Dietary issues

This forum covers all aspects of tortoise diet and nutrition, including mineral and vitamin supplementation and foods appropriate for different species.
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eisbrecher
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Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Dietary issues

Post by eisbrecher » 27 May 2017, 12:05

I am trying to vary his diet a little more (Torkoal - Horsefield)
Currently he has 1-2 days of no food per week as I have advised
When he does eat, his diet consists of:
50% Broadleaf/Ribwort Plantain
15% Young Dandelion
The rest is made up of varying amounts of Basil (his favourite) Fuschia flowers (in summer), Bindweed flowers (in summer) Forsythia flowers (in spring) Sowthistle (flowers as the leaves look super spiky and sharp) Bramble Flowers, Red Clover, Pineapple Weed, Pansy (wild and no pesticides) Rocket (very small amounts), Watercress (very small amounts) Use to feed Rosa Rugosa leaves/flowers (see below)

On occasion (when I am on holiday) bagged Salads containing Frisee and Lambs lettuce to mix with Dandelion (as easily identifiable) for family members to feed safely in addition to Brussels Sprouts leaves, though he does not like how rubbery the leaf is, takes him 2-4 minutes per bite! :lol:

Not terribly varied is it? I want him to enjoy a happy and healthy a life as possible! So I am trying to locate more of the safe to feed weeds to give more variety: Hawkbit, correctly identified Ground Elder, Cat's Ear, Pampas Grass flower (is it a flower? the feathery thing we used to chase each other with as kids)

I have a Rose Rugosa bush opposite (outside a restuarant) I was happily feeding him a small leaf or two every couple of days, and then I saw someone spray some kind of weedkiller around it, the bush is fine but all the weeds underneath rotted away. I assume the bush is now out of bounds? Haven't touched it since

I wash all of his food and powder everything with cuttlefish 'bone', this is a good source of calcium?

Any input into any of the above would be fantastic, I am always worrying about whether or not he is happy and healthy!

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Nina
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 27 May 2017, 14:45

The thing with diets is variety, as I'm sure you know. It's estimated that in the wild a tortoise will eat around 200 different species of plants in a season, and we can't possibly replicate that in captivity, so we just have to do our best.

The variety that you are feeding is good, and to get an even wider range you could try using our filter mechanism to give yourself a list of edible plants. Just go into any plant category on our website (for example, Wildflowers or Garden and House) and you will see a row of coloured bars at the top with tick boxes in them. Untick (by clicking on the tick boxes) the red and amber-red boxes, leaving only the green and amber-green boxes (or even just the green) and thereafter all the plants you see will be edible -- and that will apply to all the other categories as long as you are in this session (if you log out and then back on again you will have to untick the boxes again). You could even print it out to keep it handy.

Re the Sowthistle -- you could try him with the leaves. I don't know how they do it, but in the wild tortoises eat opuntia cacti and manage not to cut themselves on the spines, so I imagine Sowthistle or Pampas Grass leaves would be easy. I'm lucky as I only have Smooth Sowthistles growing in my garden -- no prickles at all. And it's good for them if a leaf is a bit hard to chew (like your brussels), as it helps to keep their jaws strong.

When I go on holiday I find that I can bag up four or five days meals if I pick the weeds and put them in one of those little ziplock plastic bags, along with a wet piece of kitchen towel wadded up and store them in the fridge. Then my neighbour can come in each day and feed them. Five days is about as long as they last for me, but I think some people can store a week's worth. Any longer and it's the bagged salads (Floretti Crispy is one of the best and it's in most supermarkets).

Cuttlefish bone is fine to scrape on the food (and leave a piece in his enclosure too, so that he can nibble at will), but he should also be given a supplement three or four times a week of a pinch of a good Calcium and D3 supplement like Nutrobal on his food (wetting the food helps the powder stick to it better.

Nina

eisbrecher
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Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Re: Dietary issues

Post by eisbrecher » 27 May 2017, 15:44

I have a list of all the plants listed as Green - Safe To Feed, however my plant identification skills are still somewhat lacking!

Is there a rough guide to how much Nutrobal to give? I don't want to give too much!

