What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Use this forum to ask about plants which are not currently in our database or any other plant questions you have.
Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 04 Mar 2021, 21:57

Hi I'm a new tortoise owner and I'm eager to get some fresh plants and weeds for my tortoise so he can have the best varied diet possible. Iv been doing as much research into what he can and cannot eat as I can but I'm struggling to find any information on what weeds and plants grow at what time of year without researching each plant itself. Without sounding too lazy I thought it may just be easier to ask people with more experience what would be available this month and the coming months so that I dont waste my time wandering around my local fields and Woodlands. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thankyou in advance :D

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 05 Mar 2021, 09:04

Hi Jackcaj, and welcome to The Tortoise Table!

It is great that you are looking for fresh, natural food for your tortoise, and we'll do our best to help you. What grows wild in any particular month depends on where you live. Are you in the UK, and if so are you in England or further north? Outdoors in most places in the UK now (except maybe parts of Scotland) will be
plantain ( https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHvXtynyM8 and https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHvrtynyM8 )
sowthistle https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHwBNynyM8
herb robert (which some tortoises don't like, but mine do!), https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHwStynyM8
some dandelions, https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHwa9ynyM8
some Hawkbit https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHwldynyM8
some Hawksbeard, https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHwytynyM8
and many other plants.

There are also garden plants that survive the winter and are good to feed -- for example the low growing campanula https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHxDtynyM8, and winter flowering pansies https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHxVdynyM8 and violas https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHxedynyM8 and others.

If you know the name of a plant you can type it into the search box on our website, or you can use the website filter in the database to compile lists of plants that are edible. If you go to this page https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/pla ... EHx59ynyM8 and scroll down to the section called 'How to Use the Traffic Light Filters', there are instructions on how to do that, but if you have problems or any more questions, let us know.

What species is your tortoise? If we know the species and you don't already have a care sheet, we can give you a link to one.

The weather is still very cold outdoors, but the sunshine and warmer weather is coming, and there will soon be loads of plants that you can feed. In the meantime, if you want a bit more variety you can feed a bit of Kale from the supermarket (washed well first). Although we don't normally recommend members of the brassica (cabbage) family, Kale is the best of them and can be used to provide a bit of variety in the winter. Lettuce is not a great food as it goes through the system too quickly and doesn't carry a lot of nourishment, but there is one salad mixture in supermarkets called Florette Crispy that has varieties of lettuce and similar salad leaves that are better than most. Obviously if you can feed naturally from plants growing outdoors this is best, but sometimes in the winter we do resort to a bit of store-bought food.

Hope that helps and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions or problems.

Nina

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 05 Mar 2021, 12:28

Thankyou so much that's extremely helpful. It's a Matginated tortoise from what I can gather its 5 years old and around 6.5 inches. Its previous owner didnt really know what they where doing and just fed it lettuce and cucumber and kept it in a small vivarium. I have it in a 4 foot by 2 tortoise table where I can control temperature and humidity which I monitor all the time. At the moment I have been feeding it kale and a lettuce mix that's made up of radicchio, delicate lambs lettuce and crisp frisbee. The packet says florette classic crispy and iv been sprinkling all meals with nutrobol. Iv also ordered some testudo herbs and some dried weeds and flower from shelledwarriors just incase I couldn't find any fresh food for now. I live in the UK I'm based in Nottinghamshire in quite a rural area so lots of farm and wood lands and fields. I know too look out for places that have been sprayed with pesticides so hopefully armed with the knowledge you provided I can go out and forage up some decent grub!

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 05 Mar 2021, 13:28

Aww, Marginateds are lovely tortoises -- especially the males with those beautiful flared scutes in back (have attached a photo to show what I mean).

It sounds to me like you have got everything sorted! How super to live in a rural area where there will be meals just waiting to be gathered.
The Testudo products are the only commercial food we would recommend (and it is the only one that the Tortoise Trust recommends too), so you've done well! I found my tortoises didn't like it at first, but I gradually added it to their ordinary diet. When adding something new it always helps to cut the new food up into tiny pieces and sprinkle a small amount of it on the wet leaves that you know they like, so that the new food sticks to the other, and then gradually increase the amount. Mine don't get it that often, but I do add it now and then to increase the variety of plants. Andy Highfield, of The Tortoise Trust, says that tortoises fed on the Testudo cobs or loose mix produce poos that are the closest he has see to the poos of tortoises in the wild, lol, so that is high recommendation indeed!

