Reptiles vs. Health Food, round 1

Herpetological jargon term which refers to a common solution to a common problem with keeping carnivorous and insectivorous reptiles in captivity. It's nigh-on impossible to give such reptiles as much variation in their diet as they'd be getting in nature, so the animals risk vitamin deficiency, calcium deficiency and all other sorts of nasty diseases. The solution to this problem is, of course, to give the animals vitamin and calcium solutions, typically strange-smelling liquids or powders no sane reptile would touch even if its life depended on it. And, of course, no reptile ever does.

This is where "gut loading" comes into the picture. If we have an insectivorous or carnivorous reptile, and we can't get it to eat its vitamins, we're fortunate that it feeds on things that aren't quite so picky. Mealworms, feeder fish, feeder mice, crickets and most other common prey animals can be successfully fed with lots of vitamin and calcium, and then fed to the reptile, their guts all loaded with all the goodness we can't get the scaly critter himself to eat. There is indeed a brand of commercial cricket food named Gut Load. When the reptile eats the gut loaded insects, the calcium and vitamin mixtures are introduced into the reptile's metabolism just as they would have been if they had been eaten directly. Problem == solved.