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Posted by Jeff Judd on February 11, 2003 at 19:08:14:
From what I have read on this board it seems that Loren Pennebaker is the only one that knows what their talking about on the subject of nutrition. I have read on this forum that you should only feed horned lizards ants and nothing else which is FALSE, gutloading ants and other insects doesn't do much good which is FALSE, and supplementation is harmful which is also FALSE.I will address each of these statements in order with facts.
1. Horned Lizards eat a variety of prey items IN THE WILD.In addition to ants they consume beetles and larva, grasshoppers, termites, spiders, and any other insect of suitable size. Most horned lizards diets consist of about 50% ants by volume. P. asio and P. ditmarsi diets are only made up of about 15% ants. Solare and Mcalli diets have the highest percentage which is about 90%. So contrary to what people might say crickets and mealworms can and should be offered to horned lizards as long as they are of appropriate size(the length of the insect should be about the width of the lizards head).
2.Gutloading ants and insects would definitely benefit nutritional value. The top reptile breeders have all confirmed it and highly recommend it. I use high iron dry baby cereal, romane lettuce, carrots and occasionaly oranges. Offer these to all your prey items even ants before you feed them to your lizards.
3. Supplement your babys and pregnant females twice weekly and adult males and non-pregnant females once weekly. Use a mixture of half minerall half reptivite or any other brands just make sure your mixture is half minerals and half vitamins. I have NEVER ran into vitamin or mineral toxicity just problems with deficincy like non movement of limbs and soft bones. I raised one litter of babies with supplement and one without. The ones with supplement grew much faster.
TAKING IT FURTHER
The only other information I seek is what ants are made of. Its been done for crickets and mealworms and I would like to see it done for ants I just don't know what lab would be willing to do it.We need to know th following:
what vitamins and minerals are found in them.
It needs to be of a healthy colony of a species consumed my many horned lizards. Like pogonomyrmrex barbatus or californicus.