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One Smoothie, with a Cricket Boost!

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Animal Updates | Reptiles | Enrichment

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


One Smoothie, with a Cricket Boost!
Matches, the Bearded Dragon, with her vegetable and cricket smoothie.  | AnnMarie Riggle

Who doesn’t love smoothies? I love my fruit and veggie smoothies for breakfast (no kale, please). The lorikeets happily lap up their pureed fruit smoothies. Even the otters enjoy smoothies—seafood flavored, complete with a vitamin boost. With all this smoothie love, Enrichment Intern AnnMarie made a food enrichment smoothie for our bearded dragon, Matches, to see how she’d like it.

The recipe for a bearded dragon smoothie is probably a little different than what you’d expect to see on a juice bar menu. Matches’ smoothie consisted of yellow squash, carrot, zucchini and lettuce—not too bad so far—and five crickets. All of the lizard’s favorite foods blended into one balanced and drinkable meal!

AnnMarie presented Matches with the smoothie in her regular food bowl. However, having never had a blended meal before, the bearded dragon didn’t seem to recognize the watery substance in her bowl as food. She just ignored it. To entice the lizard, AnnMarie added an extra live cricket to the smoothie. Recognizing that as food, Matches clambered over to the bowl and lunged for the cricket. While the cricket escaped her jaws, smoothie splashed onto Matches’ face. She paused, not chasing the cricket. She licked her face. She licked her face again. Matches seemed frozen in thought, slowing licking splashes of smoothie off her face and staring at AnnMarie. lick Why does this taste like food, but not feel like food?lick Is this food? lick Do I like this new, smooth food? lick

Encouraged by Matches’ interest, AnnMarie put the escaped cricket back in the bowl. The bearded dragon leaned over and plucked the cricket right out of the smoothie. Matches thoughtfully made her decision: Only the cricket was bearded dragon-approved food. At least in this case, bearded dragons do not like smoothies.

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