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Use fecal matter - lg worms for Corucia

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Posted by: Pilirin at Thu Jun 28 13:29:53 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Pilirin ]  
   

Use of fecal matter & superworms for Corucia

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Leeway Corucia Research Center (LCRC)


Possible effects of antibiotic therapy on digestion in a Solomon Islands skink: Corucia zebrata. 2004 ( see end for an excerpt from this paper)

On this paper, I wish to comment that Corucia has not shown to prefer to engage in Coprophagy. Indeed, neonates gain beneficial bacteria by consuming the mother's placenta -not by consuming fecal matter. This has been documented many times by different researchers. Schnirel, (2004), DuPont, (2005), Jones, (2007). Also, Corucia by all accounts, are a strict herbivorous species -Iverson (1980), `R. Jorndal, (1997), Mackie,et al. (2004). This is shown by the colic partitioning and transverse folds/valves in the colon for the slow passage rate of cellulose food. Large Mealworms are not a food source suggested for Corucia in that they have a hard cuticle which is hard to digest -especially in a slow digestional tract reptile such as Corucia. This could easily lead to impaction. Also, these meal worms have a low calcium/phosphorus ratio. There is also much debate on the fat content as well. To give a mealworm only diet for a very long period with this species was not the best course. Even if Corucia were to practice coprophagy, Why were coated soft vegetables not used? This would have facilitated digestion in a weakened animal.

Sincerely,
Brian / Sherri
LCRC

excerpt from: Possible effects of antibiotic therapy on digestion in a Solomon Island skink, Corucia zebrata. 2004. Tara Wadding, Stephanie Louise Mann, Margaret Davies, and Roger Meek.

The paper mentions a sub adult Corucia in a small colony housed in an enclosure 7.5 x 10 meters horizontally and 3.3 meters vertically at Huddersfield Technical college that showed signs of a skin infection. The Corucia was taken to a vet who prescribed Baytril ) dosage = 1 ml per 5 kg body weight) repeated at 5 and 10 day intervals. The Corucia was then given a liquid recovery diet orally using a syringe and subsequently appeared to have recovered. "Since it began feeding well on it's normal diet of a mixture of fruits and vegetables and occasional giant mealworms ; we presume it was also feeding on the vegetation growing in the enclosure which was normal practice for the colony. However, some weeks later, it was noticed that there was a gradual decline in condition, "....(it's no wonder, from the hard to digest cuticle of a superworm) ..."despite a continuing good appetite." ...(probably had an impaction)... "We considered the possibility that the antibiotic treatments may have had an adverse effect on the lizard's microbe and nematode population and hence we decided to induce 'artifical coprophagy' in an attempt to 'reintroduce' an intestinal fauna (Iverson, 1979; Troyer, 1982). This was achieved by offering Several Giant mealworms smeared with the faeces of it's cage mates"... (Why not vegetables??),..." a procedure that was repeated twice within the following week"... (poor thing, with nothing else given, I guess after awhile even fecal matter covered worms would be eaten)..." In a relatively short time, period, 2 weeks or so"...(imagine, being a Corucia eating nothing but crap coated hard shelled worms for 2 weeks!)...." the lizard began to regain condition and approximately at a 2 month period was back to normal weight. We suspect that this incidence with C. zebrata was a case of maldigestion through the application of the antibiotic, although our evidence for this was circumstantial."... (yes, they were grasping straws - not operating in a systematic scientific fashion)..." Indeed, there were several curious aspects concerning the incident. For instance, why we should have had to induce 'artificial coprophagy' rather than the animal performing this naturally"... (because Corucia do not eat their own waste naturally!)...." is not immediately obvious "

The paper goes on about how certain antiobiotics eliminating intestional faunas. They mention the Tewksbury Institute of Herpetology "which has an ongoing research programme on C. zebrata, avoids the regular use of anti-parasitic drugs such as Metronidazol unless potentially harmful protozoa have been identified as present (Richard Ogust, pers. communication)".


   

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