Reptiles require a wide variety of foods to fulfill their nutritional needs. Feeding a reptile the same thing can cause malnutrition.
Herbivorous reptiles need leafy greens, vegetables and fruit that is low in oxalate.
Omnivorous reptiles like bearded dragons and many skinks need both plant and animal proteins. These should be provided in small portions as often as possible to avoid gastrointestinal upsets.
Herbivorous reptiles, such as iguanas and tortoises, live on vegetation, such as leaves, grass, cactus and seaweed. They require very little animal meat to survive, although they may supplement their diets with insects and other foods that are high in protein.
In the wild, herbivorous reptiles typically eat their prey items alive and whole. They are apex predators with exceptional agility, razor-sharp fangs and formidable muscular strength. These animals are very effective at snatching their 레오파드게코 prey and crushing it with their powerful limbs.
The primary EFA for reptiles is linoleic acid, which they get through the consumption of plants. Without this essential fatty acid, cellular integrity is rapidly compromised. It also provides the building blocks for internal chemicals, including prostaglandins, that play a role in reproduction and inflammation.
Vegetables are a rich source of fiber, which reptiles need for gut motility and bowel health. However, excessive fiber intake limits calorie availability and inhibits trace mineral absorption.
In addition, many reptiles require fats in their diet to thrive. A diet that is too low in fat will lead to a loss of body moisture, causing skin to become flaky and inelastic. It will also limit the rate at which they shed their skin, a vital process for shedding waste and old skin cells. A high-fat diet will provide a much greater energy boost than a low-fat one, as well as more vitamins and minerals.
Most reptiles that feed on anim 레오파드게코 al flesh – snakes, alligators, caimans, crocodiles and some aquatic turtles – are carnivorous. These “hyper-carnivorous” animals typically eat warm-blooded prey such as birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and other reptiles. Carnivorous reptiles have a very high energy concentration with 85% of their ME from protein and 30% to 60% from fat.
The dietary intake of fatty acids is crucial to the health of reptiles. This group is very susceptible to fatty acid deficiency, which is often manifested by dry, flaky skin and inelastic or thin-appearing scales. The primary EFA required for reptiles is linoleic acid, and the absolute dietary requirement for this fatty acid is about 1% of their ME.
Many reptiles require a mix of plant and animal proteins. Herbivores include the popular green iguanas and tortoises, while carnivorous reptiles such as snakes and frogs may eat fish, small insects, small birds and mammals.
The quality of the protein is important to the health of a reptile. Insects are the most common prey items used in the diet of insectivorous reptiles, such as leopard geckos. The skeleton composition of these insects is rich in phosphorous, so a reptile owner can supplement the diet by coating the insect with a powder that contains calcium, prior to feeding it to their pet, or they can provide a commercially-prepared meal that is gut-loaded with this mineral.
The omnivorous reptile diet contains a mix of all food groups. Popular reptiles such as snakes, iguanas and most turtles fit into this category. In captivity, a diet of insects, fruits, vegetables and commercial ‘kibble’ pellets works best for them. However, it’s important to remember that no one food item should be considered a complete source of nutrition, as most reptiles need more than just 1 or 2 types of foods to stay healthy.
Reptiles that eat animal prey include a wide variety of species from microscopic worms to large mammals and birds. The large snakes such as reticulated pythons and Indian pythons, the estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), and the alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) all feed on animals that range from mice to elephants.
Insectivores – such as geckos and skinks, and anoles – require high-protein insect prey. Providing these animals with a quality insect such as mealworms, crickets or wood roaches that are gut loaded and dusted with a nutrient-rich powder will help ensure adequate protein in their diets.
It is not recommended to feed a reptile live vertebrate prey animal as it increases the risk of serious injury. Also, obese prey animals have less fat relative to calories and therefore do not provide a sufficient amount of the fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin A and D, required by most reptiles. In addition, some obese prey may have bacterial infections that can be transmitted to a reptile that consumes them.
Reptiles – lepidosaurs (lizards and snakes), archosaurs (crocodilians) and chelonians (turtles and tortoises) – are found in terrestrial, semi-aquatic and marine ecosystems around the world1,2,3,4. They play a variety of important ecological roles as apex predators, seed dispersers, and opportunistic feeders and consumers. However, knowledge of their diets at the species level is patchy5.
A recent study compared morphological identification of faecal prey remains with DNA metabarcoding in the lizard Podarcis lilfordi4. Molecular results revealed that this reptile is a generalist consuming invertebrate, plant and vertebrate items. Interestingly, the plant fraction of the diet was not affected by either sex or locality, but did increase with body size. It is possible that larger animals have longer digestive tracts and can better decompose plant organic compounds, thus allowing them to extract more nutrition.
Other studies have shown that reptiles consume a wide range of animal prey in the wild, including birds, mammals, fish, frogs and sea creatures. They can even eat other reptiles in some cases. In captivity, snakes are usually fed mice or rats. They should also be provided with fresh greens, vegetables and fruits.
Bearded dragons, for example, start out their lives as insectivores but become omnivorous as adults and should be fed 60% insects (mealworms, crickets and wood cockroaches) and 40% vegetables and fruits (leafy greens, shredded sweet potatoes, romaine lettuce, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, squash, zucchini and peas). As with all feeding, make sure to only feed humanely killed mice and rats. Imbalanced diets can lead to nutritional diseases in captive reptiles, such as metabolic bone disease, hypovitaminosis A and visceral gout.