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Archiv 2010

Veröffentlicht: 24.01.2010 Share it on Facebook

Schildkröten im Fokus, Bergheim 7 (1) 2010: 3–18

Karnivore Schildkröten: Was ist ihr handelsübliches Futter eigentlich wert? Oder: Die Bedeutung des Darminhalts der Futtertiere

Carnivorous Chelonians: What is the value of the commercially available food? Or alternatively: About the impact of the gut content of the live food

Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf


Carnivorous amphibians and reptiles, including several turtle species, rely on living food sources especially when they are young. These food sources include mainly invertebrates and some vertebrates such as fish and several rodents. In most cases private herpetologists and zoo's depend on the use of commercially bred invertebrates in order to maintain their carnivorous reptiles and turtles. The latter aspect raises questions about the nutritional requirements of poikilothermic, carnivorous amphibians and reptiles and about the quality of the commercially available live food sources.
Here I review the current literature, providing an update on nutritional requirements of reptiles with special reference to turtles. In contrast to the majority of the available literature, the focus of this review is to explain the basic nutritional needs and summarize and discuss the presence and the absence of certain essential components within the various food sources as well as for what these are needed in turtles; such as vitamins, taurine, sulphur containing amino acids or arginine in uricotelic species as well as fibre content, gut content and gut loading. The presence, species- and/or tissue-specific distribution of certain essential components of the diets in natural food sources is outlined in order to explain which options carnivorous animals have to achieve a balanced nutrition in the wild.
Furthermore, the special requirements and needs for fast growing hatchlings are addressed. Together with this latter aspect, attention is paid to a newly developed, practical and evaluated method for nutritional enrichment by gut loading. Finally it should be recognized that in contrast to mammals, in oviparous animals including turtles and tortoises, all essential nutrients which are required for normal embryonic tissue formation and development have to be placed into the yolk or the egg membranes and the egg shell in order to produce healthy offspring which calls for additional attention when feeding reproductive females.

Key words

Reptilia: Testudines, Carettochelyidae, Chelydridae, Emydidae, Geoemydidae, Kinosternidae, Platysternidae, feeding, live food, Achatina immaculata, Acheta domesticus, Galleria mellonella, Lumbricus terrestris, Oniscus asellus, Tenebrio molitor, Zophobas morio, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fibre content, gut content, gut loading, fatty acids.


Hans-Jürgen Bidmon

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