Food, Food, Food
I get this question a lot... "What do I feed my__________?"
Fill in the blank with "iguana", "dragon", "crickets", "superworms". I will try and give a little insight here on what I feed all my guys including my feeder insects.
What do I feed my:
Bearded Dragon?Click here for my diet page.
Iguana?Green iguanas are strict VEGANS. They eat vegetable material. They don't need insects or animal protein of any kind. They are not set-up to digest animal protein.
They need a diet heavy in dark leafy greens like collards, dandelion greens, mustard greens, turnip tops, escarole, chicory etc. Along with about 60-80% greens they need some other veggies like carrots, green beans, parsnips, various squashes etc.
Avoid feeding kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, romaine lettuce on a daily basis. These items are ok OCCASIONALLY, not as the main part of the diet. There are various reasons for this.
I feed the greens in large chunks and chop up the rest of the stuff finely in the food processor. This is much easier than attempting to cut up the food fine every day.
Leopard Geckos?Gut-loaded Crickets, mealworms, superworms and waxworms. In that order. Crickets are your best bet as they are easy to gut-load. Mealworms are ok too but are harder to digest and aren't easily gut-loaded. Superworms are good but only for the adults and you want to pinch the super's heads with tweezers to disable them a bit before feeding. I offer supers off of tweezers individually so that they don't wind up all over the tank.
Blue Tongue Skink?I feed mine Pedigree canned dog food, chicken with vegetables. I add some finely chopped veggies to this and also feed him various fruits like papaya, mango and strawberries. He used to eat superworms as a juvenile but apparently doesn't care for them any longer. He also used to like mouse pinks but has lost his taste for them.
Tortoises- Generally speaking I feed all my tortoises (Hermanns and a Redfoot) a vegetarian diet. The Redfoot gets a small amount of animal protein usually in the form of a superworm or a small bit of dog food once in a while. All summer long I try and stick to outdoor weeds and grasses for the Hermanns. They are very prone to pyramiding of the shell from overfeeding of proteins and grocery greens. Unfortunately the summer is too short here in CT and I fall back on greens in the winter since I choose not to hibernate my guys. (this is very controversial and I won't get into it here). I feed them a lot of dandelion greens, turnip tops, mustard greens, escarole, chicory and some romaine always dusted with plain old calcium powder. They also get other veggies like carrots, various squashes, parsnips, etc. The Hermanns never get any legumes like peas or beans of any sort. The protein content is too high. I also go easy on any greens like kale or collards as the cruciferous vegetables are not good in quantity. Never feed iceberg or head lettuce. It has almost no nutritional value even for humans.
What do I feed my...
CricketsSee my cricket care guide for detailed information on gut-loading crickets.
Superworms- I keep my supers in a low plastic sweaterbox. They can't climb out and won't turn into beetles if kept all together like that. I keep them on oatmeal which they eat. I also put in the stalks from any of the greens I am feeding. Alternatively they will get some moisture from sweet potato or carrot. Avoid white potatos as there isn't much in the way of nutrients in there. There are various "gutloads" out there that I recommend only be fed for 24-48 hours before you are going to feed out the worms.
Mealworms- I keep these in the refrigerator to be used when I run out of crickets. I don't like to use them on a regular basis as they are hard to digest and are harder to gut load. I simply keep them on oatmeal and drop in a carrot once in a while.
Also please see my Supplementation page.
What DON'T I feed my animals...Canned reptile food and most pellets. I cannot recommend the feeding of any pelleted or canned reptile food at this time as the main part of the diet for any species. The research has not been done yet. Many of the manufacturers saw an opportunity when reptiles started to become popular and all these pellets sprang up. Many of the iguana pellets contain animal protein and lots of filler material. Stick with real food and you will be much better off. Don't buy that Bearded Dragon or Iguana and think that you can feed it out of a can like you can a dog or cat. It simply isn't that easy.
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