Hermann's eating cow pie

kikitiki

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I took my tortoise to my pasture and he went over to an old cowpie and started to eat it. Is that bad Or should I have let him eat it.
 

wellington

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No, I wouldn't let him eat it. They will eat poop if they come across it, sometimes their own. But any medicated animals poop would not be good for him. More concern is with dogs who may be on heartworm meds or other types of meds.
 

kikitiki

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No, I wouldn't let him eat it. They will eat poop if they come across it, sometimes their own. But any medicated animals poop would not be good for him. More concern is with dogs who may be on heartworm meds or other types of meds.
Cows are not on meds. Thank you so much.
 

Ink

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Do you know if the cows have parasites/ worms. I wouldn't risk it.
 

Tom

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I took my tortoise to my pasture and he went over to an old cowpie and started to eat it. Is that bad Or should I have let him eat it.
No, they should not be allowed access to other animals feces. Further, the tortoise needs to be contained in a large safe enclosure. If you keep doing that you will lose your tortoise. SOOOOO many people lose their tortoises this way and every single one of them thought the same thing you are thinking right now. I'm sure you watch very carefully and make sure nothing will happen, and then one day, something happens. It happens to everyone eventually. Ask me how I know this...
 

TammyJ

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I think you got the general slant of things. No 💩 eating.
 

EppsDynasty

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@Tom .... I'm guessing you have fallen victim to losing your tort? Hence the strong warning.
 

Tom

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@Tom .... I'm guessing you have fallen victim to losing your tort? Hence the strong warning.
I used to run my box turtle loose in the front yard when I was a dumb kid. I must have lost him 6 times even though I was "watching him the whole time". Each time I lost him I vowed to be more careful the next time, yet he'd still disappear in the blink of an eye and we've had to spend hours of time searching until we found him.

I used to race remote control cars, and I actually stuck racing numbers to his sides to make him easier to find. The idea of making him a secure enclosure never occurred to my busy teenage mind.

There have been other escapes over the year too, and we see it here on the forum constantly too. All we can do is try to warn people and prevent another tragedy. Some people listen and learn and some people have to learn the hard way.
 

JoJosMom

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I can only imagine that ALL feces carries some form of bacteria and that in itself can cause a whole tailspin on their gut flora..... Eating poo poo doesn't seem to be a good idea...But I am no expert~
 
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dd33

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Cows are not on meds. Thank you so much.
Ivermectin is commonly used, maybe even always used on cattle. Once treated they will excrete it in their poop. Ivermectin is extremely toxic to tortoises they should definitely not eat the poop from any livestock.
 

Tom

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I can only imagine that ALL feces carries some form of bacteria and that in itself can cause a whole tailspin on their gut flora..... Eating poo poo doesn't seem to be a good idea...But I am no expert~
There are some species that opportunistically eat "mammal feces" in the wild. Leopard tortoises have been studied and this was noted. The study didn't specify what type of mammal. I would imagine that it is mostly ungulate pellets, but I can imagine them going for some carnivore poo too if they happened upon it. This is one aspect of the wild, just like predation, drought, or parasitization, that I do not think should be duplicated in our captive environments.
 

EppsDynasty

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I used to run my box turtle loose in the front yard when I was a dumb kid. I must have lost him 6 times even though I was "watching him the whole time". Each time I lost him I vowed to be more careful the next time, yet he'd still disappear in the blink of an eye and we've had to spend hours of time searching until we found him.

I used to race remote control cars, and I actually stuck racing numbers to his sides to make him easier to find. The idea of making him a secure enclosure never occurred to my busy teenage mind.

