This means you can have exactly the right foods on offer at all times, without any concerns about pesticides, and no concerns about the tortoise being overfed, given that they can graze at their own natural pace. Growing tortoises and female gravid tortoises are particularlly needy of vitamin D3 and calcium for similar reasons (bone and/or egg shell formation). This should be the staple food to which grass clippings, clover, alfalfa and bean sprouts, dandelion flowers and leaves, and chopped mixed vegetables can be added. For those trying to raise desert tortoises in climates that require you to keep them indoors much of the year, where you may run out of or be unable to find fresh foods...just don't. Alfalfa hay is one exception: alfalfa has lots of protein but also an excellent calcium/phosphorous ratio. Some published diets for vegetarian reptiles include a lot of yams and sweet potatoes, something I would prefer NOT to feed in any significant quantities to a vegetarian reptile. Just as it cannot be based totally on what a tortoise will naturally eat in your yard should it be offered an enormous smorgasbord of food items. Vitamin and mineral supplements are NOT necessary and possibly even dangerous for tortoises living outdoors (as all tortoises SHOULD be living). These dietary suggestions or comments are not necessarily FACT, nor are necessarily CORRECT. In our previous article, we have been discussing desert tortoises but here our focus is on what do tortoises eat. One is that it is extremely varied (over 200 species of plant consumed), and it also varies significantly over range (some foods exist in some locations, but not in others). Saying that, following this paragraph I have somewhat summarized what I have gleaned from the pseudodata out there, and filtered some of the recommendations on diet from many different sources (it is amazing how many ‘reliable sources’ disagree with each other). There are a number of different products/methods of supplying additional calcium to your tortoise beyond that found naturally in the foods they eat. Can my desert tortoise eat basil? Add vitamin-mineral powder to these ingredients daily. False Solomon's Seal (False Spikenard, Treacleberry, False Solomons Seal, False Lily of the Valley, Solomon's Plume) Maianthemum spp., esp. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'tortoiseexpert_com-leader-3','ezslot_15',119,'0','0'])); Indian Star Tortoises can be thought of much like jungle tortoises, in as much as that they need a little bit of extra protein in their diet, although not quite as much. To say tortoises are immune to the toxic effects of some of these toxic plants they naturally eat is assuming a bit too much, but from what we can tell about them, they do seem to have a relatively high tolerance for some toxins… or perhaps they just don’t tend to eat a lot of each specific toxic plant. Turtles for up to a year can be fed daily, but do not leave food longer than 2-3 hours. Most tortoise diets contain lots of vitamin C anyway, so there is no reason whatsoever to add more. The desert tortoises are herbivores. Some foods should not be offered to captive tortoises because they are high in moisture (not in itself a detriment) and very low in nutritional value (lettuce of all varieties, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons). A yard with a lot of this and nothing else to nibble on might put some Desert Tortoises at risk for toxic ingestion. Obviously you want to limit the amount of toxins your pet tortoise eats. They may even appear completely healthy for years on a poor diet. It also may result in kidney failure, as the desert tortoise kidney is not designed to be filtering out large sized proteins from the blood stream. A good basic salad can … And the second take home point is sunlight is essential for tortoise growth and health (as it is for behavior, too)- mostly due to its ability to allow production of this vitamin by the tortoise. A diet too heavy in treats such as berries and fruit can cause health complications including diarrhea, kidney problems and malnutrition. Although sulcata will eat … Desert Tortoise Feeding. These … For example, Fescues (left and center) and Luzula (right), there are countless species of Carex that are ornamental as well as nutritious (Carex divulsa left, Carex petriei center and Carex testacea right), lawn grasses such as Bermudagrass and Kentucky bluegrass work well, too, though I would suggest more open dirt/soil spaces in a yard than the one above (gets a bit most in wet weather), Mustard Greens or Mizuna, Leeks and Swiss or Red Chard are excellent vegetables to add to a tortoise diet, Collard Greens are particularly high in calcium and excellent for tortoises. But my turtle and tortoise diets are close as I can … The marginated tortoise can no longer be collected and exported. Bok