Worried About my Hatchling Leopard Tortoise

baileypete

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I've had Victor, my leo, for almost 6 months now. Today I went home to feed him, I gave him some spring mix and mazuri pellets that I soaked in water and broke apart. While he has eating, I poured some water in his water dish, then when it looked like he wasn't chewing anymore I picked him up and put him by the dish to show him he has water. When I picked him up, he shot into his shell and then came out when I set him down. He then starting opening his mouth and then wiping it over and over again. I could see some food in his mouth and I got worried that he was choking. He soon spit up a piece of the food.. then took a drink of water and then walked back to his food to continue eating. I had to leave my house then, but now I'm just worrying about if he does that again. How likely is it for a tortoise to choke on food? Or possibly pass from it? I hope he's okay ):
 

Tom

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Its possible for them to choke. I wouldn't mess with them while they are eating. If you've had him for 6 months, he knows where the water is.
 

baileypete

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Its possible for them to choke. I wouldn't mess with them while they are eating. If you've had him for 6 months, he knows where the water is.
I won't be doing that again. And I'll also make sure to cut up his food more. Or use my food processor to chop his food so it's easier to eat.
 

crimson_lotus

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my water turtle has done that twice, scared me to death. I had to pull the food out from his throat. I make sure to thoroughly cut his shrimp and chicken now since his head is as big as my pinky finger.
 

Tom

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I won't be doing that again. And I'll also make sure to cut up his food more. Or use my food processor to chop his food so it's easier to eat.
In the case of tortoises, I think it is better to not cut up the food. When they bite a piece off, it can never be to big. The size of their beak is always the correct size for swallowing. When the food is cut up, they will try and swallow pieces that are oddly shaped or too big. The only time I've seen or heard of tortoises choking, it was on cut up food. I feed whole leaves, whole cactus pads, whole pumpkins to larger torts, etc..
 

Srmcclure

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I think they actually like it not cut up too. Mine definitely eat more when its not chopped up. They like to rip it up
 

baileypete

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In the case of tortoises, I think it is better to not cut up the food. When they bite a piece off, it can never be to big. The size of their beak is always the correct size for swallowing. When the food is cut up, they will try and swallow pieces that are oddly shaped or too big. The only time I've seen or heard of tortoises choking, it was on cut up food. I feed whole leaves, whole cactus pads, whole pumpkins to larger torts, etc..
I think they actually like it not cut up too. Mine definitely eat more when its not chopped up. They like to rip it up
Do you think it's safer? I do feel like it would be more difficult to eat if it was cut up a lot too.
 

Srmcclure

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Do you think it's safer? I do feel like it would be more difficult to eat if it was cut up a lot too.
I think so. Just like Tom said, their mouth is the perfect size for them to swallow. Mine only had issues when I cut the cactus in small pieces. Now I just cut the pad in half long ways so it looks like 2 full size pads with the insides exposed so its not cut up, just thinner for smaller mouths to tear into as my 2 are still fairly small
 

Tom

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Do you think it's safer? I do feel like it would be more difficult to eat if it was cut up a lot too.
I do feel like it is safer to feed whole leaves. This is what they've adapted to in the wild, and I think it is also good for their muscles and beaks, and I think its good for them psychologically. Tackling a big leaf can be a form of behavioral enrichment. My brand new hatchings get whole leaves from day one.

The exception is when I mix in grass. I cut that up into smaller lengths of about one inch for hatchlings. Longer strands sometimes have trouble working their way out, and I fear binding in the intestines. Admittedly, this has never happened to any of my babies, but I still cut up the grass to be on the safe side.
 

Srmcclure

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I do feel like it is safer to feed whole leaves. This is what they've adapted to in the wild, and I think it is also good for their muscles and beaks, and I think its good for them psychologically. Tackling a big leaf can be a form of behavioral enrichment. My brand new hatchings get whole leaves from day one.

The exception is when I mix in grass. I cut that up into smaller lengths of about one inch for hatchlings. Longer strands sometimes have trouble working their way out, and I fear binding in the intestines. Admittedly, this has never happened to any of my babies, but I still cut up the grass to be on the safe side.
I fed mine full blades once not knowing and the poor guy had it sticking out of his hind end after the soak 😅 after that I chopped the grass too. I forgot about that! Lol
 

Tom

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I think so. Just like Tom said, their mouth is the perfect size for them to swallow. Mine only had issues when I cut the cactus in small pieces. Now I just cut the pad in half long ways so it looks like 2 full size pads with the insides exposed so its not cut up, just thinner for smaller mouths to tear into as my 2 are still fairly small
I LOVE watching them munch away at a cactus pad. One notch at a time, the whole thing just disappears.

IMG_5478.JPG
 

Srmcclure

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I LOVE watching them munch away at a cactus pad. One notch at a time, the whole thing just disappears.

View attachment 310772
I can't wait until mine can tackle a pad like that! How do you feed the pads to little ones? I tried at first putting little pads in there and neither could punch through the skin, thats why I started to cut it thinner like I was fileting it lol
 

Tom

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I can't wait until mine can tackle a pad like that! How do you feed the pads to little ones? I tried at first putting little pads in there and neither could punch through the skin, thats why I started to cut it thinner like I was fileting it lol
I use small tender pads for my little hatchlings, even in their brooder boxes, and they are able to munch through the edges of the pads with no problem. I will sometimes do what you do and cut the pad in half to expose the delectable inside to them.
 

ManAlive85

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Do you guys have tortoises the won’t eat cactus pads?

My Indian Star eats a varied diet and she’s not shy to try new things but every time I give her a cactus pad, which aren’t especially cheap or easy to come by in the UK, it just sits on her feeding tile for a week or so until it ends up in the bin. She’s the same with aloe.
 

Srmcclure

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Do you guys have tortoises the won’t eat cactus pads?

My Indian Star eats a varied diet and she’s not shy to try new things but every time I give her a cactus pad, which aren’t especially cheap or easy to come by in the UK, it just sits on her feeding tile for a week or so until it ends up in the bin. She’s the same with aloe.
Mine love it so long as they can get to it...
 

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