The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Are these plants safe to put in my Russian tortoises enclosure, not as food but more for shelter purposes? Iwasn't able to find clear cut answer on their suitability.
  • Meadowsweets/steeplebushes (Spiraea densiflora)
    • Some sources state this plant contains tannins, methyl salicylate, and salicylic acid, but could it still be used as a shelter plant?
  • Common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
    • I can't really find any info on the suitability of this plant.
  • Dogwood (Cornus alba)
    • Although there is some evidence that the flowers and leaves of the Dogwood are harmless, there are other sources that say the leaves can cause skin irritations in humans, and the berries are slightly toxic.
    • I am planning on using this to build structures, would that use case be safe? No leaves, flowers or berries would be in the enclousure)
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Also, we have this big pine tree (Pinus sylvestris) looking over our yard, but not on our property. The thing is that it always drops pine cones, pine needles and branches on our lawn, and I don't think that I will be able to keep the pine needles out of my tortoises enclosure, is this a problem?
 

RosemaryDW

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Meadowsweet and nine bark are both in the rose family so you don't need to worry about them. I wouldn't be surprised if your tortoise took the occasional bite of leaves.

There isn't much available about dogwood I'm afraid. You'll have to use your own discretion.

i wouldn't worry about the pine needles so long as you don't let them pile up. I wouldn't be surprised if your tortoise nibbled a pine cone as it's just a big seed pod. Not a problem.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Meadowsweet and nine bark are both in the rose family so you don't need to worry about them. I wouldn't be surprised if your tortoise took the occasional bite of leaves.

There isn't much available about dogwood I'm afraid. You'll have to use your own discretion.

i wouldn't worry about the pine needles so long as you don't let them pile up. I wouldn't be surprised if your tortoise nibbled a pine cone as it's just a big seed pod. Not a problem.
Thank you for your response, maybe I will skip the dogwood. I won't let the needles pile up, also planning on placing a net on top of to enclosure to deter any birds, so it will probably catch any pine cones.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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I don't know whether I should make a new thread, but are these plants safe to have in my tortoises enclousure: dwarf nettle (Urtica urens) and stinging netlle (Urtica dioica subsp. dioica and Urtica dioica subsp. sondenii)? All these three grow in my yard and I was thinking of transferring some to Edward's enclousure. I have read that they are safe to feed, but some say that they have to be boiled or dried, so I am not sure whether their are safe to have in there for him to eat fresh and walk around.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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Have you seen www.thetortoisetable.org.uk ?
They give this information about nettles
and say this about dogwood
Yes, I have read both of the articles wile trying to do my own research, but wasn't convinced. Some say that the info about the stinging nettle causing kidney problems isn't verified, but maybe I will still offer the older leaves. I was just wondering why some say that it needs to be dried or boiled before offering to a tortoise.

And about dogwood, I was planning to use it to build structures, so no leaves/berries/flowers would be in the enclosure. Tortoise table focuses more on feeding plants than what wood is safe to use for building the enclosure.

But again, I could use some other branches. It just would've been nice to be able to use dogwood since we cut ours down and dug its roots up since it is an invasive species here.
 

Lyn W

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Yes, I have read both of the articles wile trying to do my own research, but wasn't convinced. Some say that the info about the stinging nettle causing kidney problems isn't verified, but maybe I will still offer the older leaves. I was just wondering why some say that it needs to be dried or boiled before offering to a tortoise.

And about dogwood, I was planning to use it to build structures, so no leaves/berries/flowers would be in the enclosure. Tortoise table focuses more on feeding plants than what wood is safe to use for building the enclosure.

But again, I could use some other branches. It just would've been nice to be able to use dogwood since we cut ours down and dug its roots up since it is an invasive species here.
I know some people think the Tortoise Table is over cautious with some plants but I don't like to take risks, so if there's any doubt I leave it out.
 
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