Tortoise won’t eat anything except romaine lettuce.

mary2345

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My tortoise I’ve had him for a long time I’m gonna say at least five years and my family literally only fed him romaine lettuce that whole time!! So bad and I’m so sorry but I’m trying to get him to eat other things and I’ve been trying for weeks but he will not eat anything else like at all expect the lettuce I’ve tried apple slices (like peeled with a peeler” cucumbers tomatoes jicama bell peppers purple cabbage strawberries kale arugula like everything I can think of and he will not eat any of it and he won’t eat that torts is much stuff either only lettuce I’ve even tried disguising the food under lettuce but he LITERALLY SPITS IT OUT and I just don’t know what to do. He also is not drinking that much water because he just crawls out after a few gulps is that normal?? Thank you please help
 

Yvonne G

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What species? Most species shouldn't have fruit.

please post a picture of the tortoise. We'll be better able to help you once we know the species.
 

Lyn W

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If you post pics and tell us the species we can give you a caresheet link that will help you with everything.
To introduce new foods keep feeding the romaine but roughly tear it up and do the same with the new new foods and mix them together. Then gradually reduce the romaine and increase the new foods. Torts need variety - the caresheet will help you, as will www.thetortoisetable.org.uk which will help you ID safe weeds and plants. No fruit unless he a species like a redfoot.
Do you soak the tort at all? He may drink if you give him a warm shallow soak big enough for him to stretch out in.
 

mary2345

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If you post pics and tell us the species we can give you a caresheet link that will help you with everything.
To introduce new foods keep feeding the romaine but roughly tear it up and do the same with the new new foods and mix them together. Then gradually reduce the romaine and increase the new foods. Torts need variety - the caresheet will help you, as will www.thetortoisetable.org.uk which will help you ID safe weeds and plants. No fruit unless he a species like a redfoot.
Do you soak the tort at all? He may drink if you give him a warm shallow soak big enough for him to stretch out in.
This is him 1615696897754.jpeg
 

RosemaryDW

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I’m going to assume you are not a troll and are really looking for help.

If your tortoise has been eating one food for a long time it’s going to take a long time to get him used to another. Introduce one new food at a time. Cut it up into tiny tiny pieces, wet it and mix in a little bit with the romaine. Just a little. He’ll get an idea of the taste and over time you can reduce the amount of romaine and increase the good stuff. Then you can try a new food and so forth. Tortoises are very stubborn and have all the time in the world so you are going to need to be patient. He’s not buying that romaine himself so it’s up to you to be patient and not give in; he can go a long time without eating but I promise he will not starve himself to death. I believe my Russian ate little besides romaine before we found her; she took five months to transition to healthy foods, some tortoises take longer.

Your toroitse is mainly a grass eater; if you cannot provide safe, fresh grass for him you will need to provide him dry Timothy hay or orchard grass hay, which you can usually find from an animal feed store (not the pet store). You will have to soak it for a while, maybe always, to get him to eat it.

Do not feed fruit, such as tomatoes (they’re a fruit, who knew?!) or strawberries, his system is not built to digest them. As for eating jicama, he is unlikely to ever want it.

Here is a good list of native tortoise foods you can grow: https://azeah.com/sites/default/files/natplantdestort08.pdf and another of foods that aren’t native but are safe: https://azeah.com/reptiles-amphibia...dible-plants-and-weeds-tortoises-land-turtles. I do not own a grass eating tortoise so others on this forum will have additional/better food advice.

If you are looking to grow something yourself here is a good seed mix, especially if he gets the opportunity to browse outside: http://www.carolinapetsupply.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=126&products_id=689.
 

mary2345

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Queen creek Arizona
I’m going to assume you are not a troll and are really looking for help.

If your tortoise has been eating one food for a long time it’s going to take a long time to get him used to another. Introduce one new food at a time. Cut it up into tiny tiny pieces, wet it and mix in a little bit with the romaine. Just a little. He’ll get an idea of the taste and over time you can reduce the amount of romaine and increase the good stuff. Then you can try a new food and so forth. Tortoises are very stubborn and have all the time in the world so you are going to need to be patient. He’s not buying that romaine himself so it’s up to you to be patient and not give in; he can go a long time without eating but I promise he will not starve himself to death. I believe my Russian ate little besides romaine before we found her; she took five months to transition to healthy foods, some tortoises take longer.

Your toroitse is mainly a grass eater; if you cannot provide safe, fresh grass for him you will need to provide him dry Timothy hay or orchard grass hay, which you can usually find from an animal feed store (not the pet store). You will have to soak it for a while, maybe always, to get him to eat it.

Do not feed fruit, such as tomatoes (they’re a fruit, who knew?!) or strawberries, his system is not built to digest them. As for eating jicama, he is unlikely to ever want it.

Here is a good list of native tortoise foods you can grow: https://azeah.com/sites/default/files/natplantdestort08.pdf and another of foods that aren’t native but are safe: https://azeah.com/reptiles-amphibia...dible-plants-and-weeds-tortoises-land-turtles. I do not own a grass eating tortoise so others on this forum will have additional/better food advice.

If you are looking to grow something yourself here is a good seed mix, especially if he gets the opportunity to browse outside: http://www.carolinapetsupply.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=126&products_id=689.
No no not a troll I’m sorry I just wasn’t home to take a picture of him this is him and thank you for the advice and ok I will not try to feed him anymore fruit. Thank you again have a good rest of your day
 

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RosemaryDW

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No worries. You’d be surprised how often we get trolled; it’s a tortoise forum; how boring!! lol

He’s very handsome. Do some searches here just using the words “desert tortoise” and you will find lots of good info.

Good luck, I’m sure you can do it. Stay strong. :)
 

Maggie3fan

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No no not a troll I’m sorry I just wasn’t home to take a picture of him this is him and thank you for the advice and ok I will not try to feed him anymore fruit. Thank you again have a good rest of your day
No!! You won't "try", you will not feed anymore fruit. Desert tortoises don't have kidneys that process the sugar in fruit the way ours does. He may not be showing the effects of a bad diet now, remember, tortoises don't show weakness or sickness until they are very sick. So I am really asking you to please no fruit. You want him to be around for a while don't ya? Read comment #7, She has told you exactly how to change his diet. Remember...he can only eat what YOU feed him
 

RosemaryDW

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Oh, @mary2345, I should have said that the easiest first step would be to move him over to some lettuces that have less sugar in them and are thus healthier for him. These are the bitter chicories: escarole; frisee; radicchio, endive, escarole. They are usually down at the “expensive” side of the lettuce area. If your store sells the Ready Pac brand of lettuce the Santa Barbara mix is all bitter chicories so is an easy choice. These really are quite bitter so start very small.

You may even find something labeled dandelions with them. They don’t look like the dandelions you and are used to; they are actually a dandelion relative and a good food. They don’t last as long as the other ones so I tend to store mine wrapped in a couple of paper towels to keep them from getting mushy.

You can throw in some turnip tops, radish tops, arugula, watercress, mustard, bok choy down the line. Not so much as the lettuces but they have a lot of calcium for him. Then probably introduce the grass last.

I also didn’t say “Welcome!” My apologies, I didn’t check your “joined” date.
 

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