Bentley A, Toddes B, Wright K. 1997. Evolution of diets for Herbivorous and Omnivorous Reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo: From Mystery Toward Science. In Proceedings of the Second Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Fort Worth, TX.
At the Philadelphia Zoo the diets for herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles evolved over a period of years. Prior to 1992. the diets had been formulated solely by the former curator. Analysis of the general salad fed to smaller species of herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles (Animal Nutritionist – N-2) indicated unbalanced levels of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition. one of the salad’s vitamin and mineral powder supplements contained a milk product that seemed inappropriate and potentially harmful. Two hours of observation were done on the animals in exhibits where the general salad was fed to determine time of arrival at the feeding site(s). feeding duration. items consumed. and group dynamics associated with feeding. Based on the information gathered. a new general salad that included the items that the animals most readily consumed was formulated. A nutritional supplement package from Nutrition Support Services. Inc. (Walkabout Farm. Rte I, Box 189. Pembroke. VA 24136) was added to the salad. The new general salad has a more appropriate fat-soluble vitamin ratio and increased levels of crude protein and fiber. The new general salad is fed to all the small herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles (omnivorous reptiles continue to receive some gelatin cake on their salads and live prey on non-salad days). Repeat observations showed acceptance of the new general salad The new salad requires fewer ingredients, is more nutritionally consistent. and is easier to prepare.Evolution of Diets.pdf     140 KB