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Some common examples of animals in this category include: various box turtles, red-eared sliders, Chinese water dragons, bearded dragons, veiled chameleons, and the blue-tongued skinks.
The adage “you are what you eat” applies to pets as well as people. Therefore, if you are going to be feeding insects, rodents or other animal protein sources, then please ensure the feeder animals are healthy and well fed. Crickets, mealworms and other insects should be gut-loaded prior to feeding. This means they should be fed a healthy, vitamin rich food 1-2 days before being fed to your pet. Your pet will get this good nutrition when they eat the prey animal.
Depending on species, some turtles like the Eastern box turtle eat approximately 50/50 plant and animal matter, while the ornate box turtle eats 10/90 plant and animal matter. Young turtles require more insect and animal proteins to support growth, in general. A vegetable salad should consist of chopped mix of high Vitamin A veggies like winter squash, sweet potatoes, red peppers and parsnips in addition to other vegetables like dark leafy greens. Animal protein sources include options such as mealworms, crickets, earthworms, and occasional pinkie mice based on size. High quality dog food can be used, but some of the other options listed above should be used as well.
Aquatic turtles can be fed whole small fish or shrimp in addition to the other foods listed above. If you will be feeding fish then live or fresh fish should be used for the best nutrition. Aquatic turtles should be fed in a separate container of water to reduce contamination of the primary tank. Turtle pellets are available commercially and can make up a portion of the diet, but some vegetables and insects should be offered.
Adult turtles can usually be fed 3-4 times a week, but this varies based on species, breeding and age.
In general, all of the lizards in this category should be fed a variety of gut-loaded insects. Feeding a variety stimulates interest for your pet and helps prevent nutrient deficiencies. An “iguana salad” type vegetable mix should be fed. Recipes can be found online and more details are located in the Herbivore section. Commercial diets are available, but it is unknown at this time as to how complete these diets are. They can be used in the diet, but the other foods listed above should be used as well.
As a general rule, younger animals need more feedings and a higher insect content than adults.
Chinese water dragons: Fed mostly insects with a small amount of “iguana salad” every 3 days for an adult.
Bearded dragons: Fed 60-70% “iguana salad” with a varied insect diet 3 times a week.
Blue-tongued skinks: 50% “iguana salad” and dark leafy greens, 25% appropriately sized rodents and 25% soft fruits.