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RE: while we're on the subject of diet...

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Posted by: zach_whitman at Sat Apr 24 12:56:45 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by zach_whitman ]  

I will start by saying that I agree with the diet you are feeding. But I'd like to throw some ideas out there...

The question is not weather or not an appropriate diet effects vitality and fertility. It absolutely does. The question is, are rodents and appropriate diet?

I should know the effects of a good diet better than anyone. I have chrons disease and I follow a diet called the paleo diet to keep my intestinal disease under control. The premise of the paleo diet is exactly what you are trying to do with your snakes... feed people what they are actually meant to be eating. In a nut shell I eat meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a little dairy. Basically stuff you could find outside. I eat no carbs, refined sugars, corn products, or preservatives of any kind, and it has a dramatic and measurable effect on my health. Getting off topic...

Like I said, the question is not whether or not a good diet is important, the real question is whether or not rodents make a good diet?

I do believe that variety is a good thing. I have no doubt that the vitamins, minerals, and maybe most importantly the types of fats in the varied species are beneficial in some way.

While many wild carnivores prey on a variety of species, many others are specialists in hunting specific species as well. I don't think any of us know where our individual reptiles fall on this continuum. So is a rodent diet really why my anthill eggs and your BHP eggs aren't hatching? I am not so confident. At least with anthills many people before me have fed only mice and not had this problem. I also feed about 25% quail. And while all of my animals eat the same diet only specific clutches are affected. If this happened at low levels to all clutches I would be more tempted to think diet played a bigger role.

Since we were talking about fats below, I would also question what the diet you are feeding actually changes. If you look at the study that I found in the post below, you will see that chickens actually have about the same if not much more fat than rodents depending on the age. Also, the fat content of fish is highly variable depending on species, reproductive statuts, and time of year. It can range from .5% (much lower than rodents) all the way up to 30% (higher than most rodents). I do not know what type of fish you feed nor what their specific body fat percentage is, but on a crude fat level, I doubt that your diet is any lower in fat than a diet of all rodents, The types of lipids may be different and the variety may be good for other reasons but its probably not a low fat diet.

Unfortunately I have been searching all morning for a study that has looked at the total body fat of whole lizards and I have not been able to find anything concrete. I will keep looking. After performing necropsy on many lizards (mostly iguanas, beardies, and leopards) I doubt that their body fat percentage is much different just based on visible fat stores... but I could be wrong and maybe a true lizard diet is markedly different in this regard.

On a different note, I have been thinking about using guppies to get juvi anthill pythons started and I think I am going to try that on a few this year.


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