After some research, we became aware that many reptiles’ basic nutritional needs are not being met.For those that follow any of our social media, you know we strongly advocate a mixed natural diet and recommend you use this philosophy in your approach to animal care. We also know that in this modern age we are all have very busy lifestyles fitting in any combination of work, family, hobbies, sleep, travel, shopping etc. etc. The list is very long, and it is easy to become accustomed to purchasing all our food from supermarkets. We also buy tinned and packet foods for our pets and, although most of the produce we buy may be fresh and good quality, it is not as nutrient dense as the food our animals would consume as part of a naturalistic diet.
Intense farming methods make good quality food available to all, at an affordable price. This is also true of commercial feeder insect production; the facilities and production methods we have witnessed may be extremely good, however, the insects produced lack the full nutrient profile of their wild-roaming counterparts.
Grabbing a bag of mixed leaves for your tortoise or bearded dragon is convenient but not the best if left un-supplemented. As an example, USDA nutrient data shows that the calcium content of broccoli dropped by approximately sixty percent between 1950 and 2003.**
We are trying to ensure correct calcium to phosphor ratios to help prevent Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) and have found that some crops, which have had production double through the aid of phosphorous fertilizer, have also had a decline in levels of eight other minerals by 20 to 55 percent.*
Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals found in bone, blood and in the soft tissues and are vital to many other bodily functions. It is also important for your reptile to receive these in the correct volumes to prevent major problems. If your feed levels contain lower than a 1:1 ratio of calcium it will draw it from the body, generally the bones, causing them to become weak. This is where supplementation and correct diet are very important; the widely accepted ratio for a reptilian’s diet is between 1.5:1 and 2:1 calcium to phosphorus. Many of the foods that we use are sub optimal and nearly all the live foods, such as crickets, mealworms, Morio worms and wax worms, if continually fed without supplementation, will quickly exhibit signs of calcium deficiency. Lists of feeder insects and food nutrition values are freely available online and this clearly justifies the importance of supplementation and gut loading your insects before use.
As dedicated reptile keepers, we have used many of the products available over the years and were disappointed with the results, feeling there was room for improvement. We decided that if we were going to release a food and supplement range it must fall in-line with our company ethos: High quality, multi nutrient products designed to do exactly what they are supposed to in a clear and transparent way with no exaggerated marketing hype.
The reptile systems food and supplement range consist of just five products to form a base for all your reptile nutritional needs.
*Ref “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition,” HortScience, 2009
**Official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data shows that the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 milligrams per gram of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 mg/g dry weight in 2003.