Dry matter and calcium digestibility in captive veiled chameleons
Although metabolic bone disease (MBD) is a very common disease in reptiles kept as pets, empirical data on the calcium (Ca) metabolism of reptiles are still scarce.
We used the opportunity of a large-scale experimental study on growth and clinical manifestations of MBD in captive veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) to measure the apparent dry matter (DM) and Ca digestibility in 19 animals (6-49 g), receiving locust nymphs (Locusta migratoria) of two size classes (0.05 and 0.5 g) with or without supplementation of Ca, vitamin A and cholecalciferol (Group A: Ca 0.04-0.09%DM; Group B: Ca 0.47-0.84%DM). Dry matter digestibility was significantly lower for animals receiving smaller-sized prey. A regression analysis of dietary Ca vs. digestible Ca content revealed a complete 'true' digestibility of Ca for the range of investigated diets, which might indicate that requirements for this mineral were not yet exceeded by the diets used (so that a reduction in Ca absorption would be induced). Options of higher dietary Ca provision, and reactions of chameleons to such diets, should be further investigated.
Title: Dry matter and calcium digestibility in captive veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus).
Authors: Hoby S, Clauss M, Aebischer A, Wenker C, Robert N, Liesegang A
Source: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition (2012) volume 96, issue 5