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Alocasia/elephant ear-safe?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Diet and Food' started by teresaf, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. teresaf

    teresaf Well-Known Member

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    Once and for all I would like to know if these are safe to feed my leopard tortoises and my Burmese mountain tortoises. I've seen where our forum folks have said they are safe for them to eat but there's a plant ID site attached to this forum that says they're not to be fed?
    Plus I just put an ad in Craigslist for anyone's elephant ears so that I could grow them in amongst my Burmese mountain tortoises for shade as well as feeding and so far my only response has been "they are poisonous for tortoises! try banana leaves instead"...
  2. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    No, not the leopard. It is a regular part of the Manouria species diet, but should not be fed to desert-type tortoises like your leopard.
  4. McSnotoisethetortoise

    McSnotoisethetortoise New Member

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    So my education is in plants and I will say this - the elephant's ear is probably fine as long as he can't eat it. What I have seen people do is plant it and then put a bit of fencing around the base so they can't get to it and then trim any leaves that hang down where the torts could get at it. The problem is that it is high in oxalic acid compounds that can compromise absorption of and leach calcium. The reason I say they aren't a bad idea -despite all that is that they provide some really great canopy cover and a nice, humid micro climate (this is a plan that could live partially submerged in water so moist is perfect) for a tortoise enclosure.

    That said, as a horticulturist with a particular interest, if you are in an area that doesn't have freezing temperatures at any point during the year you might be better off just putting an urn or pot of this (with something underneath it so it can't root into the ground) because it can become pretty invasive.
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  5. Will

    Will Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Geeze, Alocasia/elephant ear is an actual plant consumed by Manouria in the wild. I'd keep it away from other species. You can buy the ones people eat (of this deadly toxic plant, LOL) in many Asian food grocery stores as stalks/leaves or tubers. If you sort through a pile of tubers you will likely see some that have shoots starting to grow (like "eyes" on potatoes). I have bought and propagated many of them.

    https://www.feedipedia.org/node/190
  6. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The elephant ear plants that I grow for tortoise food are colocasia and malagna (xanthosoma), Alocasia plants don't do as well here. They are not really toxic they are an irritant because of the raphid crystals they contain. For human consumption the leaves and stems are boiled which reduces the effect of the crystals. The malagna is a new world plant and the others are old world plants. According to a friend from the Caribbean the yucca roots sold in food stores that have the wax coating are also an elephant ear plant. I have tried to grow these several times without success.They have a very short shelf life that is why they are covered in wax in my area. Where you are, you may be able to grow just about any type you want. From what I understand colocasias are like humans they may look different but all are the same.
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  7. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    I live in Jamaica in the Caribbean. What I have in my yard that looks like elephant ears (and I guess it is)we call "Cocoa" and we dig up, peel, boil and eat the roots which are like yams or cassava (manioc/yucca). It is delicious with a pat of butter and a pinch of salt. But I don't know if I should try to give the leaves to my redfoots? Rather not, as there are so many other plants here that are known to be good for them anyway.
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  8. Iochroma

    Iochroma Well-Known Member

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    I would not feed any plant is the "elephant ear" category; genus Alocasia, Colocasia or Xanthosoma.
    The only way they are palatable is through cooking.
    The action of toxicity includes, but is not limited to, crystals formed of oxalic acids called raphides. These can cause intense irritation, and swelling of the mouth and throat tissues. It can lead to death though suffocation. Other toxins are sometimes present as well.
    I don't know what plants Manouria feed on in the wild, but I can't see why one would try to replicate that element of their diet, given the risk.
  9. Turtulas-Len

    Turtulas-Len Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Other plants in the Araceae Family are a part of the Manouria tortoise's regular diet in the wild, not just the elephant ear type. They have adapted to eating them over time and search them out. I wouldn't offer them to your Leopard though. .
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  10. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    But... then again, according to some of the leading tortoise vets in the world, raphides, although an irritant and problem for mammals offer no problem at all to tortoises. Just like the spines on a cactus pad that they have no issues with - I would certainly not be able to eat!!
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  11. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    To each his own...!
    But let's just feed them what we know is good for them!

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