A Complete Guide To What To Feed Your Reptile

Different types of reptiles have different dietary needs. They eat insects, leafy greens, fruits, flowers, and small mammals

Reptiles are fascinating creatures. There are different groups of reptiles and not all of them eat the same food. Some prefer leafy veggies while others like insects and meat. 

Most people who want to pet reptiles get confused about what to feed them. This is quite obvious since there are potentially 9,500 species of reptiles, but the common household reptiles are limited in the number and diets that have been identified.

To help you out, we are going to talk about all the different types of diet reptiles have and whether you should feed them supplements or not.

Types Of Reptiles Based On Diet

Before jumping into specifics, let us first take a look at the four types of eaters-

1. Insectivores

The reptiles that mainly feed on insects fall in this group. The most common insectivorous reptiles are anoles, skinks, and geckos. The common insects they prefer are crickets, flies, Superworms, and Dubia Roaches

Most insectivores prefer live meals. They eat dead insects but prefer to hunt and eat. Live insects provoke their predatory senses and get them more attracted toward their prey, and make them hungry. Although they are insectivores, insects are not all they eat.

2. Herbivores

As the name suggests, herbivores like to have an herb or plant-based diet. This includes fresh leafy vegetables, small fruits, flowers, and even commercial kibbles. When you are feeding a herbivore make sure you mix a variety of veggies, fruits, and salad. The best option would be to make a salad.

3. Carnivores 

Carnivores are predators and like to eat the flesh of other small animals. On top of their list would be rats and mice. If you have a carnivore pet such as a snake or a monitor lizard then feed them commercial meals.

Feeding them street vermin can cause parasitic infections and may be deadly for your pet. Be sure to feed your carnivore little friend two times a week.

4. Omnivores

Omnivores are the ones that eat everything from insects, small animals to veggies and fruits. This group is much easier to maintain since they have a large selection of diets.

But some omnivores prefer plants while others like meat. Although they will eat everything, they still have specific favorites. 

The Specific Diets

The most common reptiles that people keep as pets are-

Snakes: Corn snakes, Garter snakes, and Ball pythons

Lizards: Chameleons, Geckos, and Bearded dragons

Turtle & Tortoise: Red-Eared Slider, African Sideneck Turtle, and Mississippi Map Turtle

We will be focusing solely on these three types of reptiles.

1. A Snake’s Diet

Snakes require more protein and are natural carnivores. They do not like any other types of food like fruit and veggies. Their favorite meals are Rodents like rats and mice, other reptiles, all sorts of insects, large mammals like rabbits and birds.

Some snakes even eat small eggs of birds like quail, finch, small chicken, and pigeon that can fit in their jaws. Certain African species enjoy eating eggs and are toothless.

If you have an egg-eating snake then do not feed it local store-bought ones. Instead, feed them eggs that you can collect from local farms.

Most snakes enjoy a delicious rodent like a mouse or rat, but grown pythons require grown rabbits. As we mentioned earlier, it is best to feed store-bought meals. You can find frozen or live feeder animals for your snakes from pet supermarkets or pet shops.

Snakes like to eat rodents or other small reptiles that are alive since they like the taste of warm flesh. But always having live rodents at your disposal may not be an option. In that case, many snake owners microwave the meal, attach a string to it then move it around to make the snake believe it is alive.

2. Lizard’s Diet

Lizards can be omnivores, herbivores or even carnivores. Usually, carnivore lizards are not kept as house pets. The most common lizards that are kept as pets are omnivores and require a mixed diet of leafy plants and insects. Their favorite insects are crickets, but they will also eat worms, roaches, and beetles.

Different types of worms like wax worms, mealworms, and super worms are ideal for house reptiles since they are packed with fat and protein. Bearded dragons prefer insects to veggies and geckos, anoles and iguanas prefer leafy treats. Lizards require their daily dose of protein and need to be fed every day.

3. Turtle & Tortoise Diet

Turtles & tortoises enjoy fresh leafy veggies but are not restricted to a plant diet. These adorable semi-aquatic pets love eating beet greens, dark-leafed lettuce, dandelion greens, and other leafy greens. 

If you have organic flowers and fruits then you can feed those to your pet since it will ensure that no chemical pesticide was used. Some tortoises also eat small fishes like comet goldfish. A turtle or tortoises diet is more complex than other reptiles since they are sensitive when they are little so only experienced reptile owners should have them as pets.

Should You Feed Them Supplements?

Ensuring proper nutrition is highly important if you want a reptile as a pet. Deficiencies in their nutrients can cause their teeth and bone to weaken. It disrupts their growth, molting process, immune system and can shorten their lifespan.

This is why sometimes you need to add supplements. Reptiles out in the wild are more independent and can eat a balanced diet. But if you have pet reptiles then sometimes it might be difficult to fulfill all their dietary needs. In that case, supplements or pallets can be your go-to option.

There is a variety of supplements and each caters to different needs. Your choice will be based on the type of reptile you have. There are also different ways to feed them these pellets. 

Some people feed the mice, crickets, or other insects a supplementary diet and then feed that to their reptiles. Some sprinkle supplements over their meals and some add to their drinking water.

Final Thoughts

Reptiles are amazing pets. They have a wide variety and some are gorgeous to look at. But if you want to be a lucky reptile owner you need to make sure it gets all its nutrients to live a healthy, and long life.