Is it safe for tortoises to eat small slugs & mushrooms their find in fields?

willee638

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Hi, I frequently take my red foot tortoises to outdoors unsprayed grass fields & after a few days of rain they would discover some small creatures "snails & slugs" & new growth "grass & plants or mushrooms" had sprung up amongst the grasses & in bushes. I noticed they would sometimes eat them, are they dangerous to my tortoises to consume? These field isn't frequented by other pets other than wild birds & no leftover foods or garbage by people or signs of animals being fed there, no random dead creatures either.
 

crimson_lotus

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as long as there are no pesticides around (like in your neighbors yard, etc) and if the snails and slugs aren't naturally toxic, should be fine.

for plants, it depends on the plant. Here is a database on safe foods: https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/plant-database/viewplants/a-z/

although I am not sure if the natural plants in Hong Kong are on there, it's good to know. Some plants can be toxic to torts.
 

ZenHerper

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The invertebrates will be fine - they can carry intestinal parasites, so have your veterinarian analyze samples of stool a few times each year.

The mushrooms: I would suggest taking samples of them to a good Chinese medicine pharmacist for identification, or to a university botany department. If they are safe for people to eat as a meal, then they are fine.

Redfoots should not spend a lot of time in open, direct sunlight - their dark shells are meant to absorb a lot of heat in the heavily-shaded environment in South America. Heat stroke kills very quickly.
 

Toddrickfl1

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I've seen my redfoot eating wild mushrooms, snails, and slugs. He lives outside though so not much I can do about it.
 

willee638

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The invertebrates will be fine - they can carry intestinal parasites, so have your veterinarian analyze samples of stool a few times each year.

The mushrooms: I would suggest taking samples of them to a good Chinese medicine pharmacist for identification, or to a university botany department. If they are safe for people to eat as a meal, then they are fine.

Redfoots should not spend a lot of time in open, direct sunlight - their dark shells are meant to absorb a lot of heat in the heavily-shaded environment in South America. Heat stroke kills very quickly.
Thanks for the advice, you're right when I exposed them to direct sunlight usually above 30+ degrees celsius here in summer months they would hurry away to the shade & their carapace is warm to the touch, I had the wrong idea red foots needed to bask because most keepers emphasize the importance of having a UV lamp available for 8 or more hours. I understand the intensity of natural sunlight is far more stronger, as my tort gets older they tend to spend a majority of their time hidden in the shades.
 

willee638

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The invertebrates will be fine - they can carry intestinal parasites, so have your veterinarian analyze samples of stool a few times each year.

The mushrooms: I would suggest taking samples of them to a good Chinese medicine pharmacist for identification, or to a university botany department. If they are safe for people to eat as a meal, then they are fine.

Redfoots should not spend a lot of time in open, direct sunlight - their dark shells are meant to absorb a lot of heat in the heavily-shaded environment in South America. Heat stroke kills very quickly.
Thank you, this is very good to know. Although my red foots will eat a large variety of foods & plants, there are somethings I can't get them to even take one bite like eggs for one.
 

ZenHerper

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Thanks for the advice, you're right when I exposed them to direct sunlight usually above 30+ degrees celsius here in summer months they would hurry away to the shade & their carapace is warm to the touch, I had the wrong idea red foots needed to bask because most keepers emphasize the importance of having a UV lamp available for 8 or more hours. I understand the intensity of natural sunlight is far more stronger,as my tort gets older they tend to spend a majority of their time hidden in the shades.
Basking for heat is a separate thing from gaining exposure to uvb radiation. Radiation moves...it does not stay only where the sunlight touches. Healthful levels of uvb radiation can be absorbed in a short amount of time, even in indirect sunlight. The most effective uvb radiation bulbs for indoor use are the long HO tubes...they are cool and animals can move toward or away from them as needed without the risk of excess heat exposure.

Shade-dwelling reptiles depend on ambient temperatures to maintain their warmth. Redfoots need a more constant (but warm) ambient temperature in the shade (26.5-28*C), like what is found in deep foliage on the forest floor. They do not bask much, if at all. 30*C in an open field is far too hot.

In a parking lot: put your hand on a white car, then put your hand on a black car. lol
Thank you, this is very good to know. Although my red foots will eat a large variety of foods & plants, there are somethings I can't get them to even take one bite like eggs for one.
Palates differ...and tastes change over time. Animals that are close to their wild ancestors are more choosy about what they eat if they are craving certain nutrients. Continue to offer a balanced variety of foods in a rotation that lets them take what they need.
 

willee638

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I've seen my redfoot eating wild mushrooms, snails, and slugs. He lives outside though so not much I can do about it.
If I too had an accessible yard then I prefer to keep them outdoors closer to nature as possible, I believe the fresh air & the elements & environment makes them grow. I have seen torts at pet shops kept entirely at an enclosure were smaller in size than my own at similar age & I only feed my tortoises once per day with leftovers removed with 3 hours in case it spoils.
 
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