Rankins Dragon Feeding Tips

Feeding

Rankin's require a varied diet including live foods and vegetables that are supplemented with calcium & vitamin powders. Foods should be lightly dusted daily with a good quality calcium powder (containing no phosphorus) or twice a week with a reptile vitamin powder such as Nutrobal. This ensures that the Rankin gets enough calcium to counter the high levels of phosphor found in their food. Without the supplements and the UVB lighting, your dragon will develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), which manifests itself in the form of weak malformed bones, fractures, lethargy and eventually partial paralysis.

An easy method for dusting live food is to place the tub of insects in the fridge just long enough for their movement to slow down, then add some supplement powder to a small sandwich bag (one with no holes), empty a few insects in to the bag also and gently shake. Open the bag in to the vivarium and the lightly dusted blighters will emerge ready for consumption. As different manufacturers use varying levels of calcium/vitamins in their supplements you should always follow the advice on the product label so that you don't under/overdose your lizard.

Rankin's usually love water and need it regularly to avoid dehydration, so make sure a freshly changed bowl is available every day.


Foods that can be fed daily include:

  • Black and brown crickets.
  • Locusts.
  • Grasshoppers.
  • Silkworms.
  • Commercial dragon pellets.
  • Green (snap) beans, parsnip, turnip and carrot leaves, collard (spring) greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, watercress, butternut squash.
  • Mango, papaya.

Foods that can be offered a few times a week include:

  • Mini Mealworms.
  • Waxworms.
  • Carrots, asparagus, english peppers, cucumber, parsley, zucchini.
  • Apples, cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon.

Foods that should NEVER be offered include:

  • Lettuces.
  • Avocado.
  • Garden or household insects, especially fireflys.
  • Anything larger than the gap between their eyes.


When sourcing live foods try to purchase only from places that freshly pack their tubs and provide fresh bran, veg or other foods in with the insects. Packs that contain large amounts of droppings, typically tiny, brown, round formations have most likely been sitting in the tub for days without being cleaned or freshly fed, so avoid these. It is always better to buy too small, than too large and most insects grow fairly rapidly anyway.

The night or morning before feeding your live foods to your Rankin, drop in some fresh vegetables, such as green beans, potato and green leaves in to the live food container. The insects will feed on this and 'gut load', so when your Rankin eats the live food it also ingests the nutrients that are sitting in the gut of the insect.

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Live foods should be offered a couple of times daily and providing only a few live insects are present at a time, can usually be left inside the vivarium for your reptile to pick off as he sees fit. Live foods however, should always be removed before lights out to prevent undue stress and physical harm to your dragon as it sleeps. If your dragon actively eats when you start adding live food then simply 'kill two birds with one stone' by offering him all he can eat in a 10 minute period and then removing any stray critters immediately. Some people prefer to keep a separate tank in which they keep their live food and then simply place the Rankin in this tank for a short period each day to allow it to feed. This too is fine, just make sure that the tank is not swarming with insects as this will stress the dragon.

Finely chopped salads and fruits should be provided frequently and may be left in the vivarium all day, but do remember that in the high heat, salads dry up and decay alot quicker. So ensure that it is removed and replaced before it all goes manky!

Finally a few tips: Feed your Rankin the freshly molted (white) mealworms, they are softer and much easier to digest. Never feed lettuces as they have no nutritional value and cause diahorrea. Never feed anything larger than the gap between the dragon's eyes, this helps to prevent a premature death. Hand feed your new lizard to help him become accustomed to you and get him to associate you with something he likes (snacks!). Use a deeper feeding dish to prevent worms from escaping.




Storing And Feeding Live foods

Crickets

Keep your crickets in a large plastic container with plenty of ventilation, a 'Cricket Keeper' is ideal. A storage temperature of around 75-80F is recommended with a dry environment that is out of direct sunlight. It is not essential to provide bedding but we recommend the use of egg cartons so that the crickets have climbable space and dark areas to hide away. A small amount of fresh vegetables (from the list above) and bran should be provided and replaced daily. You may also use cricket supplements or pre-prepared cricket foods if you wish.

Locusts

Locusts should be kept as per crickets, but we recommend a higher storage temperature of around 90-95F. This enables their digestive process to work a rate that ensures the food they have consumed does not sit in their gut long enough to rot (yes, we're serious!). Rankin's that do not like crickets will usually snap up locusts, so these can be fed as a staple alternative.

Mealworms

Mealworm can be kept in a simple plastic container with ventilation. Ideal storage temperature is 50F. You can keep them on a bed of oatmeal/bran at all times and add some fresh vegetables, such as potatoes, daily. If your mealworm begin to smell like ammonia you will need to separate them from their fouled bedding and provide some fresh bran.

Waxworms

Keep waxworms in a small plastic tub with air holes and store them at a low temperature of approximately 55-60F. It is vital that humidity/condensation is keep at a minimum; Storing them with wood shavings or card can help reduce moisture, especially during shipping when temperatures may fluctuate. If stored properly, waxworms will typically live for 3-4 weeks. Waxworms should not be fed as a staple food as they have a very high fat content with little nutritional value. Instead, offer them as a treat or reward.

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