Evaluating a field nitrate test for sudangrass hay to prevent nitrate poisoning

The objective of this study was to compare a field nitrate test using two different test strips to the hay nitrate concentrations determined at a commercial laboratory. Twelve samples of sudangrass hay collected in 2006 through 2008 were used to compare the nitrate concentration determined at a commercial laboratory using the RQflex Reflectometer method to those determined by a field...

Creating ice block cakes for enrichment

Animal enrichment has become an essential part of caring for captive animals in a zoological setting. There are various types of enrichment, which include social groupings, exhibit design, sensory stimulation, and different feeding strategies. One of the most common types of enrichment is feeding strategies. Ice blocks filled with various vegetables and fruits can be used to enrich animals. Ice...

Gut loading as a method to effectively supplement crickets with calcium and vitamin A

Limited quantities of vital nutrients such as calcium and vitamin A in crickets have led to the occurrence of diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, metabolic bone disease (calcium deficiency) and more recently, squamous metaplasia or “short tongue syndrome” in amphibians. Gut loading has been an effective method to supplement feeder crickets with both calcium and vitamin A. A dose of...

Vitamin A supplementation via cricket dusting: the effects of dusting fed and fasted crickets of three sizes using two different supplements on nutrient content

This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy in delivering vitamin A supplementation via dusting feed crickets (Acheta domestica) to reptiles and amphibians, many of whom have shown vitamin A deficiencies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and other institutions. While there have been multiple previous studies regarding supplementation in crickets, the majority have focused on calcium supplementation. Levels of vitamin A...

Application of body condition indices for leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis)

Indirect methods of assessing chelonian body condition using combinations of body mass and shell measurements have been explored: however, there is little published data on tracking captive chelonian health and growth using a body condition index (BCI). Two published BCI formulas were compared for application with a captive colony of leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis).

Assessment of leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) scent preference

It is suggested tortoises are attracted to certain ingredient scents. The preference for scent of ginger, anise, rose, and a control (water) among leopard tortoises was evaluated. Sixteen leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) participated in a series of trials exposing them to pair-wise combinations of the three scents and control. Response criteria evaluated include position (left, right, no decision) and scent...

The interaction of diet, water chemistry, and disease state on the health of captive ornamental fish

Nutrition is an important modulator of immune function and can often tip the balance between health and disease. In order to maintain fish in aquaria, sound nutrition and adequate feeding are essential to fish health as clinical disease often ensues when nutritional needs are not met. Diets that are adequate with respect to essential nutrients can hasten recovery from infection,...

The milk repository at Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park

Lactation, the exocrine secretion of milk from mammary glands for the nourishment of young, is a defining characteristic of mammals. All female mammals produce milk, and milk is the first food of all neonatal mammals. The diversity of the mammalian radiation is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies that have evolved. This in turn is reflected in differences in...