Choy and Dandien Greens are also good things to add to their menus, and yes kale and spinach are good additives to a tortoise diet, though I might not feed these exclusively. Desert tortoises are known to live as long as 60-80 years, ... (which binds calcium) such as parsley, purslane, amaranth, spinach, beet leaves, collards, Brussels sprouts. See more ideas about plants, tortoises, tortoise food. Though these raddish greens would never end up on the menu of a wild Desert Tortoise, they seem like a good plant to include in the diet of captive tortoises, These two plants growing in my yard (Vitus sp., or grape, left, and Morus alba, or dwarf Mulberry, right) are excellent sources of calcium, low in phosphorus, tasty and make excellent foods for my captive Desert Tortoise. but that doesn't mean the tortoise will eat it. Rarely would a tortoise be tempted to eat such a plant, but if that was all there was in its enclosure, it still might do it (photo by Toxicodendron), Oleander is EVERYWHERE in southern California (and probably many other places in warmer climates) since it is such an easy to maintain and drought tolerant plant, as well as fairly attractive. Desert tortoises in the wild eat a diet with a high Ca:P … Brumate (\"hibernate\") them just as an adult does, as in nature. linguiformis (Cow's Tongue Cactus) are both native species and important sources of water for Desert Tortoises, particularly in times of drought. Desert Tortoise Feeding. Desert Tortoise Diet Sheet ©1995 Melissa Kaplan . Most hard vegetables are acceptable as tortoises like the crunch … However, the amount of calcium tied up by the oxylates in these foods is probably significant only if these foods are fed as exclusive sources of a green diet. Mature tortoises should be allowed to graze in a grass-filled yard. Back to the top Enterprises, Mountain View, CA 94042; Reptovite, Verners Pet Products, Long Beach, CA 90807) should be sprinkled over moistened food daily, so the powder adheres. I do not say they never happen, but paranoia about planting a toxin-free yard when one has tortoises is probably just that, paranoia. However, they do eat some of the "less toxic" plants seeming with no ill effects. Smilacena racemosa Just because a tortoise eats something in nature, does not necessarily mean that something is good for them. Radiograph of tortoise showing it's not only full of eggs, but has a large wood screw in it (left); my own tortoise happily gobbling down a potentially toxic plant (to no ill effect I can determine), Bouteloua curtipendula (a Grama grass) left (photo frostweed)- this and many other native grasses make up a large bulk of the diet of wild Desert Tortoises; Alliona incarnata, or Trailing Four O'Clock, right (photo by Xenomorf) is one of just hundreds of native plants desert Tortoises feed upon each year in the wild. Much of what we have learned about desert tortoises has come from hundreds of different owners feeding them totally unnatural diets in captivity (sort of accidental experimentation) and seeing what the outcomes are. Ingestion of animal proteins also appears to result in faster-than-normal growth rates, which can result in a variety of skeletal deformities. Also avoid excessive foods in the Brassica family such as broccoli, ... can be left in the enclosure for the tortoises to eat at will. Instead of feeding them grapes, you can feed them other safer alternatives such as Grape leaves, spinach leaves. GARDENING WITH CALIFORNIA DESERT TORTOISES (Gopherus agassizi) ... Atriplex polycarpa (cattle spinach) Baileya multiradiata (desert marigold) Bouteloua curtipendula (side oats grama) Castilleja exserta ... Tortoises may choose to eat the dry matter later. However, the list of native foods these tortoises eat does teach us some things about their diet. Other vegetables such as squashes, zucchini, … There is also a pretty low level of protein in their diets (though some foods do contain quite a bit of protein), and there is absolutely not any dog food or iceberg lettuce in a native tortoise diet (unlike what this poor tortoise to the right here is eating in a local nature preserve). I would not call these necessarily 'bad' diet recommendations... desertmuseum.org - - more on just general Desert Tortoise Care, Read articles about: Gardening With Pets, Tortoises, Turtles. Worms, snails, slugs, millipedes, insect larvae, 'bugs' Pet or feed store foods. They are certainly quite unnatural (that does not make them bad) and probably completely unecessary if not dangerous. Mission | Captive tortoises tend not to consume as much fiber as their wild counterparts because of the type and variety of foodstuffs offered to them. Use leafy greens such as spinach and cabbage along with peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes and bell peppers. 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