donated by Herpetofauna
Vitamin D is essential for the growth and overall health of many animals. In lizards, a lack of vitamin D leads to a variety of diseases such as deformities, trembling toes and the development of inflammation that have a major impact on the well-being of these animals.
A few years ago, research showed that growing bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), under the influence of a UV lamp, produce enough vitamin D themselves to prevent the above symptoms. The same study showed that oral administration of vitamin D to bearded dragons was not effective for this purpose. This research, among other things, has led to better advice regarding the use of UV lamps in bearded dragons, which has greatly reduced problems due to vitamin D deficiency.
For many other species, including the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), it is still unknown how they can meet their vitamin D needs. In contrast to the bearded dragon, the leopard gecko is not active during the day in nature, and is therefore normally not or hardly exposed to UV. This could mean that leopard geckos react differently to UV light and produce more or less vitamin D. It is also not known whether oral administration of vitamin D is effective in leopard geckos. That is why the University of Wageningen has started a study to clarify this.
The research examines whether oral administration of vitamin D and/or the placement of a UV lamp are effective strategies for preventing symptoms caused by a vitamin D deficiency. The researchers involved work on a voluntary basis, the animals are provided by a breeder and the UV lamps are sponsored by their manufacturer. This covers a large part of the costs of the project. The Herpetofauna Foundation helped with the other costs, such as furnishing the terrariums and purchasing vitamin supplements and thermometers. With this, the Herpetofauna Foundation helps to expand knowledge about the needs of reptiles in captivity and thus contributes to increasing the welfare of these beautiful animals.