Mealworms should not be a part of your guinea pigs’ diets. Pet owners might think that their guinea pigs can eat mealworms after watching other small exotic pets munch down, but there is no reason to include mealworms in your cavies’ diets. Keep reading to learn which animals enjoy mealworms and which snacks are great for guinea pigs to eat.
Are Mealworms Safe for Guinea Pigs?
Although there is little research to show if mealworms are actually dangerous to the health of guinea pigs, mealworms have no nutritional value to guinea pigs and should not be purchased to feed to your cavies.
Mealworms are a form of larvae that are commonly sold and fed to a variety of pets, but they are not intended for cavies.
It is imperative to feed your guinea pig a nutritious diet to keep them happy and healthy. Guinea pigs require a combination of dark, leafy greens and timothy hay along with an occasional veggie treat to provide the nourishment they need.
Giving your piggies foods that aren’t intended for guinea pigs means that they are likely to reject them and go hungry. If guinea pigs eat foods lacking in nutrition, it can be almost as dangerous as letting them go hungry altogether.
When foods are fed frequently to guinea pigs with very little nutritional value, they can become anemic and may present various health problems. Guinea pigs are small, fragile animals that need careful attention towards their diets.
How About Dried Mealworms?
Similar to live mealworms, dried mealworms are not directly dangerous to guinea pigs, but they aren’t aiding their nutrition in any way.
Even when you are out of guinea pig food, they should also refrain from eating dried mealworms. There are a wide variety of fun snack alternatives for piggies that they will enjoy and can add nutrition to their diets.
Do Guinea Pigs Like Mealworms?
It is possible to find accounts online of people claiming that their guinea pigs ate live or dried mealworms. Although it is surprising that a typically picky eating animal would eat a mealworm in the first place, it definitely does not mean that their guinea pigs enjoyed eating mealworms.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means they prefer to eat vegetables and herbs over any other food option. Common foods to feed your guinea pig include timothy hay, romaine lettuce, cilantro, and parsley.
An especially curious or glutinous piggy might be willing to take a chomp on about anything they’re handed, but that doesn’t mean that they will like it or continue to eat it.
Your cavies are not meant to consume insects, so it is very unlikely that they will find joy in eating them. Some rodents do enjoy mealworms, but guinea pigs are not included among these pets.
It is essential to recognize the needs and feeding requirements of rodents are broadly different depending on the animal. It is dangerous to group two animals together in dietary needs just because they appear similar.
Why Are Guinea Pigs Different Than Other Rodent Pets?
The misconception that guinea pigs might enjoy mealworms may come from the tendency for people to group all small exotic pets or rodents. Although critters like hamsters and gerbils might enjoy the occasional mealworm, guinea pigs do not have similar diets to either of these rodents.
It is wrong to believe that guinea pigs are similar to other rodents like rats, hamsters, gerbils, or mice, which belong to the Muridae and Cricetidae families.
Guinea pigs are a member of the Caviidae family. The Caviidae family includes capybaras, maras, and several other South American rodents. Their family name is why they are frequently referred to as cavies.
Aside from being a part of a different family, guinea pigs are herbivores, whereas the vast majority of other rodents kept as pets are omnivores. This means that there are bound to be dietary differences as well as a wide variety of lifestyle differences between these animals.
Different cage requirements
Unlike their smaller rodent counterparts, guinea pigs need fairly large enclosures to spread their legs. This is partly because guinea pigs require a buddy to talk to and should only be owned in pairs.
A recommended cage size for your bonded pair is around ten square feet. The large area required for housing guinea pigs is why it is essential to consider where you will put the cage in your house before purchasing a couple of piggy pals.
One important difference between guinea pigs and rodents like mice, hamsters, gerbils, and rats, is that they have much longer lives.
This is one of the major reasons that guinea pigs should only be purchased by people who are prepared to take care of them for an extended time. Guinea pig lifespans can range from five to seven years, and they will need well-observed meal plans to reach their golden years.
What Animals Enjoy Mealworms?
There is a diverse range of small exotic animals that find mealworms to be a tasty treat. If you own any of the following animals, consider adding mealworms to their diets:
It is consequential to research your specific animals to verify that their species enjoy mealworms. Although some birds might enjoy the addition of mealworms at feeding time, other species may not. This rule will apply to all pets regardless of whether they are frogs, birds, turtles, fish, or lizards.
There are always recommended quantities to keep in mind while feeding your pets. Even frogs, which live primarily on a diet of insects, should only be given designated amounts of mealworms depending on what kind of frog they are.
Never feed your pet new food without doing proper research for that particular animal. If you struggle to find reliable information, contact your vet to ask for their suggestions about safe foods that your pets will find tasty.
What Rodents Eat Mealworms?
Hamsters, rats, mice, and gerbils do enjoy the occasional mealworm because they are omnivores that enjoy the protein that comes with this wormy snack.
Rabbits, however, are herbivores like guinea pigs and will also refrain from eating mealworms. Hamsters, rats, and mice can typically eat a couple of mealworms a week, and gerbils can eat one every day to boost their protein intake.
Hamsters, rats, mice, and gerbils are more opportunistic for food than guinea pigs, who can be quite the food critics. These rodents are willing to eat an assortment of things that your piggies will not, but every pet will have its likes and dislikes. If you see that your pet isn’t eating the mealworms, then remove the worms from the cage.
What Are Some Fun Snacks to Introduce to Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs are notoriously picky eaters, and it’s important to introduce them to a wide array of fruits and vegetables. At the same time, they are young and curious because they may become pickier and more crotchety with age. It’s worth noting that although there are many foods that guinea pigs can eat, it doesn’t mean that they will eat them since some piggies can be quite the food snobs.
Even though mealworms might be off the table, there are still a large number of snack options you can delight your piggies with. Remember that snacks are only meant to be fed in small quantities a couple of times a week to your cavies. The following are a list of treats you might consider allowing your piggies to occasionally indulge in:
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Rose hips
- Brussel Sprouts
Keep in mind that these treats are only intended to be given in small amounts. Overeating too many sweet treats can cause poor tooth health, diabetes, and cysts in their mouths. Choose one new treat to introduce every couple of weeks and feed them the treat only every few days.
Although mealworms are not suitable for your pets, there are many other treat options for you and your piggies to be excited about. It can be entertaining seeing which snacks your cavies do and don’t like as each piggy has its own strong opinions about food, just like we do.
Games to Play With Snacks
Guinea pigs might be picky eaters, but when it comes to the treats they love, they will start nibbling away. Guinea pigs are fun, curious critters who like stimulation during playtime. Floortime is important for piggies to stretch their legs and to give them exercise.
Consider creating a small obstacle course for your guinea pigs to search for fresh greens and some of the treats listed above. Put a variety of snacks inside your piggies’ hides to build a fun exploration activity for your cavies. Your piggies will likely make happy little chatters as they delight in their scavenger hunt.