Reptile Diet

레오파드게코 Reptiles need a variety of food items to provide balanced nutrition. Studies show that dietary diversity is reflected in tooth microwear.


Omnivorous reptiles, like box turtles, require both animal and plant proteins. Commercial diets are an excellent option, but can be supplemented with live food such as crickets and mealworms. Be sure to coat live food with calcium dust and vitamin supplements to prevent deficiency.


Herbivorous reptiles are those that exclusively or primarily eat plant material. Those that are considered herbivorous are often referred to as “snails” or “dragons”. Herbivores require a high level of nutrition. They need a dietary mix of greens, vegetables and fruits. These should be offered daily for juveniles and bi-weekly for adults. Herbivorous reptiles should also be offered water and a good quality grass hay.

The hay provides fiber to help with digestion, which is important for the herbivorous reptile. It also provides the lizard with a source of energy. The hay also provides an opportunity for herby reptiles to obtain preformed vitamin A from the cellulose that is in the plant cells. Getting enough Vitamin A is essential for the health of a reptile. If not enough vitamin A is consumed, the mucous membranes will become thick and dry, causing respiratory and oral problems. This is called hypovitaminosis A and is more common in tortoises and young red-eared terrapins.

Some of the vegetables that are commonly fed to herby reptiles are kale, collard greens, broccoli, and rhubarb leaves. These should be eaten sparingly as these foods contain oxalates, which bind to calcium and prevent it from being absorbed. In addition, these foods may lead to iodine deficiency if excessive amounts are consumed.


Reptiles that are omnivorous in the wild will consume insects, berries, roots, flowers and some meat. Green iguanas, water turtles and some tortoises are examples of omnivorous reptiles.

A diet of only one or two prey species may cause reptiles to become nutrient deficient. For this reason it is recommended to provide at least two different prey items for your omnivorous reptile. This will ensure that the proper nutrient levels are being consumed and minimize the risk of disease.

Carnivorous reptiles typically eat freshly killed warm-blooded meat, such as mice or rats and occasionally fish and other vertebrates. They will also eat some plant matter, such as twigs and leaves. It is important to understand that if your crocodile or alligator eats only fresh meat, it will need to be supplemented with the correct level of calcium and vitamin D as well as phosphorus to avoid bone problems.

Herbivorous reptiles like land tortoises and sulcata tortoises require a high fiber diet made up of timothy hay, grasses and dark green leafy vegetables. Mazuri Herbivorous Reptile Food is a great choice for your herbivore as it is formulated without any animal by products and is loaded with probiotics and flax seed for complete and balanced reptile nutrition. Herbivorous reptiles fed a high quality diet should only need to be fed vitamin and mineral supplements 4 to 6 times per month.


Reptiles fall into three categories; carnivores (animal eaters), omnivores (mixed animal and plant eaters) or herbivores. Herbivorous reptiles eat a balanced diet of fresh vegetables. Carnivorous reptiles eat rodents or whole vertebrates. Snakes and crocodiles primarily hunt by sneaking up on their prey before snatching it in one quick bite.

The vast majority of captive reptiles fall into the insectivorous category and many rely on 1 or 2 types of insects for a substantial portion of their diet. The problem is that the insects offered in most pet stores are low in nutritional value. For instance, the common house cricket and mealworm often have an unfavorable calcium/phosphorus ratio and are deficient in fat-soluble vitamins (especially Vitamin D).

Insects that are wild-caught or properly prepared may be a better option but can be difficult to come by. Reptiles fed improperly prepared insects can develop a condition called SNHP.

It is recommended that all insects be gut loaded and dusted with calcium just prior to feeding. In addition to reducing the likelihood of SNHP, this will improve the nutrition provided to your reptile. Some reptiles will also eat other vertebrates but this should be fed sparingly as it increases the risk of disease and infection.


Carnivorous reptiles like crocodiles and alligators obtain their nutrients by eating animal prey. Their menu can include mammals, birds, amphibians and other reptiles in addition to insects. These reptiles also need a significant amount of fat in their diet as a source of energy.

In captivity many pet reptiles can be successfully fed a primarily plant-based diet. Popular reptiles such as geckos, skinks and anoles should be offered a variety of leafy greens, fresh or commercially-produced “kibble” foods and occasionally a small piece of fruit for dessert. A phosphate-free calcium supplement should be fed to all reptiles as it is important for proper bone development.

For those reptiles that are carnivorous, omnivorous or both it is best to avoid feeding them meat as it will contribute excessively to their protein intake and increase their risk of metabolic bone disease. A high-quality commercial reptile food is usually adequate to provide all the protein a carnivorous reptile needs.

Reptiles that are omnivorous in the wild (bearded dragons, box turtles and semi-aquatic turtles) in captivity thrive when fed a mix of prey animals as juveniles and plants as adults. Some omnivorous species will also require a small amount of fish as part of their diet.