Food bowls

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Misty666tortoise
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Oct 2019, 15:41

Food bowls

Post by Misty666tortoise » 28 Oct 2019, 18:13

Hi I'm new to tortoises I've seem to have rescued 2 in the last 3 months, I'm not new to reptiles have had anacondas, pythons, iguanas, all unfortunately to be re homed due to my house being condemned and having to move to a tiny bungalow that you cat swing a cat., anyway what I'm trying to say tortoises are not a problem for me,
I have a horse field and a Hermann's in their own home's, at the moment they are in Viv's as they are both around 2or3 both where very under wieght one has a poorly shell a dog got hold of it when she was a baby , now in the time I've had them they have both doubled in weight and get checked out at the vets, but as they are becoming more them selves they are wasting more food than eating, they are on the tortoise complete pellets and love them to the point they are climbing my hand when I put the bowl in, so my question is after my long winded post is how on earth do you stop so much waste they also have all sorts of greens from the garden and my veg shop, I've tried different bowl's and they kick it out cover it in substrate or poo in it all before they get their fill. 😁 Sorry for the long thing. Cheers.👍👍👍 Oh just a quick add I do intend on moving them outside next spring I just want them to be on hand to keep a proper eye on them while I get them back to health.👍

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Nina
Posts: 841
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Food bowls

Post by Nina » 28 Oct 2019, 22:24

Hi MIsty and many thanks for contacting us. Congratulations on rescuing your two Horsfield tortoises -- they are a great species (but then I'm prejudiced because I have Horsfields). :D

Regarding wasting food, they don't actually need a lot of food. Let me explain. In the wild, Horsfields live in countries where there are long hot summers and long cold winters. They hibernate for a long time in the winter and they aestivate (like hibernation but in the heat) for a long time in the summers, and it is estimated that they are actually only awake for about three months of the year in the wild, and their total time of eating during that period is less than 20 hours. Because of that environment, they are sort of programmed to 'eat for England', and they are known for stuffing themselves and being very greedy. In captivity with us, of course, they are presented with lovely big plates of food every day and they are in danger of growing too quickly and developing deformed shells. What you want to aim for is slow growth and it is a good idea to weigh them regularly and aim for a weight gain of no more than an average of 1g - 3g per month (that is just an average and some months they will grow more and some less, but that is what you aim for). If they are gaining weight too quickly you will need to reduce the amount of food you give them.

So maybe they are wasting food because they don't really need so much. Also, most tortoise pellets (most but not all) are too high in protein and carbohydrates for tortoises, as they need a low protein/high fibre diet. So if you can stick to fresh food with a good calcium and vitamin D3 supplement (like Nutrobal) that is best. Regarding kicking the food out of their bowls, try putting as slate or a big flat piece of limestone in their enclosure and putting the bowl on that. Really they should only be eating as much as they can manage for about 20 minutes, once a day, so it's possible that they are just playing with the food that is left.

Regarding the vivs -- they are really bad environments for tortoises, as it is hard to get a temperature gradient in them, because they are essentially a closed space. Vivs are great for snakes and lizards, but tortoises need an open environment with a lot of air circulation, so an open topped box - a tortoise table -- is far better. The ideal temperature for a tortoise is about 30C (not much higher) directly under the heat source, at the height of the tortoise's shell (a thermometer mounted on a nearby wall won't give an accurate temperature), and about 20C at the cool end. This will enable the tortoise to walk from warm to cold areas to regulate his body temperature.

Sorry to have gone on at such length! I think it is great that you have given these little torts a good home, and if you can send some photos of their set-ups it miight be that we can suggest a little tweak that will help.

You might already have a good care sheet for Horsfields, but if not then here is a link to one:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Cheers,
Nina

Misty666tortoise
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Oct 2019, 15:41

Re: Food bowls

Post by Misty666tortoise » 30 Oct 2019, 08:48

Thank you so much for the help I'll sort the diet out and try to get the Viv's more suitable and send a picture of see them very helpful and I don't want to rescue them and get it wrong 🐢❤️🐢❤️🐢🐢

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Nina
Posts: 841
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Food bowls

Post by Nina » 30 Oct 2019, 09:37

Hi Misty,

I think you're going to provide a great home for these tortoises! If you can get rid of the vivs that would be best, but as a temporary measure, if the viv has sliding doors on the front, you can take those off and put a board up against the front (just high enough that the tortoises can't climb out, but allowing much more air to circulate. And you can use an old large dresser drawer as a tortoise table -- there are lots of possibilities.

Lin had a photo of a viv that was converted by adding on a bit an taking the doors off, and I'll ask her if she could post it.

Nina

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Nina
Posts: 841
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Food bowls

Post by Nina » 30 Oct 2019, 22:06

Hi Misty,

Here is that photo and instructions for turning a viv into a better habitat for a tortoise. I haven't tried it, but it might give you some ideas on what to do with yours:
[attachment=0]Viv conversion.jpeg[/attachment]
Nina
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Viv conversion.jpeg

Misty666tortoise
Posts: 7
Joined: 27 Oct 2019, 15:41

Re: Food bowls

Post by Misty666tortoise » 04 Nov 2019, 11:11

That's really helpful thank you, I don't have the Room to do that but I'm taking the glass out and I'm going to add levels in side for more running around, it is only temporary as once I've had work done to the house and the garden in the spring they will have a big shed run to themselves I'm just keeping them in until the then it's also easier to keep an eye on them while they are still recovering, they are out every day running around or having a bath. you've been really helpful thank you. Once I've managed to do the house's I'll send some pictures.🐢🐢🐢❤️❤️❤️

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Nina
Posts: 841
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Food bowls

Post by Nina » 04 Nov 2019, 11:32

That's great and it sounds like you've got it all sorted! Levels inside are a really good idea -- I always have a ramp leading up to a second level in my tortoise tables (have attached a photo of one of mine looking down from the second level), and those bendy long thingys are also good, as they love to climb up them and then slide down the other side (have attached a photo of that too).

Looking forward to seeing your pics -- we never get tired of looking at photos of handsome tortoises and their set-ups!

Nina

[attachment=0]IMG_9495 [Desktop Resolution].JPG[/attachment][attachment=1]IMG_9953 (Copy).JPG[/attachment]
Attachments
IMG_9495 [Desktop Resolution].JPG
IMG_9953 (Copy).JPG

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