SOME ASPECTS OF COMPULSORY FEEDING OF REPTILESI. V. Belyakov1
1 Aquaterrarium of Odessa Zoo, Odessa, Ukraine
For maintenance and breeding of reptiles in artificial conditions, especially for bringing up hatchlings and supporting of vital functions of weakened individuals, the compulsory feeding is very important. In many cases, the compulsory feeding is necessary for preserving of animals life. This measure should be used in exhausted animals, during illness and the first period of recovery, when the animal does not begin to eat well without assistance; and also in the cases of giving up of independent feeding at young reptiles in the first months of their life. Since 1989, Odessa Zoo carries out investigations of optimum kinds of diet and diet combinations, and also of methods of feeding of various groups of reptiles. We investigate not only positive, but also negative consequences of compulsory feeding at reptiles, and the ways of their prevention. The compulsory feeding at Odessa Zoo brings good results in species such as: Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), Tegu lizard (Tupinambis teguixin), Wood snake (Coluber jugularis), Wood snake (Coluber ravergieri), Banded chicken snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima), Elaphe schrencki, Grass snake (Rhabdophis tigrina), Vipera ursini, Common viper (Vipera berus), Vipera libetina, Cobra (Naja oxiana), Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus), Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor), Epicrates cenchris, Python (Python molurus), Reticulated python (Python reticulatus), Royal python (Python regius), Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), Cayman (Caiman crocodilus), American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), Cuba crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer). For compulsory feeding of big crocodiles we have designed and constructed a special device for fixation of an animal. The foodstuffs and their combinations, which are the best for compulsory feeding of reptiles include:
- meat of a rat
- meat of a hen
- meat of a frog
- heart of a rat
- fragments of a rats tail
- new-born mice
- new-born rats
- young rats of different ages and weight
- dried Gammarus as a source of chitin.
In some cases it is advisable to use liquid and semi-liquid medleys by probe. The best components for such medleys are (in various combinations):
- hens egg
- female quails egg
- meat of a rat
- meat of a horse
- cows liver
- solution of glucose
For the right choice of foodstuff and of methods of feeding, it is strictly necessary to take into account the peculiarities of common feeding of the species, the age of the animal and its physiological state. This consideration not only helps to reach the best results, but also to prevent possible negative consequences of compulsory feeding applied to reptiles without previous correct estimation of all the aforesaid factors. Particularly important at the compulsory feeding of reptiles is the correct choice of temperature conditions for maintenance of the animal.
THE USE OF LACTOBACILLI FROM THE CROP IN HAND-REARING OF PIGEONSP.G.H. Bijker1, J. Nijboer2, W. Schaftenaar2 , and D.A. Keuzenkamp1
1 Department of the Science of Food of Animal Origin of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, 2 Biological & Veterinary Department, Rotterdam Zoo, the Netherlands
Hand rearing of pigeons has not been particularly successful. This is mainly due to the specific composition of cropmilk, which is fed almost exclusively to squabs by parent pigeons throughout the first days. Most squabs died by maldigestion and/or septicaemia.
Material and Methods
In the summer of 1995 two experiments were carried out. Eight strains of lactobacilli were isolated from cropmilk (Buhrows et al.1993). In each experiment two groups of squabs were formed. One group was fed with food fermented by lactobacilli and the other with non-fermented food of the same formula. Protocols were set up for hatching of the eggs, fermentation and preparation of the food, personnel and environmental hygiene, handling and feeding of the squabs, climate and behaviour of the squabs. Bacteriological examination of food, the environment and the gastro-intestinal content of the squabs were performed. Died squabs were sent to the department of pathology for necropsy.
Results and Discussion
Although the squabs grow very well in the first days all squabs died after one week. The squabs showed signs of crop stasis and septicaemia. rom the unfermented food, the environment and the intestines of two squab's Enterobacter cloacae were isolated. Based on these figures the hygiene, diet and handling were improved for the next experiment.
All the squabs survived and showed sub optimal grow figures. After 3 weeks the average weight was approx., 220 gram. All squabs were in health condition. Lactobacilli were isolated in high numbers in the intestinal tract of both experimental groups. Exclusively in the group fed with non-fermented food Enterobacteriaceae were isolated from the crop, It can be concluded that hand rearing of pigeons gives good perspectives by implanting the protocols.
EFFECT OF THE DIETARY CALCIUM AND PHOSPHORUS LEVELS ON THE METABOLIC BALANCE OF SOME MICRO- AND SOME MACRO- ELEMENTS IN ONEHUMPED CAMELS (Camelus dromedarius)J. Böhm1 , E. Wagner1, and H. A. Abdel-Raheem2
1Institute of Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, 2Department of Animal and Poultry Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt
The dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius) is vital to the production system of desert and semi desert areas. Except for fragmentary results from camels in zoos, there is no reliable information about the health status, feeding system and mineral metabolism of camels in temperate conditions. This experiment was designed to study the effects of dietary calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) on the metabolism balance of micro- and macro- elements in camels. Mineral elements are dietary essentials and influence the efficiency of livestock production. We stroked the balance regarding Ca, P, Mg, Na, , Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu. The goal of this experiment was to calculate recommendations for some of the tested elements.
Material and Methods
A mineral balance (Ca, P, Mg, Na and K) and the metabolic balance of micro-elements (Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu) were examined in three non-pregnant, non-lactating adult female camels, through four serial metabolism trials. Each trial was continued for about 21 days as an adaptation period followed by 6 days collection period, with about 21 days as the interval. In the first trial camels were fed ration which contained 0.56 % Ca and 0.34 % P through addition of 1% of bone meal, while in the second and third trials, animals fed on rations containing 1.77, 1.72 % for Ca and 0.91, 0.33 % for P in adding of limestone and/or bone meal. Camels fed in the fourth trial were supplied 0.24 % Ca and 0.18 % P. All the rations were formulated to contain recommended amounts of digestible energy, crude protein and other minerals and vitamins according to the tables of NRC, 1988, for dairy cattle. Ca, Mg, Na, K and the micro-elements (Zn, Fe, Mn and Cu) in feeds, rations and feces were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry, while P was measured by using a spectrophotometer method. Out of the analyses logarithmic trend calculations for the maintenance requirements were performed.
