Reptile husbandry affects how your reptile will eat, it may include: photoperiod, humidity, temperature, substrate and cage furniture. Each of these factors can affect the reptiles eating behaviours, as in the wild reptiles will typically spend their days basking in the sun, absorbing the heat and UV light.
The light is necessary for reptiles’ bodies to manufacture the vitamin D and for calcium absorption. Photoperiod is the name for providing light to your reptile using specific lighting that creates a day and night cycle for reptiles. Reptile lighting systems are extremely important for those who live in darker locations like the UK, as improper lighting systems can lead to sickness and even be fatal.
Humidity and temperature gradients need to be created inside a cage to allow your reptile to select whether they want to be in warm, dry, cool or moist areas. You need to have an area of the cage that is warmer than another, often under UV lighting. Cooler spots are used by reptiles when they want to cool down or sometimes when they want to sleep. Some reptiles also enjoy being in ponds or at least in moist areas to create “rain”.
The substrate and cage furniture you provide your reptile needs to match their natural habitat. It should be comfortable, cleaned fairly often and provide plenty of hiding holes for reptiles.
Reptiles do not eat as much as mammals, this is because digestion can take a significantly longer period of time. However outside of their natural digestion time, the photoperiod, humidity, temperature, cage furniture and substrate can adversely affect whether your animal is going to eat or ignore the food, therefore effecting their nutrient intake.
You should monitor if there are any areas in your cage the reptile doesn’t like, and decide what needs to be taken away or added that will stimulate a natural environment. Having multiple reptiles in the same cage can also affect your pets, as it may cause competition for preferred sights.
Most reptiles are carnivores, depending where they live, rabbits, rats, and mice are typically the most common prey. The size of the reptile will also determine the type of prey they eat. For example, crocodiles and alligators are semi-aquatic. They feed on birds, small mammals, and fish. Crocodiles are also know to feed on large animals.
Most of the pet reptiles you will have feed on mice, rats, and rabbits. Turtles, are reptiles, despite the fact that many people think they are amphibians, they are mainly herbivores but may feed on larvae of aquatic invertebrates, caterpillars and grubs. Several reptiles are also insect eaters, such as lizards that eat crickets, spiders and beetles. Crickets, mealworms, and king worms are considered invertebrate prey that you can feed most reptiles, whilst also feeding them vertebrate prey like small mammals.