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Many people don’t know what to feed a pet amphibian or reptile. There are numerous different amphibians and reptiles out there, each with its own specific dietary requirements. Make sure you are fully aware of the responsibilities of adding a pet amphibian or reptile to your family. Let’s take a look at all their dietary categories.
Six Nutritional Strategies for a Pet Amphibian and Reptile
The three basic types of animals are carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. These are further divided into more specific terms such as piscivores, insectivores, and folivores.
- Carnivores eat only flesh. The most common reptilian and amphibian carnivores are certain lizards, crocodiles, and snakes.
- Herbivores eat only plants. The most common reptilian and amphibian herbivores are some lizards, turtles, and green iguanas.
- Omnivores eat both plants and meat, like humans. The most common ones in the reptilian and amphibian worlds are bearded dragons, blue tongue skins, certain aquatic turtles, amphibians, and box turtles.
- Piscivores only eat fish. Crocodiles and matamata turtles could be called piscivores.
- Insectivores only eat insects. Chameleons and anoles are the most common ones.
- Folivores eat foliage (leaves). The most common ones are iguanas.
The Diet for a Pet Amphibian or Reptile
What Carnivores Eat
There are many types of amphibians and reptiles that are carnivores. Their digestive tracts are short, and their diet mainly consists of fat and protein, a few carbs, and little to no fiber. They are fairly simple to feed because they are okay with whole prey items. However, obtaining and storing their food may be an issue. You may feed these type of pets mice, fish, rats, Guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and chicks. There is a longstanding debate as to whether to feed live or killed prey. It is often recommended to give your pet freshly killed food or food that has been frozen for under three months. You have to feed the prey a good diet so that they are in good health before you include them in your pet reptile or amphibian’s diet.
What herbivores eat
Since there are so many plant materials out there, it may be confusing to know what to feed your pet amphibian or reptile. Since herbivorous reptiles usually obtain energy via fermentative digestion in their lower bowel, it often leads to them having long gastrointestinal transit times. This particular digestion method means that if their diet lacks fiber, their feces will be runny. Their meals should contain fiber-rich grasses, hay, pellets, green leafy veggies, and fruits. You should avoid including starch in their diets since it is not a normal part of their feeding habits. After consulting your veterinarian, you may include supplements into your herbivorous pet’s diet.
What omnivores eat
Experts say an omnivorous diet should contain 25 percent meat and 75 percent plant material. A variety of foods can be fed to your pet from both carnivorous and herbivorous diets. The specific components will vary from species to species. You may try out gelled foods as they can be easily medicated and also ensure completely balanced meals for your pet.
What piscivores eat
It is absolutely necessary for you to appropriately select, purchase, store, and thaw fish for your piscivores pet. Whole fish usually are sufficient for providing your amphibian or reptile with all vital nutrients. However, to ensure a balanced diet you need to feed them at least three different species of fish. This is because the nutritional content in each species varies greatly. You have to make sure that the fish are freshly caught because the shorter the time between catching and freezing the fish the better its quality is. The process of freezing is essential because even under ideal freezer conditions, fish are prone to denaturation of proteins, destruction of vitamins, and dehydration. If improperly thawed, there may be a build-up of pathogens like bacteria in the fish which is harmful to your pet reptile or amphibian. Finally, to ensure that nutrient balance is perfect, you may consult a professional to include supplementation of vitamins.
What insectivores eat
If your pet is insectivorous, its digestive tract and dietary requirements are similar to those who are carnivorous. The main problem with insectivores in captivity is the lack of variety in their diet. You can try including the following insects in your pet’s diet to ensure this problem does not arise: crickets, mealworms, butter worms, fruit flies, and fly maggots. You must ensure that these are free of any toxic insecticides.
What folivores eat
If your pet is folivorous, for example, an iguana, its diet should mostly contain dark leafy greens and some fruits. You can also feed it red, orange, and yellow veggies. You should avoid water-rich but nutrient and vitamin-deficient veggies such as celery or lettuce. Remember that fruits should make up a very small percentage of your iguana’s diet. You can offer them fruits and edible flowers as treats since they adore munching on the delicious fruit. When in their growing phase, about five percent of their diet can contain legumes.
Consider carefully if you are willing to feed your pet whatever its diet requires. It is vital for you to have strong mental preparation before choosing your pet. You should be able to build up a basic diet regimen for your reptile or amphibian with this information. Also check with your vet for advice on what to feed your pet.
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