Increasing dietary Ca and P resulted in improved apparent absorption of Ca, P and Mg, while an increased dietary Ca with normal P reduced the apparent absorption of Ca, P and Mg, whereas there was no change in Na and K. Fecal excretion of Ca, P and Mg were increased by lowering dietary Ca and P levels. No significant difference was observed in serum levels of all minerals by increasing or decreasing dietary Ca and/or P in all trials. Apparent absorption of Zn decreased in the second and third trial, and was not affected in the fourth trial. The absorption of Fe decreased in the second and third trial and this may be due to an increase in the fecal excretion of Fe, whereas the absorption of Fe increased in the fourth trial. All increases or decreases of dietary Ca and P altered the absorption of Mn and Cu. Calculated recommendations can be given for some elements and in case of Ca and P there is evidence that rations with 0,56 % Ca and 0,34 % P are meeting the maintenance requirement for adult female camels.
THE NUTRITION OF OLD WORLD FRUIT BATS (Megachiroptera) IN CAPTIVITY: DIETARY STUDIES OF LIVINGSTONES FRUIT BAT Pteropus livingstoniiS.E. Courts1 and A.T.C. Feistner1
1 Research Department, Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, Les Augres Manor, Trinity, Jersey JE3 5BP, Channel Islands, United Kingdom
Relatively little is known about the adequacy of diets for captive megachiropterans. The combination of reduced exercise and a plentiful food supply results in captive bats being generally heavier than their wild counterparts. The nutrition and feeding habits of captive Livingstones fruit bats Pteropus livingstonii were studied at Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, with the aim of improving their feeding regime. Firstly, feeding behaviour was examined to try and explain why some bats were much heavier than others. Significant variation in time spent feeding and the utilisation of feeding sites was revealed. The bats daily diet was then evaluated, by weighing the different foods presented. The amount and the number of different food types were found to vary considerably from day to day. Nutritional breakdowns of food items were obtained, and the available literature on fruit bat nutrition was used to compare known nutrient and energy requirements with the levels presented. Recommended improvements to the dietary regime of the bats were made to try and minimise the effect of individual preferences and social status on nutrition. A new diet was proposed, with a reduced daily diversity of food items. The diet was balanced over a weekly period and made nutritionally comparable to the former one, as no health problems, other than possibly obesity, had so far been linked to nutrition. Trials of the modified diet were carried out by presenting, known quantities of food items, collecting the leftovers, and determining the proportions remaining. This also gave an indication of dietary preferences: for example, acid fruits were found to be the least preferred foods. The diet was then altered to take into account these preferences, distributing the most preferred and disliked items more evenly throughout the week.
FEEDING ENRICHMENT: A WAY OF STIMULATING NATURAL BEHAVIOUR OF CAPTIVE BEARSP. A. Grandia 1 and S.M.J.A. van der Mark1
1 International Bear Foundation, PO box 9, 3910 AA Rhenen, The Netherlands
In Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands, a forested bear enclosure of 2 hectares has been established. This enclosure houses 13 European brown bears (Ursus arctos) and 8 wolves (Canis lupus). The bears are former zoo bears, dancing bears, circus bears and war victims. This enclosure provides them with a broad range of stimuli encouraging natural behavioural patterns in brown bears. Although most bears show a normal behavioural repertoire, some bears show disturbed activity patterns, stereotypic behaviour and obesity. This can be an indication of reduced welfare, most likely caused by a lack of stimuli in the feeding and foraging ecology of these bears. It is generally recognised that natural, functional behaviours can be encouraged in captive animals by increasing the physical complexity of their environments. This can be achieved by using species appropriate furnishings, and by applying methods of feeding that encourage complex (natural) feeding behaviour (Forthman et al., 1992; Forthman Quick, 1984; Hancocks, 1980; Hediger, 1950, 1966; Hutchins et l., 1984: in Carlstead et al., 1991; van Keulen-Kromhout, 1978; Markowitz, 1978; Mettke, 1995 in: Gansloßer et al., 1995; Morris, 1962, 1964). Feeding enrichment has proved to have significant effects on the behaviour of captive animals exhibited in traditional zoo enclosures (Carlstead et al., 1991; Forthman et al., 1992; Markowitz, 1978; Mettke, 1995 in: Gansloßer et al., 1995). Feeding enrichment seems to be of particular value because it can be relatively cheap; it stimulates all the animals senses promoting exploration and manipulation, and challenges them from a cognitive point of view (Carlstead et al., 1991; Fersen, 1995, in: Gansloßer et al., 1995; Forthman et al., 1992). However, a recurrent problem with feeding enrichment programs for captive bears is that it is not very clear which feeding techniques (in terms of quantity, quality, diversity etc.) ensure long term positive effects on the welfare and behaviour of captive brown bears. It is speculated that the provision of diets, which resemble natural diets in terms of timing, diversity, quantity, quality, seasonal variation and accessibility may constitute an important environmental enrichment for the bears in Ouwehands Zoo. We consider timing, diversity, quantity, quality, seasonal variation, and accessibility as important variables of a feeding enrichment programme. A study will be conducted, starting January 1999, to gain a better insight into the effects of these variables on the behaviour and welfare of captive brown bears. The purpose of this presentation is to start a discussion on this subject and to obtain valuable input for this feeding enrichment programme.