Eating moss substrate...

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pugsandkids

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Oscar came with T-Rex tortoise dry formula pellets, Zoo Med forest tortoise food (wth?), and Nature Zone bites for tortoises. I know these are not ideal foods. Yesterday I gave him a salad of rose petals, grass, dandelions, and daylilly leaf. Not interested at all.

Okay, so this morning I gave him a mixture of what he came with. I figured he's under enough stress with moving and all, so why add to it? He won't eat that, but will eat the moss strands that are mixed in with the coir! Is that going to cause a problem? Or is it just good fiber for him?

Oh, and he loves the water bowl. He climbs in and soaks himself!
 

Stephanie Logan

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Keep trying with the healthier choices. Or mix the junk food into the healthy stuff and cut it all up really small, so he'll be eating the good stuff in his quest to pick out the bad. This is Yvonne's advice and it worked really well with Taco.
 

pugsandkids

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This evening I pulled a dandelion out and put the whole thing in for him. Took him a while but once he tried it he loved it, and went to town! I've never seen a tort eat so fast :D I think I'll be able to get rid of the junk food sooner then I thought.
 

tortoisenerd

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Just feed the healthy foods--even a few days with the tort going on a hunger strike isn't something to worry about. Throw away those pellets so you aren't tempted to feed them even as a treat. If you feel the need to feed pellets as a small part of the diet, Mazuri Tortoise Diet and ZooMed Grassland Tortoise Food are the only two I'd recommend as they are the most natural. Beware as they are addicting so I limit it to less than 5% of the diet so he has a taste for it in case of an emergency.

I'd be very surprised if you got the Russian to eat grass. If he doesn't go for it, focus more on weeds and greens, but try to limit the stuff that is high in oxalic acid (such as dandelion, collard, mustard, radish) to less than 50%. More grass/weeds/greens than flowers. I'd aim for 20+ items over the course of a couple months. If you get a good graze going in an area of your yard or in some planters it is very helpful. Do remember that everything needs to be chemical free as torts that are small and eat greens as 100% of their diet can be very sensitive to the chemicals (unlike humans who eat produce as a smaller part of their diet for example). My Russian is also a water tortoise. I will put in baby bath warm water in his enclosure's water dish and put him in and then he gets out when he wants.

If he eats more than a few test bites of the moss I'd take it out and just use the coir. That is plenty moist for a Russian. I haven't ever heard of a Russian pyramiding due to lack of humidity. I've seen two that pyramided likely due to very poor diet, and some (like mine) that are just plain "bumpy" but not pyramided. Although the moss should go straight through, you don't want to take risks with how much he could eat while you aren't looking. Also, if the tort is adult size, pyramiding isn't at all an issue.
 
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