What can they NOT eat?

JackieBlue

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So, there’s a LOT of information on what tortoises CAN eat. I’ve prepared - I’ve got mixed grasses, hibiscus, and am currently looking for a good cactus source.

Living in Florida, I’m looking around my yard and I see a LOT of possible food sources for my Hatchlings. Does anyone know what they canNOT eat? I have plumeria, fire bush, sunshine mimosa, and a HUGE variety of weeds. I’m concerned about giving them something they shouldn’t eat.
 

Tom

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So, there’s a LOT of information on what tortoises CAN eat. I’ve prepared - I’ve got mixed grasses, hibiscus, and am currently looking for a good cactus source.

Living in Florida, I’m looking around my yard and I see a LOT of possible food sources for my Hatchlings. Does anyone know what they canNOT eat? I have plumeria, fire bush, sunshine mimosa, and a HUGE variety of weeds. I’m concerned about giving them something they shouldn’t eat.
You have to take each plant one at a time. Identify it, and then do some research on toxicity. Some are well known for toxicity, like oleander or azaleas, but many others aren't really known or talked about. The list of things we can feed them is huge, so the safe bet os to not feed, or allow access to, anything you aren't sure of.

For ID help, there are some photo apps, you can post pics here, and you can go to a local nursery with samples and ask for help. There is almost always a local plant nerd who knows every plant in the area.
 

JackieBlue

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You have to take each plant one at a time. Identify it, and then do some research on toxicity. Some are well known for toxicity, like oleander or azaleas, but many others aren't really known or talked about. The list of things we can feed them is huge, so the safe bet os to not feed, or allow access to, anything you aren't sure of.

For ID help, there are some photo apps, you can post pics here, and you can go to a local nursery with samples and ask for help. There is almost always a local plant nerd who knows every plant in the area.
Exactly! It was my oleander that got me thinking about this..

So, in your experience, have you ever known a tort to eat something poisonous- as in, do you believe they have some instinct on what not to eat? The 2 I had in AZ never had this problem, but, the vegetation was also very limited (bougainvillea and bermuda) compared to what we have in FL. I’m just curious and will heed your advice. It’s a steep learning curve going from AZ to FL.. however, I’m finding it MUCH easier to control humidity in FL 🤣
 

Yvonne G

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One first has to know what species we're talking about. Different species have different tastes.
 

JackieBlue

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One first has to know what species we're talking about. Different species have different tastes.
My apologies- I thought I had made mention of my sulcata hatchlings, but my 2 year old is in rare form today and is constantly interrupting any iota of complete thought. 🤦‍♀️
 

Tom

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So, in your experience, have you ever known a tort to eat something poisonous- as in, do you believe they have some instinct on what not to eat?
Many tortoises die every year because people mistakenly believe that they know what to eat an not to eat. I see several a year with my vet friends that die from this. Yet people will argue: "They've survived for millions of years without our help. I think they know what to eat and what not to eat." This is fine for a native tortoise that grows up in a wild part of the natural range that hasn't been interfered with by humans, but where on earth does that exist anymore? A non-native tortoise in an American back yard, surrounded by plants from all over the world? Yeah. They will sometimes eat poisonous plants and die. If you let them.
 

JackieBlue

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Many tortoises die every year because people mistakenly believe that they know what to eat an not to eat. I see several a year with my vet friends that die from this. Yet people will argue: "They've survived for millions of years without our help. I think they know what to eat and what not to eat." This is fine for a native tortoise that grows up in a wild part of the natural range that hasn't been interfered with by humans, but where on earth does that exist anymore? A non-native tortoise in an American back yard, surrounded by plants from all over the world? Yeah. They will sometimes eat poisonous plants and die. If you let them.
Understood. Sense and logic rules the day again!
 

Yvonne G

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Sulcatas can't or rather, shouldn't eat fruit. Their systems can't handle it and it may cause a parasite bloom. They WILL eat anything, as shown in numerous posts about swallowing my necklace, swallowing a piece of styrofoam, swallowing a rock, etc.
 
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