Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"They Actually Eat That:" Mealworms, Crickets, Scorpions...

Yes, I just ate real larvae covered in cheese powder. Yes, they really did taste just like chicken with some cheese sprinkled on. You are not a hardcore reptile keeper until you have eaten lizard food. Period.

Mealworms are most commonly known for being fish bait and reptile food. They are the larvae of the darkling beetle Tenebrio molitor, which has one of the most villainous names of any insect. Seriously, tell me that you can't see a Rowling fan's evil wizard character being named after the beetle that mealworms become when they grow up. Awesome name is awesome; it's a shame their main goal in life is to be food for something else.

Clearly an evil mastermind.

Larvets, Cricket Lickits, and other reptile food for people are made and marketed by Hotlix. This California-based company specializes in what China has been doing for centuries: Turning bugs into snack food.

Made in California, NOT China.

Hooo boy, does Hotlix have a variety of treats if you've ever wanted to try a scorpion or other arthropod.  They take chocolate-covered ants to new heights, have 'amber' candy with real bugs inside, and if you can feed it to your lizard, they have stuck it in a lollipop. OK, no dead mice; you'll have to go back in time to ancient Rome to get those. Or Korea, but that's next week's endeavor.

If bugs are not your thing (they all taste like chicken, and I don't like chicken), Hotlix has a few other nature-related treats. Their non-insect offerings range from rather innocent things like aquarium candy to eye-popping eyeball lollipops. These guys also make exclusively-labeled products for traveling exhibits and such, so next time I'm at the Field, I might get more interesting insectoid edibles.

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