Reptile Diet

Reptiles have a very diverse diet in the wild and it’s important that their captive diet reflects this. For example, wild snakes enjoy whole prey like rodents and small mammals but these should be avoided in captivity because they can injure the animal.


Herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles do best on a diet of commercial pellets, fresh vegetables and fruit. These should be supplemented with live insects that are ‘gut-loaded’ with high nutrient food or sprinkled with a powder supplement on them, known as ‘dusting’.


Reptiles classified as herbivorous consume a diet exclusively or primarily of plant vegetation. Interestingly, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diets of these species is inverse to that of carnivores (higher phosphate, lower calcium). The high calorie content of some plant foods may explain this phenomenon.

Carnivorous reptiles utilise animal protein as fuel, whereas herbivorous ones use a combin 파충류샵 ation of fat and carbohydrate as energy. The exact proportions of these energy sources are determined by natural history, habitat, digestive morphology and food selection.

The dietary needs of reptiles can also change during their lifetimes, depending on climatic and environmental factors. For example, a juvenile sulcata tortoise will shift to eating tender shoots and new leaves, while an adult might prefer larger leaves or fruits. This ontogenic shift is known as a dietary niche shift.

It is important that the food offered to pet reptiles is a high quality diet, with all nutritional requirements being met. In the case of herbivorous reptiles, this means providing fresh green vegetables. In addition, dried or live prey can be provided as a source of fats and soluble vitamins. However, the feeding of high fat diets should be avoided as this can result in obesity and a variety of health problems including fatty liver disease, a serious condition that results from an accumulation of fats in the liver cells.


Herbivorous reptiles enjoy a wi 파충류샵 de variety of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and flowers. They can also scavenge their surrounding areas for nest eggs, carrion and other invertebrates. Some omnivores also hunt small animals, birds or mammals for protein.

Green iguanas, spiny-tailed lizards, tortoises and bearded dragons are commonly kept as herbivorous reptile pets. They must be fed a high quality diet that contains at least 80% vegetable matter and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals. These foods can include fresh leafy greens, fruits and even some canned or frozen vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, squash and corn. Frozen fish and prawns can be offered in moderation as they provide additional protein and omega 3 fatty acids, however they should not make up more than 10% of the diet.

In the wild, omnivorous reptiles eat insects, fish, reptiles and small mammals and birds. They also scavenge their surroundings for bird and mammal carrion, egg shells and other natural materials. Ontogenic shifts in diet are common, for example a frog hatchling might select larger prey items as it grows, while a sulcata tortoise may shift to more fibrous plant material as it matures.

Reptiles should be fed a variety of live and freeze-dried prey species, as different animals have varying nutrient levels. Feeding reptiles only one type of food or prey item can lead to nutritional imbalance and parasite transmission. Feeding live rodents should be avoided, as they are known to carry bacteria that can cause serious illnesses in reptiles.


A reptile’s diet can be categorized as herbivore, omnivore or carnivore. Some reptiles will show one feeding strategy as neonates and juveniles, but then switch to another as adults.

Carnivorous reptiles include the snakes, turtles and tortoises that feed on meat. These include box turtles, bog turtles and forest tortoises as well as snakes such as boa constrictors, pythons and kingsnakes. The dietary needs of these reptiles are best met with a complete formulated reptile food like those sold at the pet store or by providing pre-killed, frozen rodent prey such as mice and rats.

However, this type of meat should only be fed sparingly. Too much animal protein can deprive a reptile of key minerals and nutrients. Additionally, the nutrient content of prey animals can vary considerably. The nutritional composition of the fat and ash contents of prey animals can be affected by age and diet of the prey as well as the method of freezing and thawing.

Many pet store reptile foods contain an excessive amount of animal protein which can over supplement a reptile’s diet. Generally, the protein content of commercially produced pellet diets should be limited to about 50% of the total diet. It is important to remember that a tablespoon of a protein food provides about the same number of calories as 1/2 cup of leafy greens.


Some reptiles, like the popular geckos and skinks, are primarily insectivorous. They require a diet that is rich in insects, including crickets and worms. These can be purchased at most pet stores, or may be wild-caught. It is recommended that owners “gut-load” feeder crickets and worms with a high-value nutrient food before feeding to their pets. This is a simple task that will greatly improve the nutritional value of these otherwise deficient insect foods.

Insectivorous reptiles need to be fed a variety of insects in order to get all of their required nutrients, including protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. The best way to accomplish this is by offering a diversified mixture of store-bought and field-caught insects. This type of opportunistic feeding provides reptiles with nutrients that tend to complement one another rather than compete with each other for absorption.

Many insectivores eat the fecal matter of their prey, which can provide an important source of dietary fiber. However, a high intake of fiber is undesirable in herbivores as it can inhibit gut motility and reduce nutrient availability. In addition, excessive dietary fiber can also limit a reptile’s ability to absorb vital trace minerals.