How Long to Digest?

Chromatic

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So I'm curious on a few things, I've been reading similar threads but haven't found the answers I'm looking for.

I did read somewhere tortoises can't digest food unless they're 80 degrees? Is this true? And how long does it take for them to digest food- an hour, five hours, etc.?

As a side note, sometimes my babe won't eat for a day or two, even though I keep offering her food- she doesn't eat much anyways, but she's only 4 or 5 inches, so maybe size has to do with it? In the beginning I was extremely worried for her, but that seems to be her normal... I mostly give her leafy greens, lately I've been giving dandelion flowers and leaves as well, and I don't offer much fruit, and never any lettuce. So I can't imagine she's throwing a fit over tasty snacks? She also seems a bit picky- when I offer her something new, sometimes she'll refuse to eat it for a while.

Oh- should add she's a redfoot.
 

Tom

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There are a lot of variables that determine the answer to your question. At the least, its days. In some cases it can take more than a week for food to makes its way through the GI tract. RFs would be on the shorter end of this, and large grass eaters would be on the long end of this.

If your baby is refusing food, there is a problem. Usually this means temperatures are too low. Tortoises do need to be able to warm up to get their digestive systems, and all other systems, functioning. I don't think anyone knows what that magic number is. I've heard 80-85 offered, but I don't know that to be the case. Some species that like to bask seem to need it much warmer than that, and other species from cooler climates, like MEP, seem to be able to function at lower temps.
 

Yvonne G

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Once I gave my Manouria tortoises some cantaloupe, including the seeds, and I didn't see seeds in their poop for a week or so.
 

TeamZissou

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In a paper where they did a feeding study on Hermanns tortoises, they estimated the gut transit time by feeding the tortoises food with red dye. The dye showed up 8 days after feeding and lasted until day 12. So, it seems that this fits with Tom and Yvonne's observations.
 

Chromatic

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wow... that's incredible. as for temps, I also read 90 can cause stress.... but I can aim towards high 80s or even above 90 if that would be beneficial for her. but again I don't know how accurate that is (that 90+ can cause stress). She is from tropical climates where temps go well above 100 in nature so I can't imagine going above 90 would cause stress...
 

TeamZissou

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wow... that's incredible. as for temps, I also read 90 can cause stress.... but I can aim towards high 80s or even above 90 if that would be beneficial for her. but again I don't know how accurate that is (that 90+ can cause stress). She is from tropical climates where temps go well above 100 in nature so I can't imagine going above 90 would cause stress...

I would only worry about temps above 100 F. The main source of stress for torts is over handling and having another tortoise around.

They also need a lot of room to walk around to promote digestion.

Here's the care sheet in case you have not seen it:

 

Cherryshell

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Redfoots are actually one of the few species that you can give fruits too as their digestive system can process them. Check out this care sheet by @TechnoCheese :

 

Tom

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wow... that's incredible. as for temps, I also read 90 can cause stress.... but I can aim towards high 80s or even above 90 if that would be beneficial for her. but again I don't know how accurate that is (that 90+ can cause stress). She is from tropical climates where temps go well above 100 in nature so I can't imagine going above 90 would cause stress...
Temperatures are dependent upon species. Star tortoises will bask under a heat lamp when ambient temp is 96. Most tortoises will head for shade when temps reach the mid 80s. The forest tortoises, like your RF appear to do best with a more uniform temp day and night. The optimal temps I've read from experienced RF keepers are 82-86 all the time. They can certainly survive temps outside that range, but those temps are best.
 

tortadise

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As Tom stated above. It’s quite the variable and most definitely species dependent.
Medically systemic temperatures for certain antibiotics or injectable have an efficacy rate of best production and chance of success with internal temperatures of reptiles 75 or above. But this is vastly different than digestion. It’s a singular timeframe for a short period of needed temperatures for the medicine to be affective.
Being ectotherms they (whichever species) regulate themselves for survival.
Some foods can also play a different part. Gopherus Berlandieri is one that is oddly challenging in captivity. Because of its sub tropic thornscrub northern region habitants where we are at. The berlandieri in Monterey Mexico mostly
Live in mountainous regions are subjected to cooler temps than ours in the Northern Territory of its range. Nopales (cactus) species it consumes are vastly different as well. Temperatures during “winter” where we are can be 42 at night and climb to 78 during the day. Then a week of 90s then a few weeks of mid 50s. They manage to still digest what was consumed. I think hydration is more of a critical roll in this topic. In my
Opinion and conjecture at least. Renal
System functioning properly should some now be able to halt digestion based on temperatures if the liver and kidney are suitably hydrated. Im blabbing now. Lol.
 

ZEROPILOT

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wow... that's incredible. as for temps, I also read 90 can cause stress.... but I can aim towards high 80s or even above 90 if that would be beneficial for her. but again I don't know how accurate that is (that 90+ can cause stress). She is from tropical climates where temps go well above 100 in nature so I can't imagine going above 90 would cause stress...
I often advocate that over 90 is stressful for a Redfoot.
Certainly the lower 90s won't harm a RF. But it will slow down it's activity level and they will seek out a shady spot and often shut down all together until it cools back down.
Since we can have easy control of what goes on in a micro climate. Such as a closed chamber. I just use these numbers as a general guide.
80 to 86 degrees. With my observed ideal comfort level of 82 to 84.
These are by no means the minimum and maximum numbers they can tolerate. But the ideal temperatures.
These are easier to create than what mother nature provides. And are from my own firsthand observations over many years.
 
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