Frillie Won't Eat!

Discussion in 'General Lizards' started by GallifreyanLady, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. GallifreyanLady

    GallifreyanLady Embryo

    Hi Everyone, I could use some suggestions. My Frillie "Maynard" refuses to eat crickets or super worms. He's about 14 months now and 22 in. Not really sure if he's a male or not. He was always a BIG eater and then just stopped. He refused anything at all for 2 weeks. He drank water and still ran around the cage but would not eat. I found a help sheet online that said moist cat food was ok to feed them. It just goes through faster. He loves it! I mix his vitamins in it and he goes to town. IS a little stinkier but he seems fine. Any other suggestions.

    JEFFREH Administrator

  3. justkev

    justkev Hi :) Staff Member

    He totally went off food for 2 weeks, then you started using cat food? Or did the cat food cause the refusal to eat the other foods?

    They will eat pretty much anything they can catch and fit in to their mouths.. so if you have access to other (clean) food items, give them a try.

    JEFFREH Administrator

  5. Cammy

    Cammy ReptileBoards Addict

    Hello there and welcome to the forum. :) Now prepare for a rant! Yay!

    I'm not a fan of feeding cat and dog food (but particularly cat food) directly to most reptiles for two primary reasons. One: My brain says, "No." Granted, my brain isn't always a reliable resource, haha. :p But in all seriousness, canned cat and dog foods are typically higher in protein (especially cat foods), which can cause problems if fed in excess to things that don't need it in such high amounts. Cat food also contains taurine, an amino acid which cats can't synthesize on their own. Reptiles, however, can synthesize their own taurine. The effects of too much taurine in reptiles (or any animal, for that matter) are currently unknown. That doesn't mean feeding your reptile extra taurine is inherently bad. There may not be any side effects for all we know. But the point is, we don't know. Personally, I feel that if reptiles can synthesize a healthy level of taurine on their own, then there is no need to add a higher taurine containing food to their diet. That's just my own thinking though, so I don't expect you to take that as scripture.

    But that brings me to my next and main point, the veterinarian's "bible:" The Merck Veterinary Manual. Take a look at this excerpt from their online edition:

    "Excess protein is common in the diet of carnivorous lizards when excessive meat products are fed rather than whole animals. Feeding excessive amounts of high-protein cat foods has been implicated in cases of excess protein and vitamin D3. Many nutritionists recommend not feeding cat foods to reptiles. Dog food, especially low-fat varieties, can be used sparingly as part of a complete and balanced diet in both carnivores and omnivores. The overuse of high-protein diets prepared for carnivores has been incriminated in causing disease in tortoises and iguanas.

    Feeding excess protein can result in hyperuricemia, in which uric acid is deposited in internal organs; this may lead to primary visceral gout, a debilitating and often fatal condition . . . "

    Basically it says canned cat food should probably be avoided in reptiles' diets, and canned dog food should only be used sparingly due to the types of meat products used in them. A note on the dog food, if you decide to use it: use a high quality brand if you can, and avoid the fish flavors.

    The manual also recommends "sufficient variety in the diet to identify a preferred food item" when a reptile is not eating enough protein. In other words, you should try a wide variety of feeders before resorting to using canned dog food as a staple. Try everything: crickets, locusts, grasshoppers, roaches, worms, you name it. Crickets and superworms are only two of many, many more feeder options. Try something different and see if he takes to it. Variety is key to pretty much any animal's diet, after all. Again, another reason I don't recommend getting him dependent on canned cat/dog food.

    It's also possible your frilly likes the canned food so much because he prefers food that stays put. You could try stunning or squishing prey and feeding it in a dish. I know it's kind of gross but it's better than having him eating dog food as his only source of protein.

    And finally, don't worry about your lizard fasting for a short period from time to time. As long as his behavior remains constant, there is no weight loss, and he is staying hydrated, it's not really a big deal. To sum it all up, I think your main concern should be keeping him on a healthy diet which consists of mostly insects as a protein source. The occasional frozen pinky and canned dog food are fine, but only sparingly. You may need to use some tough love to get him back on the right feeding regimen again, but in the end it will be beneficial for his long term health to minimize the canned food and stick with the feeders.
    dogking and JEFFREH like this.

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