Tortoise salad addict- help !

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bobc

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Hi,
I am new to the forum , I hope this hasn't been covered before.
I have been given a Mediterranean Spur Thigh for my 60th, she is very tame and appears in good health , I live in rural Cyprus and the tortoise has the run of my 30sq.m vegetable garden , lots of variety of good foodstuff, but she turns her nose up at anything except lettuce , tomatoes and cucumber .
From what i have read on here she should be eating more rough "wild " foods. She rejects grape leaves ,hibiscus, prickly pear, wild grasses and the weeds among the veg. What do you suggest ? should I starve her to make her eat different foods? She came from a pet shop and has probably only ever eaten lettuce etc.

Bob
 

Yourlocalpoet

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Hi Bob, welcome to the forum! I think a dose of tough love is in order till you can get her eating a good variety. What kind of lettuce is it? From my experience when a tort only eats a few things you can stop giving them that completely and eventually they will eat what you offer, as the alternative is starving, (and trust me she won't do that.) Or wean her off it slowly, chopping up the stuff she likes and mixing it in with more variety, then slowly increase the amount of good food until the treat food they're addicted to is gone completely.
Hope that helps.
 

ekm5015

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Yup. I agree. Your tort need more variety than that. She will eat what you give her when she gets hungry enough. Just cut back on the food she likes and provide her with the stuff she doesnt want to eat.
 

dmmj

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welcome, you can do tough love meaning only giving her good food, a healthy tort won't starve itself, or you could trick it, mix good food in with the bad food and then slowly decrease the bad food until she is eating nothing but good food, if you go the trick route you need to finely cut the good food so she has to eat it along with the good stuff, like a food chopper or blender to make it finely cut. tough love is hard and not an easy route to go.
 

Stephanie Logan

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Well, once again I agree with David/dmmj.

This is seriously creeping me out.

Welcome to the forum, bobc! Post some photos of your picky eater so we can admire her (and her Cyprus environment)!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Bob:

Welcome to the forum!!

If your new friend has the run of your garden, chances are good that he/she's eating good stuff that you don't know about.
 

ISTortoiseLover

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I see alot of u guys saying "Tough love". So basically i have to give food that they won't eat, and leave it there till they get hungry enough and start consuming it eh?
 

bobc

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Thanks for the welcome and the advice folks, we have been out all day so Freddy ( I know its a girl but my grandson wanted to name it !)had no food given .She lives in a stone shelter next to the greenhouse in the shade and knows her way round the garden and does not get up until
9am and was back in her house when I got home . I could not resist taking her out , I notice she had scoffed a lollo rosso seedling from the garden and a bit of squash leaf . She had a drink and half a small cherry tomato (starts diet tomorrow ,like me ) and then it was full speed ahead back to her house - see photo. She is so tame and after only 1 week already has favourite places in the garden according to the sun and time but always makes it home before dark. I actively encourage the lizards and birds in the garden and as a result do not need insecticides .
I love to see animals living as they would in the wild and Freddy is the best present I could have had .
p.s. she weighs 230grams and her shell is 4" long , how old is she ? Bob
freddygoinghome.jpg

garden.jpg
 

DonaTello's-Mom

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What a nice home you have for your new friend, darn I'd love it there too! I'm sure Danny will be here
to help with the age of your tort. She looks very happy in her new home!
 

krushinem

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totally clueless as to what a turtle eats. there is a lot of useful information here and I am sure that my daughter wil appreciate this. This was like taking a biology class over again.
 

Terry Allan Hall

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ISTortoiseLover said:
I see alot of u guys saying "Tough love". So basically i have to give food that they won't eat, and leave it there till they get hungry enough and start consuming it eh?

Really, it's more like give food that they should eat, and leave it there till they get hungry enough and start consuming it, in place of food that isn't as good for them...much like children, who'll usually scarf down candy, cookies and cake, rather than broccoli, asparagus and liver, if given a chance. :)

bobc said:
Thanks for the welcome and the advice folks, we have been out all day so Freddy ( I know its a girl but my grandson wanted to name it !)had no food given .She lives in a stone shelter next to the greenhouse in the shade and knows her way round the garden and does not get up until
9am and was back in her house when I got home . I could not resist taking her out , I notice she had scoffed a lollo rosso seedling from the garden and a bit of squash leaf . She had a drink and half a small cherry tomato (starts diet tomorrow ,like me ) and then it was full speed ahead back to her house - see photo. She is so tame and after only 1 week already has favourite places in the garden according to the sun and time but always makes it home before dark. I actively encourage the lizards and birds in the garden and as a result do not need insecticides .
I love to see animals living as they would in the wild and Freddy is the best present I could have had .
p.s. she weighs 230grams and her shell is 4" long , how old is she ? Bob
freddygoinghome.jpg

garden.jpg

This is from a Hermann's site, but is reasonably accurate for most Testudo species:

Growth of healthy tortoise babies.

For a healthy rate of growth in your tortoise you are aiming for:

1 year - length of little finger

2 years - length of ring finger

3 years - length of middle finger

5 years - length of palm

10 years old - length of hand

Don't try to grow them faster. Aim for a slow, even growth like the wild ones.
http://www.jacquiscaptivebredtortoises.com/hermans_diet
 

bobc

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RE: Tortoise salad addict UPDATE

After a week of tough love , I am glad to report we have weaned Freddy away from salad. menu now includes cabbage, dry grapevine leaves ( wont touch fresh),dry grass and hibiscus flowers(not leaves), still loves lettuce and tomato of course but only gets them as a treat.I am now sure we can expand the diet further.
Thanks all for your advice and support
Bob
 

tortoisenerd

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I'd cut out the cabbage (too starchy) and tomato (too sweet), have the lettuce be only a small part of the diet, and focus on finding more weeds and greens to add to the list. You're looking for about 15-20 food items (at least) over the course of weeks or months to provide some good variety. You can feed all sorts of weeds and the greens of veggies (not tomato though) as long as you check first that they are non-toxic, and they are grown chemical free. The hibiscus leaves are good too if the tort will eat them. Even if the tort refuses something a couple times, if its a good food for them, just feed a coupe of those foods for a couple days. Don't want to the tort to turn into a spoiled brat. :) Some other good treats are cactus pads, butternut squash, pumpkin, and if you wanted to add a little bit of Mazuri Tortoise Diet or Grassland Tortoise Food.

Good news and good luck!
 
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