Whole prey diet Ancient for pet reptiles. It was fresh and frozen eel food De Rigoire for decades. Insect-based pet food is nothing new to lizard owners. Human grade overripe fruits have been recycled into turtle food since before the term recycling even existed. While these reptile food trends remain on the fringes of dog and cat foods, the dual mainstream trends in mammalian pet foods are not as evident in reptile food. Until now, Premium and humanization of reptile food Also, just at a different level of the food chain.
The distinction of pets from reptiles expresses itself in the quality of foods eaten by snakes, lizards and crocodiles. For herbivorous reptiles, premium is applied in fruits and vegetables fed to turtles and lizards, or used as ingredients for making pellets and other extruded diets and candy.
Humane treatment of predators as food for reptiles
Besides their diet, the quality of life of predators plays a major role in characterizing reptile food. Rats and mice serve as pets themselves, and many reptile owners want to know that prey ferrets live as comfortably and healthily as any pet before they become food. The food that those rats and mice eat eventually becomes food for reptiles, and likewise for insects that feed on small carnivorous reptiles. Any deficiency or contamination in the food of prey items is transferred to the pets.
For insect prey items, reptile pet owners use a process known as gut loading. This includes feeding the insects a nutritious diet before giving them to pets. This ensures that insects provide a beneficial combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats for reptiles. Some sellers advertise that their bugs have been loaded prior to sale.
Feeding live, gut-laden black soldier fly larvae to leopard geckos doesn’t raise red flags regarding animal welfare, but the rodents can be more controversial. Reptile pet owners debate whether feeding killed prey is normal, but little argues that it is more humane for rodents and safer for reptile pets. Snake owners are demanding that these rodents die quickly and painlessly. In most cases, rodents suffocate with carbon dioxide, causing them to lose consciousness in less than a minute at high levels. People who have been hit by high concentrations of carbon dioxide describe feeling nothing before they lose consciousness. While this makes the gas particularly risky for workers in dry ice plants, it means mice and rats can be killed quickly and painlessly. The rodents can then be frozen and stored for sale by retailers. Many companies sell frozen and previously killed rodents online, and they are distributed by mail. These rodent companies differentiate themselves by marketing the speed of delivery, the cleanliness of the production facilities, the nutritional quality of the foods fed to the prey, and the quality of life of the prey.
Hot dogs and recycled turtle food
For reptile owners who want to avoid looking into the eyes of pet food, one company provides sausages for reptiles. Reptilinks sausages are made from whole animals, including American frogs, rabbits, quail, and iguanas. The company also makes whole prey sausages for dogs. There aren’t many other examples of carnivorous reptile foods designed to resemble human foods, unless you count animals like crickets that people eat and reptiles.
Insects blur the line between reptile and human food, but fruits and vegetables directly cross that line. Many owners of turtles and lizards feed their pets produce from the grocery store. Some pamper box turtles and bearded dragons with select produce, but reptiles eat oddly shaped berries and ripe bananas just as enthusiastically. Recycling is not new to reptile owners.
Premium trends have entered the reptile and other pet food markets in large part because pet owners increasingly view animals as a family on an equal footing with humans. but, Humanization of pets It’s not as new to the trend as people think. Since prehistoric times, people have assigned human traits to animals and vice versa. Long before there was a web-thrower in New York or a dark knight in Gotham, there was Anansi the Spider-man in West Africa and Camazotz the Bat-man in Central America. Pucá blurred the lines between man and animal in Ireland and other Celtic lands. Sobek, the god of Egypt with a crocodile head, mixes human and reptile. Even in anti-serpent Christianity in general, Jesus compared himself to a serpent in John 3:14-15, referring to Moses’ life-saving bronze serpent as Exodus’ wand, which led to images of crucified serpents in medieval and Renaissance art.
Humanized pet reptiles
Despite the humanization and deification of historical reptiles, animals lack the essential property of being fur babies. However, pet owners look at their cold-blooded pets with warmth. In a survey by Packaged Facts, 85% of owners of “other pets,” an umbrella category that includes owners of reptiles, considered their pets to be family members, in the 2020 report.Reptile products: trends and opportunities for the pet market in the United States. “
“The ‘reptile as a family’ trend points to new opportunities for supply-style excellence that are most reminiscent of what reptiles can experience in the wild,” the Packaged Facts analyst wrote.
Packed Facts analysts note that reptile pets take up less space in the home and thus meet the demands of younger, urban pet owners for smaller pets. Food and other pet expenses tend to be lower than those for dogs, cats, and other warm-blooded pets. Economic considerations are now urgent because unprecedented unemployment is weakening already struggling communities.
The humanization of pet reptiles provides another step toward understanding the similarities between all living things. Pet reptiles teach people what scientists note, too: Animals differ from humans by degrees, but not by species. Similar nerve pathways fire up in the brains of reptiles and humans, a point that neuroscientist Paul McLean, PhD, popularized with the triple brain model. In this model, the reptile part of our brains corresponds to the regions responsible for basic survival. These behaviors consist of four Fs: feeding, running away, foraging and fornication.
Given that feeding is one of those behaviors, prioritizing reptile food alongside other pet foods makes sense. The emotional state of a tiger gecko after finding mealworms full and well-hydrated may not be different from that of a human staring at a properly stocked buffet.
Humanization of animals and the perfection of pet food go together at a steady pace, even for legless pets.
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