Feeding Time

Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
30
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Hi Everyone!

Does anyone have a specific amount of food you feed on a daily basis or do you just present a smorgasbord of yummies and let them eat their fill? Currently, I let Panda go for it and eat until he's not interested or on two occasions he swallowed a worm simply to spit back out he was so full. One day he ate sooo much food he was floating around at the top of the water circling the bowl like he was in a food coma and the next day he ate very little, the day after that he was right back at it. He's pretty smart, he wont eat anything thats not edible and he spits out what he doesn't like so I'm thinking he knows his food capacity? His daily menu is a variation of
- Greens (spinach or romaine)
-Shrimp (takes like 2 days to finish 1 medium sized shrimp)
-Fruit (either watermelon, blueberry, strawberry)
-Cuttlebone (he chomps on this at the beginning of his soak as an appetizer)
-Just introduced green beans, peas and carrots
-Boiled egg
-Salmon
-Worms daily (he eats at least 4)
-Pellets maybe twice a week as an after dinner snack

And I feed him by hand, not sure if thats a bad habit to start. Dont know about his pee habits, cant see it, but he has peed on me twice. he poops like everyday for 2-3 days in a row and then he wont poop for a day or two. Poop seems normal, formed, good size, not hard and no issues coming out.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,218
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
The general rule for turtles is to let them eat for 5-10 minutes (or to feed them what they can eat in the period of 5-10 minutes). They gobble so greedily, that the stomach fills that quickly. You definitely don't want him bloating himself over and over. Imagine that the stomach is about equal to the size of the head. Too much food just overloads the digestive organs and the nutrients are not absorbed. A few small meals in a day is better than an overfull stomach. I don't think starve-day diets are "natural" or appropriate. Turtles are opportunistic: they eat whatever food they come across in a day, and have no evolutionary basis for detecting/enforcing limitations.

Hand-feeding comes with a risk of being bitten...when they're small, not such a big deal. When they've grown, the jaw strength can jab the beak through your skin and into your finger. Very painful, and potential risk for all sorts of wacky infections. You also don't want to teach your pet to snap whenever your fingers come near. If you like the interaction, consider switching to feeding tongs.

Feed fully cooked shrimp only - raw shrimp flesh contains an enzyme (thiaminase) that breaks down Vitamin B1 (thiamine). Large species (like Redfoot tortoises) can manage this better since they can eat a lot more meat over time. Thorough cooking denatures the enzyme.
 

PJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
1,161
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
The general rule for turtles is to let them eat for 5-10 minutes (or to feed them what they can eat in the period of 5-10 minutes). They gobble so greedily, that the stomach fills that quickly. You definitely don't want him bloating himself over and over. Imagine that the stomach is about equal to the size of the head. Too much food just overloads the digestive organs and the nutrients are not absorbed. A few small meals in a day is better than an overfull stomach. I don't think starve-day diets are "natural" or appropriate. Turtles are opportunistic: they eat whatever food they come across in a day, and have no evolutionary basis for detecting/enforcing limitations.

Hand-feeding comes with a risk of being bitten...when they're small, not such a big deal. When they've grown, the jaw strength can jab the beak through your skin and into your finger. Very painful, and potential risk for all sorts of wacky infections. You also don't want to teach your pet to snap whenever your fingers come near. If you like the interaction, consider switching to feeding tongs.

Feed fully cooked shrimp only - raw shrimp flesh contains an enzyme (thiaminase) that breaks down Vitamin B1 (thiamine). Large species (like Redfoot tortoises) can manage this better since they can eat a lot more meat over time. Thorough cooking denatures the enzyme.
I knew some fish had thiaminase but I didnt know that about raw shrimp. I feed mostly pre cooked anyway but will drop the occasional raw. Isnt spinach a green to avoid? Disrupts calcium adsorption.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,218
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
I knew some fish had thiaminase but I didnt know that about raw shrimp. I feed mostly pre cooked anyway but will drop the occasional raw. Isnt spinach a green to avoid? Disrupts calcium adsorption.
Oxalates affect many species in various ways...but I never find any concrete info about reptiles (aside from zoonotic salmonella from contaminated greens). Since most reptile keepers use calcium supplements, arguably the greater concern would be processing sharp oxalates through the kidneys.

I think well-hydrated, otherwise healthy reptiles manage spinach OK. I'm guessing there's also a Size component...larger animals have greater capacity to filter oxalates and avoid crystals/stones. Turtles spending a lot of time in water may fare better than tortoises (especially those kept too dry).

