Development and Application of a New Insect-Based Complete Diet for Insectivorous Mammals

Commercial complete diet options for insectivores are very limited and most are an extruded diet. The extrusion process requires a high level of carbohydrates, which is not appropriate for animals that consume insects. Insects do not contain high levels of carbohydrates, they are mainly fat and protein. Chitin is an important component of insects, found in the exoskeleton, it acts...

Short-Beaked Echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus): An Insectivorous Herbivore

Short-beaked echidnas are considered myrmecophages, carnivores that specialize in eating termites and ants. Dogs and cats have been used as the carnivore models to develop their artificial diets. Echidnas appear to do well on artificial diets, often living 50+ years in captivity. A recent review of necropsies of echidnas at Taronga Zoo revealed pathology in captive echidnas that may have...

Macronutrient Selection in Mammalian Insectivores at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

This study determined macronutrient target of several mammalian insectivore species including 3-banded armadillo, aardvark, tamandua (lesser anteater), and greater anteater. These insectivores are often maintained on a commercial insectivore diet, which may or may not be appropriate for every species in this diverse and polyphyletic group. Animals were fed three experimental diets that varied in their proportions of calories from...

Macronutrient selection in mammalian insectivores at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

This study determined macronutrient target of several mammalian insectivore species including 3-banded armadillo, aardvark, tamandua (lesser anteater), and greater anteater. These insectivores are often maintained on a commercial insectivore diet, which may or may not be appropriate for every species in this diverse and polyphyletic group. Animals were fed three experimental diets that varied in their proportions of calories from...

Investigation of a new diet formula for captive short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

Short beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) are myrmecophages, ant and termite specialists, and replicating their diet in captivity is problematic. Captive diets often incorporate raw meat, eggs and cat food mixed together with water and vitamin and mineral supplements. These diets have presented a number of health problems, such as cystitis, gut impaction, obesity and diarrhea. This study aimed to assess...

Biochemical and physiological observations in meerkats (Suricata suricatta) at two zoos during dietary transition to a diet designed for insectivores

These studies assess the short-term and long-term effects of a commercially available manufactured diet (Mazuri® Insectivore, PMI Nutrition International, P.O. Box 66812, St. Louis, MO 63166-6812) intended for the feeding of insectivorous animals. The initial study evaluated palatability of the diet and the maintenance of health in captive meerkats over a 6-week period.

Nutrient content of nutritional supplements available for use in captive lizard feeding programs

To provide a nutritionally complete diet to insectivorous lizards, allow animal managers and nutritionists to evaluate their current diets, and provide complete diet information for all zoos to use, nutrient content of supplements used for invertebrate-based lizard diets was determined. The first step of this process was to develop a list of supplements commonly used and determine the extent to...

Feeding captive insectivorous animals: nutritional aspects of insects as food

To successfully manage captive insectivorous species, data on nutritional composition of invertebrate prey are especially important. Since live insects may be the only food offered to some species, nutritional deficiencies can quickly arise if the nutrient levels in the live prey are imbalanced. Unfortunately, the few commercially available invertebrates are an incomplete nutrient package without appropriate supplementation, and may adversely...