Spinach?

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Snapper

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I have a question about spinach...I have read a lot of different sources that say spinach is toxic or not good for tortoises, but then other articles say it is ok in moderation. A lot of sources say to get a "spring mix" from the grocery store, but that always has spinach in it, so I have been removing the spinach, and also adding dandelions and clover.
Anybody feed spinach to their tortoise, and IS it ok?
 

Tom

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The problem is that it is high in oxalic acid, which binds up dietary calcium and makes it unavailable. On the other hand, its very high in iron and some other good stuff too. SOOOO, a little once in a while should be fine. Also depends on species. Some species seem more prone to the problems associated with spinach than others. I feed it to my sulcatas every once in a while.
 

dmmj

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I have never seen it listed as toxic, it is not toxic. Some people don't feed it all, and others do it in moderation. I personally don't feed it because of the high oxalic acid, but I don't think a little bit will hurt it.
 

tortoisenerd

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I'd rather substitute some greens that are lower in oxalic acid, so I never feed spinach (90% of the spring mix I buy doesn't have it anyways, but if it always did, I'd pick it all out--I just add it to our family's salads). Look up the oxalic acid content of spinach vs. dandelion greens and other stuff you normally feed to get an idea of what you are comfortable with.
 

Madkins007

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There are different ways to measure oxalates. Spinach runs about 50-90mg/100 grams of food which makes it about a medium risk food (I consider 100mg or higher to be a food of concern, and under about 40-30 to be safe).

Oxalates bind up to about 90% of the calcium in a given food, but does not affect other foods in the meal. Many foods that have white juices or a gritty feel have a lot of oxalates- like Lambsquarter, rhubarb leaves, dandelion stalks, etc. Serving a high oxalate food and a high-calcium/low-oxalate food balance out nicely.

SOME oxalates are good for an animal as they help scour the blood vessels and intestines, etc. They are usually passed harmlessly in the urine. However, if the animal is at all dehydrated (and pet tortoises are often dehydrated), the oxalates can concentrate in the bladder and may contribute to bladder stones (but that is not proven.)

Lets make this a bit more interesting. Many species of tortoises eat and seem to enjoy wild plants so high in oxalates that they are considered toxic to humans. Obviously, oxalates BY THEMSELVES are not a problem.

My bottom line on this is simple. I avoid HIGH oxalate foods, and use moderate oxalate plants in moderation or rotation- but also work to make sure my torts are properly hydrated, which I think is the real key to all of this.

http://growingtaste.com/oxalicacid.shtml is a good starting place for more.
 
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