Educational Articles

Reptiles + Nutrition

  • The bearded dragon is a well-known lizard currently considered one of the best pet lizards. If they are well looked after, with a good diet and proper environment, bearded dragons are reasonably hardy animals. Common health conditions of pet bearded dragons include metabolic bone disease, infectious stomatitis (mouth rot), parasites, respiratory infections, and adenovirus infection.

  • Bearded dragons are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant- and animal-based foods, including insects. Generally speaking, bearded dragon's diet should be about 50% plant-based material and 50% animal-based material.

  • Bearded dragons have several unique problems; understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems. These problems include Salmonella, avascular necrosis, abscesses, and dystocia.

  • All snakes are carnivores. Some eat warm-blooded prey (rodents, rabbits, birds), while others eat insects, amphibians, eggs, other reptiles, fish, earthworms, or slugs. Since snakes eat entire prey whole, it is easier for their owners to feed them nutritionally complete diets and certainly prevents many of the dietary-related diseases commonly seen in other reptiles. Live prey should not be fed to snakes. Snakes can be offered either thawed, previously frozen prey, or freshly killed ones. Smaller or younger snakes usually eat twice each week, while larger, more mature snakes typically eat once every week or two. If your snake has a decreased appetite, see your veterinarian. A large, heavy ceramic crock or bowl filled with fresh clean water should be provided at all times.

  • Iguanas are mainly herbivorous, meaning they mostly eat plants. Specifically, they are folivores (an animal that feeds on leaves). In the wild, they feed almost entirely on the leaves of trees and vines, plus some fruits or flowers that are not readily available to pet owners.

  • Gout is a disease in which the metabolism of uric acid is defective. Uric acid is a breakdown product of nitrogen, formed when protein is metabolized in the body. Uric acid is the form in which reptiles excrete their nitrogen wastes.

  • Dystocia (difficult birth or egg binding) happens when the female reptile is unable to pass her eggs or fetus. It is a reasonably common problem in reptiles and can be life threatening. It is a problem seen with snakes, turtles and lizards. It is caused by a variety of factors.

  • Common conditions of pet turtles include Vitamin A deficiency, respiratory diseases, abscesses, shell infections and fractures, and parasites.

  • Aquatic turtles such as the red-eared slider have several unique problems. Understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care issues.

  • For the purpose of this discussion, the common Red-eared Slider will be used to represent aquatic turtle feeding.