How often should a red-foot poop?

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cindyinmaine

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I have had this tortoise a couple months now, and she eats plenty, but she never seems to poop unless I take her out and soak her in a large bowl, which I do every 3 or 4 days. She has her own water pan, and it's a bit warm after the lamp has been on for a while, and she soaks in it, but she doesn't poop.

She's about 6" long carapace, in a big underbed sweater enclosure. She has a sleeping cave at one (the high) end, with a heating pad under it, and a pond at the other (the low) end, with a heating lamp over it. Both the heating pad and the lamp go off at night, and come on in the morning. She eats mostly greens, with some fruits and veggies and occasional animal protein (I have tried boiled scallops, boiled mussels, nuked chicken breast - she sometimes likes these and sometimes ignores them).

She loves her greens - this morning she has mustard greens, collards, celery leaf and a bit of chard. She loves dandelion and plantain (the weed, not the banana). She also likes non-acidic fruits - she has a tiny bit of rambutan and papaya this morning, but she doesn't get fruit all days. She is on and off for veggies - she doesn't really like root veggies, tho she likes red bell pepper.

Any thoughts appreciated.
Cindy
 

cdmay

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Cindy you ask a good question but for which there is not an exact answer.
It seems that hatchlings and smaller redfoots can poop nearly every day if they are getting a lot of food and are well hydrated. But for larger animals and especially adults, the time between evacuations can depend very much on when and what they eat, what their activity level is and the temperatures that they are kept at.
For instance, my adult animals (especially females) will often remain in a resting position for as long as several days without really moving at all. They usually don't produce any solid waste during this time.
Another factor that influences when they might go is how much they are handled by their keeper or a change in environment. For example if we have a cold front coming to south Florida and I need to bring my redfoots indoors for a few days, I can assure you that they will all poop like crazy as soon as they are placed in their temporary quarters in our back room.
In addition one of my adult males always seems to want to bother the females when they are trying to dig their nests prior to laying their eggs. He will get right in their face and court them while they are clearly not interested. So I will often pick him up and bring him into the laundry room for the few hours that it takes for the female to finish nesting. He shows his displeasure at me for this outrage by producing GIANT poops all over the place.
What will then happen is that I will spend a long time cleaning up after him (before my wife finds out!) only to have him repeat his performance again ten minutes later. I am always astonished at how much waste this little guy--who is only 9 inches--is carrying around with him and he makes it clear that he must be 'holding' for days at a time.
I noticed that your tortoise eats red bell peppers. I've never seen any of mine touch green bell peppers but now I wonder if they might try a red one.
 

cindyinmaine

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cdmay, this is very interesting, and thank you for the info! The day that a friend brought me this tortoise (at work! but she thought I needed a pet) the tortoise pooped copiously on the floor of my office... so perhaps they do poop more when they are handled, or pissed off by changes! Maybe the normal state is not to poop every day...?

I am keeping an eye on her, trying to learn her natural rhythms, as much as I can replicate them...

I guess a critter that eats a lot of 'low nutrient' foods like leafs is likely to 'hold it' for a while to digest it thoroughly. Too funny about your wife and the mess tho!

Thank you. I am learning a lot lately! And ya, try your kids on the red bell peppers. I read that they like red foods.
:)
Cindy
PS She had a bit of rambutan and papaya today, for the first time that I know about, and she loved both.




cdmay said:
Cindy you ask a good question but for which there is not an exact answer.
It seems that hatchlings and smaller redfoots can poop nearly every day if they are getting a lot of food and are well hydrated. But for larger animals and especially adults, the time between evacuations can depend very much on when and what they eat, what their activity level is and the temperatures that they are kept at.
For instance, my adult animals (especially females) will often remain in a resting position for as long as several days without really moving at all. They usually don't produce any solid waste during this time.
Another factor that influences when they might go is how much they are handled by their keeper or a change in environment. For example if we have a cold front coming to south Florida and I need to bring my redfoots indoors for a few days, I can assure you that they will all poop like crazy as soon as they are placed in their temporary quarters in our back room.
In addition one of my adult males always seems to want to bother the females when they are trying to dig their nests prior to laying their eggs. He will get right in their face and court them while they are clearly not interested. So I will often pick him up and bring him into the laundry room for the few hours that it takes for the female to finish nesting. He shows his displeasure at me for this outrage by producing GIANT poops all over the place.
What will then happen is that I will spend a long time cleaning up after him (before my wife finds out!) only to have him repeat his performance again ten minutes later. I am always astonished at how much waste this little guy--who is only 9 inches--is carrying around with him and he makes it clear that he must be 'holding' for days at a time.
I noticed that your tortoise eats red bell peppers. I've never seen any of mine touch green bell peppers but now I wonder if they might try a red one.
 