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Nina
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 27 May 2017, 17:21

It's on the container, and it is so rough as to be irritating. I think it says 'one pinch per kilo of weight'. Well that is fine if you have a tortoise that weighs a kilo or more, but for small tortoises it's really stupid (like how big is a pinch in the first place -- surely it depends on how big your fingers are -- and if your tortoise weighs 200g, what fraction of a pinch is that). Fortunately, I've heard it is fairly difficult to overdose on Nutrobal, so it's not too much of a hassle.

Many tortoises don't like the taste, and you have to trick them into eating it (wet one side of a leaf, put the Nutrobal on it and then fold it or turn it upside down, or make a very thin cucumber sandwich with the Nutrobal in the middle. Anyway, see how you get on and if you have problems, let us know.

Re the IDs -- it is difficult -- especially if there are no flowers on the plant, but send us some photos and we'll do our best (there is an ID section on this forum). The best photos are of the whole plant, looking at it from the side, a close-up of some leaves, and photos of flowers, seed heads, etc. -- anything else that might distinguish it. What we don't want is a photo of one leaf, pulled off the plant and laid on a paper towel -- lol those are super difficult to ID, because some of the clues to an ID are the way the leaf attaches to or comes off the stem.

Nina

eisbrecher
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Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Re: Dietary issues

Post by eisbrecher » 28 May 2017, 23:58

I saw something called Aces High, but I don't want to overdose on vitamins! Would Aces High used once a week and Nutrobal used twice a week and Calcidust used the rest of the time be sufficient?

Im not really sure what the best thing is for him, didn't get much time to read up on these things before he was thrust upon us (though we love him very much!)

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Nina
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 29 May 2017, 09:26

I think I would stick to Nutrobal three or four times a week and give a pure calcium supplement on the days that you aren't giving Nutrobal.
The Calcidust is fine -- it is just 100% calcium carbonate powder and you can use that on days when you aren't using Nutrobal, or you can buy pure calcium carbonate powder (which is what I use) online that is a bit cheaper than Calcidust but is the same stuff -- here is a link to some:
http://tinyurl.com/y7k6o2kg

I don't think I would use Aces High as that is a high vitamin supplement used to treat vitamin deficiencies, and it is possible to overdose on Vitamin A. Here is what the manufacturer (VetArk) says about it on its website: "ACE-High is one of our key multivitamin products. It is a specialist product mainly used by veterinary surgeons to correct certain very unbalanced diets".

Is Torkoal able to get outside to get some natural UVB from the sun? That is important as the quality of UVB from the sun is higher than what we can give them indoors, plus they just love being able to roam around. If you don't have any outdoor facilities then a good UVB lamp indoors will do, but it is definitely preferable for them to be outdoors as much as possible.

Nina

eisbrecher
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Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Re: Dietary issues

Post by eisbrecher » 29 May 2017, 16:01

He can't go outside too often, I live in a flat with just a back yard. I will start bringing him over to my local park under very close supervision for little excursions

I'll but some Nutrobal :)
Is Cuttlefish an adequate replacement for calcium carbonate powder or is the latter better?
Also I have no idea how much to use of either, I dust everything he eats with cuttlefish and he does not seem to mind it

Just went to ASDA and bought a Coriander plant and some Thyme, he likes the former, the Thyme is too strong smelling for him though.

EDIT - Looking at Nutrobal and it is loaded with vitamins A C E K B1 B2 B6 B12 folic, nicotinic & pantothenic acids, biotin choline niacin and minerals P Na Fe Co I Mn Zn Se C
This is all OK? I assume to use a fraction of a 'pinch' every 2 days and calcium the rest of the time?

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Nina
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 29 May 2017, 18:28

Could he go out into your back yard? Is it walled so that he couldn't escape? I once had an outdoor area for my tortoise on a small paved area in back of my house. I just got some loose bricks and made some makeshift walls. Then I dumped a load of topsoil mixed with sand in it, put half a flower pot down as a little shelter and put some rocks in it of her to climb over and walk around, and it worked fine (but of course you might not be allowed to do that in your yard). If you go to a park, do make sure that they haven't sprayed the grass or anywhere Torkoal might walk with insecticide or weed killers, as tortoises are very sensitive to that, but otherwise it should be fine.

