Perhaps the most essential part of keeping your pet reptile or amphibian happy and healthy is ensuring it has a proper diet with a great balance of vitamins and nutrients. While different reptile and amphibian species have different dietary requirements, all pets in this category need a diet that will help them thrive.
A good reptile or amphibian diet should consist of:
- A variety of proteins, including both live and frozen/thawed options.
- A good mix of vegetables and fruits.
- A small amount of calcium powder to ensure proper bone health.
Of course, you’ll want to research the specific dietary needs of your reptile or amphibian before creating its meals. Some reptiles and amphibians are strictly carnivorous while others are omnivores, and still others are herbivores.
There are many options when it comes to buying reptile and amphibian food online, and one of the easiest ways to review them all is to break them down into separate categories, including:
- Live food
- Frozen food
- Commercial food
Choosing Your Reptile and Amphibian Food
The diet of your pet makes a huge difference in its overall health and wellbeing. Because of this, it’s important to make sure you choose the right reptile and amphibian food for the type of pet you have.
Below is a breakdown of the different types of food you can buy for reptiles and amphibians along with some important nutritional values that you will want to consider when choosing the best diet for your pet.
Live Reptile Food
Live feeders are one of the most common and important types of food that you can provide for reptiles and amphibians. The most common type of live feeder is insects; however, larger reptiles and amphibians can even eat small rodents and fish.
Below are some tables that break down nutritional information for common live feeders:
Frozen Reptile Food
Many reptile owners prefer to use frozen rodents such as mice and rats. This helps to prevent any risk of injury involved with live feedings, but takes away some of the benefits of live feeders. Both options have their pros and cons, but many pet owners prefer to mix both types into their pet’s diet.
One of the great things about frozen reptile and amphibian food is that it’s easy to keep stored and on-hand for your pets. Live rodents require their own habitat, food, care, and everything else that goes into keeping them alive for feeding time. This can be a hassle for some pet owners, and is usually the more expensive route.
For many reptiles and amphibians, a diet of vegetation is essential. While some may only need a small amount, others may require a large percentage of their diet to be plant-based. The type of vegetation your pet needs will depend on the specific species.
Some popular types of reptile and amphibian vegetables include:
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
A diet lacking vegetation can have devastating health effects on your pet, such as organ damage and digestive problems. If you’re unsure of what type or how much vegetation your pet needs, be sure to consult with a reptile specialist or veterinarian.
Commercial Reptile Food
There are many commercially-prepared reptile and amphibian foods available on the market today. These can be a great option for those who don’t want to deal with live prey or preparing vegetables.
While there is some debate on whether or not these types of food are as healthy as a natural diet, they are generally accepted as a good alternative. Be sure to research the specific brand and type of food before feeding it to your pet, as some may be better than others.
Commercially-prepared food is a convenient option because it provides all the nutrients and vitamins that your pet needs. It’s also relatively cheap to buy when you consider everything that it does.
Reptile Feeding Accessories
It’s important to make sure you have the proper feeding accessories to go along with the feeding habits of your pet reptile or amphibian. Depending on the type of pet you have, you might need feeding tweezers, food and water dishes, supplements, and more.
One common accessory needed for reptiles and amphibians is a water dish. While some reptiles and amphibians will get the moisture they need from their food, others will require a water dish in order to stay hydrated. Make sure to research the specific needs of your pet in order to determine whether or not a water dish is necessary.
Another common accessory needed for reptiles and amphibians is a food dish. Food dishes are important for two reasons: first, they help keep your pet’s food clean and organized; second, they prevent your pet from accidentally swallowing substrate (the material that lines the bottom of their enclosure).
If you are doing live feedings, such as when you feed snakes and large lizards, then you will want to also buy some feeding tongs or tweezers. This will reduce the chance of your pet accidentally biting you when attempting to catch the food you are placing in its enclosure.
Some reptiles and amphibians, such as turtles and tortoises, will require supplemental calcium in order to maintain healthy bones. This can be provided in the form of a powder that is sprinkled on their food or a block that they can nibble on.
Other reptile feeding accessories include:
- Cricket pens
- Feeding rocks
- Termite hills
Reptile Food FAQs
Every different type of pet reptile and amphibian requires a unique diet, so you need to be sure you are giving them the right balance. Feel free to check out our care guides for more information on proper diets.
Yes, there are several reptile and amphibian pets that don’t require live food in their diet. Some popular options include green iguanas, chuckwallas, dryland tortoises, blue-tongued skinks, and aquatic turtles.
This will depend on the type of pet you have. Most of the time, you will want to find a consistent diet plan where you feed them the same amount of times per day, typically anywhere from 2-4 times per day.
Yes, so long as you thoroughly clean them first. Try to avoid any fruits or vegetables known to contain pesticides. Organic food options are the safest route here.
Although you technically can feed your pet reptile insects or rodents you find outside, we don’t recommend this. This is because these wild insects and rodents can carry unknown diseases and parasites that can harm your pet. Buying food from a reputable vendor is the best way to ensure your pet is getting disease-free rodents and insects.