DeanS

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Cindy...make sure she is hot, humid and hydrated! The temps and humidity play a MAJOR role in how well her insides operate. Nothing like a well-oiled machine! And when you soak her, make sure the water is warm to very warm...she's more likely to calm down at this point and she may drink more if it's not too cool. Are you feeding a good 'protein' source? If memory serves they should get pinkies or grubs or the like every couple weeks or so. Also, if you're using UV lighting, it would be a good idea to switch to MVB...and Welcome to the Forum!;)
 

Madkins007

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Cindy- you can be sure that Mark's Murphy's Law of Pet Poop applies to your Red-foots- "A pet will always poop at the worst possible time" and the corollary- "the amount of poop has a positive relationship to the amount of embarrassment or problems caused- big embarrassment, big poop."

If I take one of mine to work for any reason, as I did before I shipped my Big Guy to Allegra, they poop extravagantly- and on carpet or countertops if possible. I think there is still a stain in one office. :/

At least it is not as smelly as some animals poop!
 

Balboa

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terryo said:
"At least it is not as smelly as some animals poop! "

You're kidding right?

You know I've heard a few times about how smelly the poop is. Now personally I have a very weak sense of smell, but even I could smell the stink when the torts first came in, but I've noticed after a couple weeks of eating right the smell goes away (at least to my level of smelling) LOL

I've wondered about how often they should poop as well.
Mine are both being treated for shell rot, so get daily soaks. They've gotten so used to it I'd almost feel bad stopping them, Rocky really seems to look forward to them, but many people I respect highly aren't big on soaking. They almost always poop in the soak, and Rocky actually didn't today which left me wondering. LOL
 

Madkins007

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terryo said:
"At least it is not as smelly as some animals poop! "

You're kidding right?

LOL! Actually, no. My guys poo hardly smells at all. It is kind of an interesting story.

I noticed in Mike Pingleton's book "The Redfoot Manual" a photo of what he considered to be a 'good poop'- brown/green, well-formed, fibrous, and kind of moist. While there is not a ton of research on good tortoise poo, it does seem to be the consensus that this is indeed a good poo.

My guys poo was not like that, and I determined that it was probably because of too much 'sweet' fruit from following a diet that is widely recommended on the forums.

Cutting back on fruit (and going more to fruits like bell pepper and squash), adding more fiber (things like the thick stems of many greens, for example), and cutting back on meats started giving them more 'normal' poo. It also really does not have much of a smell now.

There is a stronger smell if I have offered meat or some fruits, but the new tortarium is in the living room and no one ever comments on any 'fragrance' from it- and I rarely remove the poo (the hermit crabs and other torts usually get to it before I can.)
 

allegraf

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Cindy,

Where are you? Rambutan?!? We went to Costa Rica and had rambutan and love it so much, we named one of our girls after it. We can't find it here in South Florida.

Allegra

PS
Your tort may be eating his poop when you are not looking. We love them, but they can be gross.
 

cindyinmaine

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I like the discussion of tortoise poop smells! The only time I really noticed this tort's poop being smelly was one time when she ate a boiled scallop, and her poop smelled fishy. Next time I offered her a scallop, she ignored it, so maybe she didn't like the fishy smell either!

Allegra, I am much farther away from Costa Rica than you are (I'm in Maine), and I remember loving the fruits in Costa Rica when I visited there in the late '80s, tho I don't remember rambutan specifically... I had a can of it for years and years, and was always afraid of it because of the illustration of a 'hairy' fruit, but now I am really into it! It's delicious, AND you can get it at our local big supermarket, along with lots of other tropical fruits.

