4 Steps to Build the Perfect Reptile Diet
With 10,700 different reptile species in the world , knowing what to feed your unique pet can seem like a daunting task. But, finding the perfect diet for your reptile is easier than it sounds.
Step 1: Determine how much your reptile should eat
Reptiles typically consume 1-4% of their bodyweight in food per day. Depending on the size of your pet reptile, they may fall into the lower or higher range. Larger animals will fall into the lower range and smaller or juvenile animals will fall into the higher end of the range. This estimate is a good place to start, but it is always important to adjust the amount you’re feeding based on the animal’s body condition and eating behavior.
Once you’ve determined how much your reptile should eat, it’s time to determine what they should be eating.
Step 2: Provide a base diet for your reptile
Complete, fortified diets provide a great base for your reptile’s nutrition and can be complemented by food it would eat in the wild. A diet of just hay or produce can lack vitamins and nutrients your pet reptile needs to thrive, which is why a complete, fortified diet is recommended.
Every reptile eats a slightly different diet and has its own feeding behaviors. Offer your reptile a feed tailored to its specific needs that complements its natural feeding behavior.
Step 3: Make sure the diet is balanced
What and how much you feed your reptile will depend on the species’ natural feeding strategy. As a complement to your reptile’s complete diet, you can add in additional foods for variety. However, it is key to find the right balance to ensure proper nutrition needs are being met. Here are some general guidelines for tortoises, aquatic turtles, iguanas, monitors and bearded dragons:
Step 4: Adjust for environment, animal
The amount of food your pet reptile eats and how often you need to feed them will also depend on the environment and the animal itself. The temperature of the animal’s environment, as well as the animal’s activity level and life stage affect the amount of feed needed and how often it should be fed.
Here are some considerations:
Warmer temperatures (including indoors): Offer feed daily or as needed
Colder temperatures: Feed three times per week and reduce amount of feed offered
Life stage: Feed juveniles daily and provide free-choice feed for optimal growth
Mazuri® reptile diets and tips
Mazuri® reptile diets provide a great base and ensure your reptile gets the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. If you plan to feed your reptile a Mazuri® reptile diet, here are a few tips:
Mazuri® reptile diets can be fed dry or moistened. Moistening the food can increase palatability for your reptile, if needed. If you do moisten, keep water to a minimum so you don’t dilute the nutrients.
Try mixing the pelleted diet (dry or moistened) with a produce salad or insects to ensure optimal nutrition.
Balance insect portions of the diet by feeding Mazuri® Better Bug® Gut Loading Diet to crickets and worms before feeding the insects to your reptile. The Gut Loading Diet delivers healthy levels of calcium, omega 3-fatty acids and vitamin A to your animals via the insects they eat.
Feed gut-loaded insects within 48 hours to ensure they maintained optimal nutrient density. Gut-loaded insects can also be stored frozen for up to one week.
Find the best diet for your reptile here.