Prickly pear needles dangerous ? !

Lulabee247

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Hi all, Iv been recently disgusted at a plant ordered from an actual tortoise company online. Will someone tell me if I’m wrong or right.
I ordered a prickly pear plant and it came looking nice and healthy, was so looking forward to feeding my tort a pad for something different but when I took one off I was in a very uncomfortable state for about 24 hours as I had a lot of tiny needles which I couldn’t see they so small, they were in my thumb and 3 fingers. So I obviously thought this is no good as tort food nor is it safe to put anywhere near her for decoration either.
so my question is …..
Is there some sort of preparation I have to do or should this plant have arrived fully edible ?
 

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Maro2Bear

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Greetings, sorry about the “thorns” in your fingers. Even “spineless” cactus will have some very fine spines called “glochids”.

Glochids or glochidia (singular "glochidium") are hair-like spines or short prickles, generally barbed, found on the areoles of cacti in the sub-family Opuntioideae. Cactus glochids easily detach from the plant and lodge in the skin, causing irritation upon contact. The tufts of glochids in the areoles nearly cover the stem surfaces of some cactus species, each tuft containing hundreds of glochids; this may be in addition to, or instead of, the larger, more conspicuous cactus spines, which do not readily detach and are not generally barbed.

Ok…all that said, tortoises easily eat, swallow & digest those littly pesky spines with no issues. I used to carefully hold the pad and take a kitchen knife and scrape those a bit, even trimming the very edge all around the pad. But as i read more & our Sulcata grew in size I realized that wasnt necessary.

So, if the spines are very small & almost out of sight, just cut up the pad and feed straight along with other normal foods. Too much of a good thing isnt good.

Good luck
 

wellington

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Your cactus arrived normal, nothing wrong by the seller.
Even the ones with spine are edible just remove the large spines.
A few ways to do this is to burn them off, scrape them off or use a food procedure to chop up the cactus fine along with most of the spines.
 

wellington

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🤐ok thankyou all I feel silly now
Don't feel silly. When I first got spineless cactus I did the same as you. Grabbed ahold of it and well not happy. I did know it could be fed but didnt know it still had spikes. Okay they felt like spikes even though they were tiny lol.
 

Tom

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Hi all, Iv been recently disgusted at a plant ordered from an actual tortoise company online. Will someone tell me if I’m wrong or right.
I ordered a prickly pear plant and it came looking nice and healthy, was so looking forward to feeding my tort a pad for something different but when I took one off I was in a very uncomfortable state for about 24 hours as I had a lot of tiny needles which I couldn’t see they so small, they were in my thumb and 3 fingers. So I obviously thought this is no good as tort food nor is it safe to put anywhere near her for decoration either.
so my question is …..
Is there some sort of preparation I have to do or should this plant have arrived fully edible ?
Welcome to my world! I have those damn glochids and tiny spines in me most of every year. I have 40 stands of "spineless" opuntia cactus of several types and I always manage to get stuck somehow. Doesn't bother the torts at all. I don't bother removing any of the spines anymore. I just hack off pads, put them in a bucket and then dump them onto food trays or hay piles for the torts. I've seen video and been told of tortoises in countries where there are no native cactus species of tortoise eating the fully spines versions of opuntia with no problem at all. Our own native desert tortoises eat the fully spiced types too. I can't imagine how they do this, but they do.

To handle them I wear thick over-sized rubber gloves. Don't use leather. Those spines are evolved to penetrate hides and protect the cactus from grazing animals. They go through leather like a hot knife through butter. You can still occasionally get poked by a spine, but the gloves really help and also protect you from the tiny glochids. I use to use a knife to cut them, but now I use a machete. It works much better.
 

MenagerieGrl

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Yes, the Glochids, are tough, I take tge pears with a pair of tongs and run them over the burner on the gas stove, singes them righ off, Yum, prickly pears!
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Hi all, Iv been recently disgusted at a plant ordered from an actual tortoise company online. Will someone tell me if I’m wrong or right.
I ordered a prickly pear plant and it came looking nice and healthy, was so looking forward to feeding my tort a pad for something different but when I took one off I was in a very uncomfortable state for about 24 hours as I had a lot of tiny needles which I couldn’t see they so small, they were in my thumb and 3 fingers. So I obviously thought this is no good as tort food nor is it safe to put anywhere near her for decoration either.
so my question is …..
Is there some sort of preparation I have to do or should this plant have arrived fully edible ?
Oh I hate that! It feels like fiberglass stuck in my fingers!
 

maggie3fan

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Think about this...there is nobody in the "wild" to deneedle cacti for the torts. I hate the damn things in my fingers...duct tape gets'em off. I have 5 or 6 pots of Opuntia cacti, at times I have to move them and no matter how careful I am, the cactus wins. lol

And Mary Knobbins won't eat them.
 

TheLastGreen

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A tip is to cover the area in butter, and drag a butter knife's edge accross the area where the glochids sit on your finger etc
 

ZEROPILOT

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Welcome to my world! I have those damn glochids and tiny spines in me most of every year. I have 40 stands of "spineless" opuntia cactus of several types and I always manage to get stuck somehow. Doesn't bother the torts at all. I don't bother removing any of the spines anymore. I just hack off pads, put them in a bucket and then dump them onto food trays or hay piles for the torts. I've seen video and been told of tortoises in countries where there are no native cactus species of tortoise eating the fully spines versions of opuntia with no problem at all. Our own native desert tortoises eat the fully spiced types too. I can't imagine how they do this, but they do.

To handle them I wear thick over-sized rubber gloves. Don't use leather. Those spines are evolved to penetrate hides and protect the cactus from grazing animals. They go through leather like a hot knife through butter. You can still occasionally get poked by a spine, but the gloves really help and also protect you from the tiny glochids. I use to use a knife to cut them, but now I use a machete. It works much better.
You can't trust a spineless cactus!
 

Maro2Bear

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Some people love him, some hate him, but Kamp Kenan demonstrates feeding both Mulberry & Cactus in this video (among other things).

I think about 11:30 in he starts with the spineless cactus…

 

ColumbiaJane

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It hurts me and amazes me to watch my tortoise eat cactus! They are truly remarkable creatures.
You can handle cactus by folding several layers of newspaper (or something similar) into about a 2” wide by length of paper strip and wrapping that around the cactus pad. Those little stickies won’t get through the layers of paper(hopefully)
 

teemo

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If you have a Mexican grocery near by (where I live we have Fiesta Mart all over town) you can get the cactus with the spines already removed. I was never brave enough to feed it with the spines in place. Was always a tortoise favorite when served!
 

RubyandPebbles

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Ridgeway
Hi all, Iv been recently disgusted at a plant ordered from an actual tortoise company online. Will someone tell me if I’m wrong or right.
I ordered a prickly pear plant and it came looking nice and healthy, was so looking forward to feeding my tort a pad for something different but when I took one off I was in a very uncomfortable state for about 24 hours as I had a lot of tiny needles which I couldn’t see they so small, they were in my thumb and 3 fingers. So I obviously thought this is no good as tort food nor is it safe to put anywhere near her for decoration either.
so my question is …..
Is there some sort of preparation I have to do or should this plant have arrived fully edible ?
I cut off all the little needles rinse it off than cut into small pieces for my tortoises
 

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