CZAAWE Resource Article

A complex Enrichment Diet improves growth and health in the endangered Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20223.abs The endangered Wyoming toad (Bufo baxteri) suffers nutrition related pathologies including poor growth and feeding difficulties from squamous metaplasia. Juvenile B. baxteri were each fed three supplemented feeder diets over 22 weeks and their growth, strike rate, and ingestion success measured. Diet (1) Enrichment Diet: feeder crickets fed fish oil, spirulina, and ground turtle feed; (2) Vitamin Diet: feeder crickets dusted heavily with Reptivite® multi-vitamin/mineral powder; and (3) Control Diet: feeder crickets dusted with calcium and Vitamin D powder. The Enrichment Diet produced faster growth in length (P<0.05) than those fed the Vitamin Diet, and at 22 weeks either the Enrichment Diet or Control Diet produced greater weight (P<0.05) than those on the Vitamin Diet. Toads fed the Vitamin Diet ingested significantly (P<0.01) less crickets (∼105 g/toad) compared with those fed the Enrichment Diet or Control Diet (∼121 g/toad). Approximately 50% of either Reptivite® multi-vitamin/mineral or calcium/vitamin D powder was lost within 90 sec of dusting. The Enrichment Diet produced the same strike rate (∼25 strikes in 5 min.) but higher (P<0.01) IS (38.3±4.2%) than those fed the Vitamin Diet (24.2±1.8%) or Control Diet (20.1±1.5). 1) Results showed that the Enrichment Diet provided superior growth, enrichment of feeder crickets provides an attractive alternative to the use of topical powders alone, and crickets lose ∼50% of topical powders within minutes. Feeding a diet highly enriched in retinol and unsaturated fatty acids resulted in improved growth and health for young Wyoming toads. Zoo Biol 28:197–213, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.