Edible Plant Species for Russian Tortoise Enclosure

dawsonpan

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Jan 6, 2021
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CA
Hey everyone & Happy New Year! :) I'm in the process of constructing a new Russian tortoise enclosure for our Russian tortoise Boris and we plan to adopt another in the coming weeks. I want to preferably put native plant species from the Central Asian Steppe where they're native to, to best replicate their native habitat. Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this? I found a few plant species and read other similar threads about this and ended up compiling some species that look nice, should work well, and are more readily available for sale. Any recommendations or alterations to the list? Thanks guys!

- Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage): It said to feed sage in moderation
- Taraxacum officinale (Common Dandelion): Definitely safe
- Pennisetum Orientale (Fountaingrass): Definitely safe
- Poa pratensis (Kentucky Bluegrass): Definitely safe
- Lactuca serriola (Prickly lettuce): Says do not eat but they really seem to enjoy them (they're common weeds here in Southern California, actually edible for people)
- Campanula lactiflora (Milky Bellflower): Safe
- Ficus Johannis subspecies afghanistanica (Afghan Fig): This is an edible fig species from Afghanistan which is part of the native range of Russian tortoises. Also, the CTTC website has another fig species that are also recommended for enclosures. (What do you guys think?)
- Brassica Rapa (Field Mustard): These grow wild and crazy here in SC (an invasive species, I have read that mustard species are all pretty much edible and also descendants of other brassicas like broccoli)
- Oriental poppy (Oriental poppy): Says do not feed however I read a thread that Russian tortoises and other species in the wild eat these for self-medication for the gut (what do you guys think?)
- Plantago major (Plantain): Definitely safe
- Geranium himalayense (Lilac Cranesbill): The TortoiseTable had all geranium species and similar plants as safe to feed so I assume this species which is found in their habitat is safe as well.
- Salvia staminea (Couldn't find the common name, but it's a species of sage): The TortoiseTable said for another species of sage with the scientific name salvia as well that it's safe to feed in moderation.
- Sedum album (White stonecrop): Safe to feed, succulent species.

I cross-checked these with the TortoiseTable and other sources as well just to stay on the safe side. For some, it says do not feed, feed with moderation... etc. Many also happened to contradict the Tortoise Table and said it was fine to feed so I'm not sure. I have heard the TortoiseTable is inaccurate on some plants. What do you guys think?
Thank you so much & have a great day!
 

dawsonpan

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Jan 6, 2021
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Ohh sounds good then. I'll stay on the safe side as well. But do you know other native plant species that I could use? I would really like to replicate the environment they're from to create a native-like habitat for them.
 

Blackdog1714

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Jul 30, 2018
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Get whatever plants you have found safe and rest assured your Russian will destroy them. My Russian eats everything he can reach and dominates the pots that he can't reach. OMG i can't unsee that!
 

dawsonpan

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Joined
Jan 6, 2021
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17
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CA
Ooo sounds great. Lol 😂 I thought so... my sulcatas are the best lawnmowers and they have definitely shown to eat and tear down everything in sight. Hopefully the Russians will be a little less destructive but they really do eat quickly. That's part of the reason why I'm building a bigger one, more plants and space = more spread out destruction 😂
 
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