Reptiles are a fascinating group of animals. They are ectothermic and have different feeding habits than mammals or birds.
Providing your reptile pet with a varied diet is important. Some omnivorous species like box turtles require both animal and plant proteins. Plant proteins should be provided through vegetables (including kale, collard greens, and mustard) and fruits.
Herbivorous reptiles eat plants, such as vegetables, fruits and flowers. They also eat insects, such as house crickets (Acheta domesticus) and mealworms (Tenebrio molitor). Herbivorous reptiles require high levels of vitamin A and low levels of fat. They should be fed a variety of fresh foods. Commercial pet foods are often not nutritious enough for herbivorous reptiles. The nutrient content of prey animals varies widely, depending on age and health of the animal, diet and environment.
In general, plant foods have less energy per volume than animal prey. The average vegetable co 크레스티드게코 ntains 12.6 kJ/g dry matter, whereas rodent prey provides 19-21 kJ/g of food.
To obtain the correct amount of nutrients, herbivorous reptiles must consume a larger quantity of food than non-herbivorous species. This may lead to diarrhea or dehydration.
Fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but they should be fed sparingly to avoid diarrhea. Some fruits, such as bananas and apples, are toxic to reptiles. Commercial ‘kibble’ and feeder crickets have a high protein content, but not a lot of other nutritional value. The addition of a few pre-gut loaded feeder worms can provide the extra nutrition that is needed for herbivorous reptiles. Feeding live prey, especially rodents, can transmit parasites and bacteria to the reptile. Hence, it is important to freeze and then thaw any wild or commercial prey before feeding.
Many reptiles such as the crocodile and alligator obtain their entire diet from fresh meat including mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, insects, other reptiles, mollusks 크레스티드게코 and anything else that moves on two legs or more. These reptiles are called hypercarnivorous and are also the forerunners of dinosaurs and pterosaurs, making them an ancient branch of the reptilian family tree.
Carnivorous reptiles can be fed raw meat, fish or prepared commercial diets. It is important to understand that the quality of protein in these foods can be very different. High quality proteins contain more essential amino acids and less non-essential ones than lower quality proteins. For example, the nutrient density of vegetables and grasses is only about 0.75 kJ/g, whereas rodent prey is about 19 kJ/g. A higher concentration of energy in the ration is often more desirable for a carnivore or an insectivore.
The best way to increase the calorie density of your reptiles’ diet is through a variety of vegetables such as kale, bok choy, broccoli, squash, carrots and green beans, plus fruits such as berries and tomatoes. Fruits can provide vitamin A to limit squamous metaplasia, B vitamins and trace minerals.
Herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles require a good amount of fiber in their diet to help them digest their food. This helps to keep the gut healthy and encourages gut motility. However, excess dietary fibre can limit calorie intake and inhibits the absorption of some fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins such as the B complex.
Reptiles that consume both animal and plant matter are called omnivorous. These include bearded dragons, green iguanas, blue-tongue skinks and Lilford’s wall lizards. Many of these species are kept as pets.
These reptiles can be fed a diet of commercial “kibble,” fresh leafy greens, vegetables and fruits. It is important to vary these foods so that a pet does not become dependent on a single food type, as this may lead to nutrient deficiencies.
The primary essential fatty acid (EFA) for these animals is linoleic acid, and their diet should be rich in this EFA. Insufficient linoleic acid intake can cause fatty degenerative changes in the liver of herbivorous reptiles. These changes are characterized by excessive fluid loss through the skin, and are termed polydipsia.
Herbivorous reptiles should also be fed high quality prey animals, such as a variety of insects, rodents and worms. It is important to avoid feeding old or spent prey, as this can reduce nutrient content relative to calorie intake and increase the risk of secondary dietary nutrient deficiencies.
Reptiles classified as insectivores, including bearded dragons, many skinks and box turtles as well as some snakes and frogs, consume insects. In the wild, however, these reptiles rarely limit their diets to insects. Instead, they eat any living animal that fits their size and digestive tracts. Snakes, for instance, have been known to eat adult antelopes by opening their mouths very wide and swallowing them whole! Insects are high in protein (for growth) and fats which provide rapid energy. They also contain a significant amount of fiber – primarily the molecule chitin – which adds rigidity to the insect exoskeleton. However, insectivores have short digestive tracts and do best on a low-fiber diet.
In captivity, reptiles that are primarily insectivores require a variety of both purchased and wild-caught insect prey to provide them with complete nutrition. Insects fed without sufficient UVB to create active vitamin D and calcium – typically because they are not gut loaded or dusted properly – can lead to a condition called nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (SNHP).
While many captive herbivorous or omnivorous reptiles will eat non-living animal prey, it is important that these prey items be analysed to ensure that they contain adequate levels of protein, fats and minerals. In addition, it is important that all live animal prey – whether herbivorous, carnivorous or insectivores – are thoroughly cleaned to avoid parasites and disease organisms.