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Feeding reptiles

Quote from Dr. D. V. Vasiliev’s book about ready-made food rations for reptiles:

“In the late 80’s, dry food for water turtles was actually produced only by Tetra. Now on the international market, and in our pet stores, there are many factory-made feeds for turtles — both for water and land. Usually, annotations to such products report “a unique technology that allows you to save all the necessary components”, “a fully balanced diet” and “scientific development”. Feeds are most often dry granules, plates or a mixture of natural dried feeds with the addition of granulated vitamin and mineral fertilizing.

Forage for land turtles most often contains legumes (mainly alfalfa) in the form of flour, balls, cubes or plates. In addition, fats and proteins (mainly of plant origin), a complex of essential vitamins and minerals are added to the mixture. Although these foods, on average, contain 12-28% protein and 14-19% coarse fiber (i.e. adequate for the diet of land turtles), they may lack many amino acids of animal proteins (lysine, methionine, cystine, tryptophan, threonine), water-soluble vitamins and many important trace elements. The activity of fat-soluble vitamins decreases quickly enough, and at the same time the taste qualities are violated. Land turtles rarely show interest in them, usually only in a mixture with natural food. The price of this feed is much higher than the price of natural products (even if you buy them in a supermarket). Feeds may contain preservatives and they do not always maintain a balance of calcium in relation to the main vitamins. It is thought that with a wide variety of natural plant feeds, the problem of feeding a land turtle can be solved without the help of commercial products.

As for water turtles, their feeding usually causes more difficulties for their owners. Therefore, dry food in this case could be more useful. Unfortunately, many of them do not meet the stated quality.

Most granular feed for water turtles is made from fish meal, small crustaceans, and plant additives. The processing and granulation process involves high-temperature phases that destroy less resistant components. Some of these foods do not even contain essential vitamins. The quality of fish meal (the main component) also depends on the process, fishing season, and fish species. Sometimes food not only does not cause normal growth, but even insufficient to maintain an equivalent energy balance. Dry mixes for water turtles are usually modified fish feeds in which the vitamin and mineral component is added separately and is often not eaten by turtles.

If canned food for small Pets is now well standardized and certified, the same cannot be said for reptile food. For example, studies of three commercial products for iguanas conducted in the United States in 1994 (10) revealed serious deficiencies in comparison with a diet that includes natural foods.

Reputable private turtle collectors usually try to plan their own diet and avoid commercial feed. This is also done in large professional collections, such as zoos. For” domestic ” turtles, the use of dry commercial feed makes more sense, since it makes it much easier to care for the turtle. In addition, the quality of such feeds is much better than a completely inadequate diet or a single type of food, such as cabbage. Unfortunately, turtles, especially young ones, do not eat well even high-quality granular feed with special flavorings. They need to be specially trained to this by adding dry pellets to live feed or natural plant feeds. If the turtle began to take such food, it will greatly simplify the life of its owners. In our practice, several times came across red-eared turtles, grown almost only on dry food. Repto Min (Tetra), Nutrafin (Hagen) and Turtle Food Flakes (Wardley) are the most authoritative brands of commercial feed.»

As you can see, feeding ready-made food even to reptiles can pose a health threat. From what we can draw an important conclusion: in the vast majority of cases, ready-made animal feed can not replace the natural diet of animals in this connection, which is an important task – it is the maximum adaptation of the home diet to the natural (natural) one. In the vast majority of cases, this is possible.

This was officially stated by the President of the Association of veterinary doctors of Russia, Sergey Sereda, here are his words — ” a Natural diet for a dog is, of course, better than commercial food.”

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