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How long can a tortoise survive without food?

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Sunrise, Nov 19, 2009.

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  1. Sunrise

    Sunrise New Member

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    Anyone know how long can a tortoise fasting without food?
    let say if you are going away for a week or more...how long can they live without food?

    maybe adult can last longer than the baby?

    TIA
     
  2. bettinge

    bettinge Member

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    Untill he dies! Just kidding. I would think temperature comes into play a bit here. If its warm, they will use up reserves. If its cold they will hibernate and, some species can go many months without food!
    If the habitat is cool, they may not leave their rest area at all to look for food!
     
  3. spikethebest

    spikethebest Active Member

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    well humans can do a long time, but would any human want to go more than a day without food? i know i wouldnt. so i could never let my torts go through that.

    i would never put my tortoise through an experience that i am not willing to do myself.
     
  4. Shelly

    Shelly New Member

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    I heard of a desert tortoise that was lost for 2 & 1/2 years before being discovered beneath a house. The foundation of house had had work done on it, exposing crawl space. After it was sealed off tort was trapped inside, but nobody thought to look there for the tort, which they assumed had escaped through a gate. Tort was skinny, dehydrated but otherwise OK, and survived.
     
  5. Kadaan

    Kadaan Member

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    I wouldn't feel too bad going away for a couple days, as even in nature they don't get regular daily meals. Anything longer than that, you may want to have someone come by and feed them every other day or put a bunch of live plants in the enclosure.

    I went on vacation for 5 days, and about a month before my trip I planted some Mesclun mix in a planter and put it in the enclosure the day I left. When I came back it was about half eaten. I'm going to be gone for 6 or 7 days over Christmas, and have the same planter already regrown with even more than before :).
     
  6. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    I would never leave my animals alone for over a week. Especially with as many and hard to get Stars as you have said you have. And you also have an Aldabran? I personally wouldn't leave my animals with out food for 1 day, let alone over a week. You either need someone to go in and feed or you shouldn't go. The upkeep and care of those tortoises is your responsibility, they depend on you to feed them and keep them healthy and active, and to leave them without food is borderline animal abuse.
    It upsets me even to read about it. Don't leave for over a week if you don't have anyone to come in and feed...
     
  7. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Active Member Staff Member

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    Please don't forget- we are mammals. We burn energy over twice as fast as a reptile. We are also huge compared to our tortoises. Tortoises can skip a day easily- it is to them what going without food for the night is to us.

    A well-fed healthy tortoise can go a week easily. Not saying it is a good idea or anything, but there are many, many stories of tortoises going longer than that in the wild. If tortoises get a good meal in the wild, they often celebrate by napping for a couple days. Usually torts wander and graze low-nutrient food all day- while we generally give them a high-nutrient meal every day.
     
  8. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree that they can go a long time without food, but that doesn't mean it's right.
     
  9. tortoisenerd

    tortoisenerd New Member

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    My limit for leaving my tort is two days without food (this is feeding him large meals before and after a trip). This was we could for example leave on a Friday and come back on a Monday, so he could still get food on Friday and Monday. I would not leave a young hatchling alone (my tort was close to a year before we did this and Thanksgiving will be our third weekend leaving him), a tort with a medical problem, a tort that flips, a set up that may not be 100% safe (think fires), etc.

    Yes the tortoise can go without food for a week no problem, but no I do not think you should do this. I think that would be edging towards neglect. The issue is not so much that the tortoise in the wild can do it, but the captive tortoise is used to food coming every day. They have not had the chance to mentally and physically prepare for the breaks in food. I feel bad leaving my little guy for the weekend, but I compare it to having him undergo the stress of being moved to someone's house. Him staying along wins out unless it is too long of a trip...speaking of that I still need to find someone to watch him for 10 days for xmas!

    I think you should find someone to come in and bring fresh food and water and clean the enclosure at a bare minimum every other day while you are gone, but ideally every day. Or, you could drop off the tortoise and enclosure at someons's house to make it easier for them. I have a large Rubbermaid tub I bought just for this purpose. You just need to stay awhile and make sure everything is correct with the temperatures and enclosure (the tort can get to everything and there are not hazards).

    Best wishes.
     
  10. maggie3fan

    maggie3fan Well-Known Member

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    Hey Kate..you can always bring Trevor down here to me, I would keep him over Christmas...
     
  11. dmmj

    dmmj Thhe member formerly known as captain awesome Staff Member

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    I remember the stories of when the seamen starting eating the galagapos tortoises, they would keep them on ship for years and they survived. I am not saying it is right but the large tortoise can prob go longer.
     
  12. DoctorCosmonaut

    DoctorCosmonaut New Member

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    I was concerned about being gone for a week to Sacramento for Thanksgiving but luckly my roommate will be there until Thanksgiving and my girlfriend will be coming back into town on Thanksgiving (feel bad that she has to work... but she is gonna feed my baby girls)... otherwise I would have been in quite the bind!
     
  13. samstar

    samstar New Member

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    I have to feed mine daily as it is still a hatchling. How long it can go without food I guess depends on how long and healthy your Tort is. Just my opinion.
     
  14. GBtortoises

    GBtortoises Active Member

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    I think the duration has everything to do with how well a tortoise has eaten and drank before the period without food. How much stored reserve they have. I think whether the tortoise is being kept indoors at the time or outdoors also makes a difference. We (my family) rarely goes anywhere longer than one or two overnights in the colder times of year here, mainly because I still have kids in school. But in the summer we usually take a couple of week long, or occasionally two week long vacations. During that time of year my tortoises are all outdoors. I make it a point to feed them heavier a couple of weeks before we will be away. While we are gone I have someone that comes over every day to check on them and refresh their water every other day or if it's been soiled or dumped. Other than that they are on their own to forage in the enclosures while we're away. Been doing it that way for many, many years, never with any problems.
    I personally would not do that with tortoises being kept indoors that do not have access to a larger area to graze and are under constant heat sources. I would find someone who can give them the basic care for the duration that I was gone and make sure that they had phone numbers where I could easily be reached.
     
  15. DemonDrug95

    DemonDrug95 New Member

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    if anyone here living in a tropical 20-30 c and 80 humidity...i suggest a star cause my star is so active since i moved to a colder...and more raining area..:)
     
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