Disgruntled Tort

Snoopy’s mom

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I have been trying to introduce new foods to my tort following the advice here, Iʻve chopped up his favorites a little smaller and left the new things bigger so itʻs harder for him to pick and choose. I understand that it can take several weeks, but every time I do that, he poops on his feeding slate then puts himself in time out for the day, literally putting his face in the corner. By evening time the food is all dried and shriveled so I remove it and cave into his emotional blackmail by giving him some radicchio - which he seems to think is tortoise crack. Any other suggestions?
 

ZenHerper

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Radicchio is a good food.

You have to chop everything very small and together so the radicchio flavor gets onto everything else.

BUT.

Choose One New Food. So try curly endive (mild flavor but very nutritious). Chop it very small with the radicchio. Too many new flavors are confusing. And too many new fibers may be causing the poo urgency situation.

Tortoises evolved to be very cautious of new foods. It's in your pet's DNA to avoid New things. They can learn to accept and enjoy New things, but it will take a very, very, very long time. Be persistent. Be patient. Be gentle. Go slow.

You are teaching him to wait you out (or he is teaching you to give him radicchio alone: potato-potato)...if he won't eat mixed breakfast, offer chopped endive-and-radicchio for dinner.
 

Tom

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I have been trying to introduce new foods to my tort following the advice here, Iʻve chopped up his favorites a little smaller and left the new things bigger so itʻs harder for him to pick and choose. I understand that it can take several weeks, but every time I do that, he poops on his feeding slate then puts himself in time out for the day, literally putting his face in the corner. By evening time the food is all dried and shriveled so I remove it and cave into his emotional blackmail by giving him some radicchio - which he seems to think is tortoise crack. Any other suggestions?
Finely mince the old favorite food, radicchio. Hypothetically, make 100 grams of that. Then get one gram of the new food. Mince it up and thoroughly mix it in with the old stuff. There should be so little of it that the tortoise doesn't even notice it. Do this for a few days and get the tortoise eating it as if there is nothing new. Then do it with 2 grams of the new stuff. After that amount is full accepted, go to adding 3 grams of the new. Etc...

Most people try to move too fast. Go so slow that the tortoise hardly notices anything different.
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Thank you, yes I have been adding too many new things all at once. I will try chopping the radicchio together with the endive since he seems to snub that the most. But seriously? Pooping on his dish and self-imposed time out? Who knew they had such great personalities.
 

ZenHerper

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Thank you, yes I have been adding too many new things all at once. I will try chopping the radicchio together with the endive since he seems to snub that the most. But seriously? Pooping on his dish and self-imposed time out? Who knew they had such great personalities.
Be careful of projecting our motivations onto other species. =))

Tortoises don't think of poo the same way we do. They will, in fact, recycle their excrement (they graze a lot of kinds of poo in the wild - their digestion is able to extract nutrients left in First digestive passes).

It is possible that your wee one is snacking on it's poo so it can keep fasting from new meals. Just clean it up when you find it, along with any scat left anywhere else in the habitat.

Since you know he really does not care for curly endive, try something else. Dandelion flowers are tasty and easy to find this time of year (from pesticide-free locations). Or choose a Belgian type of endive from the produce section (those green or purple spear lettuces).

If you want to try dandelion or chicory leaves, only pick tender new growth - the old leaves that have been lying on the ground over the winter are hard and extremely bitter (try one!).
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Thank you. Yes ZenHerper, I like to believe that he loves me and likes snuggles, nose bops, and walking around the house - just kidding! I will try to find other things to add slowly to his diet, he usually poos on his slate after smelling what I put there then walks away, The sully that I watch is a poo eater, his owner doesnʻt always feed him during the week - she forgets and she does not feed him at all over the weekend. I now understand the whole poo-eating thing. Unfortunately, I cannot find dandelions here, I have ordered seeds from the mainland and have reached out to the tortoise owners here to see if they have found any. Itʻs sad that the guys are missing out on something that looks so yummy! Thanks for the info!
 

ZenHerper

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Thank you. Yes ZenHerper, I like to believe that he loves me and likes snuggles, nose bops, and walking around the house - just kidding! I will try to find other things to add slowly to his diet, he usually poos on his slate after smelling what I put there then walks away, The sully that I watch is a poo eater, his owner doesnʻt always feed him during the week - she forgets and she does not feed him at all over the weekend. I now understand the whole poo-eating thing. Unfortunately, I cannot find dandelions here, I have ordered seeds from the mainland and have reached out to the tortoise owners here to see if they have found any. Itʻs sad that the guys are missing out on something that looks so yummy! Thanks for the info!
Hawaii. Check. lol

Edible flowers you might find on the islands:

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis...Nasturtium...Calendula...Lavandula...Agastache Foeniculum...Cucurbita blossoms...Hemerocallis...Pansy...

Flowers can be a bit sugary, but they make nice mix-ins to encourage ingestion of more bitter greens.
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Things here have such different names! I found out that what we call "milkweed" is nipplewort. Thanks for the scientific names :)
 

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It took five months for my Russian to make a full switch to healthier foods; I’m pretty sure she ate a lot of plain romaine before I had her. And she was a hungry tortoise in the spring, running around outside all day to work up an appetite; I’m sure some tortoises take longer. Stay strong! He’s not the one buying the radicchio, you know?

Radicchio is quite bitter so you know he’s willing to eat something that isn’t super sweet. You might offer him a little arugula or watercress. They are peppery, not bitter but they were some of the more potent grocery store foods my Russian liked when I got her. Nowadays I am able to get her some foods from our local farmers market that are more fibrous; we have quite a few farmers specializing in Asian vegetables here, lots of things we might think of as weeds are popular in other cuisines. Bittermelon leaves, for example, are one of her very favorites. Ong choy, celtuce, okra leaves, Daikon greens, sweet potato leaves, and long bean leaves (any bean really) are other favorites. Perhaps some of those are options for you, given how many cultures are represented in Hawaii.
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Thank you, yes very diverse culturally for sure. I’ll give some of those a try too, I didn’t know about daikon leaves or bitter melon leaves either!
 

RosemaryDW

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My Russian only wants the expensive organic bittermelon these days: spoiled.

Came back from our market today with sourleaf (gongura) and methi (fenugreek). These are representative of some Indian cultures, which we also have in abundance here. I’m spoiled as well. :)
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Ooohh we have an Indian market here as well, I’ll check them out, thanks for the info. I usually get Snoopys food from Whole Foods, geez he eats better than we do lol
 

RosemaryDW

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Ooohh we have an Indian market here as well, I’ll check them out, thanks for the info. I usually get Snoopys food from Whole Foods, geez he eats better than we do lol
I think you also have H Mart? Ours sells a lot of good things; I can always get ong choy and sweet potato leaf (I think it’s labeled Yampea) at ours. Sometimes pumpkin leaves (excellent for fiber), Chinese mallow, turnip leaves without the pesky turnips themselves lol. If we didn’t have the farmers market I think that’s the place I would look at most often.

We have a nice thread about what people are actively feeding their tortoises. Not whether a food is “good” or what is it; actual daily diet. I pretty much chronicle every ethnic market and farmers market food I feed in there, if you want to take a look. Plenty of people feeding in lush, green areas, too. https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-tortoise-chef.153728/page-14.

Have fun!
 

Snoopy’s mom

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Thank you for the info. We don’t have an H Mart here but I’ll take a look at the link you sent. Nice to see so many helpful people here.
 

Snoopy’s mom

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I stand corrected. I went into town where the young kids hang out and saw H Mart. I will have to check it out next time I venture out there!
 
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