There have been other escapes over the year too, and we see it here on the forum constantly too. All we can do is try to warn people and prevent another tragedy. Some people listen and learn and some people have to learn the hard way.
When we first put the supports on Jo Jo I wanted to let her walk around freely, so we put her in the garden area. Just as you, we were using our Eagle Eyes to keep an eye on he, "No way she's getting away." IT TOOK 15 MINUTES .... and she was lost. I was you can say "Upside Down" in my thoughts. I just kept thinking "What kind of people are we ... We lost a tortoise with Aluminum Braces." "How damn stupid ... Yes we are tortoise people such tortoise people we lost her." "How in the hell am I going to explain losing a Tortoise in my own yard?" "NO How in the Hell did I lose her in our own yard, O no what did I do .... Jo Jo .......Jo Jo...." I called, like she was a dog and just come running back wagging her tail.
@Tom thank you for posting this. I KNOW how easy it is to just miss them walking away. That feeling was so terrible we built her a pen THAT DAY. And now I NEVER allow a tort to be in an area that is not fenced completely.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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There are some species that opportunistically eat "mammal feces" in the wild. Leopard tortoises have been studied and this was noted. The study didn't specify what type of mammal. I would imagine that it is mostly ungulate pellets, but I can imagine them going for some carnivore poo too if they happened upon it. This is one aspect of the wild, just like predation, drought, or parasitization, that I do not think should be duplicated in our captive environments.
Yeah, the same goes with a lot of thing... Some people say "Why would a tortoise need this and that, think about how they live in the wild.", but why would I risk my tortoises health just because their health is at risk in nature? We really don't need to replicate everything in nature...

Plus in cases like this, it is way different for a tortoise to eat poop in their wild habitat, the poop consists of materials from that same habitat, then compare it to eating poop from a domesticated animal outside the tortoises natural habitat.
 

Yvonne G

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It is my opinion that tortoises should not be allowed to know that there is a whole other world outside the confines of his fence. My experience with Dudley, a 100+ lb sulcata is what I go on. Dudley was totally comfortable to wander around his yard. . . walking, snoozing, eating, resting under a bush. All was right with his world.

One day he happened to push a rotten board as he made a turn to go back the other way. The board fell and it opened a way out of his yard. Dudley went walk-about. Luckily one of the cars driving by recognized Dudley and knew where he came from, so he was returned to me, fence was repaired, but Dudley was never the same.

Now his walking turned into marching. He tested the fence daily. He tried to climb out. He always wanted to be on the other side of that fence. I eventually had to find a new home for him because at my age I was no longer able to manhandle him back into his yard when he broke fence boards and escaped.

Make your tortoise the best yard/enclosure you can. Make sure all his needs are met. Keep him in there.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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It is my opinion that tortoises should not be allowed to know that there is a whole other world outside the confines of his fence. My experience with Dudley, a 100+ lb sulcata is what I go on. Dudley was totally comfortable to wander around his yard. . . walking, snoozing, eating, resting under a bush. All was right with his world.

One day he happened to push a rotten board as he made a turn to go back the other way. The board fell and it opened a way out of his yard. Dudley went walk-about. Luckily one of the cars driving by recognized Dudley and knew where he came from, so he was returned to me, fence was repaired, but Dudley was never the same.

Now his walking turned into marching. He tested the fence daily. He tried to climb out. He always wanted to be on the other side of that fence. I eventually had to find a new home for him because at my age I was no longer able to manhandle him back into his yard when he broke fence boards and escaped.

Make your tortoise the best yard/enclosure you can. Make sure all his needs are met. Keep him in there.
Yeah, my Russian tortoise was let run free in the house by his previous owner. Now that I let him out of his enclosure to a small fenced of area in my room (freshly vacuumed, with a hide, a branch to climb on, water dish and plenty of space to walk) while I clean his enclosure, he is content in the fenced of area. He recognizes the room door and tries to push it, sometimes spending minutes walking up and down in front of the door instead of utilizing his whole fenced of area. Unfortunately this behavior has been reinforced in the past so many times, I don't think he will stop expecting to get to free roam in a while.... If I remember correctly, some studies show that tortoises remember learned behaviors like this for up to 10 years.
 

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