Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

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Polly
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Joined: 21 Jun 2020, 13:34

Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Polly » 21 Jun 2020, 13:52

I recently (2 weeks ago) got a 9 month old leopard tortoise and am getting a little concerned regarding the amount he is eating. We are feeding him as per the guidelines including supplements but he doesn’t seem to be ravenous and only eats very small amounts. Should I be concerned ?

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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 21 Jun 2020, 14:08

Hi Polly and welcome to The Tortoise Table! And congratulations on welcoming your Leopard tortoise into your family.

Energy levels and appetite are in great part determined by the temperature and brightness of light. Can you tell us how you are keeping him (a photo would be great)? What are you using for light and heat, and what is the temperature directly below your heat source, at the height of your tortoises' shell (temperature measured by a thermometer on a nearby wall will not be accurate)-- and what is the temperature at the cooler end of his enclosure. Is he in a tortoise table or a vivarium?

Sorry for so maay questions but we need to eliminate various things to sort out what might be the problem. He could be just settling in, but it's best to check everythinn anyway.

In case you don't have a good care sheet for Leopards, here a link to one. As I'm sure you've been told, their diet should be at least 70% grasses and the rest can be made up of all the other good leaves, flowers, etc.
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 202016.pdf

Nina

Polly
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Polly » 24 Jun 2020, 10:19

Hi there

Thank you for your prompt reply, I have attached a photo of the tortoise table we have.

The current temperature at shell height under the 80w UVB lamp supplied with the table is very high !!

At the feeding end of the table the temperature is at normal room temperature.

We have the lamp on for 12 hrs per day as recommended, would you recommend a smaller lamp or raising it higher from the table ?, could the amount of heat be causing him to eat very little ??

Any help would be appreciated
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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 24 Jun 2020, 12:53

Hi Polly,

That's a very nice table you've got there, so no problem with that. Yes, if it's too hot then that could cause him to be lethargic. You say the temperature under the lamp at the height of his shell is high, but could you tell me what that temperaturet is (that can make a huge difference)?

On a day like today (if you're in the UK) and it is hot, you might well have to turn the lamp off or put a smaller wattage in. Those fixed arms for hanging lamps can be really awkward because you need to be able to raise or lower a lamp, depending on the temperature in the room at the time, to get the right temperature. I hang my lamp from a chain and use na 'S' hook on one end to be able to adjust the height. I have a shade (which you should also have if that is a UVB lamp, because looking directly into the lamp can damage your eyes), and the chain goes around the 'handle' on the shade. Have attached some photos at the bottom.

What are you tempting him to eat? It's true that Leopard's should have at least 70% grass in their diet, but they can also eat a bit of fruit, and you could try a strawberry or a slice of cucumber and see if he likes those. If he does, then for a while cut some grass or other leaves/flowers up in teeny tiny pieces and wet the strawberry or cucumber and sprinkle a few of the tiny pieces on it so that stick, and offer thim that. Just a tiny bit of the other food at first and then increase it so that he gets used to it.

Did you find the care sheet helpful? Do let me know what the temperature is under the light.

Best
Nina
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Polly
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Joined: 21 Jun 2020, 13:34

Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Polly » 25 Jun 2020, 18:04

Hi Nina

Thank you for all of the information which is being very helpful

You asked about the lamp temp at shell height being high in fact when measured yesterday it was 48degrees, we have since turned off the lamp as the temperature during the day in his house is averaging 31degrees

We have been feeding Timothy grass and local wild flowers as recommended but have found today that a little iceberg lettuce with a little nutrobal powder is to his liking and is currently devouring it having eaten a “little” of the grasses and leaves

I know we can’t feed this to him everyday but will a little every now and then hurt him as he seems to like it

Thanks

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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 25 Jun 2020, 18:53

Hi Polly,

Thank goodness you turned that light off! I don't want to alarm you, but tortoises can die if they are in temperatures above about 36C or 38C for any length of time, so you did the right thing. That's the reason why an easily adjustable lamp height is such a help. Just looking forward, I can see that you have covers at both ends of the table. Would it be possible to take one of those covers off (the one on the right looks bigger, so that would be better), and move the arm that holds the light to that end?

Tortoises should actually have their light at one end of the table, rather than in the middle anyway, as that gives a good heat gradient from warm to cool the length of the table. Also removing that lid would allow better air circulation in the table, which you also want.

It sounds like you're providing the basis of a good diet, and no, a little of the Iceberg won't hurt him, but be careful because they can sort of become addicted to food like that, to the exclusion of better stuff. Iceberg has very little nutritional value, but it does have a high water content, so it will help to keep him hydrated in this hot weather. Tortoises love 'easy' food like Iceberg lettuce, so it can be a good way of getting the Nutrobal into him if he doesn't normally like it (which many tortoises don't), but tortoises do develop strong likes and dislikes and you might find that he soon won't want to eat anything but Iceberg, and that would be bad. Have you tried the method I described in a previous post of cutting the good stuff up small and sprinkling it onto wet iceberg leaves so that they stick, etc.?

Just on other thought. Do you have access to an outdoor area, especially a grassed area where he could get the natural UVB from the sun and graze on the grass himself?

Also with the temperatures we've been having he can easily get dehydrated, so do make sure you're bathing him regularly.

Keep us posted on how he is doing. I think the fact that he's at least eating the Iceberg is good -- but now you just need to gradually get him used to better food.

Nina

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lin
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by lin » 25 Jun 2020, 19:30

Hi Polly.

