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Where can I buy live worms?

JAK

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At this point I'm running out of ideas on where to look for worms. I haven't acquired any pets yet (plan on getting adult Eastern Newts) so there aren't any hungry mouths to cause a sense of urgency, but in preparation I'm trying to get all the required things together. I've looked at a few of the nearby tropical fish/pet stores, one of which has a dedicated reptile amphibian section. Neither of them were particularly helpful as far as the staffs knowledge so I'm sort of at a loss for where to actually purchase live Earthworms/Bloodworms/Blackworms. All I can find on the big two web stores (amazon/ebay) are freeze dried or otherwise processed worms. I don't doubt those would work but I'd prefer to have live food to offer.

I can find plenty of live meal-worms and crickets of various sizes but I understand meal-worms are not recommended and crickets seem far less frequently mentioned than worms. Would it be acceptable to try a bait shop, or are their worms likely to have been exposed to toxins that might affect my newts? There are a number of popular tourist fishing locations in the are so come this spring I should be able to pick up a styro-foam cup of wild-caught night-crawlers from a roadside stand without too much trouble. Is their some store I just don't know about? If anyone could point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.
 

Boomsloth

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Bait shops up north might not have worms until spring but its worth a shot. If you plan on breeding them definitely try to find 'red wigglers' these are common earthworms and breed very well. Anything labelled nightcrawler prefers cooler temps and lots of space to breed well. Walmart also carries canadian nightcrawlers if you are looking for food, but like I said a pain to breed (I just got rid of mine after 2 months of nada) Also if you know a place that doesn't use pesticides or chemicals you can always dig for earthworms. The ones you find in the soil are red wigglers, nightcrawlers come out from below 6 feet after it rains and at night.
 

FrogEyes

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In Canada, I could get earthworms all year with no problem. Nightcrawlers were domestic, and blackworms were less regular and came from California or British Columbia I think. Here in Minnesota, I haven't seen any earthworms this winter [from Canada], and my local sources wouldn't normally use blackworms. I suspect you might have to wait a month or two for nightcrawlers, but you SHOULD be able to find a source of live blackworms or tubifex.
 

Otterwoman

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All summer I get my earthworms either from my yard or from Stewart's, but in the winter I order them from unclejerrysworms.com.
 

JAK

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I was thinking tubifex would be too small for adults to easily fill up on. I was also thinking any uneaten tubifex left behind would be too difficult for me to quickly remove, but then the only tubifex I have any experience with are the freeze dried cubes. Maybe the live ones are bigger and easier to see in water?

I hadn't considered that there might be online retailers dedicated souly to worms so I will have to check those out a little more. It seems like for 30 or 40 dollars I'll end up with more worms than I know what to do with though. Does anyone know if the books on raising worms are of use or are they tailored more towards organic gardeners etc. and hard to adapt to our needs? I think I'd like to be able to maintain a population of worms so that I won't have to scramble for a supply if I run out at an inopportune time. Does anyone know about breeding worms or at least keeping them healthy between acquisitions?
 

Otterwoman

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Compost worms are easily raised but have a bitter taste to most newts (so I'm told; I've never tested the theory). Nightcrawlers are well received but impossible to raise in captivity. So I order them online. They will last for months in your fridge. You can order various quantities from the site I mentioned.
 

JAK

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Im curious as to just what research was done on determining the ability of newts to tast, but perhaps more interesting is where knowledge on the flavor of worms comes from... In any case I'm thinking I might stay away from earthworms in favor of nightcrawlers. Two of the books I've read so far mention that the coelomic fluid of earthworms might be toxic to various species of newt. I believe then that I may feed a diet based on storebought black worms and pellets supplemented by occasional earthworms from reputable bait sellers.

However, if anyone has come across any definitive information on the toxicity of earthworms or has multiple years of experience feeding them without ill effect I'd love to hear about it before I make a final decision.

Posted from the newt-phone!
 

Boomsloth

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Im curious as to just what research was done on determining the ability of newts to tast, but perhaps more interesting is where knowledge on the flavor of worms comes from... In any case I'm thinking I might stay away from earthworms in favor of nightcrawlers. Two of the books I've read so far mention that the coelomic fluid of earthworms might be toxic to various species of newt. I believe then that I may feed a diet based on storebought black worms and pellets supplemented by occasional earthworms from reputable bait sellers.

However, if anyone has come across any definitive information on the toxicity of earthworms or has multiple years of experience feeding them without ill effect I'd love to hear about it before I make a final decision.

Posted from the newt-phone!

Its more of a defense mechanism to deter predation but I know some axolotls have been found to spit out earthworms. Blanching the worm can prevent it from releasing too much of that stuff but earthworms make up a good portion of species' diets especially in the pet trade so I wouldn't worry about the effect of coelomic fluid.
 

JAK

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Whether its released or not is less of a concern to me than the fact that I would be providing food containing a potential known toxin. I suppose it would be no cause for alarm if I had been ignorant of its presence but now that I know it's there I can't quiet the little voice telling me to stay away. I am overly cautious I suppose but can't shake the feeling that any potentially toxic food should not be the cornerstone ariund which I plan my newts diet It's a pity though, I had just been forming grand designs on composting and worm farming...

I'm going to try to find definitive information though just because of how convenient it would be to use earthworms as a staple. It does seem like axolotls and other caudates might be better able to handle the toxin just by virtue of their comparatively larger size but who really knows? The anecdotes so far seem to point to a lack of significant negative effects in any pets so it could just trace back to an old roomer.

Posted from the newt-phone!
 

kenya_1977

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I have to say I haven't had any problems with my newts eating red worms. They don't even take a second to think twice about it. I have a source of worms for work, and I'm pretty sure this is where I got them from. I set them up in a bin with worm bedding and feed them various compost items. Culture has been going over a year with virtually no maintenance.
Red Worms For Sale :: Redworms.com
 
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