Updated: Sep 25
When taking on board the care of a reptile, there are special requirements in place to ensure that we provide the best care we can to ensure that the animal has a long and healthy life.
In the wild, reptiles will source a plethora of different foods that supply them with the nutrients that they need. In captivity, we have to replicate that to our best abilities. Alongside correct husbandry and any U.V.B. requirements your animal needs, we must take it upon ourselves to provide our animals with the correct supplements they need as well as a variety of different foods to ensure that we are covered across the board in supplying an adequate amount of nutrients in our reptiles diet. Exploring different feeding options also allows us to keep things exciting and mentally stimulating for our reptiles.
At Birmingham Reptiles, we supplement our animals a little differently from how some other places do it. We take a bag of 450g of Arcadia Calcium Pro and mix it with a 100g tub of Nutrabol. Nutrabol is a multivitamin; now, if exceeding a certain dosage, it can be detrimental to your animals' health - so we dilute the multivitamin by mixing it with the 450g Calcium so that we can supplement daily without causing any harm.
Supplementing your animals ensures optimum bone health and scale health, as well as preventing a plethora of nutrition-related illnesses, including metabolic bone disease. Calcium is primarily used to build and maintain bones in the body, but it also has other metabolic functions.
If your animal has a carnivorous diet (such as snakes), you typically won't need to supplement their food as the prey items they feed on will already contain calcium (rodents such as rats and mice etc). For insectivores (insect diet), herbivores (vegetation diet) and omnivores (both plant and protein-based diet), you will have to supplement. We always advise also that any insects you feed your animal are also well gut loaded - if you need more information about gut loading, please check out our other blog post here.
To supplement your animals' food, we recommend sprinkling the mixed powders on the food just before feeding - with insects; we would take as many as we need out of the box, put them in a tub or a bag with a teaspoon of the mixed powders, and shake it up a little bit so that the bugs are completely covered with the powders before being fed to the animal.
In addition to supplementing with the appropriate powders, we also highly recommend feeding your animals a mix of foods to create some diversity in their diet. As well as providing more nutrients for your animal, this will also provide mental stimulation and can be quite an enriching experience for your animal. For insectivorous animals, we recommend daily feeds of either locusts, crickets or Dubai roaches - however, in addition to these staple food items, there are many different options available for live food treats that we can give to the animals. For herbivorous animals, we do have a list of vegetation options on our website; if you follow the link, you will see all of the foods we recommend. Having the correct Calcium: Phosphorus level is vital for the reptile to absorb calcium; however, too much phosphorus and the calcium won't be absorbed.
We hope that this blog post has been informative and will see you on the next one!