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How to Choose the Right Insects for Your Monitor Lizard

Most species of monitor lizards that are commonly kept as pets – such as Ackie Monitors, Savannah Monitors, Nile Monitors, Black-throated and White-throated monitors, are prevalently insectivores.

This means that they mostly feed on insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and cockroaches. They may also eat small rodents, such as mice, and occasional fruits and vegetables.

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Savannah Monitor eating insects
Savannah Monitor and Insects

Insects are especially important for hatchlings and juvenile monitor lizards, as this is what they would normally feed on in the wild while they are still young and growing.

Insects are whole prey and a great source of protein and calcium, which is essential for growth and can prevent a number of health issues in lizards and reptiles.

Best Insects for Monitor Lizards

InsectProtein (%)Fat (%)Calcium (mg/kg)Phosphorus (mg/kg)
Dubia Roaches21.43.17002600
Goliath Worms93.074641394
Black Soldier Fly Larvae17.51493403560

Dubia Roaches

Dubia roaches are an excellent staple food choice for monitor lizards of all ages due to their high protein and calcium content, and low amounts of fat.

They are easier to keep as a feeder insect compared to crickets and cheaper than silkworms, and contain less fat compared to other types of insects.

Dubia Roaches

Hornwarms / Goliath Worms

Hornworms and Goliath worms are large, juicy caterpillars that are a good source of protein and fat for monitor lizards. They can be fed as a treat or as part of a regular diet.

Hornwarm / Goliath Worm


Waxworms are high in fat and calories, so they should only be fed to monitor lizards as a treat. They are a good source of energy, however, and can be helpful for underweight lizards in need of energy.



Superworms are similar to mealworms, but they are larger and have a softer shell. This makes them easier to digest for monitor lizards.

They are a good source of protein and calcium, and can be fed as a staple food or as a treat.



Mealworms are a common feeder insect that is high in protein and calcium.

They are also relatively easy to find and affordable. However, they can be hard to digest for some monitor lizards.



Crickets are another popular feeder insect for monitor lizards. They are low in fat and high in protein, making them a good choice for a healthy diet.

However, they can be noisy and escape easily, so they may not be the best choice for all keepers.


Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae are a nutritious feeder insect that is high in calcium and protein.

They are also easy to gut-load, which means that they can be fed a diet of fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods before being fed to the lizard. This helps to ensure that the lizard is getting all the nutrients it needs.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae


Butterworms are a high-fat insect that is a good source of energy for monitor lizards. They can be fed as a treat or as part of a regular diet.

However, it is important to not overfeed them, as too much fat can lead to obesity.



Silkworms are a good source of protein, calcium, and fiber. They are also low in fat, making them a healthy choice for monitor lizards.

Unfortunately, they can be more difficult to find and more expensive than other feeder insects.


Gut loading

Gut loading is the process of feeding insects a nutritious diet before feeding them to your monitor lizard. This boosts the nutritional value of the insects and improves digestion for your pet. It is essential for maintaining your monitor lizard’s overall health and well-being.

There are many different ways to gut load insects, but the most common method is to place them in a container with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.

The insects should be fed this nutritious diet for at least 24 hours before being fed to your monitor lizard. This will give them time to digest the food and absorb the nutrients.

Dusting with supplements

Dusting insects with calcium powder and multiminerals is an alternative to gut loading that can help to ensure that your monitor lizard gets the nutrients they need. The frequency of dusting and the specific supplements used will vary depending on the species of monitor lizard.

Calcium is especially important for reptiles because their bodies cannot produce it on their own. A lack of calcium can lead to metabolic bone disease, a serious condition that can cause deformities, lethargy, and even death.

To dust insects with calcium powder and multiminerals, simply place the insects in a container and sprinkle the powder over them. It is important to choose calcium powders that are free of phosphorus and D3, and multivitamins which are specially meant for reptiles.

Repticalcium Calcium Supplement
Zoo Med Repti Calcium without D3
Reptile-friendly Calcium SupplementRepcal Calcium without D3
Reptile Multivitamin Supplement
Fluker’s Repta Vitamin Reptile Supplement
Read more: Best Supplements for Tegus

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