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Archiv 2009


Schildkröten im Fokus, Bergheim 6 (1) 2009: 3-26

Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf

Ernährungsgrundlagen und Darmpassagezeiten bei herbivoren Landschildkröten – oder wie selektierende Nahrungsgeneralisten auch unter extremen Bedingungen überleben: Eine Übersicht

Basics of nutrition and intestinal passage times of herbivorous tortoises – or how selecting nutritional generalist survive even under extreme conditions: An overview



Abstract

This review addresses the nutritional basis for the management of herbivorous tortoises by summarizing the data published about their natural diets and trophic ecological niches in a manner that may be useful not only for specialists, but hopefully also for private keepers and hobbyists. I refer especially to annual nutritional energy budgets in relation to water availability and the associated physiological and morphological adaptations of their digestive tract. In addition, experimental data about the assimilation of nutrients and water from various diets at given temperatures are included in order to explain the diagnostic value of gut passage (transition) times for digestion and energy assimilation. Such knowledge and its objective evaluation is a prerequisite for establishing appropriate protocols for feeding tortoises in captivity. Although the available data are scarce, and are so far restricted to a comparatively small number of species, these data are important for all of those private keepers and organisational stockman or veterinarians who are still interested in improving the nutritional requirements for maintaining the health of herbivorous tortoises in captivity and in breeding programs. Last but not least, since nutrition in many cases is influenced by emotional personal feelings, including subjective opinions which are often addressed by companies and sellers advertising commercial diets or health care products, I try to compare these subjective statements with those provided by the scientific literature.


Key words

Testudines, nutrition, intestinal passage time, food choice, herbivorous tortoises

Author

Hans-Jürgen Bidmon
E-Mail: hjb@hirn.uni-duesseldorf.de

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