Ruszian Tortoise

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Hi, I copy and pasted this from a thread I posted on about my tortoise's nails. My tortoise is a three and a half year old russian female. Is this a good diet: Kale, dandelion (flowers not too often), field madder, creeping jenny, small amounts of clover, some flukers pellets (don't like them quite as much as they get tracked around, are impossible to clean up, and mold), a bit of cilantro and the occasional romaine lettuce and cabbage leaves? This is her. picture (1).png
 

Tom

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Hi, I copy and pasted this from a thread I posted on about my tortoise's nails. My tortoise is a three and a half year old russian female. Is this a good diet: Kale, dandelion (flowers not too often), field madder, creeping jenny, small amounts of clover, some flukers pellets (don't like them quite as much as they get tracked around, are impossible to clean up, and mold), a bit of cilantro and the occasional romaine lettuce and cabbage leaves? This is her. View attachment 290528
That is all good, but add more variety. Favor endive and escarole from the store, and look for mulberry and grape vine leaves, kudzu leaves, and many more weeds near you.

@Moozillion What weeds should he/she look for in Baton Rouge?

If ever you are not sure of a weed, you can always post it here and we will try to ID it for you, but also find a local nursery and figure out who the local plant nerd is. Every nursery has one, and they can usually ID anything local.
 

Moozillion

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That is all good, but add more variety. Favor endive and escarole from the store, and look for mulberry and grape vine leaves, kudzu leaves, and many more weeds near you.

@Moozillion What weeds should he/she look for in Baton Rouge?

If ever you are not sure of a weed, you can always post it here and we will try to ID it for you, but also find a local nursery and figure out who the local plant nerd is. Every nursery has one, and they can usually ID anything local.
Hi, Rus Zian Tortoise (my autocorrect keeps changing the Z to an s unless I put in the space...) I'm in Covington!!! :)
Some good local weeds down here are Sow Thistle (even edible for humans! But not particularly tasty- ), Broad Leaf Plantain and Narrow Leaf Plantain. And of course, Dandelions! My Hermann's tortoise LOVES all the native weeds!
 

Moozillion

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The sow thistle is a cool season weed: we get a flush of them in the spring (there's still plenty to be had at the current time) then they die back in the heat of summer and return again in the fall. Look for them in partially shady areas.
The broad leaf and narrow leaf plantain love poor soil that is packed hard- we often find them near sunny or partially shaded foot-paths or between paving stones of walkways.
Mallow tree/bush (also called Rose of Sharon and also called Confederate Rose) is also good: both the flowers and the leaves.
 
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LasTortugasNinja

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My Russian LOVES the goat head weed/ puncture weed. My wife said it's made him worth it just for that alone.

LOL it's funny, since I was a kid, I HATED pulling weeds & doing yardwork. Now with a tortoise, my wife has the cleanest gardens she's ever had because I'm out every morning picking a meal for Koopa. LOL
 

Ruszian Tortoise

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Hi, Rus Zian Tortoise (my autocorrect keeps changing the Z to an s unless I put in the space...) I'm in Covington!!! :)
Some good local weeds down here are Sow Thistle (even edible for humans! But not particularly tasty- ), Broad Leaf Plantain and Narrow Leaf Plantain. And of course, Dandelions! My Hermann's tortoise LOVES all the native weeds!
...Plantain, as in banana type? Or is there a weed or leaf?
Sorry, thank you!
 

Moozillion

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Here's a photo of a nice broad leaf plantain from my back yard. They grow low and close to the ground. I think they're pretty! They do well in poor soil that's hard packed, where many other plants don't do well. And I've only ever seen them in part or dappled shade: never in full sun or deep shade.

IMG_5282.jpeg
 

Moozillion

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This is narrow leaf plantain- very similar to the broad leaf but with (drum roll...) NARROW leaves instead of broad! In our area, the narrow leafed plantain is much more plentiful than the broad leafed. it also grows low to the ground, but it can take more sun and I often find it between the stepping stones of our backyard. It's good for both tortoises and people, but I can't say that I've ever sampled it! My Hermann's Tortoise, Elsa Elizabeth, prefers the broad leafed plantain over the narrow leaf, for reasons known only to her... ?

IMG_8641.jpeg
 

Moozillion

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In my yard, THE most plentiful weed for tortoise food is sow thistle. It's not a thistle at all, that's just the name the settlers gave it. it's a cool weather weed: we get a flush of them in the spring, then they die back in the summer heat and come back again BIGGER when it cools off in the fall. Sow thistle grows low but not as low as the plantain weeds; and the leaves form around a center, like a rosette with the flower stalk in the middle (similar to how the plantains do). I find the easiest way to spot sow thistle is the yellow flowers on the tall, wiry stems that it puts up. it flowers right before it dies down, but they're not all synchronized, so you get sow thistle pretty much regularly for several months in the spring and again in the fall. This is my tortoise's absolutely FAVORITE weed! She eats the leaves, the flowers and the stems (but only when they're young and succulent- not once they've gotten wiry and hard).

There is another weed out there that looks a LOT like sow thistle. The only way I can tell the difference is 1) sow thistle makes yellow flowers and 2) the sow thistle leaves are often a little glossy, whereas the imposter is not glossy. I wish I could tell you better. ( I do NOT have a picture of that one)

If we didn't have the coronavirus lockdown going on, I would invite you over here for a walk-around to see what I'm talking about. For me, there's nothing like seeing things in real life to learn them.

Here is a small sow thistle with flower:
IMG_2012.jpeg

Here is a slightly bigger sow thistle that hasn't made a flower yet.
IMG_7327.jpeg
 

Ruszian Tortoise

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This is narrow leaf plantain- very similar to the broad leaf but with (drum roll...) NARROW leaves instead of broad! In our area, the narrow leafed plantain is much more plentiful than the broad leafed. it also grows low to the ground, but it can take more sun and I often find it between the stepping stones of our backyard. It's good for both tortoises and people, but I can't say that I've ever sampled it! My Hermann's Tortoise, Elsa Elizabeth, prefers the broad leafed plantain over the narrow leaf, for reasons known only to her... ?

View attachment 291377
Thank you! Plantain can have those cattail-like stalks? I noticed in your pictures.... these weeds: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/what-is-this-for-russian.181405/#post-1813711 (I think). Do you know what they might be? I think we've identified the first one. Again, thank you so much! ?
 

Moozillion

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Thank you! Plantain can have those cattail-like stalks? I noticed in your pictures.... these weeds: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/what-is-this-for-russian.181405/#post-1813711 (I think). Do you know what they might be? I think we've identified the first one. Again, thank you so much! ?
Yes, I find the narrow leafed plantain especially has the little cattail like stalk.
No, I'm afraid I don't know what that other one is.

Other weeds they can eat include Dollar Weed, which loves wet marshy ground. We have tons of dollar weed (AND crawfish castles, both of which drive my hubby nuts!!! ? )
 
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