Dr. Lamar Hunter has just joined the Carolina Tiger Rescue team as a wildlife veterinarian. After he graduated from NC State’s vet school, Dr. Hunter studied under Dr. Angela Lassiter at Carolina Tiger Rescue. He helps with physicals, medical procedures, and loves seeing the animals improve under the care of the awesome vets at the rescue. Dr. Hunter enjoys working with all the animals at Carolina Tiger Rescue, but his favorite is the lions.

Dr. Hunter’s Blog 6/17/19

Last week, I touched on Nakobi’s special needs at meal time. This week, I want to tell you about Elvis Serval’s unique food prep!

Elvis, like all of our other cats, is an obligate carnivore, meaning he must eat meat in order to survive. All of our obligate carnivore residents are on a whole carcass diet; they are fed raw meat and bone. These animals can use their carnassial teeth, teeth that act somewhat like scissors, to crunch right through the bone and their bodies can digest it. Isn’t that awesome?! Elvis and some of our other small cats, however, can sometimes get pieces of bone stuck between their teeth. Of course, we do not want this to happen, so we do something unique to his food. We hammer it! We use a hammer on Elvis’ food to break up the bones inside the meat into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces cannot easily get wedged between his teeth.

In the photograph above, you can see that there are two tags next to Elvis’ food chute. The “XS”, or extra small, tag tells the feeder how much food and what size food to give Elvis. The “Hammered” tag reminds them that he needs the bones in his meat broken up.

In the picture to the left, you can see one of our keepers and my fellow blogger, Tessa Stripes, hammering Elvis’ meal. If Elvis ate all soft food, like leaves and fruit, this would not be necessary, but Elvis needs meat and bone to thrive and we do not want to compromise on giving him the best care possible. It may take a little extra time to prepare his food this way, but it is time well spent to help Elvis eat comfortably and still get all the nutrients he needs!