Rambutan

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Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 21 Jan 2022, 16:11

Hi!

I'm back with another plant, and this one could prove a real challenge :?

Context: I've recently adopted an Aldabra, and was planning on re-homing him at my grandma's house since it's the only place I know which can accommodate him space-wise (in the future). My grandma's house does however have a MASSIVE Rambutan tree growing in the lawn, so I am worried if the leaves/fruits are going to be an issue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan
As far as I know Rambutans are endemic to my region(Malaysia), and so resources on them seem to be very limited. Any opinions on it?

(No rush on this though, the re-homing plans are still up in the air and probably won't happen for at least another 2 years, but I figured I'd get this checked out sooner rather than later)

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Nina
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Re: Rambutan

Post by Nina » 22 Jan 2022, 08:38

Hi Jeloz,

This is one we haven't researched before, so I'll do that now and get back to you as soon as possible. How wonderful to have an Aldabra!

Nina

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 22 Jan 2022, 09:18

Hi Nina,

Much appreciated :D. Please don't rush though - it's not an issue I'll have to deal with that soon.

He (Or she) is still rather small and content living in my backyard for now. Just planning for the future is all.
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photo_2022-01-22_17-16-57.jpg

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lin
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Re: Rambutan

Post by lin » 22 Jan 2022, 23:16

He is awesome Jeloz, lucky you.
Lin

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 23 Jan 2022, 11:43

Thanks Lin! He certainly is :D

He came to me through rather unfortunate circumstances though - his previous owner passed away unexpectedly while he was left in a pet boarding service. I'm friends with the owner of the pet boarding, and she ended up giving him to me since the previous owner's next of kin didn't want him.

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Nina
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Re: Rambutan

Post by Nina » 23 Jan 2022, 16:45

What a beautiful Aldabra -- and it was so good of you to rescue him!

I've had a look re the Rambutan, and I'm finding it a bit difficult to decide how good or bad it would be for him to have the leaves and fruit of the Rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) tree so readily available.

The diet of Aldabra tortoises is closer to that of the Sulcata and Leopard tortoises (large amounts of grass) than it is to Mediterranean tortoises or Redfoots, but they do eat other leaves and occasionally fruit -- but not often. Your Redfoot would probably be very happy to eat the fruit that has fallen from the tree, and the Aldabra could also probably occasionally have a fruit, but his digestive system is less suited to it than a Redfoot is and too much would upset his digestive system.

Regarding toxicity, it's really difficult, because most of the studies are done regarding the fruit in relation to mammals. It's known that the seeds of Rambutan fruit are toxic when raw, as they contain saponins, that can affect motor skills and red blood cells. Here is what we say about Saponins on our website:
"Saponins are a group of steroid glycosides which are capable of causing anti-nutritional effects. They are found in many plants including Alfalfa, Vetch, Spinach and trees such as Maples and Horse Chestnuts, as well as most legumes and soy products. Cold-blooded animals such as fish, insects and reptiles are particularly sensitive to saponin glycosides, and high levels can speed up haemoglobin degeneration, irritate mucous membranes and act as an appetite suppressant. Saponins often have a bitter taste. Although all saponins are not bad it would be best to feed with caution as only a small part of a tortoise's diet."

So most studies on the effects of Saponins concern mammals, but we know that reptiles are more sensitive to saponins than mammals. If a tortoise ate the seeds of the fruit, they would most probably just pass through their system and out the other end and do no harm, but I couldn't guarantee that. The fruit itself, probably contains too much sugar for the Aldabra's digestive system to cope with, but the odd bit won't hurt him.

Regarding leaves, there was very little that I could find, although I did find this article:
http://devel.uad.ac.id/farmasi/wp-conte ... ice-...pdf
As you can see, the mice fed the extract of Rambutan leaves did show toxic effects, but they didn't die. Also, they were being fed extracts that were probably much higher in concentration than anything a tortoise would eat (although I couldn't guarantee that). And of course they were mice, and not tortoises.

So I can't reach a definitive conclusion on this. Is there any way that your Grandmother could fence off an area that is not so close to the tree, and regularly clear fallen leaves and fruit from that area? The odd nibble probably wouldn't harm the Aldabra, but if the ground is covered in leaves and fruit and he eats lots, then I couldn't guarantee that he would be OK.

Nina

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 24 Jan 2022, 04:47

Hi Nina,

Wow! This is really good stuff!
The good news is I know it only fruits once a year, and we normally cut them straight from the branches before they fall so we can eat them ourselves haha.