Along with the good advice that Nina has offered can I just say that once the temps are good, things should start to settle. With 31°C that is still a little high and wonder if a fan blowing around the area (not over the tortoise) would help lower the ambient temps. With you turning the heat off you are also turning off the UVB or am I wrong there? If it means you are then it would be better to swap your lightin to seperate lamps. One being a striplight that gives off UVB and one heat bulb, thats a spotlight that can be purchased in a reptile lamp and I think you can even get them in Homebase. Its called a PAR 38 and puts out a lot of heat...but the main issue is that one can be turned off (the heat) leaving the all important UVB working without upping the heat.
As you know that during the early stages of a young Leopards life it has a lot of bone development and shell growth to make up and they get this from UVB and calcium.

Given store bought salad things and greens really isnt good for a tortoise that eats up to 80% grass and hay and 20% made up of the odd leaf of nourishing weed and a pretty flowerhead if he is wanting a 'treat'

Hope that is helpful Polly.

Lin

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lin
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by lin » 25 Jun 2020, 22:31

Hi again Polly.

I just thought of an idea to get your leopard to eat. It was a trick I used many years ago. This tortoise came to me in a bad way and not eating - Basically she had given up so to get her to eat, like you are doing I used to place a piece of plantain leaf in a naughty food, usually Romaine lettuce. Fold the lettuce over the plantain, sow thistle or dandelion leaf (wrap style) and offer it to her. Mine started to eat a full wild diet in about a month but she was a big one, not like your little one :lol:

Can I suggest that unles there is children or animals causing a security problem, one of the doors to the ends of your table be removed, or better still both. Tortoises need room to walk around and explore and when they sleep their sleeping area is very small. During the midst of winter it may be helpful to have an enclosed area but for the warmer months space is better. Leopards and the other biggies also need extreemly bright light to get them going in the mornings.

Regarding the lights and reflector I have a couple of links you might find udeful and you can see what I mean when I sayseperate is more economicle.
Here is the link for the striplight - https://tinyurl.com/y7drfnml. It needs to be as long as your table can take and it also needs a reflector to protect human eyes. This can be got from here. https://tinyurl.com/y7drfnml.
Again I do hope this is helpful Polly.

Lin

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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 26 Jun 2020, 09:50

Hi Polly,
Something just occurred to me. You mentioned that you are offering him Timothy grass. Is this Timothy grass or Timothy hay? In other words is it fresh or dried. It's often difficult to get youngsters to eat dried grass (although adults will happily eat it). Why not grow fresh grass yourself? You could grow it in a succession of small trays (think the size of plastic tray that you'd buy a couple of porkshops in, with holes in the bottom for drainage), and when one tray is ready you could put that in his enclosure, and when he is finished with that tray another one will be ready. You can buy a variety of grass as either single species or a mixture (and I see they have Timothy grass too). I'd go for one or two of the cheaper ones to see if it works, and also you don't need a huge amount of seed for a small tortoise. Here's a link to the Shelled Warriors Shop page with their grass seeds:
https://www.shelledwarriorsshop.co.uk/g ... s-51-c.asp

Nina

Polly
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Joined: 21 Jun 2020, 13:34

Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Polly » 27 Jun 2020, 09:35

Hi Nina

I am trying to grow my own Timothy grass and over a week ago placed an order for seeds with shelled warriors unfortunately I have had no response from them as to “if” and “when” they are going to despatch them

Cannot get a response from them !!

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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 27 Jun 2020, 21:56

That's really irritating! I did see a notice to somewhere to say that there might be some delay in sending out orders, because of the lockdown, and I used to have the owner's email address -- I'll see if I can contact her. Can you send me an email with your full name and order number (and what you ordered) so I can quote it -- send to me at nina@thetortoisetable.org.uk I can't guarantee that I have her current contact details but I'll do my best to chase this up for you.

Have you tried Lin's sandwich idea with the good stuff rolled inside a lettuce leaf yet? Or sprinkling tiny confetti of good food onto a wet lettuce leaf?

I do agree, by the way, that it wouldn't hurt to take at least one of those lids off the ends of the table if possible -- that would help to make a larger area brighter.

Nina

Polly
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Joined: 21 Jun 2020, 13:34

Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Polly » 28 Jun 2020, 10:18

Hi Nina
thank you for all of your advice


I got my husband to send you the e-mail with the order details for shelled warriors

I have been trying small treats like lettuce and cucumber covered in timothy grass and he seems to be eating the grass to get to the treat so is getting used to some good stuff

I am also going to get a separate uvb lamp (not heat) and attach this to his house. Also moving the heat lamp with a smaller wattage bulb to one end of his house. During this hot weather I will open up as much of his house as I can so he has more space and can get away from the heat if he wants to but still have uvb light

Do you think this will help ..???

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Nina
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Re: Worried about amount of food leopard is eating

Post by Nina » 28 Jun 2020, 12:17

Polly, I think that is the perfect solution! And what great news that he is eating some of the grass that is stuck to the lettuce. Very gradually increase the grass content and reduce the lettuce content and voila! And if you use Lin's sandwich idea you can fit even more grass inside the rolled up lettuce leaf and he won't even be able to see it. I can't remember, but did I send you a link to our article on introducing a new diet? It sort of says the same thing but here it is: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... vh73-d7m9s

Thanks for your email. I will see if I've still got Sarah's email (she owns Shelled Warriors) and try and chase it up for you.

Nina

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