Have you just brought a new pet reptile home? I know the feeling. Adopting such a diverse and exotic pet is undoubtedly exciting. They are fun to play with and don’t require too much attention. But in terms of dietary concerns, feeding your pet reptile might need extra care.
As reptiles are so diverse in their tribes, their dietary plan differs based on their type. For instance, my lizard is not a picky eater. So, he can consume anything found in insects or plant-based meals.
What should your pet’s diet be? Here’s what you need to know.
How Much and How Often to Feed Reptiles
Before discussing the diet of reptiles, let me elaborate on how much and how often you should be feeding them. Reptile experts suggest the meal sizes a lizard, snake, or turtle can take depends on the species they belong to.
For instance, the Green Basilisk cannot consume the same amount of food as a giant day Gecko can. You need to have a thorough understanding of how these two species differ in the case of diet routines before offering them meals at the same time of the day.
Personally, I follow a specific guideline for feeding my reptile. You may also adhere to the same routine:
- I feed my lizard at different times of the day, considering the times when it stays the most active. It helps in preventing obesity and nutrition imbalances, so you can try this too. Do thorough research on your pet type to figure out its activity timeline. Otherwise, you might end up overfeeding it.
- Avoid offering your pet reptile food when it has just woken up and is not warm enough. Reptiles are pretty cold in body temperature, which doesn’t help digestion. So, it’s best to help them warm up before mealtime.
Different Eating Habits of Pet Reptiles
There are several species of reptiles or amphibians that are adapted to mainly four distinctive eating habits. Here’s all you need to know to identify the eating habit of your pet’s species.
Adult amphibians, snakes, and crocodilians are primarily considered carnivores. That means they are habitual to eating other animals rather than insects or plants.
If you have a corn snake, you can feed him critters instead of the wild rodents. The reason experts suggest avoiding these wild rodents is due to the harmful diseases they may transfer to your pet.
Insectivores are pretty much a sub-category of carnivores. As the name suggests, they are somewhat relevant to insects. These amphibians enjoy eating insects such as crickets, worms, and others.
Although my lizard doesn’t fall under this category, he enjoys the insects so much that I can feed him the same dish a couple of times a day.
Certain reptile species are herbivores as they are keen on eating vegetables and leafy greens. Younger reptiles within this group tend to be more omnivorous than the older ones. But many make a complete conversion to herbivores over time.
Turtles, lizards, and other reptiles are omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and veggies. An omnivore’s healthy diet includes various food items from animal and plant kingdoms.
For the most part, turtles tend to stick to plants like lettuce and herbs, while lizards with a sweet tooth enjoy fruits like bananas and veggies that taste sweet.
Nutritious Options for Feeding Your Pet Reptile
Like humans, each species has its own special needs regarding nutrition. To help meet your pet’s nutritional needs, here are some of the most typical reptile diet examples.
The adult Bearded Dragon diet needs a variety of nutrients, including protein and calcium. Commercial food is the easiest way to make sure they’re getting both. This means that such little guys need plants and insects to complete their nutritional requirements.
The diet of a Leopard Gecko should not contain herbs or vegetables as they are meat lovers. In this case, mealworms are an excellent option for a Leopard gecko diet. But I recommend dusting them in calcium powder before feeding them to your pet reptile.
The veiled chameleon pet is a varied and adaptive omnivore. In the wild, they can eat more than 55 different types of plants, as well as various small animals, making them one of the most adaptable lizards on earth, despite their small size.
You can check out Dubia Roaches at https://www.topflightdubia.com/, the best provider of high protein-based food for your Bearded dragons, Leopard Geckos, Tarantula, and more.
Live vs. Pre-Killed Prey: Which One is Better?
Feeding pre-killed prey to your pet reptile is much safer than feeding them live ones. From my years of experience in nurturing reptiles, I have seen how dangerous it can get for an amphibian to be a victim to their prey unless it is properly ready for hunting.
In such cases, the primary cause is nothing but environmental changes. Just as a wild environment trains amphibians to hunt and survive, a domestic environment does not provide anything of the sort. It rather makes a pet shy, eventually allowing the wild rodent prey to inflict injuries upon the reptile.
Once your pet reptile completely settles down in its new environment, you can train it to hunt and prey gradually.
Effective Feeding Tips
Here are some effective tips I follow to keep both my lizard and myself safe. As a new or experienced pet parent, I would suggest you do the same.
- Don’t forget to wash the food before serving.
- Avoid heating any frozen food of replacements; Instead, defrost it naturally.
- Don’t serve any cooked meals.
- Some reptiles need to feel the movement of their prey before they can start eating. So, use a tong to stimulate such activities to make your pet take in the morsel naturally.
How many times a day should I feed my lizard?
Feed your pet once or twice a day, in the morning and the evening.
Do reptiles eat every day?
No, they do not. Depending on the species and its size, you can serve them meals 3-4 times a week.
What human food do reptiles eat?
Reptiles eat lettuce, mustard greens, and other vegetables and fruits commonly seen in human meals.
There are many different species of reptiles out there, each with a unique habitat and set of dietary needs. Therefore, a healthy reptile diet requires a lot of consideration and planning.
In this guideline, I have tried sharing some essential tips and feeding requirements of reptiles. Hope that helps to keep your reptile healthy and active.
Good luck being a parent to a pet reptile!