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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