Pet owners need to understand the feeding habits of their reptiles. Giving a creature the wrong diet can undoubtedly create serious health issues and eventually death. It is, therefore, the responsibility of all beginners to get expert advice about the nutrition needs of their pet reptile.
The majority of reptiles actually tend to eat other living animals. This can include frogs, fish, insects and occasionally mammals. Sometimes they may even consume other reptile species. A select number of them are solely vegetarians. This includes land tortoises, green iguanas and spiny-tailed agamids. Other reptiles are omnivores meaning they will eat both meat and plants.
A good rule to follow is; the smaller the pet, the smaller their food needs to be. One exception is giant snakes, such as reticulated pythons and anacondas. They can eat significantly larger prey such as wild boars and deer.
Big crocodiles also kill prey larger than themselves when they get the chance. Nile, saltwater and Orinoco crocodiles are famous for attacking and eating humans. For this reason, many countries have banned crocodiles as pets.
Hunting in the Wild
It may be useful for pet owners to know how reptiles attain their food in the wild. Mimicking their natural habits and hunting conditions will increase the chances of the animal eating the food which has been supplied. Some owners will go as far as giving them live prey such as rodents to hunt down and eat. This is somewhat common with snake owners. However, the practice may be illegal in some countries.
When feeding a lizard, it is usually best to give them insects. These are supplied by standard pet stores. Live bugs will give the lizard a chance to stimulate their natural hunting tendencies. Alternatively, dead bugs are also available for feeding.
Several different snake species will strike their prey, biting and injecting it with venom. However, this is not relevant for UK pet owners, as venomous snakes are illegal to keep. Some turtles enjoy eating fish, especially inside an aquatic enclosure. They also like to consume invertebrates.
Importance of Quality
Pet owners must give their reptile companion a good quality food supply. Generally the cheaper the food is, the worse quality it will be. Reading the label will allow people to understand how nutritious it is.
When in doubt, it is best to get advice from a reptile expert. Staff at pet stores which specialise in reptiles will be able to select the ideal diet for a specific species. If the food is being bought online, pet owners should be careful. Reading customer reviews will help determine how trustworthy the supplier and product is. Sticking with well known and established brands is recommended.