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New tortoise owner

Discussion in 'Marginated tortoises' started by Becca267, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    We are the new owners of a marinated tortoise. He's about 3 1/2 years old and seems rather timid. I didn't think he was eating for a while, but then caught him snacking on some plants in his enclosure and found some poop, so I'm assuming we're all good. Poor guy still needs a name. We're auditioning a few. (Tank, Lithops, Rock...) Totally new to tortoises.

    20170325_172109.jpg
  2. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Now that is a handsome tortoise. Yes, they can be very shy when you first acquire them and plop them down into a new environment. Much will depend upon how he was kept previously, though judging by the look of him, whoever had him last did an outstanding job in the feeding/environmental maintenance department. Make sure to soak him often. I find they are most ready to eat following a twenty to thirty minute soak in lukewarm water. Also, I don't know where in the country you live, but here in South Texas, I've had all of mine in their outdoor runs since pulling them from brumation in mid February. Nothing like natural graze, cool nights, and sunny days to bring about the best in a marginated tortoise.

    T.G.
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    What a pretty tortoise. . . and Welcome to the Forum!
  4. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Ours is outside now too. We've had such and early spring this year (in DFW).
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Hello and welcome. Gorgeous tortoise.
  6. ZippyButter

    ZippyButter Member 10 Year Member!

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    Welcome to the Forum. Beautiful tort you have. Mine is the same size at your and crazy about walking my entire backyard to munch on weed, wild flowers...
  7. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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  8. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Today he's spent time wandering around eating ants after a soak. Maybe he's starting to get used to being here.
  9. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Plants, not ants... can't figure out how to edit a post on my phone.
  10. Jabuticaba

    Jabuticaba Well-Known Member

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    Hello. Nice looking Margie! I love the name Lithops. :)
  11. Grandpa Turtle 144

    Grandpa Turtle 144 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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  12. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Plants, ants, they kind of go hand in hand anyway!
    JoesMum likes this.
  13. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    I have a new question. Our tortoise seems to just be a shy guy (or maybe we aren't around when he gets active). Anyway, he never seems to eat any of the food we put out. I have seen evidence of him eating and seen him eat plants that are planted in his enclosure. Should I worry that he ignore the food we put out? Is there something special I should try to get him interested?

    I'm going to do a bit of work in his enclosure this weekend (add additional plants, adjust his hide, create new hide near his preferred hang out spot), so any and all ideas are welcome.
  14. tglazie

    tglazie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    So he never eats the food you put out? Interesting. What are you putting out exactly? What do you have planted in the enclosure? The person you got this fella from, did he raise the tortoise in a planted enclosure, basically arranging for a free range sort of lifestyle, or did he keep him in a bare enclosure with regular meals? Something in between?

    Ultimately, I'd figure it probably isn't a big deal. So long as he drinks, maintains weight, and poops on the regular, he should be fine. Change up the food offerings, though. Always strive for variety. And grow some stuff outside the enclosure so you can offer other things, things that he doesn't see every day on his trot about the enclosure. Sometimes they just don't want to eat what you give them. For instance, I went into Biggins and Whitins enclosure the other day to offer them some cactus flowers that had been going crazy up until the middle of this week, and generally speaking, I never meet a tortoise that doesn't dig cactus flowers. I mean, they sprout for this limited rainy period in the spring here in South Texas, and so when they do show up, I pick every single one I can, and the tortoises' main diet for the week, the principle ingredient of their meals, if you will, is cactus flowers. They all love this stuff this time of year, especially my baby radiateds, but that's off topic. Anywho, I go around dropping each animal their ration of cactus flowers before I run off to pick mulberry and grape leaves along with some rose of sharon and hibiscus flowers, and every single tortoise eventually starts eating, except for Whitins. I mean, it's morning, and while everyone else is basking, she's already dashing about, smelling everything she comes across, but she took one look at this precious cactus flower and decided that she was too good for it. So, I got some mulberry, some grape, some assorted flowers. She turns her nose up at this too. So, I just let her be. Yeah, she hurt my feelings, and I considered pinching off some purslane or chickory, see if I could win her attention with that, but before I knew it, Biggins ran on by and finished what she left behind, so I figured, well, there's plenty of dichondra, dandelion, and various clovers still growing. Whitins would have to simply subsist on that. Next day, I throw down another cactus flower, and she takes it down like she's never had better. Tortoises are weird.

    I also have a couple that refuse to eat in front of me. Marge and Little Gino are two of these. Little Gino just wants his space. I can watch him eat so long as I am at least fifteen feet away most of the time. Marge, though, that little lady was raised completely free range by her previous owner. The only care she received was two meals per week and a bath at the end of it. As a result, her growth is quite uneven, consistent with the low nutrition, topsy turvy wet/dry conditions that characterize our climate here. And let me tell you, that little lady is completely wild. She won't eat in front of me. If I want to watch that little lady eat, I have to stand on a chair forty feet away from her enclosure with a pair of binoculars. Thankfully, she's adapted to life in her enclosure, and she doesn't remain enclosed in her shell during her weekly baths anymore, but she will still run for cover any time I walk anywhere near her, unless she thinks she's successfully concealing herself beneath a bush or bunch of closely grown weeds.

    But yes, bottom line, if you have evidence he's eating, the only thing you need to change is what you're offering him. Try different things, see how he takes to them.

    T.G.
  15. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    I have tried collards, parsley, dandilions, daylily flowers, petunia flowers, (which he eats off the plant), red lettuce, grape leaves, and prickly pear cactus pads. As well as some grassland tortoise food. Nada.

    He was raised in a bare pen with no plant cover, rockes, etc. He was only with other marginated when we picked him up (owner had multiple males for sale at the time all together), but his previous owner had lots of different species mixed in some of his other pens.

    He comes out of his shell when we soak him and when we run his "belly". We try not to handle him too much. He definetly doesn't come running when he sees us. Just a shy guy we guess.
  16. RosemaryDW

    RosemaryDW Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    Yup, tortoises are weird. :) If mine started being consistent in her likes and dislikes, I'd take her to the vet for a checkup!

    Keep offering variety, as mentioned above.

    Hopefully he'll become less shy over time.
  17. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    I added two hibiscus plants to his enclosure yesterday and caught him eating a flower today. Had to be really sneaky but I caught him.
    RosemaryDW likes this.
  18. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Tonight Petunia (yes we ended up naming him after his favorite plant) was caught eating a hibiscus flower, a few bites of mint, red clover, 1 or 2 other plants. I still worry a lot about his eating. Still only grazes, never eats out of the food dish.
  19. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Caught someone eating the food we put out in his dish! Yay Petunia. Apparently some dandelion greens and parsley were (finally) the magic combination.
  20. Becca267

    Becca267 Member

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    Petunia says Peek-a-boo! A little over a year later and he's doing great. Still shy, but eating food we put out pretty regularly and enjoying his outdoor digs.

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