Opuntia Prickly Pear

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Pete28
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Joined: 14 Oct 2018, 22:33

Opuntia Prickly Pear

Post by Pete28 » 14 Apr 2019, 22:40

Hello everyone. At my home in Florida I have several prickly pear cactus plants. I would like to introduce it as part of my marginated and my sulcatas diet. I know the pads should be a little smaller than the palm of my hand and that the spikes should be removed. My question is do I need to remove the glochnids? Or are they able to eat it without me doing that? Thank you for any help.

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Opuntia Prickly Pear

Post by Nina » 15 Apr 2019, 09:32

Hi Pete,

How lucky you are to live in Florida, where your tortoises can be out for most of the year (it's really cold in England at the moment!).
It is interesting about spikes and glochids. I have Horsfields (Russians), which of course are smaller than your tortoises), and I always take the spines and glochids off (usually a lighter or a match held close to the pad burns them off really well), but I think I am pampering my tortoises as in the wild there is no one there to remove the spikes or glochids, and I have seen a video of a tortoise eating a cactus in the wild, with no problem at all (I don't know how they do it, but they do). So I think it's up to you really. Personally I like to err on the side of caution, so I do remove both, just in case they could do some damage to the tortoise's mouth or tongue (I think that for humans the glochids are more of a problem than they are for tortoises!

Here's a link to a photo of a Desert Tortoise eating cactus. I can't see any long spines, but I can see plenty of glochids!
https://www.agefotostock.com/age/en/Sto ... -AAES99778

Lin has kept Sulcatas, so maybe she will come in on this thread with her views.

Nina

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Opuntia Prickly Pear

Post by lin » 15 Apr 2019, 15:34

Hi Pete.
Having had the biggies and see what they eat in the wild I have a different opinion to Nina :lol:

In my opinion it will be entirley up to you Pete. If its a spineless opuntia I wouldnt bother removing the gloch's but if its spined then I might of the pad, perhaps run them through a flame while holding them with a long fork or tweezers. The fruits dont have hardly any spines on so they should be fine and you could also find that the new, smaller pads have only soft or no spined and they will be fine.

No definate help but really its what you feel comfortable doing.

Lin (who really is not :mrgreen: )

Pete28
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Joined: 14 Oct 2018, 22:33

Re: Opuntia Prickly Pear

Post by Pete28 » 19 Apr 2019, 23:27

Thank you both so very much for your responses! I absolutely love England and being able to visit my family that lives there on my father's side. I'll try the pads tomorrow. I gave them a buffet today. Some hawks beard, mexican clover, spiderwort, dandelion and other mixed greens lol. I do a huge amount of wild edible and medicinal plant foraging for me and the tortoises lol. I can't wait until my holly hocks come into bloom.

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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Opuntia Prickly Pear

Post by Nina » 20 Apr 2019, 11:19

Hi Pete,

I was born in Florida (Miami), and lived near Chicago for most of my life in the States -- but have lived in the UK for many, many years, and believe me our climate is not the greatest for tortoises -- but they do seem to manage and thrive with good care.

Where are your relatives from? Both Lin and I live in the South of England -- she is in Essex and I'm in Oxford. That's great that you forage in the wild for plants. We do the same, always being sure that we don't take everything from one spot so that there is still some left to grow on and provide more.

Love Hollyhocks -- and so do my tortoises. Their particular favorite though is Evening Primrose (don't know if that grows in the USA). It's not related to the other primroses at all, and I have plenty in my garden that re-seed themselves every year so there are always lots around for them. https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... Lrx2qR7m9s

Nina

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