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The mealie phenomenon


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Posted by Bloodbat on March 08, 2003 at 01:40:46:

In Reply to: Re: I JSUT GOT MY FIRST 2 CRESTED GECKOS!!! posted by falconer44 on March 06, 2003 at 20:01:16:

The mealie myth is actually based on things that used to happen. The problem with people who relate thes story now were not reptile keepers back when mealies were a misused food item.

25 years ago things were different. First, although many herpers knew and provided basking spots, there were many new/inexperienced keepers who were not providing adequate basking temps. So, a cold lizard would eat a mealworm and not even bite hard enough to kill/injure the worm. The lizard would not digest at a very efficient rate and the mealworm had plenty of time to do damage. I never experienced this event.

However, mealies were the suggested food item for forcefeeding animals. So, people would take already sick and stressed animals and forcefeed them a live mealworm. This process involved prying open the mouth putting in the mealworm, and massaging it down until you could not see it or only see a little bit of it, and then assuming the lizard would swallow it the rest of the way. Occasionally, the lizard never did swallow it and the mealworm never made it down. Instead, the mealworm would burrow its way out of the lizard's throat/neck, chest, or anywhere else. I had this happen once with a curlytail lizard.

The point is that while it did happen (and could happen again), it happens in sick/stressed/dying animals not in your healthy, well-kept animals. A mealworm does not stand a chance of doing any damage to a properly kept, healthy animal.


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