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RE: But does anyone look at the clues?

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Posted by: Debb_luvs_uros at Tue Jan 13 08:48:40 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Debb_luvs_uros ]  

“There are study done that seem to suggest they do eat insects in the wild when opportunity arises depending on the season and availability.”

Actually, there are not all that many references to this (unless you count the references referencing references) and a lot of the data that does exist seems to be more limited/incidental findings and personal speculation than actual studies. As previously mentioned, there are now several long-term studies showing that adults and juveniles of several species do not seek out insects and this data includes seasonal variations.

My post was not about whether ‘some’ uromastyx might consume insects or if an insignificant amount of insect material exists in the diet of some uromastyx in nature. My post was suggesting that there is clear evidence that uromastyx are herbivores and that animal protein can adversely impact herbivores. I also mentioned that we have no idea at what level harm may occur or which animal might be more prone to suffer disease from regularly ingesting animal protein and that there are more drawbacks than benefits to feeding animal protein to an herbivore.

Again, I want to make it perfectly clear that my points are directed toward long term and/or excessive feeding of animal protein to an herbivore in captivity not whether some uromastyx might occasionally consume a few insects in their natural habitat.

If you want to continue feeding your diet of 40% insect matter to the uromastyx you have owned for one month because you read a couple of care sheets suggesting animal protein is fine and/or because you are taking the opinion of some keepers that have been feeding animal protein who look at their animal and declare it perfectly healthy several years into the practice of feeding insects - than so be it. I will stick with my own experience with dozens of these animals and the years of research I have invested in this topic as a basis for my action of not regularly offering insects to my uromastyx. However, I will once again suggest a little research into whether or not your mali is an herbivore (real research such as morphology- not opinionated care sheets) and how regularly feeding insects might impact the health of an herbivore. If you are of the frame of mind that iguanas should not be fed insects, I suggest applying that same logic to your newest reptile and for the same reasons.

” I think that gout and renal failture has to do with husbandry than the diet.”

I think poor husbandry can certainly exacerbate some of the problems associated with feeding too much animal matter to an herbivore such as renal issues and gout but there is clear evidence showing that feeding too much animal protein to an herbivore can result in harm regardless of husbandry.

“I know of an argus monitor who develop gout from eating rodents. Yes, even carnivorous reptiles develop gout in captivity, but it has to do more with husbandry issue than anything”

As I have no clue what type of gout developed in the monitor and whether the condition you are referring to deals with an overproduction of uric acid or the animal’s failure to deal with normal levels, I can only throw a little speculation at the situation.

I do not believe that the gout developed from the monitor simply eating rodents.
The gout developed due to an underlying cause such as a genetic abnormality like an enzyme deficiency, an underlying health issue, renal disease, drug interference, or a number of other issues that could impact the animal’s ability to effectively handle uric acid.

While husbandry issues like dehydration, long-term inadequate temperatures, and starvation/emaciation can certainly impact this ability by causing an underlying health condition like renal disease leading to the development of gout; it is also a possibility that there was an underlying non-husbandry related cause.

I agree with you that husbandry can have a direct influence on issues like renal disease leading to gout but again, I think your logic is slightly skewed in suggesting that feeding animal protein to an herbivore is not a significant risk if the husbandry is fine. The system of an herbivore is not meant to handle large amounts of animal protein so elevated levels of animal protein alone can result in disease for an herbivore- even those kept in a stellar living environment. While it would likely take something more such as husbandry or an underlying cause such as I mentioned above for something like gout to develop in a carnivore, I think it a little irresponsible to simply apply this logic to an herbivore and suggest that increased levels of animal protein are fine if the husbandry/living conditions are adequate.

Again, I am not suggesting that a couple insects here and there will definitely hurt a uromastyx, I am just suggesting that this is an herbivore, regularly feeding and/or excessive animal protein can adversely impact an herbivore, we do not have enough data to know how much is too much, regularly feeding animal protein is not necessary for the health of an herbivore, and there are more cons than pros to feeding.

Now I am going to bow out of this thread as I see no point in continuing to repeat the same points over and over. Those that have an open mind likely understood the points in my first post and those that do not have an open mind- never will.

Thank you Gregory for acknowledging that there is at least one person out there that does not mind reading through longwinded posts with an open mind.



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