The question is why do reptiles and amphibians in our care need diet supplements that add vitamins and minerals to their food at all. To answer this question we have to look at wild reptiles and amphibians in nature. They eat a much more varied and therefore more nutritious food than pet reptiles and pet amphibians.
Reptiles and amphibians in our care eat mostly crickets and worms which often lack essential vital trace minerals and vitamins. The difference lies really in the insects the reptiles and amphibians eat. Wild insects have a wider array of minerals and vitamins in them than the insects reared in specific farms. While wild reptiles and amphibians eat an ample diet pet reptiles and pet amphibians need supplements to their food. What do those food supplements consist of?
Reptiles and amphibians need a big variety of vitamins and minerals for their over all health – as every animal does. The whole digestive system of reptiles and amphibians is quite complicated. I will concentrate here on the most important facts.
First let‘s look at vitamins. They are for reptiles and amphibians as vital as for any animal. If your pet is eating not just crickets or worms but a wide variety of vegetables or even rodents he might get enough necessary vitamins. Nevertheless it‘s good to supplement the daily diet with vitamins once or twice per week in order to keep the diet balanced and healthy. High quality supplements have a balanced content of all essential vitamins for reptiles and amphibians.
Here I need to emphasize specifically vitamin D3 for reptiles and amphibians. Why? Without vitamin D3 they cannot absorb calcium at all. So, even if you are careful about adding calcium to your reptiles diet, if your pet doesn’t get any vitamin D3 all that calcium is lost – so to speak.
How do wild reptiles and amphibians get their necessary vitamin D3? Well, through being exposed to sun light, the sunbathe. The ultraviolet light of the sun causes the reptile‘s body to create vitamin D3. Therefore, as long as you can‘t give your pet reptile or amphibian his daily sun light or exposure to a specific reptile bulb you will need to add vitamin D3 in form of food supplement.
Another important point concerns the minerals we have to feed our reptiles and amphibians. The reared crickets often, most often, show an unbalance between calcium and phosphorus. Both are essential minerals but they need to be in a certain ratio to be healthy. Store bought crickets contain more phosphorus in relation to calcium. That‘s why you see in the description of the supplements „phosphorus-free“. The supplement needs to add calcium to the cricket food in order for the calcium to be absorbed and utilized at all.
Great supplement comes most often as powder. It‘s very easy to dust the daily diet with it, which makes it easy for the reptile or amphibian to eat it with the usual food. Most of the reptiles and amphibians love the taste of the supplement anyway making it really easy to add it to their daily diet.
Rep-Cal Phosphorous-Free Calcium Vitamin Powder Supplement
- Excellent source of calcium for reptiles and amphibians
- 100% natural oyster shell
- Phosphorus-free calcium carbonate with vitamin D3
- Size: 3.3 oz., also available as 6.6 oz.
- Ultra-fine ground powder
This is exactly what I needed for my new little baby bearded dragon. The powder is very fine in grade and I am able to dust his crickets and wax worms in this without him even noticing! My breeder highly recommended this kind because of its fine grade.
You only need to dust insects/fruits and veggies a little with it for your animal to get the calcium it needs. I haven’t had problems with it and my bearded dragon eats anything with it on it just fine.
My turtle will eat this in his food! I think he decided food with this in it tasted “normal” after only a couple of feedings. He’s been eating it daily for the past couple of months. Good stuff!
HERPTIVITE Multivitamin for reptiles and amphibians
- Superior multi-vitamin and food supplement
- Contains all natural source ingredients
- Rich in essential trace elements and minerals
- Pack contains 3.3 oz., also available as 2 packs
I use this powder to dust the dubia roaches I feed to my Pacman frog, who I’ve had for almost a year now. She is growing well (very quickly actually) and seems to be healthy. This product has been around for as long as I can remember, having used it as a child for box turtles (who are still alive), bearded dragons, etc, and seems strongly recommended throughout the herp community.
Have been buying Calcium and Multivitamin supplements from Rep-Cal for years (Panther/Veild/Jackson chameleons, Bearded dragons, crested geckos, tree frogs… you name it). I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to other herp-lovers!
My bearded dragon and leopard gecko both get this powder 1-2 times a week. Both are big and healthy. Packaging is really good quality, which is important since it gets opened and resealed so often.
Calcium Mineral supplement for reptile amphibian
- Calcium based supplement with over 50 trace minerals for health, growth and bone density
- Micro-fine calcium dust with vitamin D3
- Size: 6 oz.
Bearded dragon actually loves this stuff and prefers crickets coated with this than without it.
This is the only calcium and mineral powder that I trust. I have used it with my bearded dragon, tortoise, and my hermits.
This stuff is great, my chinese water dragon has become more vibrant in color and seems to be more healthy over all.