Cuttlefish is fine. Pure calcium carbonate powder might be a tiny bit better, but the nice thing about cuttlefish is that in addition to scrapng it onto his food, you can also just leave it in his enclosure and then he can eat it at will (they are very good at knowing when they need extra calcium). And chewing on the cuttlefish bone also helps to keep their beak trim. Some tortoises won't eat it until it has been sitting outside in the rain and elements for a month or two and is beginning to look green and horrible, and then for some reason they love it.

If the thyme plant is too strong smelling then you can just stick the pot in his enclosure for decoration -- (lol nothing is wasted then).
Yes, re the Nutrobal -- a fraction of a pinch every two days and then calcium the rest of the time sounds fine. You can give a healthy fraction of the pinch, as it is difficult to overdose on Nutrobal, so I wouldn't be worried. The thing is that tortoises need vitamin D3 to enable them to metabolise the calcium, so the Nutrobal, plus your D3 lamp, plus any natural sunshine you can give him should provide that.

Nina

eisbrecher
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Joined: 27 May 2017, 10:24

Re: Dietary issues

Post by eisbrecher » 29 May 2017, 20:48

I assume the vitamin content of Nutrabal is much lower than that of Aces High/Arkvits? I originally thought Nutrabal was just Calcium + D3 but it is loaded with vitamins too

Today is his day off food, though he did have a nibble of some coriander just to see if it liked it, he does!

Nash
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Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nash » 22 Apr 2018, 10:27

URGENT

Hi guys

So I have 2 yearlings Leopard Totoises and one of them is eating but not putting any weight on, in actual fact he or she (Clyde) has actually lost 10 grams in 2 weeks.

Now we see Clyde eating during the day but has just not put any weight on. Right now my mum is helping Clyde eat by holding the food up to Clydes mouth. But we have noticed Clyde can put the food into his mouth but just not rip it off and right now he is managing to eat okay with my mums help.

Now I don’t think it is and hygiene errors as we give them 20 minute baths every Sunday whilst we clean their enclosure and rearrange the area to make it more exciting.

Any tip or ideas on how to help Clyde gain weight again?

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Nina
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 22 Apr 2018, 13:57

Hi Nash,

Thanks for contacting us! I know it can be a worry if your tortoise is losing weight. How long have you had them, and what are you feeding them? What weight were they when you got them, compared to now? Sorry for so many questions, but it helps to have a background picture.

As I'm sure you know, Leopard tortoises should be fed mainly grass (about 70% of their diet should be grass, and the rest can be made up of other plants that are safe to feed). Does he have access to an area outside with grass? Indoors you can buy ReadiGrass for him to eat (and mix it with some other foods to start with in case he doesn't take to it). Tortoises love being hand fed, but if you aren't careful then they will refuse to eat unless they are being hand fed, so it can get tricky. I don't keep Leopards myself, but hopefully someone who does will be on soon to give more advice.

Also, what temperature is it at the hot end of his enclosure and at the cool end (temperatures do have an effect on a tortoise's appetite)?

Nina

Nash
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Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nash » 22 Apr 2018, 14:59

Hi Nina

So I have 2 leopard tortoises that I got last year one is very active called Cj and Clyde was very active but doesn’t seem to be any more.

When we got them they were 25g each. Cj is 111g and Clyde had got to 98g but over the last 3 weeks has lost 15g and is now 83g.

We did try to feed them grass at the start but they were not interested at all, we do try and give them a variaty if leaves, fruit and flowers. We did try and mix the grass in with the leaves but even then they still ate around it.

This morning after their baths I noticed that Clyde isn’t being able to rip the leaves as he just put the leaf in his mouth but doesn’t bit down on it or chews it, he try’s to use his paw but there is no strength in his jaw and the leaf just falls out of his mouth. We ripped up the leaves into bite size pieces and hand fed them to Clyde. Cj is fine with ripping the food compared to Clyde.

