100 yr old Desert Tortoise yard question

Angel100

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Jun 11, 2021
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Long Beach
Hi

I hope you guys don't mind my new member questions. So very many threads and great information.

My Dad has a 100+ Desert Tortoise in a big back yard for over 40 years on Long Beach. I have helped him raise and care for two young ones for 15 years or so. So my Dad has taken great care for them. We only have Grandpa tortoise now. We have grass, fruit trees and various plants and bushes in the backyard. I have 3 dogs who love him too.

Can we apply organic compost or fertilizer to the fruit trees? Just mix it around the root area without harming our Grandpa? Also, I know about poisonous plants and flowers. I would like to plant some lavendar, sage and a couple flower plants in several high planters Grandpa will not have access to but flowers may drop. How can I safely do these things around him. I don't remember last time we put soil or fertilizer in the yard and I want to keep Grandpa very safe.

We feed Grandpa organic lettuce only. He wanders around the grass to eat the grass and gather water. Dad says that is how he gets his water. I have a flat tray filled with water every day he ignores. He has learned how to sleep and hibernate in ways to keep predators from harming him. I want to feed him other things now but don't know what is safe since he ever has lettuce. Would it hurt him or his stomach to add a few things? I enjoy him very much. He walks with me in the yard, let's me pet his head and legs and pat him gently when telling him I love him. He turns his eyes up to me. I know he is very present. I would love to let him be free but since that is not possible, he has a big back yard and things to do. I would enjoy hearing about how some of you play or interact with your tortoises too.

I'm thrilled to have found this forum. I am sorry for these pretty basic questions but thousands of topics I just could not find some for my questions. Thanks for your patience.

Angel
Long Beach
 

wellington

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The old outdated thinking is that they don't need water. They do so keep filling the tray. Just make sure its low sided and would be nice if it is big enough for him to self soak if he wanted too.
You can add other foods but a natural grazing diet is best. But for added items, optunia cactus pads, riddichio, dandelion, mustard and collard greens, all not bad to add once or twice a week. Plain lettuce has no real value as it's mostly water. So yes it helps for hydration but is not enough.
This is info for most any tort. @Yvonne G or @Tom can help further for species specific
 

Angel100

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Jun 11, 2021
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Long Beach
Thanks very much. Yes it is very low and huge. I set him in sometimes but he just moves out.
The old outdated thinking is that they don't need water. They do so keep filling the tray. Just make sure its low sided and would be nice if it is big enough for him to self soak if he wanted too.
You can add other foods but a natural grazing diet is best. But for added items, optunia cactus pads, riddichio, dandelion, mustard and collard greens, all not bad to add once or twice a week. Plain lettuce has no real value as it's mostly water. So yes it helps for hydration but is not enough.
This is info for most any tort. @Yvonne G or @Tom can help further for species specific
 

TeamZissou

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Albuquerque, NM
It's neat to hear about your old DT. How do you know he's 100? Who had him for the first 60 years?

Straight up fertilizer should be fine. Just avoid putting any herbicides such as "weed and feed" stuff on the grass. What type of fruit trees are they? I don't believe DTs benefit from any fruit, aside from prickly pear fruit.

I think he would benefit from a more varied diet, as was mentioned.
 

Angel100

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Long Beach
It's neat to hear about your old DT. How do you know he's 100? Who had him for the first 60 years?

Straight up fertilizer should be fine. Just avoid putting any herbicides such as "weed and feed" stuff on the grass. What type of fruit trees are they? I don't believe DTs benefit from any fruit, aside from prickly pear fruit.

I think he would benefit from a more varied diet, as was mentioned.
My Dad inherited Grandpa from his wife's father. I will read comments on his diet. We have Mexican lime tree about 35 yrs old, peach tree, fig tree and 50+ year old avocado tree. Thank you!
 

Krista S

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Welcome to the forum! I just loved reading about Grandpa. It’s special to know he really is part of your family and has been for such a long time. Would you mind sharing some pictures of him? We mostly get to see pictures on baby tortoises, so I would LOVE to see Grandpa.
 

Angel100

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Long Beach
Welcome to the forum! I just loved reading about Grandpa. It’s special to know he really is part of your family and has been for such a long time. Would you mind sharing some pictures of him? We mostly get to see pictures on baby tortoises, so I would LOVE to see Grandpa.
Hi Krista. Thank you for your comments. He is sleeping right now, when he gets up later will try and do a picture. I watch over him and track him so I know he is ok during the day and at night. My German shepherd and mini staffie and small pin scher just love him. I tell my shep to find him too. She loves looking for him and greeting him.
 

Angel100

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Long Beach
Welcome to the forum! I just loved reading about Grandpa. It’s special to know he really is part of your family and has been for such a long time. Would you mind sharing some pictures of him? We mostly get to see pictures on baby tortoises, so I would LOVE to see Grandpa.
Sorry it took so long. Here's Grandpa ❤❤
 

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TammyJ

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This is wonderful! Love that he is so long lived and loved!

Just one thing. How big are the dogs? I would not let them alone with him for long. Awful, totally unexpected disasters have happened to other people who did that thinking, no way! So think about it for this precious old guy's sake.
 

Angel100

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Long Beach
This is wonderful! Love that he is so long lived and loved!

Just one thing. How big are the dogs? I would not let them alone with him for long. Awful, totally unexpected disasters have happened to other people who did that thinking, no way! So think about it for this precious old guy's sake.
Hi Tammy
Don't worry, I never allow my dogs in the yard without supervision. They love Grandpa and would never hurt him. My German shepherd and Grandpa have a bond and touch noses sometimes. I 😘 ve Grandpa and watch over him. At night when I take dogs out I find and check ✅ n him. My grocer gives me carrot tops and I give him kale, romaine lettuce and apples. Also peach. He is loved and watched over. Thank you for caring ♥️♥️
 
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