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Posted by Les4toads on September 06, 2002 at 11:37:51:
In Reply to: Re: Gut loading your ants???? posted by Pennebaker on September 06, 2002 at 04:30:11:
:The deeper issue behind my original question seems to have gotten lost is the ensuing discussion.
:We both agree that normal reptile supplements can be problematic for HLs. I think that we would both agree that HL do require some supplementaion at one point in their captive life whether it's because of egg-laying or lack of dietary variation. We both know that HLs eat insects other than ants and that these insects probably provide some vitamin/mineral they rely on. HLs especially seem to want different prey items in August and September. HLs will intentionally wolf-down some sand every now-and-then. This is a classic symptom of some deficiency.
:What i'm getting at here is that it is impossible to be 100% natural about everything. There has to be some safe way to gently supplement HLs 1-2 times per year. I thought that feeding ants specific, yet fairly natural, food items might be one of these gentler ways. I've also tried diluted liquid supplementation in another attempt at finding these'gentler' ways.
:I have a hard time understanding how a belly full of river sand is more beneficial and less detrimental than extremely diluted liquid calcium administered frugally. If i recall correctly, you said that you use a spray with diluted liquid vitamins occasionally for vitamin supllementation. Could you please tell me what kind of vitamins you are supplementing and the recipe for this vitamin solution?
:thanks for your input Lester
::I have a problem with supplements for "gut loading" ants. There is the issue of bioaccumulation of certain materials in the ant's system. Some of these items can be toxic if the accumulatiuon is too high. The ants should be given to the HLs without any additives or supplements. The ants are field caught and supplied with pleanty of nutrients intact. The nutrients from natural processes are nontoxic, unless the ants are collected in an area where there are toxins from illegal dumping. When ants are refridgerated, the loss of nutrients is very minimal. Fresh supplies of ants are the most beneficial. Lester g. Milroy III
I do not spray supplements, but yes I said I do provide a liquid supplement, Reptisol, dilute 1/100 of suggested, in water supply once a year, mainly during the breeding season. Nothing more. I observe the wild populations diet is highly varied during this time of the season and make every attempt to "enhance" the captive population's diet accordingly. The main way this is done is by increasing the variety of insect prey, mainly the ant variety, in their diets. I originally experimented with this supplement about 10 years ago to see what the results would be and compared weights of the two different groups. The results were inconclusive with the vitamin supplement. The variety in insect prey and the areas from which the ants were collected did show a marked difference. Ants, of multiple genus/species, collected deep in undisturbed areas produced increased body weight and health. There was also a higher number of eggs produced by reproductive age females and a more rapid weight recovery after laying the eggs with the high variety of ant prey. You made a very good sumation in your post and that should provide insight for folks looking for some brief answers for their HL's diets. Lester G. Milroy III