What Are They and Why Are They Dangerous?

An aflatoxin is a type of mold that grows in the bedding that most crickets (and sometimes mealworms) are kept in when they are raised. The bedding is usually corn-based and can grow a mold that the insects ingest and walk through. Once the insect has ingested the mold, it retains its toxicity to gliders and so when the glider eats the insect, it can become seriously ill from the mold.  Sadly, gliders who suffer from aflatoxin poisoning usually do not survive because the liver is badly compromised by the aflatoxins.

Because the aflatoxin mold develops in corn, your glider can also be exposed to aflatoxins if you feed them corn. If you do so, you need to make sure the corn is very fresh before it is processed - the best way to do this is to feed frozen corn. There is no way to completely ensure that aflatoxins are not present in corn, however, which is why I, personally, choose not to feed corn to my gliders at all.

I order insects from Grub Co. because they do not use corn bedding for their crickets nor for their mealworms, so the risk of aflatoxin poisoning is greatly reduced. However, there is still a minor risk there, so some people choose not to feed crickets to their gliders at all. Whether or not to feed crickets and/or mealworms is a decision that individual glider owners have to make on their own. However, aflatoxins are a very real and very dangerous risk to the well-being of your glider, so keep that in mind when you are making your decision.