When senior Julie Tamanini, a student worker who took over lizard care this fall, mentioned feeding the lizards on the leftovers from the student cafeteria, she was kidding. But Carol Stocksdale, the Coordinator of Educational Outreach, saw potential in the joke.
Carol and Julie started communicating with Kathie Guyler, the cafeteria supervisor, to work out the details. Eventually, they developed a system. Every week or two, when Julie starts to run low on food, Kathie will pull out some of the leftover produce from the cafeteria. “The veggies are all fresh, which the lizards like a lot more than the old frozen stuff. It’s great to see how much better their appetites are!” says Julie.
Our two lizards, Judi Dench, a green iguana,and Kazul, a bearded dragon, have different overall dietary needs, but both benefit from the fresh produce. Judi, like all green iguanas, is a vegetarian and loves the new variety in her diet. Aside from various greens, Judi is learning to love cantaloupe, red peppers, snow peas, and green beans.
Our bearded dragon, Kazul, is an omnivore, like most humans. In addition to the fresh produce, he gets 15 crickets every day. Like many young organisms, he is more reluctant to eat greens, but does love the newfound delight of apples, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, bell peppers, cantaloupe, and green beans.
Julie has noticed a difference in the animals after she started them on their new diet. “They both have much better color! Judi is greener, and Kazul has a gorgeous bright orange throat.” Those are excellent signs that the new diet is improving their health. Thanks to the support of the cafeteria, our lizards are better than ever!