’s free of insecticides.
You should also ensure that you remove all the bedding around the mealworms before placing them in your ferret’s food bowl.
Feeding your ferret mealworms every day probably won’t send them to the grave as long as you also give them ferret pellets or raw meat. However, we don’t recommend it.
Instead, use mealworms as a special treat or a protein supplement if you’re running low on regular ferret food.
If you don’t like the thought of working with raw meat, mealworms can be a solution for giving your ferret a protein source in addition to their ferret pellets.
You should limit the number of mealworms you feed your ferret to snack-sized proportions.
Ferrets don’t need mealworms to survive. On the contrary, using mealworms as a ferret’s primary food source can lead to health issues since mealworms don’t contain all the nutrients needed for a ferret’s survival.
Avoid giving your ferret mealworms every day. Instead, use them as an occasional treat, assuming your ferret enjoys their taste. Otherwise, don’t push it.
Consider feeding mealworms to your ferret by hand or mixing the insects into their food to introduce them to your ferret’s diet.
Ferrets are picky eaters and tend to resist changes to their food, especially foods they usually wouldn’t eat in the wild.
As you’re trying to introduce mealworms into your ferret’s diet, remember that mealworms aren’t necessary for your ferret’s survival. Therefore, don’t force them into eating these insects.
It’s okay for ferrets to eat mealworms as long as you treat the mealworms as a supplement and not as a replacement for other foods in your ferret’s diet.
Mealworms contain a good source of protein, taurine, and unsaturated fatty acids. So, if your ferret enjoys the taste, it’s safe to give them mealworms as an occasional snack.