Prickly Pear Prep

Ess

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Hey, so I found out part of my little leopards' diet is prickly pear cactus, I found some across the street on a mountainy area, growing wild, but it is not a spineless prickly pear cactus? Can My torts still eat it? And if so, is there a special way to prepare it?
 

ZEROPILOT

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Lots of keepers feed the whole thing. Spines and all. Just like a tortoise would eat it in the wild.
Because mine are NOT wild and can benefit from some human intervention, I remove the spines with a rag or a knife prior to feeding.
I have the spineless variety. It also has a few spines.
Yes. It's natural. But I can't imagine that a tongue and throat full of spines would be very pleasant.
 

Cathy05

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Lots of keepers feed the whole thing. Spines and all. Just like a tortoise would eat it in the wild.
Because mine are NOT wild and can benefit from some human intervention, I remove the spines with a rag or a knife prior to feeding.
I have the spineless variety. It also has a few spines.
Yes. It's natural. But I can't imagine that a tongue and throat full of spines would be very pleasant.
My desert tortoise loves the fruit. I go around and harvest in July/August by twisting off the fruit with tongs and knocking off the big needles. I then stab the fruit with the tongs to split it in half, makes it easier for her to pick up.As far as pads go, a tortoise vet I went to recently said they prefer the "new" pads with few needles. Personally, I pull the big needles and run a lighter around the furry, fine stuff. Best time is after the rain when the pad are plump and full of water. PS, I tried to freeze some fruit as the season is so short... they turned to mush.
 

Pearly

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My desert tortoise loves the fruit. I go around and harvest in July/August by twisting off the fruit with tongs and knocking off the big needles. I then stab the fruit with the tongs to split it in half, makes it easier for her to pick up.As far as pads go, a tortoise vet I went to recently said they prefer the "new" pads with few needles. Personally, I pull the big needles and run a lighter around the furry, fine stuff. Best time is after the rain when the pad are plump and full of water. PS, I tried to freeze some fruit as the season is so short... they turned to mush.
You can still freeze the seasonal stuff and then use the freshly defrosted mush as "salad dressing" for your torts greens. I used to use this strategy with very fussy eater - baby cherryhead.
 

Turtulas-Len

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My desert tortoise loves the fruit. I go around and harvest in July/August by twisting off the fruit with tongs and knocking off the big needles. I then stab the fruit with the tongs to split it in half, makes it easier for her to pick up.As far as pads go, a tortoise vet I went to recently said they prefer the "new" pads with few needles. Personally, I pull the big needles and run a lighter around the furry, fine stuff. Best time is after the rain when the pad are plump and full of water. PS, I tried to freeze some fruit as the season is so short... they turned to mush.
You can extend the shelf life of green opuntia fruit by cutting it off at the pad instead of twisting and breaking it off. Then you can store them in the shade in a cool area or put them in the refrigerator to feed later. When twisting them off the bottom of the fruit is broke open and they deteriorate quicker, I don't know why but they do. To remove the spines from the fruit I put some in a plastic flower pot and shake them around and by rubbing together the spines are loosened. You can rinse with water while still in the pot to clean the loose spines off.
 

Tom

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Hey, so I found out part of my little leopards' diet is prickly pear cactus, I found some across the street on a mountainy area, growing wild, but it is not a spineless prickly pear cactus? Can My torts still eat it? And if so, is there a special way to prepare it?
I would find a spineless variety and cultivate that.
 

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