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HELP! My Greek Tort won't eat anything other than lettuce?

Discussion in 'Greek tortoises' started by lemonbrains, Dec 24, 2018.

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  1. lemonbrains

    lemonbrains Member

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    Hi y'all. I have two greek tortoises about 4-7 months old. I basically rescued them from this guy who said he only ever fed them lettuce their whole lives.

    I adopted both of these tortoises about a week ago and have been trying to feed them a variety of different veggies. I tried parsley and coriander, along with dandelion leaves, cucumber and even carrots. They took ONE bite of all veggies in the list above and then NEVER TOUCHED THEM AGAIN. They ONLY EAT LETTUCE. I even tried to put a variety of green leaves in their enclosure (except for lettuce) and they didn't eat anything!!!! I thought they must be starving and would eat something at least but noooooo. I then felt bad and put in some lettuce and they ate it hungrily.

    This is very concerning because I read somewhere that lettuce has the least amount of nutritional value amongst all other leaves. I'm scared they're getting malnourished over time :(

    BTW, I soak them inward water and expose them to the sun everyday - so food is the only issue right now.

    Please help! What am I supposed to do!?:(

    Heads up: Where I live, there are no vets that could help (the situation is tough here). If anyone has a home made remedy, please share!
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin

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    Stop giving him lettuce. Healthy tortoises won't allow themselves to starve. Tortoises can go a very long time without food.

    After a week of you not offering lettuce, if they still won't eat, you can try fooling them. (Parsley and coriander weren't good choices for you) Put lettuce into a food processor and run the machine until you have lettuce juice. In the meantime, cut up three or four items from this list:

    Dandelion, clover, plantain, hawksbit, cat's ear, wild strawberry, and thistle
    dried, bagged organic herbs. These can be found online.
    Store bought greens like collards, mustards, kale and turnip can be offered sparingly
    endive, escarole, radicchio,
    Commercial diets such as Mazuri

    Cut them up into tiny pieces. Put a small handful into a bowl and add the lettuce juice. Stir it all up until all the greens are coated with the lettuce juice. Over time, you can decrease the amount of lettuce juice and increase the amount of greens, cutting them up into larger pieces. But don't expect them to start eating this overnight. It takes a long time to get them started on the greens.

    Are you in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania or in Pittsburg, California? There are many qualified vets in or near both cities. I can give you a couple names. But you don't really need a vet to help with food problems.

    In California right now, with all the rain we've had, lots of those weeds listed above are plentiful outside. You can do a Google image search to see what they look like, then go out and find some. Be sure to wash them off before chopping them up.

    Good luck.
    Cowboy_Ken, lemonbrains and Gillian M like this.
  3. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum, @lemonbrains .

    I had the same problem with my Greek tort, Oli. He would not eat anything but lettuce. @ZEROPILOT sent me mazuri (which is not available here in Jordan due to the fact that torts live in the wild. Nobody is interested in them). :( Thank You Ed, @ZEROPILOT .:<3: Oli had got used to lettuce and simply refused to eat mazuri. He drove me nuts! :D @Lyn W suggested mixing the lettuce with the mazuri, so I gave it a try. And it finally worked - phew. ;) Thanks @Lyn W . ;)

    How about trying that? Keep us updated and good luck.

    Please post pics of your torts and separate them. Torts do not like company.
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  4. lemonbrains

    lemonbrains Member

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    Thank you for the advice!

    I'll try the blending lettuce juice idea you suggested and hope it works!

    And I'm sorry - what did you mean when you said parsley and coriander were not good choices? You mean, they're not good for torts in general?

    Oh and I am not in the US right now... I moved abroad. I moved to a place where these veterinary services are not very accessible. Umm... it's hard to explain :confused:.

    But anyway, thank you!
  5. lemonbrains

    lemonbrains Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience :). I'll try to mix lettuce juice with other greens.

    Also - are you sure these Greek torts need to be separated? Because I noticed that whenever they sleep, they huddle around each other and almost cuddle while sleeping so I thought they would be perfect if kept together. They always sleep with their sides touching each other (I thought it was a basic need to have turtle-to-turtle contact, especially when kept in captivity).They never fight. They love sitting on my hand, in fact, they come running to my hand whenever I put my hand in the enclosure. They're very touchy animals and like it when I rub their tiny necks. Before I adopted them, they were used as display and were held everyday by hundreds of people (horrible, I know). Knowing all this information, do you think I should I still separate them?
  6. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    This is what I learned at TFO: torts don't like company and they do not like to be cuddled, picked up and so on. Therefore, I only pick Oli up when necessary.

    I would separate them so as to remain on the safe side. Better be safe than sorry. ;)

    But let's double-check with the experts.

    @Yvonne G
    @JoesMum
    @Tom
    please help. Thanks v much.
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  7. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, that “cuddling” is a sign of aggression. They use it to stress the other out of its territory. Tortoises, especially testudos like greeks, are solitary and territorial animals that should never be kept in pairs.
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  8. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    Thanks you help.
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  9. lemonbrains

    lemonbrains Member

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    Okay thank you for your help! I'll think of making another enclosure for the other one. In the meantime, here are a few images of my torts!

    Fun fact that I've never told anyone: ever since I got them, I rarely ever get sad anymore. It's almost like they cured my depression :) <3

    WhatsApp Image 2018-12-19 at 7.52.19 PM(1).jpeg Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 7.57.11 PM.png t1 front.jpeg t2 back.jpeg
    Gillian M likes this.
  10. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    Oh, they are adorable. God bless.:):<3:

    Please separate them asap.
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  11. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    Hi @lemonbrains . Any news as far as diet of your cute torts is concerned? Hope they've started to eat something besides lettuce.
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  12. lemonbrains

    lemonbrains Member

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    Yessss! One of them is starting to eat a mixture of other leafy greens! The other, however, is still only eating lettuce. I'm still working on it.

    The guy I got them from said he never fed them anything other than lettuce because he thought it would be enough. It's just like saying: a healthy goat eats grass her whole life in the wild and stays fine. So a turtle can eat lettuce his whole life and be healthy. That was his argument. idk. I'm still pissed at him because I'm going though hell. It will take me a lot of time and effort to completely fix their diet. I do see progress though!

    Thanks for checking in!
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  13. Gillian M

    Gillian M Well-Known Member

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    Well, at least one of them has been giving and taking with you. That is a start. Don't despair, don't give up: torts can be very stubborn, believe me.

    Oli gave me a v hard time, and would not eat anything but lettuce. What a battle it was! But I won it in the end, and hope you will too.
  14. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin

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    I so agree! I love taking care of my turtles and tortoises. It's very calming. My husband fished, I do clean up after tortoises!
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