at Wed Jul 30 02:08:32 2008 [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by fireside3 ]
Given the amount of ants I have used ( about 1000 a day to feed my HLs over the last 2 years ), there is not an issue with the ants I am using. I get a visible nematode infestation every 2 years or so, which is insignificant in my opinion considering captive stress and the amount of ants they consume. It is merely prevention in most cases, especially for new comers.
I also highly doubt there is any significant difference between nematodes found here and found elsewhere in harvester ants in other parts of the southwest. The scientific information I recall, indicated that they are the same species which infest Pogos and HLs in examples from across the SW.
I realize nematodes are a normal part of the "natural" cycle...
but when you get into captive issues, that is no longer a "natural" cycle.
Nematodes are part of the natural cycle outside of captivity where HLs roam in a much larger home range, are not subject to captive stress on sometimes a daily basis in smaller quarters like aquariums or even outdoor pens, and are not subjected to feeding close quarters all the time in the same area they and others have been defecating in. Captive HLs reside in close proximity to their own feces, even in outdoor enclosures, which increases the chance many fold that they will reinfect themselves or infect others. Captive HLs are subjected to more stresses which increase cortisol production, which then desensitizes the cellular response to it over time, which then results in a depressed immune state, and this results in parasite bloom well above and beyond what is found in nature in wild HLs. It really has nothing to do with the difference in regional harvester ants in my opinion.
A healthy HL living in the wild may not be significantly impacted by nematodes, I think is what should be said. In captivity however, it is well known by other long time herps keepers, not just with HLs, that captive stresses often result in increased parasite infestations. This is true of snakes and many other lizards.
Wichita Falls Reptile Rescue
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