This month, the Basking Spot is on Repashy Diets!
The Repashy Diets are a line of meal replacement powders as well as vitamin supplements. Since the subject of supplementation is such a complicated topic in and of itself, this article will not be covering the various vitamin and calcium supplements manufactured by Repashy. For details on what is in the various supplements, as well as their benefits, feel free to visit the Repashy website and read his various articles detailing them. Instead, this article will cover the Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Powder, the Day Gecko Meal Replacement Powder, the various gel foods, and the SuperPig color enhancer.
First and foremost, any one that keeps Crested Geckos should already be familiar with the Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Powder, often shortened as simply “MRP”. This food is the most commonly recommended diet for any captive Rhacodactylus species, simply due to how complete it is as a diet. When Rhacodactylus species such as Crested Geckos were originally kept in captivity, the diets offered to them were traditionally centered around various combinations of supplements and baby food. The Repashy MRP diet eliminates the need to mix up your own food, and instead rely on the expertise of someone who has maintained and bred and extensive colony of geckos. The Day Gecko specific MRP is a diet designed along similar lines, but with the specific needs of Phelsuma species in mind. The use of these diets makes care of the geckos much simpler – very much along the lines of maintaining a dog or cat, in that you simply prepare the commercial diet rather than seeking out various live food items. It is recommended to include live prey items in your geckos’ diet, but it is possible to maintain Crested Geckos entirely on the Repashy MRP diet alone.
For those keepers looking to enhance their prize geckos (and other reptiles) in any way possible, I suggest considering the addition of the SuperPig supplement to their diet. SuperPig is a carotenoid supplement that enhances the red and orange coloration of your reptiles. The combination of a broad range of carotenoids is in a powdered form, making it a piece of cake to simply add to your calcium mix or to simply mix into your MRP or other diet. While the effects of the SuperPig may not be immediately apparent (one feeding won’t turn your gecko bright red), over time you will notice your animals exhibiting more red than they did before. SuperPig is not a magical pigment creator, so if your animal is not slightly red to begin with, it will not put red pigment in. However, it can enhance the red coloration in Bearded Dragons, Blue Tongue Skinks, Red Tegus, Red Iguanas, Gargoyle Geckos, Crested Geckos, and to a lesser extent, even Leopard Geckos. Why do I list these specific animals, you ask? Because all of those are species I personally have used (or coworkers have used) the SuperPig with to enhance red coloration, and personally seen the effects of SuperPig before and after.
This employee’s tegu gets superpig mixed into his diet –
all his white spots have been washed out with red!
A note with SuperPig – it is not going to affect the coloration of the offspring of animals fed SuperPig. This means that if your Crested Geckos are extra red as a result of SuperPig, their babies are unlikely to retain that same intense red coloration, and will instead look more like your geckos did before they received the supplement. In addition, once the SuperPig is no longer added to the diet, the effects wear off. Simply feeding SuperPig to your animals for a few months, and then quitting, will not maintain the red coloration for the duration of your animal’s life.
In addition to Meal Replacement Powders, which create a thick, mushy type of food, there is a new line of gel-diets that can be mixed up. Bug Burger is the specific diet designed as a gutload for feeder insects, and due to the quantity of gutload that can be made for the cost of a 5.3 oz container, it is one of the most cost effective gutloads out there. Bug Burger is readily consumed by all kinds of feeder insects, and I personally have used it to feed Superworms, Mealworms, Crickets, Hissing Cockroaches, Dubia Roaches, and once even mice! It is easy to mix, simply combining it in a 1 to 3 ratio with water, and then heating up to boiling. Let it cool, and viola! Instant bug food.
Along the same lines as the Bug Burger are several fish and reptile diets. The reptile specific diets seem well designed to appeal to their group – they are still extremely new to the market, but every animal I have tried the food with has loved it. The Meat Pie designed for carnivorous reptiles is not always immediately accepted by reptiles accustomed to eating live prey items, however if your reptiles already eat food from tongs or out of a bowl, the transition is easy. Savory Stew is the name of the food designed for omnivorous reptiles, and so far I have not been able to find a single omnivorous species that did not readily accept the food just when offered simply on a plate. I’ve seen Berber’s Skinks, Blue Tongue Skinks, Argentine Black and White Tegus, Red Tegus, Russian Legless Lizards, and even Bearded Dragons cheerfully consuming the Savory Stew!
When placed in the fridge, the Savory Stew turns from liquid to a nice solid gel in a matter of minutes.
With the range of vitamins and other nutrients found in the Repashy diets, they are an excellent choice to consider incorporating into your feeding routine. As a big fan of variety in the captive diet of reptiles, I would not personally recommend feeding nothing but a commercial diet to your reptiles, but the Repashy line of diets is a high quality food that you can feel comfortable adding to your pets’ diets. The only draw back? The gel diets (Bug Burger, Savory Stew, and Meat Pie) all have a distinct odor to them when being prepared.
Keep in mind that the food is not designed to appeal to YOU, it is designed to appeal to your reptiles, many of which cheerfully consume food items such as live insects, dead insects, raw liver and eggs, and other such unsavory food items. What they find appetizing and what we find appetizing are not nearly the same things – so don’t let the smell put you off, go ahead and offer it to your animals anyway. They’ll probably LOVE it!