Unfortunately it's probably not possible to keep him 100% away from the fallen leaves because the tree is absolutely gigantic and covers a large portion of the yard, but I suppose it should be fine to rake away the leaves daily before he can eat them. He might not even find them appetizing as they normally only fall when they're dead and dried.
Actually, would dead leaves be OK? I'm not sure if it would denature the toxicity in any way.

Anyway, thanks for all the research effort! I really appreciate it. My Aldabra (his name is Muddy) appreciates the compliments too :D
Here he is in a knitted hat
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photo_2021-09-01_14-38-46.jpg

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Nina
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Re: Rambutan

Post by Nina » 02 Feb 2022, 20:19

Hi Jeloz,

So many apologies for this late response! I've just discovered that our notification system hasn't been working for a week or so, and lots of posts have gone unanswered.

Regarding the dead leaves -- sometimes toxicity is diminished when leaves are old and dry, and sometimes it intensifies and becomes more toxic. I wouldn't worry too much though -- have a look and see if he shows any interest in the leaves first.

I absolutely love that photo of Muddy (and what a great name too)! We don't often get to see Aldabras, and he is absolutely gorgeous, and a real credit to you and your care, so thanks very much!

Nina

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 03 Feb 2022, 17:05

Hi Nina,

No worries at all! I'm very grateful for the replies regardless of timing.

Actually the reason I mentioned the dried leaves is cause in his current enclosure in my backyard there's a giant Taro plant growing (Elephant's ear?). I think this one is confirmed to be not good for them, but I figured it would be too big for him to get at but.. one of the leaves browned and fell, and I caught him eating it whole! So I guess he has an appetite for dried leaves too. Will have to wait and see about the rambutan leaves though...

I'll probably have to look into moving the Taro somewhere else. Believe it or not, this thing just appeared there one day. Nobody planted it; it sprouted like a weed :shock: .

As always, thanks for all the help so far (and the compliments about Muddy :D )
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taro.jpg

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Nina
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Re: Rambutan

Post by Nina » 04 Feb 2022, 09:35

Moving the Taro is probably a good idea, but if he does nibble some it won't be the end of the world. Those calcium oxalate raphide crystals in it can definitely cause irritation and problems, but usually aren't lethal.

Actually, if you're sure that the plant is Taro (it looks like it to me, but I've never seen one growing in the wild and so can't be sure), then we'd love to add your photo to our entry for it on our website. As you can see, https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... fzxUPinzwo all our photos in the entry are of one species that is sold in the UK as a houseplant, and it would be good to show the variety of species of this plant. If you could send that photo in as high a resolution as possible to me at nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk I'll pass it to Helen, who will upload it, and we will put a copyright notice with your name on it, to indicate that the copyright belongs to you (and just let me know how you want your name printed).

And give Muddy a little tickle under the chin from me -- I think he's gorgeous!

Nina

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 07 Feb 2022, 04:28

Hi Nina,

Wow! Would love to contribute to the site!
Honestly though, I'm not 100% sure that it's a Taro, as mentioned it did just kind of... appear there one day. But judging by the flowers and the absolutely massive size I'm guessing it's either...
Colocasia gigantea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colocasia_gigantea
or
Alocasia macrorrhizos: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alocasia_macrorrhizos
No other plants seem to fit the bill.

I'll definitely send over the pics anyway though!

(Muddy appreciates the chin tickles)
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muddy_scratch.jpg
leaf_size.jpg
flower_blooming.jpg

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Rambutan

Post by Nina » 07 Feb 2022, 09:41

Thanks so much!
We've received your email with links to the photos and I've sent you an email in response. As to whether these are Taro -- we'll get working on that too. Because it isn't a plant that grows outdoors in the UK, we're not as familiar with it and will just need to do some research and check, but your photos will help a lot. Is that giant leaf with your hand on it from the same plant that was in your original photo (it looks so much bigger)?

We're all in love with Muddy!
Nina

Jeloz
Posts: 15
Joined: 13 Jan 2021, 16:08

Re: Rambutan

Post by Jeloz » 07 Feb 2022, 11:43

Hi Nina,

Great!
Yes, it's the same plant. All the photos are of the same plant. I think the camera angle in the first shot makes it look slightly smaller than it actually is.
It's huuuge. Could probably use one of the leaves as an umbrella in a pinch :lol:

I've resent the photos in a zip file this time. Gmail didn't allow me to send them directly cause they were too large (or something) before

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