Rethinking Redfoots and protein?

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DoctorCosmonaut

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So I was doing some reading and surfing around about Redfoots (as I occasionally do), and I came across this from some places called "Academic dictionaries and encyclopedias":

"It was once thought that feeding pet Red Foots moistened dog or cat food once a week or so would take care of their nutritional needs. However, it is now known that this practice leads to malnutrition, stunted growth, improper shell growth, and can ultimately kill the animal. Dog and cat foods contain far too much protein for these tortoises to process which is why it is also important not to feed these tortoises meat." (source: http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/1375958)

Did I miss the memo? Has anyone else seen articles or research on this? Is this something new? Maybe even in our community?

How many people out there don't provide their Redfoots with animal protein?

PS I am NOT arguing for what this article says, I am asking what the community has to say...
 

Redfoot NERD

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Not sure what others [ in the redfoot community ] mean when they say they will never feed their redfoot dry dog or cat food.. because they seldom say or probly even know why.

When feeding dry dog or cat food for one I believe it's vital that they have plenty of room to exercise because of the high fat content.

Andy Highfield wrote that in 2002..(?)

NERD
 

Candy

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I didn't think that you meant dry dog or cat food when you wrote your post Jordan now I'm confused. Terry wrote dry is that what you meant? I didn't think that that sounded like a good idea to feed them dog or cat food and now I'm glad that when I tried it Dale said "No way I'm eating that stuff". :p :D I don't feed Dale or Ruby or Eddie dog or cat food. I don't even feed my dog that. :D I give them protein once in a while, but not very often. I don't know why I was surprised to read it but they actually eat them there. Thank God Dale's with me now. Lucky tortoise to get out of there when he did. :) I bookmarked it.
 

PeanutbuttER

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Isn't that a russian site translated into english? I've never really considered the russians to be redfoot experts before... :p

Also, the snippet from the article is making the point that feeding them twice a week only with dried dog food is bad. Well, if you fed your redfoot only twice a week with dried dog food, and cut out all fruits and greens then who'd be surprised at all that that's unhealthy. When evaluating diets (and basically all health related "schemes") it's important to check how balanced a solution it is. The only twice a week dog food diet seems pretty unbalanced to me in favor of protein only...

I don't see anywhere in there where it expressly says feeding them dried cat/dog food twice a week balanced with feeding them greens and fruits during the rest of the week is bad. All I see is a statement saying that feeding solely dried dog/cat food is bad. I can see that second sentence where they say "don't give them meat, it's too much protein" but given the context I'm inclined to say that they meant "don't feed them ONLY meat because that's too much protein" (and too little of everything else.)
 

lvstorts

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90% of the dog and cat food on the market is crap. It's all fillers and the small amount of protein in it is dead. I think the article is refering to these types of dog/cat food.

Has anyone seen the video taken in S. America by a biologist researching Redfoots? He's got documentation of a Redfoot ambushing a ground nesting bird and eating the chicks and eggs. It's also widly known Redfoots eat carion for their protein and calcium needs.

My personal opinion is take the feeding lessons directly from the torts that are in the wild, they know what they need, and tweak them to fit captitivy.

I think animal protein (as well as plant protein) is a necessary part of the Redfoots diet.
 

Madkins007

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In the 'old days', it was often suggested that weekly or so feedings of dog and cat foot- wet or dry, canned or kibble, would be a pretty complete diet for a lot of turtles and tortoises. Reptile care books now show horrible photos of the results of such bad diets.

Some people still use such diets to get several species of tortoises to force their tortoises to mating size quickly.

A couple things about Red-foots and protein need to be remembered:
- No one has ever shown that protein is a vital part of a Red-foot diet- in fact, many keepers report good reproductive rates, longevity, and growth with no 'meat' at all.
- They do eat 'meat' in the wild, but it is mostly worms, termites and butterflies, which are basically blobs of fatty protein- no real vitamin D3, etc. They will feast on carrion when they can, but with so much competition, they probably do not get the chance regularly.


I agree with several authors who suggest that the OCCASIONAL use of most kinds (canned or kibble) of low-fat, good quality pet foods is OK as one option for meat in a varied diet.
 

TORTOMANIA

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why not feed mazuri tortoise diet, which is essentially dog food formulated for tortoises.
it's fairly cheap, and contains proper levels of protein.
I only use it once a week
I fear people only use dog and cat food because it is readily available
 

Kristina

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What is the "proper" level of protein? How is it measured from species to species?

Also, vegetable protein and meat protein are a bit different. I will concede that dry cat or dog food is going to contain a lot of vegetable and grain matter. That is why I don't use it. I prefer lean fish and insects/worms. I don't do fillers, which is actually the reason I don't feed Mazuri. Out of the available prepared diets it is certainly the best, but I feel that a varied diet of greens, fruits and meat "snacks" can't help but be MUCH better.
 

terryo

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I feed Pio a piece of boiled chicken (white meat) once every two weeks now. I see him digging for worms a lot when he's outside so I don't really give him much protein.
When the weather starts to get cooler, I start feeding my boxies canned dog food sprinkled with vitamins, besides their regular food, for a few weeks before they hibernate.
 

cdmay

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kyryah said:
What is the "proper" level of protein? How is it measured from species to species?

Also, vegetable protein and meat protein are a bit different. I will concede that dry cat or dog food is going to contain a lot of vegetable and grain matter. That is why I don't use it. I prefer lean fish and insects/worms. I don't do fillers, which is actually the reason I don't feed Mazuri. Out of the available prepared diets it is certainly the best, but I feel that a varied diet of greens, fruits and meat "snacks" can't help but be MUCH better.

KYRYAH is hitting the nail on the head...who really knows what actual protein needs of a tortoise are? Many tortoise species are recorded as consuming dead animals they encounter in the wild but how often does this actually happen? How much of what they are eating is flesh as compared to the bone, feathers or scales?
She also points out that most commercially available 'pet' foods contain grain fillers as does the so called wonder food, Mazuri Chow. Personally, I limit how much of these things I feed.
I also agree with Madkins007 in that even with species like red foot tortoises, elongated tortoises and the hingebacks that seem to relish animal protein in the wild, the vast majority of what they have been observed eating has been invertebrates.
Like we do with most of the animals we care for like cats, dogs tropical fish and so on, we probably are feeding our tortoises way too much and with foods that are entirely too rich in fats and fillers.
 
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