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Posted by JohnRobinson on March 17, 2003 at 22:10:45:
In Reply to: Re: SUCCESS!!!! posted by theMAC on March 17, 2003 at 08:35:45:
Garters have such a varied diet in the wild that they naturally get the B1 that they need. Toads, frogs, salamanders and the larval stages of these as well as slugs, worms and the occasional baby mammal probably correct any lack of B1 from fish that they eat.
Some garters have been fed a diet of fish for extended periods of time and do not show any problems. Different species of fish have varying amounts of thiaminase and some research has indicated that freezing fish increases thiaminase levels and vitimin B1 destruction in their flesh. Perhaps some keepers, by luck or design, have found a source of low thiaminase fish. The key is in finding fish that are low in thiaminase and/or have fed on foods that are high in vitamin B1.
It took very little B1 added to their diet to correct problems that I had with water snakes and they quickly recovered even after displaying serious neurological problems. Some of our natricines showed no symptoms after 6 to 8 months on an exclusive diet of whole smelt. Once symptoms appeared the snakes usually died within 2-3 weeks. After we figured out that the problem was a B1 deficiency and supplemented their diet, snakes could be saved and returned to normal even after symptoms were evident!