Safe cactus to feed?

dawsonpan

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Hey everyone! I have a cactus that I grew from one pad. I bought it and was sold and plainly stated as 'opuntia'. I'm wondering what type it is and if it's tortoise safe. Thanks!
Here are the pics:
 

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Tom

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Yes. Good tort food. Plant more of it!

I feed that type to all of my tortoises of all ages two or three times a week for most of every year. It goes dormant in our CA "winters", but I still feed mature pads to the larger sulcatas and leopards all winter long too.
 

dawsonpan

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Yes. Good tort food. Plant more of it!

I feed that type to all of my tortoises of all ages two or three times a week for most of every year. It goes dormant in our CA "winters", but I still feed mature pads to the larger sulcatas and leopards all winter long too.
Oooo that's great to know, I'll definitely feed more once it becomes more established or else t will be gone in a week 😂 I worried abut the tiny spikes coming out of it. Granted I have seen some videos of tortoises eating cacti covered in spikes 😅
Thanks!
 

dawsonpan

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Does anyone know if its native to the southwest or what species it is? It'd be great to know too, thanks~.
 

Tom

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Oooo that's great to know, I'll definitely feed more once it becomes more established or else t will be gone in a week 😂 I worried abut the tiny spikes coming out of it. Granted I have seen some videos of tortoises eating cacti covered in spikes 😅
Thanks!
There are two types of spines on spineless cacti. Some of them still grow a few random small spines and all of them produce tiny little, almost microscopic little glochids. I HATE those damn glochids. The bane of my existence!

I recommend you handle your pads with thick, over-sized rubber gloves. I cut them with a sharp knife or a machete.

The spines and glochids are of no concern whatsoever to the tortoises. They just eat them and are completely "immune" to them. I used to carefully remove all the spines, and then I saw video of wild radiata munching on fully spined non-native opuntia in Madagascar. That was several years ago and I haven't removed any spines since then.
 

Tom

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Does anyone know if its native to the southwest or what species it is? It'd be great to know too, thanks~.
I have 12 varieties. I don't know the scientific names of any of them, or where they come from, but all of them are from the Americas.
 

dawsonpan

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There are two types of spines on spineless cacti. Some of them still grow a few random small spines and all of them produce tiny little, almost microscopic little glochids. I HATE those damn glochids. The bane of my existence!

I recommend you handle your pads with thick, over-sized rubber gloves. I cut them with a sharp knife or a machete.

The spines and glochids are of no concern whatsoever to the tortoises. They just eat them and are completely "immune" to them. I used to carefully remove all the spines, and then I saw video of wild radiata munching on fully spined non-native opuntia in Madagascar. That was several years ago and I haven't removed any spines since then.
Aha that's what they're called. No kidding lol 😅. They were one of the reasons why we started to buy the nopales from the market because their glochids had been removed. But of course buying them every other week is pricey in the long run so I wanted to see if any of the cactus I currently have are edible.

I'll definitely use gloves lol 😅 No chances taken there!

Ohhh I always wondered how they could ingest them without issues because looking at them eat those pads really look painful sometimes lol. It's really something.

Thank you for your reply!!! :D
 

dawsonpan

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I have 12 varieties. I don't know the scientific names of any of them, or where they come from, but all of them are from the Americas.
Ohhh wow, that's a lot lol.
Cool so I take it that opuntia are native to the Americas then. That's good to know too. Thanks~!
 

RosemaryDW

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Ohhh I always wondered how they could ingest them without issues because looking at them eat those pads really look painful sometimes lol. It's really something.
Tortoises have hard gums/bone structure; they are nothing like puny humans!

I don’t know that I would feed one of the massively spined varieties to a very small tortoise but only because I’d rather not take a chance with getting anything in an eye. I’m pretty sure even that is overkill but my Russian is one of the smaller tortoises. I think your tortoise is good sized? In that case I’m with Tom all the way, let him have at it. Desert and Gopher tortoises eat all kinds of bristles in the wild and I don’t think of either of them as large.
 

dawsonpan

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Tortoises have hard gums/bone structure; they are nothing like puny humans!

I don’t know that I would feed one of the massively spined varieties to a very small tortoise but only because I’d rather not take a chance with getting anything in an eye. I’m pretty sure even that is overkill but my Russian is one of the smaller tortoises. I think your tortoise is good sized? In that case I’m with Tom all the way, let him have at it. Desert and Gopher tortoises eat all kinds of bristles in the wild and I don’t think of either of them as large.
Ahhh that's true. Yea I have a few different torts and varying sizes lol but I can always cut them to smaller pieces with less or no spikes before I feed them. I'll definitely take size into consideration then. Thanks!
 
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