Hey Guys and Welcome back! Today I wanted to get serious for a moment and talk to you guys about a topic that’s rarely discussed and when it is, it’s often filled with vague information. Before I get into it, I wanted to welcome those of you who are new here and take a moment to go on a little rant about why I’m doing this video.
To give you a little back story, I began working with exotic animals around the age of 15. Eventually I opened up my own shop for a few years before deciding that I no longer wanted to sell exotic pets to people in a retail setting like that. The biggest reason I got out of it was because I saw a lot of people who meant well, but did a lot of harm to animals because they refused to listen to me or do the proper research on the animal they have adopted.
I’ll say this right here and now, I may not have all the knowledge in the world about all of these species I’ve worked with, but experience sometimes is better than anything you can read in a book or the internet. You can watch my videos all day and night until your brain is fried, but the reality is you’re not going to fully be ready for a pet like a fox if you’ve never owned one before until you take the time to actually meet with one and see what they’re really like in person. And even then, their personalities are all different and each species has their special requirements.
So why am I doing this video you ask? Well, because I love to keep an open mind when it comes to learning new things and when someone presents a new Idea to me I’m willing to take it into consideration if it makes sense to me. I know a lot of people have different morals and different ideas about how they should feed their animals so this is just a video based on my opinions that were formed over years of experience of working with these animals.
Anyone who works in an industry like that will tell you that they’ve seen some horrible things. I’m not going to get into detail about things that aren’t based on the subject matter of this video, but when it comes to feeding there are a ton of deficiencies you will see with exotic pets when they don’t get the proper nutrients. MBD is one of them, That’s Metabolic Bone Disease. Usually you’ll see this in reptiles because they require Vitamin D3 and Calcium. Their bones start to morph and become really fragile, sometimes causing other disabilities. People think that you can just buy a lizard put a lamp over it and feed it some greens and you’re good to go. The reality is they need additives in their food if they are not getting the same variety of diet they would in the wild.
So how does this pertain to Fennec Foxes and what is this stupid project you keep talking about? Well, as most of you know I am a part of a few different exotic pet groups, a few of which are fox and fennec fox specific groups. I notice that a lot of people feed cat food to their fennec foxes along with some fruits, veggies and sometimes dog food. The problem is that this is not a diet that a Fennec Fox would get in the wild and overall it can create some really big problems for them.
Before I go into the Specifics, I wanted to introduce you to someone else who you may have seen pop up on your suggested feed. Her channel is called Tamandua Girl and she’s the owner of what I think are some of the most adorable Tamandua Ant Eaters on all of the inter webs. Actually, I think her main Ant Eater, Pua, is the one running everything around the house but that can be left up to you guys to debate. haha
… wait… Tamandua Pterodactyl? I have an Idea for this!!!
Great, now that I just spent an hour of my time on a joke… Here’s what Tamandua Girl and I have been discussing.
She’s stating that many of the commonly found problems in fennec foxes can be linked to chronic over consumption of retinol so it’s strongly implied that it could be the root of these problems. Many Fennec Foxes tend to get sick as they get older from a lack of taurine or too much retinol and liver and kidney diseases can quickly arise. Now, A lot more studying needs to be done but any of you out there that are vets or educated in this subject at all please feel free to chime in on the comments below.
The idea is that there are certain foods that have way too much retinol and instead of the body just getting rid of it, fennec foxes can tend to store it causing spinal lesions, live and kidney damage. I don’t want to get too much into detail about the technical specifics since it will bore some of you. I’ll make sure to leave some of the links down in the description below so that you can read the information for yourself if you would like to learn more.
You will notice that in most of my videos I try to feed my pets live or at least as close to what they can get in the wild for food. Even the cats eat a variety of foods and I never keep them on just one diet. I always try many different live and pre-killed meals for scout but the reality is that in the wild they eat Lizards, Roaches, Crickets, Scorpions, Birds, Eggs, and a very small percentage of their diet is actually vegetation. They are more carnivores than anything and you can see in my videos how much he loves his bugs and live meals. He does not enjoy the fruits and veggies that much and I am SO thankful that scout is a picky eater.
In her studies she mentions that Domestic mice can be really high in retinol, mostly because of the organ meats, but luckily I can count the amount of times scout has actually eaten the intestines. He usually goes for the head and the rest but generally will let the intestines fall out and I clean up after he’s done. When I had lizards as pets I would usually just feed it to them so nothing would go to waste. Now looking back, it could be that he just knew that stuff didn’t make him feel great or he just didn’t like them, there’s no way for me to tell but I am happy to hear that in the 9 years of caring for scout, he has mostly been fed what he’s supposed to eat. In his earlier days he used to fight me for pizza or KFC but once mel and I cut out all the unhealthy foods from our diets, there was a lot less around for the animals to beg for. now when they beg for something its usually a healthy treat which is awesome!
So… are you ready for it? The whole point of making this video? ROACHES! I’m breeding them as a better source of food for the pets since I no longer want to have to purchase them regularly. it’s so much easier to breed them but can you deal with keeping roaches as pets!? Let me know below!
Thank you guys for taking the time to watch this video and get a little more of an in-depth conversation about exotic pet diets. There are always extra things you need to think about and if you dont, it can lead to the animal getting sick and dying early. I’m not trying to get dramatic but I have seen a lot of people who just ignore all the information that’s out there and decide they are going to treat it like a cat or a dog. I hope that by sharing this information, it inspires all of you with exotic pets to look more deeply into the proper diets and necessities of those animals. Every species requires special care since we are taking them out of the environment they have evolved to live in.
For years I’ve offered roaches to Scout and he never wants them. I tried the recommended trick and it even though I’ve done it with other pets before I just didn’t think to do it with him for some reason. Sometimes we get stuck in our routines and it’s nice to have a friend remind you to change things up when the time is necessary. The good thing is that even if all of this information was incorrect about retinol being toxic, Scout still would benefit in the end because the roaches are going to be more nutritious for him and I never liked feeding him mice anyway and it was a rare treat. Crickets are a pain in the butt and I already feed him mealworms regularly so having roaches as a part of his new diet is great. I have also begun to give him some boiled sweet potato instead of carrots since I was informed that those would be better in nutrition as well. Guess what, he loved them! I love it when he tries new things and enjoys it since he’s always been so picky.
I would love to hear what you guys think about this subject. Now you can also see why I refrained from showing some clips of scout with his fur like that but it’s finally grown all back in and he’s fine! Next time I get a chance I will shoot a new video with him but for now I have a folder of new topics and older videos I wanted to share with all of you! Some of them were shown in this video for the first time.
Links shared by TamanduaGirl:
Forum Discussion about Fennec Diets: http://sybilsden.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=111&t=13227
Nutrition Talk: http://sybilsden.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=111&t=12830&p=131713#p131713
In Depth Nutrition Info: http://tiny-foxes.com/Diet.html?i=1
Purine Table: http://www.acumedico.com/purine.htm
What is the Ideal Pet Fennec Fox Diet? http://exotic-pets.yoexpert.com/foxes-and-wolfdogs-12892/what-is-the-ideal-pet-fennec-fox-diet-49922.html
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