Exotic Animal

An Introduction to Reptile Nutrition

Jun 1 • 3 minute read

Reptiles are surprisingly a lot of fun and fantastic to keep as pets. Ensuring your scaly friend has the best food on hand is as essential as checking your own diet. Some reptiles will eat simple whole prey items such as fish, mice, and rats, while others have dietary needs that can be a real challenge to offer in captivity. Therefore, you must work closely with your veterinarian to provide a diet combination that fulfills their nutritional requirements. Here is what you need to know about reptile nutrition based on the species.

Lizards

Pet lizards generally tend to be insectivorous, but some may be omnivorous or herbivorous. There are also large carnivorous lizard species. Common pet lizards include anoles, leopard geckos, long-tailed skins, and iguanas.

Insectivorous pets are easy to keep because insects are cheap and readily available. Most lizard owners will provide crickets for their pet lizards owing to their availability in local pet supply stores. However, you should not limit their diets to crickets only, as it can result in dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. Some of the dietary insects you can provide for your pet lizard include:

  • Mealworms
  • Flies
  • Wax worms
  • Beetles
  • Dubia roaches
  • Spiders

Take the time before you bring a pet lizard home to learn the specific dietary requirements of its species. Also, be careful not to feed your lizard too many insects at once, as some insects, including crickets, may actually bite the lizard and harm them if left to roam the cage.

Snakes

Most pet snakes are carnivorous, but a few species tend to be insectivorous. The meat-eating snakes usually feed on mammals, birds, and other reptiles but do not consume any vegetables. For carnivorous snakes, mice and rodents are the readily available and easiest food source. You can provide these as live, freshly hunted, or frozen. However, you must be cautious when feeding your pet snakes live prey because they may attack and injure the snake. For insectivorous snakes, you can provide insects of all types and sizes. You can also try feeding them with worms, spiders, frogs, lizards, and eggs.

Tortoises and Turtles

Turtles and tortoises are among the more peaceful animals in the reptile world. These reptiles are natural herbivores and will not consume insects or meat. Owing to their slow movement, these reptiles prefer food sources that will not run or fly away. Some of the food items you can provide for your turtle or tortoise include:

  • Any type of edible flower
  • Varieties of fruits, such as oranges, melons, and grapes
  • Leafy and green vegetables, such as cabbage or lettuce

Some species of aquatic turtles will eat water insects and small fish. Since turtles and tortoises feed on a vegetarian diet, they may not have proper nutrition. As a result, they may have weak muscles and bones, which may shorten their lifespan. Ensure that you provide pellet supplements to boost their vegetarian meals.

Supplemental Nutrition for a Healthier, Happier Pet

Feeding your pet reptiles with the correct food items is essential in preventing nutritional deficiencies and ensuring proper growth. Dietary deficiencies may lead to improper growth and molting and weak teeth and bones. In addition, it can weaken the immune systems and shorten your pet’s lifespan. Today, we have pellets available for specific reptile species to provide balanced and complete nutrition will all the required supplements. These pellets must be provided daily and can be added to water or sprinkled over foods.

Feeding your pet reptile correctly will keep them healthy and allow you to enjoy the beauty and companionship of your pet for years. A well-fed pet will be fit, glowing, happy and satisfied in your care. Be sure to pay close attention to your pet’s appearance and behavior, which could indicate signs of nutritional deficiency, and visit the vet regularly to ensure all your pet’s needs are being met.

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