My mum is worried that Cj is bullying Clyde but I don’t believe so. She worries that he has a parasite, his skin is shedding (he has skin tags) but I think that’s just because he is growing(hopefully).

I don’t know what temperature it is in the enclosure I don’t have a thermometer. It is a 100W heat lamp bulb.

Thanks for your help.

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Dietary issues

Post by lin » 22 Apr 2018, 16:20

Hi Nash.

I was just going to suggest the same as your mum has about bullying. Leopards are a lot more gentle than most tortoises and even their bullying isnt as hars but smaller tortoises can be intimidated even by body language. Have you tried seperating them while feeding and seeing how that goes.
Also have a look in Clydes mouth to make sure its nice and pink and not sowing any signs of being sore, yellowish cottage cheese like substance. If he dont start to pick up feeding seperate then maybe a visit to a vet that is experienced in seeing tortoises is something to think about.
Keep us posted though and if we can help further, we will.
I forgot to add that the skin is probably as you say, shedding because of growth so please leave this to fall off by itself and dont be tempted to pull at it.

Do you have a photo of how and where you are keeping them and a photo of then would be great too. Love leopard pics.

Lin

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nina » 22 Apr 2018, 16:21

Hi Nash,

Don't worry -- we'll see if we can tweak your set-up a bit and get things right.

First of all, can you tell me what kind of heat lamp you have? It's really important that you provide a lamp that gives out UVB for a tortoise. Some lamps have heat, light and UVB and other lamps are just heat and light and you have to provide UVB from a separate fluorescent tube. UVB is super important for tortoises. The sun is the best source of UVB and in the wild that is where they would get it from, but in our climate where they have to be indoors a lot of the time we have to provide it for them. UVB enables a tortoise to produce vitamin D3, which in turn enables him to use the calcium in his diet to make good shell and bone (and tortoises have a lot of shell and bone!), and without that they can get growth and health problems. Your lamp might be one that provides UVB, so if you can tell me the brand and any description on the box that would be great.

Second -- temperature is really important for tortoises. If they aren't warm enough they can'd digest their food properly, and if they are too cold then they don't function well. You want the warm end of their enclosure (are they in a tortoise table or a vivarium) to be around 30C, and that is measured at the height of their shell (not mounted on a nearby wall). So a hot end of about 30C and a cool end of about 20C (and you shouldn't need any heat or light at night. You can get inexpensive fridge thermometers that have a display unit and then a long wire with a probe on the end and you can hang that probe down into the tortoise table. Something like this: https://tinyurl.com/y8cxutvl

Shedding skin is absolutely normal as they are growing. Snakes shed skin all in one piece, but tortoises shed it in little bits (and can look a bit raggedy sometimes).

Do you have a good tortoise vet that you can take them to, just for a good check-up? We have a list of UK recommended reptile vets on our website here: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... tynk5ch2M8 If you can't find one near you, let us know and we'll see if we can find one.

If you can send us a photo of your set-up, it might be only a small thing that needs changing, and hopefully CJ and Clyde will be right as rain soon.

Nina

Nash
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Joined: 01 Apr 2017, 16:28

Re: Dietary issues

Post by Nash » 24 Apr 2018, 15:02

Hi guys,

So we brought Clyde to the vet and got him antibiotics for him. Although we are having difficulty in making him take them. We have tried feeding him some lettuce or fruit but he just doesn’t want any. Any ideas on how to make him open his mouth in order to take his antibiotics?

Thanks!

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lin
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by lin » 24 Apr 2018, 18:04

Hi Nash
How has your vet advised you to administer the antibiotics :?: Usually they are injects by the vet and you go back each time. Is it a reptile vet that see's tortoise :?:
Ohh, sorry lots of questions. Has the vet said what is wrong and why he is using medication.

Lin

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lin
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Re: Dietary issues

Post by lin » 24 Apr 2018, 18:09

Oh, and did you manage to get a pic or two of the setup so we can look to see if we can spot a few simple tweaks that can be made.
Did the vet tell you if a tortoise is on medication then the temps should be kept stable to endure they will work.

Lin

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