I hope you realise that you are about to become one of those mad people who wander through fields and along verges with a carrier bag, picking weeds, and everyone will stare at you :D Welcome to the club.

You probably already have one, but here's a care sheet for Marginated tortoises just for info.
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

Will you have an outdoor enclosure for him/her when the weather is warm enough?

Nina
[attachment=0]TF Bristol 2006 00031 (Small).JPG[/attachment]
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Jackcaj
Posts: 17
Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 05 Mar 2021, 16:18

I think I have a female but I'm no expert at sexing tortoises haha I have a patio for a garden so my plan is to build a raised bed the length of the patio and either make my own enclosure or buy a rabbit run to go on top. We have a lot of neighbourhood cats so I want to make sure she is protected! I also bought a variety of seeds from shelled warriors so that I can grow my own food this season so hopefully I wont have to look too crazy for too long. Although my neighbours may wonder why iv taken to growing weeds in pots and planters.

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 05 Mar 2021, 17:56

We might be able to sex her at 5 years (not sure though as it's usually at about 5 or 6 that you can sex them). If you can post a photo of her underside, clearly showing the tail, we'll have a go.

Great that you've bought seeds to grow. I always think a good thing is to grow seeds in succession -- say every couple of weeks -- in small plastic trays that are about A5 in size (about the size that would hold two chicken breasts). Then when the plants are big enough you can put the tray into her table and let her eat away, and by the time that's finished another tray will be ready. Lol, or she might just eat the whole tray down to nothing in one afternoon!

Nina

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 05 Mar 2021, 19:48

I'll get one tomorrow and post it but from what I can see the tail is quite short and stubby with an asterix sort of opening rather than a slit. From what research I have done myself that tells me I have a female but like I said I'm no expert so your opinion would be greatly appreciated. I'm going to go on a weed walk tomorrow with the kids and the pooch so hopefully we come back with a good few meals for the tortoise which my son has named Flash as he just naturally assumed it was a boy!

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 05 Mar 2021, 20:06

Yes, that is definitely the sign of a female, so you're probably right. I don't know about Marginateds, but Horsfields tend to look female until they are about 5 or 6 and then their tail grows and the asterisk shape of the cloaca becomes noticeable. It will be interesting to see the photos.
Flashina? Flashette?
Have fun foraging tomorrow!

Nina

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Jackcaj
Posts: 17
Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 14:42

Hi sorry for taking so long to get back on here it's been a busy week or so. Here's a few pictures of flashes underside and also a couple snaps of him/her eating! Hopefully this helps find out the gender and if theres any health issues I should be aware of. Flash seems very active and eats everyday and has regular bowel movements but iv noticed sometimes when he poops that dragging what I originally assumed was a penis through the dirt for a few seconds. Iv cleaned it with a spray bottle and water everytime and it's always gone back in on it's own within seconds. It also happens occasionally when flash has a bath. I did a bit of research and wasnt sure if it's the tortoise flashing because hes reaching sexual maturity or it's a prolapse of some sort. It only ever happens for a few seconds and when I have caught it iv sprayed it with water to clean it and its instantly gone back in. Any information on this would be appreciated as I know he/she didnt have the best diet and environment before i inherited him/her and I'd hate to think there was something wrong.

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 14:43

Oh its telling me my image is too large to upload

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 14:47

Used an image compressor so hopefully the quality is still ok!

Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 14:59

That took so long to get the right size image haha
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Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 15:00

Excuse the dirty belly on the third image that was before bath time :D

Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 15:51

Oh and I noticed was seemed to be a pinkish tinge to the under side of the shell. From what iv read this is either growth or sepsis. I think my best bet is too book a vet appointment but any info you could give me to either out my mind at ease or tell me if something is wrong would be awesome
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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 18 Mar 2021, 16:30

Hi and thanks so much for posting all of those photos -- excellent!

I've been mulling over them and have a slight concern. It is possible that your tortoise is a male and is just flashing, but it's also possible that he/she has a prolapse (it's hard to tell without a photo of it happening). I'm just a little concerned about the shape of your tortoise's tail. I've spent the last hour looking at photos of the tails of marginated tortoises and the tail really should end in a point, whereas yours seems to be rounded at the end with the cloaca almost at the end of the tail. It almost seems as if the tip of the tail is missing. It might be the angle of the photos, or perhaps just the way your tortoise was born -- or an old injury.

