Thinking out loud: 'Nutritional wisdom'

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New Member
5 Year Member
Jan 8, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Northeastern USA
Back to the subject of tortoises gorgeing on unhealthy or even healthy foods, I did a bit of an experiment.

My manouria relish certain things, though they won't eat them in exclusion of thier greens, they will fill up on the ''goodies'' first and usually leave some greens behind. The amount that they appreciate a given item corresponds with how often and when it was last offered.
For example:
My manouria love grated sweet potato and go nuts over it, but since it has been offered daily for the last three or four days as a thin topping on thier greens, they treat it like greens.

What I did today is bombarded them with favorite food items, items they haven't had for a long time, while others that they have been enjoying, but are typically sporadic and on the list of exceptional foods, as well as a new food that they should certainly prefer over the rest, but have never had. The food was as follows:

Turnip greens-staple
chicory/dendelion greens-staple
optunia pads-new as of last week, but has been a staple since
spring mix-staple as of the last 3 weeks
kale-has been used in small amounts the last week
beet greens-has been used sparingly and sporadically
chard-same as beets
mustard greens-has been used with regularity since the spring mix has entered the cool season diet
collards-have been useing in minute amounts throughout the Summer, now more frequently
spinach-I leave a few leaves in the Spring mix, but pick out most of it

That is there ''basic'' diet right now

''Goodies'': These are used in rotation and all are eagerly eaten by the torts

grated sweet potato
grated winter squash
grated parsnips
over ripe bananas
cactus fruits
squash blossoms

What I did was give them the basic diet and add to it mushrroms, which they love, but hadn't had in the last month, then I added a new item...very ripe figs(expect this to be the preferred item and be gorged on), and the had sweet potato.

The tortoises at everything eagerly, but hey ate lots of optunia, followed by mushroom, then fig, then greens, then more optunia, sweet potato, mushroom, fig, greens, and so forth. They kept goin until all of the preferred foods were eaten and left some greens, but they ate a wide range of foods and did not just pick out the yummy fruit or the old favorite mushrooms. I attribute this less to instinct or them excersising moderation and more to them having had a steady diet of nutritous items all aong with at least a daily ration of a preferred food item...they never have experienced famine or times without food item that they enjoy. They will eat just greens as well, with no preferred food items. They eat until they are full, regardless what the iem or items are. Now if I put down a plate of greens and one of fig, I would expect the fig to be empty and the greens to be grazed, but with some left behind. If I presented figs alone, they would eat it in excess, if that was what was available to make them feel full. I think they eat until full, starting witht he tastiest foods, but will eat until fool and not exclude known food items in the presence of preffered items in lesser amounts, of the known food items are needed to make them full.
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