파충류샵 Reptiles need a variety of foods to stay healthy. From the meat-gobbling crocodile to the leafy turtle, proper nutrition is critical for these scaly pets.
Carnivorous reptiles must have animal proteins including fish, mice, insects, and small mammals. Commercial diets should make up 30-50% of a reptile’s diet.
In the wild, reptiles that are truly herbivorous (eating only plant vegetation) are rare. Often, their morphology dictates that they must have the ability to hunt and kill vertebrate prey. Thus they must have great agility, sharp fangs and muscular strength. They must also have a body shape which allows them to swallow and digest large prey items.
Herbivorous reptiles need to be fed a diet of fresh green vegetables, fruits and commercial “kibble”. They also require high quality grass hay with a low oxalate content to prevent kidney stones.
The diet of a herbivorous reptile should contain 1%-4% of its total body weight in dry matter. This should include high fiber foods such as grass hay, shredded carrots and greens including kale and lettuce. In addition, a good quality pelleted diet should be offered.
It is important that a herbivorous reptile’s diet is balanced, providing the correct amount of 파충류샵 protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre. Reptiles that consume unbalanced diets can experience a wide range of health problems.
It is also recommended to offer a small amount of supplemental protein from whole live or frozen fish such as herring, mackerel and goldfish. This will help to ensure that a reptile’s body is receiving the essential fatty acids that it needs. The primary EFA for reptiles is linoleic acid, and this must be supplied in the form of a dietary lipid.
Reptiles have evolved to capitalize on a wide variety of food sources. In the wild, omnivorous reptiles use both plant-based and animal-based foods to survive in many habitats. In captivity, a well-rounded omnivorous diet is essential to a reptile or amphibian’s overall health.
Insects offer an excellent source of high quality protein, a crucial component of a healthy diet. However, insect-based diets must be carefully formulated to ensure optimal nutrition and health. A diet that is too rich in insect protein can increase nitrogen excretion which negatively impacts hydration and renal function.
Green iguanas and tortoises are primarily herbivorous in the wild, consuming a folivorous diet of leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. Herbivorous lizards have enlarged ceca that are well adapted to using hindgut fermentation as a means of digesting their food.
Species specific pelleted rations designed for herbivorous lizards such as adult bearded dragons and green iguanas are available. These diets are typically low in starch and contain multiple dietary fiber sources to simulate a natural diet and support digestive health.
Aquatic turtles such as red-eared sliders, painted turtles, Reeve’s, and cooters are generally carnivorous as juveniles but will begin to accept more vegetable matter as they mature. In general, aquatic herbivorous turtles should consume 30-50% of their diet consisting of vegetables that float such as romaine lettuce and collard greens.
Carnivorous reptiles such as leopard geckos, bearded dragons and snakes require a diet of insects. These reptiles are opportunistic feeders in the wild, preying on whatever they can catch including other reptiles, birds, mammals and fish, but the bulk of their diet is insect-based. In captivity, many pet owners feed their lizards a very limited number of insect species such as crickets and mealworms. These are cheap, readily available and easy to grow in large numbers. However, crickets and mealworms are deficient in calcium and other nutrients (Vitamin A & D). Other insect species can be fed to these reptiles such as waxworms, dubia roaches, grasshoppers or horny toads. These are much higher in nutritional value and may contain the needed nutrient content, particularly of Vitamin A which is fat soluble and stored by these reptiles.
Reptiles requiring insect-based diets have short digestive tracts and need high energy density food sources. This will lead to weight gain and obesity if the lizard is not exercised regularly. Diets containing high levels of fat are also associated with a disease known as metabolic bone disease in young, growing reptiles. Reptiles require adequate exposure to UVB for production of active Vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium from their food.
When feeding a reptile, it is important to make sure that the diet contains both protein and a sufficient amount of fat. This is because proteins provide amino acids that are not provided by the vegetables in their diet and these essential amino acids are the building blocks for cellular function, growth and reproduction.
Most turtles are omnivorous, but the ratio of plant to meat in their diet varies by species. Tortoises, which typically live on land, tend to be herbivorous, while aquatic turtles are often carnivorous. In the wild, turtles do not have teeth; instead they use a pair of jaws with hard keratin sheaths to cut and crush their food.
As far as a captive diet goes, a broad range of foods is ideal. Commercial turtle pellets, gut-loaded insects (bugs with a nutrient rich diet), earthworms and even fish can all be offered to omnivorous reptiles. Similarly, most carnivorous reptiles can be fed commercially-produced rat or mice meals. However, fresh, whole rodents should never be fed to a reptile due to the high risk of disease and parasites.
It is a good idea to keep water quality in mind when selecting food for a turtle, as the most common cause of dirty turtle water is overfeeding and inadequate filtration. Pellets, vegetables and live prey break down rapidly in the water and create bacterial growth and unhealthy ammonia levels that require immediate attention. Regular partial water changes and a well-balanced diet should help avoid these issues. Lastly, all reptiles need a source of supplemental calcium for bone health. For turtles this can be achieved by dusting their food with a reptile calcium powder or offering a piece of whole cuttlebone once or twice a week.