Regarding the pink flush -- yes, again it is difficult to tell whether it is sepsis or just a natural colouring, but I do see the pink flush there and coupled with the slight irregularity of the tail, and given that your tortoise didn't have a good life before she came to you, I think a trip to the vet is in order. We have a list of recommended vets, organised by county here: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... FN-aNynwZY and there is one in Nottinghamshire. I've just phoned Forest Vet Clinic in Mansfield (the one on our list), and they do still have someone there who treats 'exotics', so if Mansfield isn't too far to travel I think you should contact them. If that vet isn't convenient for you to get to, then do check other counties, because depending on where you live sometimes a vet in another county is closer than someone in your own county.

There is every possibility that your tortoise is absolutely fine, but I think a check by a vet is in order, and it will give you peace of mind. Please let us know how you get on.

Nina

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 18:11

That vets is 5 minutes from my home so that's perfect I'll call them tomorrow and arrange an appointment. Thankyou for your advice its much appreciated and I'll let you know how we get on at the vets!

Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 18 Mar 2021, 18:16

In regards to the tale I think she was just being awkward but I'll look into the prolapse and pink flush asap.
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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 18 Mar 2021, 18:17

Whew! Now I can see the tip of the tail, so that's a relief. If you see the prolapse/flash again and can get a photo to show the vet, that would be great. Also, it's always a good idea to take a relatively fresh sample of poo with you when you go (you can keep it in a sealed container overnight in the fridge if necessary), so that the vet can test for worms.

Good luck and we'll be keeping fingers crossed that all goes well! She/he is a really lovely looking tortoise, and you are going to be a great tortoise keeper, as you obviously care so much and want the best for her (or him).

Nina

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 19 Mar 2021, 12:59

Hi -- hope all is going well and that you are able to get an appointment with the vet.

My colleagueLin and I have been looking at your latest photo again, and we're a bit confused, because we can't quite relate it to the earlier photos and I think I might have been misinterpreting the photo in my last post.

Could you confirm that your tortoise always has that pointed tip to the tail that is showing in the last photo (from your phone)? The other photos showed a rounded tip, not a pointed one, and we are wondering if this pointed bit at the end is something that just protruded from the end of the rounded tip of the tail. The reason I ask is that when I blow the photo up it almost looks as if I can see a little line where the tail ends and the pointed tip starts, as if it is something that is coming out of the hole (cloaca) at the end of the tail. I've attached a photo where I've drawn a circle around that area, where it looks like it might be the end of the tail we saw in previous photos and now the pinkish pointy thing is coming out of it.

What would help a lot is if you could send a photo of the tail, showing the pointed tip, but taken from a little further back, so that we can see part of the underside of the shell (the plastron) as well (your earlier photos clearly showed the plastron but not a pointed tip of the tail). Is that possible?

Whatever the situation is, we think a trip to the vet is in order, because the tail does seem to be somewhat deformed, and although it is probably fine for her to live with, we think it should be checked out.

Nina
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Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 22 Mar 2021, 15:55

Hi sorry Iv only just seen your post I will get a photo posted today

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Nina
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Nina » 22 Mar 2021, 16:23

That's OK, no problem at all, and we look forward to seeing photos. When you're writing a message on this thread, there are some tick boxes directly below the box you are writing in, and if you tick the one that says '[Notify me when a reply is posted', then you'll get a message when someone adds a post to your thread.

Cheers,
Nina

Jackcaj
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Joined: 04 Mar 2021, 21:50

Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 22 Mar 2021, 16:31

Flash is an awkward sod and wont straighten his/her tail so iv just took multiple angles for you. If you could see what I can see it basically looks like two little horns at the end of the tail one either side. They arent coming out of the cloaca though they're further down and come directly out the tail itself.
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Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 22 Mar 2021, 16:32

More
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Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 22 Mar 2021, 16:33

Another. Hopefully this helps I honestly just thought it was a natural part of the tail.
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Jackcaj
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Re: What wild plants/weeds can I find at the minute

Post by Jackcaj » 22 Mar 2021, 17:08

Done a little research and they look just like the spurs on a sour thighed tortoise but they're on the tail

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