The Basics Of Feeding Reptiles
As we have stated previously when you are feeding reptiles there are a few basic concepts that you need to learn.
There are also a few questions that we have all asked when we have first started out in the hobby.
In this section we aim to introduce you to the basics of feeding reptiles and also answer some of the most common questions.
Gut LoadingGut loading insects is very important for the health of your reptile.
The best way to explain this that the insect is the carrier of the nutrition that you want your pet to eat.
To gut load the insects you feed them highly nutritional food a day or two before feeding them to your pet. You can use such food as vegetables and bran or specially made gut loading food.
Calcium And Vitamin PowdersOmnivores and vegetarians need additional supplements to ensure that they are healthy. Specially made powders are available that you dust over the food.
Make sure that you follow the manufacturers instructions as too many vitamins could cause harm to your animal.
Correct TemperatureIn other parts of this site we have mentioned the importance of keeping your pet at the right temperature.
Your reptile needs heat to be able to correctly digest its food. If it is too cold then the animal will not be able to digest the food and it may well regurgitate it.
How You Buy Your FoodInsects are widely available from reptile suppliers or via the internet. They normally are purchased in small tubs.
Rodents and chicks are normally bought frozen as individual items, you must make sure that they are thoroughly defrosted before they are fed to your pet. Do not put them in microwave!
Can I Feed My Snake Live Rodents?This is a question that is often asked, and the answer is NO!!
This is for a variety of reasons. The main one being it is cruel to both the snake and the prey item. They are in an enclosed space and if the snake is not hungry they can both become stressed.
Also, there is a real risk of the mouse or rat biting your snake and injuring it potentially fatally.
As a further point this practise is actually illegal in many countries.
When Do I Feed My Pet?This depends on a number of factors such as age, species and dietary needs, so these are just VERY general rules of thumb.
Vegetarian and omnivores should be fed daily. Insectivores every other day and carnivores weekly or less.
Young should be fed more frequently and the larger the animal the less frequently they need feeding.
If you pet is nocturnal then feed it after dusk
Catching Your Own FoodYou might be tempted to save some money by catching your own food for your animal. This is not a good idea!
The insects or mammals may well be carrying parasites or disease that could be passed on to your pet.
They could also also have been in contact with poisons such as rat killer or insecticides that could at the least make your animal sick and at the worst kill it.