Feeding?

Post your pictures and any questions here of European tortoises e.g. Ibera Spur Thigh, Ibera Graeca, Marginated, Hermanns, Kleinmanni and we include the Horsfield tortoise. Also, do add pictures of Mediterranean tortoises you have seen in the wild.
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Wilburs_mummy
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Joined: 17 Apr 2019, 17:09

Feeding?

Post by Wilburs_mummy » 17 Apr 2019, 17:39

Hello. We got our first tortoise on Sunday after many years (10+) of dreaming of owning one. He is called Wilbur, we are completely in love! One thing I’m unsure on though as there’s so much conflicting advice is how much/often does he need feeding. I’m currently giving him a pile the same size as him each morning of various salad leaves (recommended by tortoise owning greengrocer) and weeds from the garden and a little pile in the evening as he goes looking for food. He is 6.5-7cm in length (I measured a way I saw online by moving him towards something solid til his head goes all the way in and marking top to tail, hopefully that’s right) he also weighs 71g (is this ok)? We don’t know his age as he is a rescue so any idea if age also would be fab. Many thanks.
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lin
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Re: Feeding?

Post by lin » 17 Apr 2019, 18:09

Oh wow. I love the name Wilbur, its great for a tortoise.

I hope you dont mind me suggesting this but if you really want to do Wilbur (and yourself because its far cheeper) a favour, then ditch the things you buy, especially now its spring and weeds are growing in abundence..
When you first het your tortoise then we find weights and measures are not that important, its what comes when you get then home. You can log the weight and measurement you have and start a weekly, then moving on to monthly when you feel things are going down the right road. On the next weighin you need to look at how much has been gained or lost and then regulate the next weeks worth feeding on that. I have only ever fed my tortoises once a day but if they are outside they will spend a great deal of time looking around the garden for extras - lol. If he puts on more than say 3 to 4 gm a month ( a gram a week) then drop the amount and if he isnt gaining enough then add a few extra small leaves.
We tend to have a monthly average of 4gm at most to get the smooth shell growth, but you will also find that if you mark down these figured on a regular basis a pattern will start to form making it easy to follow and handy for a vet to read if you need to take Wilbur to a vet.

Take a look through the database here -- https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/index.php that gives you a list of plants with photos for recognition and also here where you can find out how to keep the log on weights and measurments. https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... measuring/.

Let us know how you get on and also have a read through the interesting articles shown in the drop down menu. If you find any questions then do get back to us.

Lin

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Nina
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Nina » 17 Apr 2019, 18:18

Aww, he is an absolutely gorgeous little Horsfield from what I can see! Congratulations on getting him -- and Horsfields are a species with great personalities (but then I am biased as I keep Horsfields)! And Wilbur is a super name.

Feeding Horsfields has its difficulties, as they are a particularly greedy tortoise and can easily overeat and grow too quickly -- which caused shell deformities and other problems. In the wild they live in areas where it is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, so they hibernate a long time and also aestivate (like hibernation but in the heat) for a long time. It's estimated that they are only awake for three months in the wild (!) and that during that time they are eating for about 20 hours. So they are sort of programmed to 'eat for England', and in captivity they wolf down the lovely meals that we give them.

What you need to do is to monitor Wilbur's growth and weight gain and aim for an average gain of between 1g and 3 or 4g per month. This is just an average, and some months he will gain more and some less, but it's something to aim at. Monitoring weight is the best thing, but other guidelines range for giving him all that he can eat in 20 minutes once a day, skipping one day a week in feeding, or providing enough leaves and flowers etc. to make a little blanket or jacket that would cover his shell (a pile of food as big as he is, is probably too much.

I would also go easy on the salad leaves. They aren't bad, but are known as 'wet food', which means they go through the digestive system quickly, and you want the opposite. They have a high water content, which is good for hydration, but what he really needs is weeds, flowers, etc. --- high fibre and low protein.

You probably already have one, but here's a link to a care sheet for Horsfields: https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

You can use the filter facility on our website to filter out plants that you shouldn't feed and produce a list for yourself of plants that are good to feed: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... LdfUqR7m9s Just scroll down to the section on how to use the filters.

I've got to go out now, but hopefully Lin or someone else will come in with more advice if I've missed anything. And do keep sending in photos of the very handsome Wilbur!

Nina

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Nina
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Nina » 17 Apr 2019, 18:19

Oops, sorry -- I see that Lin and I must have been writing at the same time and she posted first! All good stuff.

Nina

Wilburs_mummy
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Wilburs_mummy » 17 Apr 2019, 20:21

Thank you so much for your replies. I’ve been id’ing the weeds in the garden today so I know what Wilbur can and can’t have. So tomorrow I’ll start collecting some for him. We also have an ocellated uromastyx and African land snails that eat the same as Wilbur so we always have a good selection of leaves in the house anyway. I’ve ordered some seeds to grow a few weeds and we always grow nasturtium for Dino (the uro) as they are his favourites!!

I’ve attached a better picture of the handsome boy (or girl😂). He has only been here since Sunday but he likes snuggling in my daughters hands and stretches his little head out when we ‘scratch’ his head already! 😍
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Nina
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Nina » 17 Apr 2019, 21:53

Aww, bless -- it's amazing how quickly they capture your heart, isn't it? Sounds like you have a lovely group of animals there, and that Wilbur has found himself an excellent home with your family!

Nina

Wilburs_mummy
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Wilburs_mummy » 18 Apr 2019, 09:44

Thank you Nina, I hope he will be very happy here. We’ve done lots of research but there’s always something you worry about once they’re here!

He is the funniest little thing....I didn’t realise they were quite as bonkers! We also have some furry four leggers who are a bit nuts so I wonder if it’s something in the air 😂

Vicky

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Nina
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Nina » 18 Apr 2019, 11:04

That is brilliant that you are doing your research at the beginning, Vicky -- so many people don't and then big problems occur later.

You are obviously now a fully paid-up member of the tortoise appreciation club! People don't realise how much personality tortoises have -- and also how fast they can move (you just wait until you have him out in the garden on a nice hot day -- you look at him, look away for a second, and then look back and he is nowhere to be seen (and then the panic sets in . . . .. ). :o

Nina

Wilburs_mummy
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Joined: 17 Apr 2019, 17:09

Re: Feeding?

Post by Wilburs_mummy » 18 Apr 2019, 11:21

Haha he’s very speedy and messy!! And good at climbing! He likes to sit on top of his tunnel to see over the edge of his enclosure!

He can’t go in the garden till I’ve done some serious taming (planned for Sunday) as I’d lose him in seconds!!
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Nina
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Re: Feeding?

Post by Nina » 18 Apr 2019, 14:44

That does absolutely look like a little torty paradise! I can see lots of things there for him to eat (and lots of long grass for him to get lost in)!

Nina

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