Feeding the Hospitalized Lizard

Key Points

  • Ensure the patient is hydrated and warm enough to handle nutritional support.
  • Lizards utilize a range of dietary strategies although many species are insectivores or omnivores.
  • Determine if an anorectic lizard is brumating. Brumation is a normal period of fasting associated with metabolic slow down.
  • Many gravid females also eat less or go off feed entirely.
  • Routine weighing is recommended for fasting reptiles. Prolonged or multiple fasts in less than ideal conditions or brumation of a sick or thin reptile can lead to starvation and debilitation.
  • Over the first 2-4 days, feed debilitated patients 40-75% of calculated energy requirements. Gradually increase the calories fed.

Fasting may be expected in lizards during certain times of the year. Many gravid females eat less or go off feed entirely due to the large number of eggs filling the coelom. Some species also fast for weeks or months as an adaptation to excess heat or cold, drought, or lack of food. This dormancy in reptiles is called . . .


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References

Barten SL. Lizards. In: Mader DR (ed). Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd edition. Saunders Elsevier; St. Louis: 2006. Pp. 71-73.

Christian KA, Conley KE. Activity and resting metabolism of varanid lizards compared with ‘typical’ lizards. Austral J Zool 42(2):185-193, 1994.

Donoghue S. Nutrition. In: Mader DR (ed). Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd edition. Saunders Elsevier; St. Louis: 2006. Pp. 251-298.

Donoghue S. Nutrition of the green iguana (Iguana iguana). Proc Assoc Rept Amphib Vet 99-106, 1996.

Donaghue S. Growth of juvenile green iguanas (Iguana iguana) fed four diets. J Nutr 124(12 Suppl):2626S-2629S, 1994.

Marsh RS, Moe C, Lomneth RB, et al. Characterizatio of gastrointestinal chitinase in the lizardSceloporus undulates garmani (Reptilia: Phrynosomatidae). Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 128(4):675-682, 2001.

McCue MD. Fatty acid analyses may provide insight into the progression of starvation among squamate reptiles. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 151(2):239-246, 2008.

Micha JC, Dandrifosse G, Jeuniaux C. Activity of gastric chitinases in reptiles as a function of pH. Arch Int Physiol Biochem 81(4):629-637, 1973.

Micha JC, Dandrifosse G, Jeuniaux C. Distribution and tissue localization of chitinase synthesis in lower vertebrates. Arch Int Physiol Biochem 81(3):439-451, 1973.

Nagy KA, Girard IA, Brown TK. Energetics of free-ranging mammals, reptiles and birds. Annu Rev Nutr 19:247-277, 1999.

Pontes RCQ, Cartaxo ACL, Jonas R. Concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood of the green lizard Ameiva ameiva (Teiidae) I different physiological situations. Comp Biochem Physiol 89A(3):309-311, 1988.

Rossi JV. General husbandry and management. In: Mader DR (ed). Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd edition. Saunders Elsevier; St. Louis: 2006. Pp. 25-41.

Schwazkopf L. Decreased food intake in reproducing lizards: a fecundity-dependent cost of reproduction? Austral J Ecol 21(4):355-362, 1996.

To cite this page:

Pollock C. Feeding the hospitalized lizard. March 25, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/feeding-the-hospitalized-lizard/