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Expert Guide for an Ideal Reptile Diet

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If you are a new reptile owner, then this guide will be helpful for you to make a perfect diet chart for your new pet. Have a Look!

When someone has a pet, the primary concern is the diet habits of their pet. Like every pet, reptile species, too, need the right food to survive and stay healthy. From snakes to lizards and tortoises, all reptiles have different feeding habits. These cold-blooded animals do not have the ‘one size fits all’ types of diet habits.

Therefore, whatever type of reptile you have as a pet, it is essential to know about their specific eating habits. It is nearly impossible to talk about all the 9,500 types of reptiles here. So, I have included the food habits of some of the common reptiles that most people adopt as pets.

Types of Reptile Diet According to Species:

1. Lizards

Pet lizards are usually insectivorous; some can be herbivorous or omnivorous as well. However, there are some large species of lizards that are carnivorous too. But those predator-eating lizards are not kept as pets unless someone is a wildlife lover.

Insectivorous lizards are easy to pet because insects are readily available and are cheap. The insect diet of lizards varies to a wide range depending on their species. Lizard owners prefer to feed crickets to their pet lizards because of their easy availability in any local pet supply store. However, keeping their diet limited to crickets can result in nutrition deficiency as well as dehydration.

In that case, you can choose some nutritional insects for your lizard, such as:

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

Some pet insectivorous lizards are long-tailed skinks, leopard geckos, and anoles. Iguanas are vegetarians, who live mainly on fruit and veggie diets.

2. Snakes

Snakes are mostly carnivores, but a few species are insectivores. The meat-eater snakes feed on any mammals, other reptiles, and birds but do not accept a veg diet in any form. The easiest and most available food for carnivores’ pet snakes is rodents and mice. Also, rodents fill the snakes fast and can be fed alive or freshly killed.

However, rodents are quite expensive, so raising a carnivorous snake can cost you a lot. On the other hand, if you raise rodents, you can minimize the cost greatly.

In the case of insectivorous snakes, they eat insects of all sizes and types. You can try giving them lizards, frogs, spiders, worms, etc.

3. Tortoises

The most peaceful and fully vegetarian animal in the reptile world is a tortoise or turtle. They are herbivores and do not consume any meat or insects. Maybe their vegetarian diet is the reason for their century-long life span. Since they are slow-moving, they prefer food that won’t fly or run away. If you own a tortoise or turtle, you can feed them:

  • Any kind of flower
  • Varieties of fruits, such as melons, grapes, oranges
  • Greens and leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, cabbage.

However, there are some species of aquatic turtles that eat small fish or water insects. If you are an animal lover who is completely against harming animals or insects, then a herbivore tortoise can be the ideal pet for you.

With only a vegetarian diet, your reptile may not get proper nutrition. Without proper nutrition, they may encounter weak bones and muscles, and in some cases, their life span may be shortened. So, they require supplements like pellets to augment their fresh meals.

What Food Must be Avoided For Reptiles?

When you make a diet plan for your reptile, it is also crucial to know what food must be avoided.

  • For Insectivorous

If you are thinking of adding those fireflies from your garden as a treat for your reptile, immediately eliminate the idea. Fireflies have a naturally instilled self-defense mechanism called lucibufagins, which is highly toxic. A single firefly is enough to become poisonous for your tiny reptile.

Consult a vet whenever you start planning a diet for your insectivore reptile. Your local insect might not be safe and good for their health.

In addition to fireflies, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, ticks, and wild spiders should also be avoided in the reptile diet.

  • For Herbivores

Veggies like spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, and purple cabbages should be avoided for herbivore reptiles. These veggies contain an ingredient that does not let their body absorb calcium properly. On the other hand, the iceberg has very insignificant nutritional values. So feeding this to your reptile is equivalent to not feeding them at all.

Always opt for a dark green leafy diet for your herbivores reptile to add more nutrition content as they are already on a vegetarian diet. You can grow your own vegetables in the garden to feed yourself and your pet fresh food every day.

  • For Carnivores

Feeding your carnivorous reptile live prey is potentially dangerous. The most common danger arises when you let the prey loose in the cage. There can be fights since the prey can be equally potent as your reptile.

As your reptile is not in its natural habitat, its fighting power and techniques may not work effectively in that small area. As a result, there can be scratches and injuries on your pet’s body before they can finally eat their food.

In that case, feeding your carnivorous reptile freshly killed or frozen animal is the safest option.

  • Omnivores

For your omnivorous reptile, follow the food warnings given for herbivorous and carnivorous animals.

Final Thoughts

So, these were some suggestions about your reptile diet. There are many other ways you can ensure the best diet for your reptile. For this, you need to research the particular species you pet. On the other hand, most reptiles require a very specific and monitored diet. So, you should consult a reliable vet to build your pet’s diet plan.