Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Variety, variety, variety!

When you ask a tortoise expert what to feed your tortoise, the first thing you will be told: VARIETY! There is no ONE plant that is perfect for tortoises. In the wild, they graze, and they get all the nutrients they need by eating a wide variety of foods.

Shelton, our foster tortoise, refuses to eat store-bought foods. He won't even touch romaine, which is normally a treat for my other tortoises! Weeds, on the other hand, he will tear into like there is no tomorrow. He ate the entire pile you see below.

Shelton chowing down - no more hunger strike!
On today's menu: dead nettle, miner's lettuce, dandelion flowers and leaves, thistle,
and broad-leaf plantain.
Different tortoises prefer different plants - even within a species. Some of my Russians are little piggies that will eat anything, others are very picky. I try to offer a wide variety, so that everyone will eat and thrive.

Timmy enjoying some strawberry leaves, sedum, raspberry leaves, and violet leaves and flowers
As the seasons change, different plants grow in my garden, in my friends' gardens, and near our home. Of course I make sure none of the plants I harvest have been sprayed or are too close to roads. I enjoy collecting food for my tortoises - it is part of my weekly routine. Except for December and January, I don't purchase food for my torts.

Boo enjoying some sedum, violet, and strawberry leaves
I know that for new tortoise owners, the prospect of memorizing edible plants might feel daunting. I recommend printing off this (good but incomplete) list of edible plants HERE. There is also a good list HERE. Maybe you can memorize just one or two at a time. It is best to err on the side of safety, never feed your tortoise something you aren't sure about.

IMPORTANT: please make sure the plants have not been treated with chemicals. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be visible after moderation.