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Many Reptiles require

their Dinner to

be still Alive

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Live Food for your Pet Reptiles to stay Healthy

Some people like the idea of keeping reptiles and other
carnivorous animals as pets, but they are disturbed at the
though of feeding their pets live food. But many carnivorous
and insectivorous pets need live food in order to stay
healthy, and many reptiles and Arachnids will refuse to eat
food unless they have caught and killed it themselves. So,
here are some suggestions to make the process easier and
less traumatic for all concerned and best practice would
have you do this well before you actually acquire your pet.

First, do your due diligence research and determine exactly
what diet is best and most natural for your chosen pet. Many
small reptiles such as Anoles and Geckos, as well as many
Arachnids, live primarily on insects such as crickets,
mealworms, waxworms, and other similarly sized insects. The
larger reptiles, especially snakes, will eat newborn to
adult rodents, rabbits, or chickens.

Once you know what foods your pet will need, research the
pet and feed stores, and/or breeders, to find the best
source of the live foods. If you have in your community a
pet store or breeder who specializes in reptiles, they
likely can advise you or even supply your needs. This is
necessary because just any cricket is not a good pet food
cricket. Knowing what the food itself was fed is also
extremely vital to the long term health of your pet. In the
wild the food in the digestive tract of the prey, as well as
the bones and other entrails, are a vital part of the
hunter's full nutrition. Stores that sell live food as
incidental products, such as large department stores, might
not feed their live food well. If you can't raise your own crickets
and worms for your pet, ask your veterinarian for
advice as to the best place to buy them.

Take care of the live food before you feed it to your pet.
(See our other article on "How to Care for Live Food for
Your Pets.") The best way to ensure that the live food you
give your pet will give it the nutrition it needs is to keep
the insects or animals for a few days before you use them as
food, and "gut load" them by feeding the live food with
vegetables, fruits and possibly vitamin and possibly mineral
supplements that will be good for your pet. Pet supply shops
often sell special gut-loading food for you to feed to
crickets before feeding them to your animals.

If you are feeding insects to your pet, just before feeding
time put the crickets or other insects into a plastic bag
with a pinch or so of a good calcium and vitamin powder and
shake the bag to coat the insects.

Use live food that is the appropriate size for your pet
animal, and don't put in more food than the animal will eat
in one day. If very small reptiles or Arachnids are fed
crickets or mice that are too large for them, the pet may be
injured by its prey, or may not be able to eat it. Many
snakes have been killed by being gnawed by mice or rats that
are left in their cages and even crickets may nibble on your
lizard rather than the other way around. Leave live food in
your pet's cage only for a short time, and keep an eye on
the action.

If your pet is a snake or other rodent eater, you might try
buying frozen rats or mice from a pet supply store, thawing
them at room temperature, and feeding them to your pet. Some
pets may be willing to eat the dead rodents, especially if
you use tongs to dangle the rodent by the tail and make it

Check out our other articles for detailed advice about
individual types of animals used for live foods and how to
raise them yourself or at least make them as healthy as
possible for your pet.

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