Vacation feeders and “toys” for turtles…reptile care supplies certainly have come a long way since I started on my pet care and zoo-keeping career! Today I’d like to highlight two new automatic feeders designed especially for turtles (I believe both will be useful for African Clawed Frogs, Mexican Axolotls, newts and larger fishes as well). Exo Terra’s Automatic Feeder represents a great step forward in turtle care, allowing for 4 daily feedings of different foods over an extended period of time. The Zoo Med Floating Turtle Feeder, while not technically a “toy”, will keep you and your turtles entertained. Similar to behavioral enrichment tools and activities I employed at the Bronx Zoo, this feeder forces turtles to “work” for their meals, thereby encouraging activity and foraging behaviors. Read More »
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The Domestic or House Cricket is perhaps the world’s most popular herp food, the closely-related locusts, grasshoppers and katydids have been neglected as a food source here in the USA. However, many are easily collected and bred in captivity, and offer important nutrients lacking in commercially-bred insects. What’s more, they are colorful, active and extremely interesting to work with – don’t be surprised if you begin keeping them as more than just a food item!
Grasshoppers, crickets, locusts and katydids are classified in the Order Orthoptera. Over 20,000 species, inhabiting environments ranging from deserts to mountain tops, have been described. The USA is home to 1,000+ species.
Many grasshoppers sport a fantastic array of colors and shapes; some are barely visible to the naked eye, while others, such as New Guinea’s Phyllophora grandis, top 5 inches in length (please see photo of a Hooded Grasshopper). Read More »
Earthworms are one of the most nutritious food items available for amphibians, and for those reptiles, invertebrates and fishes that will take them. Collecting them (in one piece!) can, however, be frustrating, and they are quite costly at bait stores. One trick I stumbled upon years ago has greatly simplified the task of supplying my collection with earthworms – I hope you find it useful. Read More »
Many frogs and toads that are collected or purchased and kept as pets will greedily accept crickets and mealworms, the food items most easily obtained from pet stores. Most thrive on this fare for a time, but eventually develop nutritional disorders and expire long before they have reached their potential life-span. Following are some useful tips for those keeping American Bullfrogs, White’s Treefrogs, Budgett’s Frogs, most Toads and similar species. Please see my other Amphibian Care Articles for information on feeding Poison Frogs, Mantellas, African Clawed Frogs, Horned Frogs and others requiring specialized diets, or write in with your questions. Read More »
I have long been witness to the nutritional value of earthworms, and have even experimentally reared several amphibian and fish species on “earthworm only” diets (please see article below). In my experience, whole, well-fed earthworms come very close to being a perfect food item for a wide variety of carnivorous herps, fishes and invertebrates. What’s more, many animals cannot resist them – even those that rarely if ever encounter earthworms in the wild. Indeed, earthworms are often the first choice of zookeepers and experienced hobbyists seeking to induce feeding in “picky”, wild-caught or newborn amphibians, fishes and certain reptiles. Read More »