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Another Diet Question

Discussion in 'Monitors' started by Dragoness, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    So according to the Bennett book about Savs, a significant portion is composed of millipedes (almost half), and when I eventually get a Sav, I'm hoping to be able to breed at least a few millipedes for it (that and entomology has grown on me) my drawback is that most of them give off noxious or even harmful defense secretions, which can include hydrogen cyanide, benzoquinones, or hydrochloric acid.

    Obviously, I don't want to give something to my future sav that could harm it.

    At this point, I'm looking for species that are somewhat available in the trade, do not give off a harmful secretion, or at least nothing that would bother a Sav. Species they would normally prey upon would be a good start...

    If anyone has any enlightenment, it would be much appreciated. This is a bit of a whim for me, and a ways down the road - if nothing else, I can just have nix the millipedes as a food source, and keep them around as part of the collection (something I'm sure they would appreciate anyways) It isn't critical, more something of a project for me.

    MDFMONITOR Elite Member

    Dragoness that might be a bit to committed to the cause!, i also think meal worms can squirt liquid as well, i'm sure i've seem them do it.
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I think there are other just as nutritious prey items you can feed to a savannah monitor besides millipedes, make things easier for yourself, start with roaches, crickets etc, then see what other types of insects are available to breed which are safe to feed! The African millipedes ARE available to buy over here, but I think you mentioned they`re illegal in the States?
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Hey, it gives me a good excuse to combine my interests in both invertebrates and reptiles. The adult beetles of the Superworm (Morio beetles I think they are called) also secrete a nasty smelling liquid when irritated, but I don't think they are usually used as a food source. Even my Oscars won't eat them. My dilemma is not knowing which millipede secretions are harmful, and which are essentially harmless. If I can't come to a conclusion, I'll probably just leave them off the menu, and keep them as part of my collection.

    I intend to start with Roaches, crickets, superworms, mealworms, and earthworms, with the occasional mouse or chick. If I can throw in the occasional millipede, it would be that much more variety, (if I can make this a workable project. It all depends.)

    The giant African millipedes are not legal in Florida (I do not know about the other states). I have 4 of them at the moment (shh), just babies, but they are growing fast and molting, and appear to be quite healthy.

    My roaches are breeding too - I noticed baby nymphs the other day. I should have plenty of time to get a colony established before I ever get around to getting the lizard - which is okay! I am in no hurry.
  5. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Don`t forget the snails, if you can get a colony of those going....
  6. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I'm Glad you mentioned that - African Land Snails are totally banned here in the states, but I Do have access to one species called a Baja Land Snail. I know nothing about this species, how big it gets, if it's toxic, if it's really an African Land Snail being sold under a different name to fly under the radar, nothing. But they are dirt cheap - I don't even have a Latin name for it - hence my reluctance to buy any just yet... I know of a few edible (to humans anyways) species of snails already endemic to the US, but I'd have to collect a colony of those from out of state, and start from there.
  7. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I cant find anything on toxicity in the Bajs land snail, but the African giants are not toxic to animals, although that doesn`t help you!
  8. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Don't you cave slugs down there in Florida?

    For those of you around the world, A slug is a type of snail that doesn't have a shell. They only come out at night here in Georgia and are really really slimy!
    They only live in wooded to semi wooded areas due the need to have a damp area to hide out in during the day.


    I would imagine that your location in Florida would be an advantage over most people in the acquisition of invertebrates!
    Just get out and start turning over rocks!

    You can also obtain a large butterfly net and go through a field skimming the tops of the high grass catching grass hoppers and other insects!

    Yes, It is a lot more work than obtaining a mouse.

    But all of the different proteins from different kinds of prey plus their gut content, provide a much larger spectrum of nutrition than can be had from feeding just one prey item all the time!

    Attached Files:

  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    That`s a great idea, providing you can be sure no pesticides or other toxic chemicals have been used in that particular location and the surrounding areas.

    Attached Files:

  10. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    we have slugs - and I'd have to do a bit more research on slug and snail toxicity. I wish I knew exactly what a Baja land snail was.

    they are at the very bottom of this page:

    Because of our invertebrate abundance, and the huge agriculture business in Florida, almost everything is sprayed. I don't dare collect from the wild outside of state parks (where it is technically forbidden... shh.) and the zoo, because those are the only places I have any assurance have not been sprayed. Even if there is just an agricultural area nearby, you can bet all the crop dusting they do isn't just landing on the crops - the slightest breeze will carry it every which way.

    I can lubber grasshoppers - they breed well in captivity, the downside being that they tend to die off around December, and then you have none till February when they hatch. I'd have to freeze some

    after that my only worry is about parasite or disease transmission from wild-caught specimens. But I have no assurance that if I order said animals, that they won't be wild collected by the company selling them.
  11. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Pond snails would be fine, if you could buy a few to start with, although I`m not sure how long it takes for these to grow to a reasonable size?
  12. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    channeled applesnails are pretty common here (invasive even) - and edible. Egg masses should be showing up soon. I would need another aquarium for those though, lol, and they get pretty big (up to 15cm)
  13. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Go for it, and don`t forget to send me a few!
  14. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    15 cm is about a foot isn't it? That's a huge snail! You could cut snail steaks and freeze the rest! lol
    Just remember to feed a wide variety of invertebrates.

    In bennetts book, It says that they also eat frogs & salamanders.
    I have thought about raising frogs and then feed the tadpoles to my monitor. The tadpoles of native bullfrogs here get pretty big.

    I believe in attempting to feed a non rodent diet or a limited rodent diet, The other available food sources are going to be seasonal in your ability to find them. For me, This doesn't pose a problem for the animal because they really shouldn't be eating the same thing every day all year long. So it forces one to work outside of the box so to speak.

    In Bennetts book, It says that before adulthood, 62% to 68% of the wild diet consists of a variety of cricket species. Those can be bought mail order easily.
    It's only after adulthood that the diet goes to nearly 50% Millipedes. I think that you could substitute hissing cockroaches or some other species of roach that are thick and meaty.

    The diet could consist of those and the other half of the diet can just be a hodgepodge of the rest.

    I was thinking today of the possibility of leeches.?
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    15 cm = 5.9 in

    The whole idea behind snails/millipedes etc is to have a large variety (even if it is small amounts of each variety.) The staple of the diet will likely be roaches, superworms, mealworms, earthworms and crickets, (in no particular order) with the snails, millipedes, locusts and other things, tossed in to provide the variety. I'm just trying to get as much variety as I possibly can.
  16. Og_

    Og_ Elite Member

    Sounds like You have a good plan!
  17. billw

    billw Member

    Just as an aside, this might be the best thread I've seen on a forum in a long, long time. It's a joy to see someone is actually doing research and is planning on feeding a Sav a proper diet. The majority of posts all over these forums are photos of fat lethargic Savs and "I'm feeding it dog food/cat food/ground hotdogs/etc."

    What a refreshing read. Thank you.
  18. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Whoooo boy would THAT start a storm here!
  19. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I`ll second that!
  20. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Even people shouldn't be fed hotdogs, lol. They aren't really food. I'm not sure what they are, or what they can actually be used for - I'm sure they have some value as a science experiment...

    I'm still a ways (months or years) from getting my Sav, but I'm already breeding what bugs I can, so I can have colonies up and going when I'm good and ready. If they produce better before I'm ready, I can sell the excess to fund the cage build... I keep experiencing financial setbacks. Once I get this whole thing started (as in cage built) the rest will be just a few extra buck on the electrical bill, or food costs for breeding bugs, etc (Most of my bugs eat my vegetable castoffs, so the cost of feeding them is incidental)

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