Boss your local supermarket a bit - they can get it if they think someone wants it!
:)
Cindy


allegraf said:
Cindy,

Where are you? Rambutan?!? We went to Costa Rica and had rambutan and love it so much, we named one of our girls after it. We can't find it here in South Florida.

Allegra

PS
Your tort may be eating his poop when you are not looking. We love them, but they can be gross.



Now this is interesting to me... I am still sorting out the ways that the tortoise is different from the iguana I had previously kept. I was warned repeatedly that what felt 'warm' to an iguana was actually pretty lukewarm to a human, and sure enough, the ig did not like water that felt nice to me. She liked it cooler. But I am getting the idea that a red foot tortoise likes warmer water?

I am also getting the impression that compared to a green iguana, a red foot tortoise likes less heat in general, more humidity, more animal protein, less UVB, less light - but similar greens: high calcium, low phosphorus, low oxalates... I am sorry to use a green iguana as my starter point, but I got pretty accustomed to caring for one, and this is also a largely herbivorous reptile, so I keep making comparisons.

But I know there are differences, as the ig was designed to live high in the trees, and the tort on the forest floor. And I do notice the tortoise likes warmer water than the ig would have liked.

This girl does drink all the time, which I like to see. She puts her snout in and swallows and swallows and swallows...

I am going to check out MVB lighting... thank you for that!
:)
Cindy, learning and learning




DeanS said:
Cindy...make sure she is hot, humid and hydrated! The temps and humidity play a MAJOR role in how well her insides operate. Nothing like a well-oiled machine! And when you soak her, make sure the water is warm to very warm...she's more likely to calm down at this point and she may drink more if it's not too cool. Are you feeding a good 'protein' source? If memory serves they should get pinkies or grubs or the like every couple weeks or so. Also, if you're using UV lighting, it would be a good idea to switch to MVB...and Welcome to the Forum!;)
 

Madkins007

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cindyinmaine said:
Now this is interesting to me... I am still sorting out the ways that the tortoise is different from the iguana I had previously kept. I was warned repeatedly that what felt 'warm' to an iguana was actually pretty lukewarm to a human, and sure enough, the ig did not like water that felt nice to me. She liked it cooler. But I am getting the idea that a red foot tortoise likes warmer water?

I am also getting the impression that compared to a green iguana, a red foot tortoise likes less heat in general, more humidity, more animal protein, less UVB, less light - but similar greens: high calcium, low phosphorus, low oxalates... I am sorry to use a green iguana as my starter point, but I got pretty accustomed to caring for one, and this is also a largely herbivorous reptile, so I keep making comparisons.

But I know there are differences, as the ig was designed to live high in the trees, and the tort on the forest floor. And I do notice the tortoise likes warmer water than the ig would have liked.

This girl does drink all the time, which I like to see. She puts her snout in and swallows and swallows and swallows...

I am going to check out MVB lighting... thank you for that!
:)
Cindy, learning and learning

It looks like you are doing well. The comparisons are mostly valid, but remember that the Red-foot is considered more of a savannah species than the forest-loving Yellow-foot is, although it is certainly comfortable in the forest.

Lessee... figure an overall Ca: P of about 1:1 to 2:1 (much grocery store stuff is higher in phosphorous so you have to watch it a bit). Some diets suggest 5:1 or higher- probably OK but too much calcium blocks iron intake and may lead to bladder stones if the animal is dehydrated. (Or, to phrase it another way- the ratio is not a big deal as long as there is adequate calcium in the diet.)

Don't sweat oxalates other than to make sure you offer some good calcium soon to make up for it. (Oxalates are not actually bad for an animal in moderation, and they do not seem to steal calcium from the blood or other foods, just the food it is in.)

Less UV/light is probably not quite as true. Young Red-foots do not like a lot of light (like most tortoises, they are really shy), and it is really easy to over-light a smaller habitat, but they do perfectly well in a normally lit habitat as long as they have access to shade and hides.

I have undersoil heating cables and my water dish sits on them, which adds to humidity. I OFTEN see them soaking in it. I did not see this as often in an older habitat with cooler water.
 

terracolson

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We adopted out a Redfoot at the STTC and during the meeting, AFTER the adoption, I heard. Will the new owner of the redfoot please clean up the poop! He kept pooping the entire meeting!
 
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