The whole key, IME, is Balance. Opportunistic species wander around eating this-and-that. Blackberries, blueberries, dandelion, chicory -- all technically high in oxalates, but all part of terrestrial turtle diets. Strawberries , tomatoes, mustard greens, watercress: "moderate" oxalate carriers, yet terrestrial turtles eat them without apparent deficit or damage.

I think captive animals run into trouble when they are:
a-chronically dehydrated, and
b-fed all-one-thing diets.

I personally avoid things that turtles won't eat in the wild (roots, barely-ripe or just-ripe tree fruit, grains, nightshade leaves, etc.)...the high-carb and outright toxic stuff, basically. Too many sugars will lead to too much fat storage in the liver. Fatty Liver Disease is a problem in captive turtles.

**************

It's been a real pain finding great info about thiaminase. lol But I am concerned that this is one of the primary factors in low reproductive/hatching rates for extinct/endangered turtle species. It is for fish.


Thiaminase is found in crustaceans. Any turtles eating live isopods, raw shrimp, etc., as a significant portion of its calcium/protein meals should probably be Vitamin B1 supplemented.


This survey cites an unknown species of marine shrimp found to lack thiaminase...but erring on the side of caution seems wise:

Two big, complicated subjects. lol

Worms and eggs are still the world's most perfect meats... =DD
 

AnitaBeausMom

New Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2016
Messages
2
Hi Everyone!

Does anyone have a specific amount of food you feed on a daily basis or do you just present a smorgasbord of yummies and let them eat their fill? Currently, I let Panda go for it and eat until he's not interested or on two occasions he swallowed a worm simply to spit back out he was so full. One day he ate sooo much food he was floating around at the top of the water circling the bowl like he was in a food coma and the next day he ate very little, the day after that he was right back at it. He's pretty smart, he wont eat anything thats not edible and he spits out what he doesn't like so I'm thinking he knows his food capacity? His daily menu is a variation of
- Greens (spinach or romaine)
-Shrimp (takes like 2 days to finish 1 medium sized shrimp)
-Fruit (either watermelon, blueberry, strawberry)
-Cuttlebone (he chomps on this at the beginning of his soak as an appetizer)
-Just introduced green beans, peas and carrots
-Boiled egg
-Salmon
-Worms daily (he eats at least 4)
-Pellets maybe twice a week as an after dinner snack

And I feed him by hand, not sure if thats a bad habit to start. Dont know about his pee habits, cant see it, but he has peed on me twice. he poops like everyday for 2-3 days in a row and then he wont poop for a day or two. Poop seems normal, formed, good size, not hard and no issues coming out.
Spinach

INFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATIONINFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATION


Do not feed​

Common Name
Spinach

Family
Amaranthaceae (formerly Chenopodiaceae)

Latin
Spinacia oleracea

Description
Spinach contains a high level of calcium, but it also contains oxalic acid which binds with calcium in the diet and prevents the tortoise from absorbing and using it. In addition, it possesses a high level of calcium oxalate crystals which contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Some of the calcium oxalate is in the form of needle-shaped crystals called raphides, and when consumed in large amounts these can irritate the skin and mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. So although Spinach is not toxic as such, and small amounts are unlikely to cause a tortoise any great damage, given the potential it has to limit calcium intake and cause internal irritation, we do not recommend that people feed it to their tortoises.
 

DoubleD1996!

Active Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
156
Location (City and/or State)
Memphis
Hi Everyone!

Does anyone have a specific amount of food you feed on a daily basis or do you just present a smorgasbord of yummies and let them eat their fill? Currently, I let Panda go for it and eat until he's not interested or on two occasions he swallowed a worm simply to spit back out he was so full. One day he ate sooo much food he was floating around at the top of the water circling the bowl like he was in a food coma and the next day he ate very little, the day after that he was right back at it. He's pretty smart, he wont eat anything thats not edible and he spits out what he doesn't like so I'm thinking he knows his food capacity? His daily menu is a variation of
- Greens (spinach or romaine)
-Shrimp (takes like 2 days to finish 1 medium sized shrimp)
-Fruit (either watermelon, blueberry, strawberry)
-Cuttlebone (he chomps on this at the beginning of his soak as an appetizer)
-Just introduced green beans, peas and carrots
-Boiled egg
-Salmon
-Worms daily (he eats at least 4)
-Pellets maybe twice a week as an after dinner snack

And I feed him by hand, not sure if thats a bad habit to start. Dont know about his pee habits, cant see it, but he has peed on me twice. he poops like everyday for 2-3 days in a row and then he wont poop for a day or two. Poop seems normal, formed, good size, not hard and no issues coming out.
I typically feed every other dat
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
30
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
The general rule for turtles is to let them eat for 5-10 minutes (or to feed them what they can eat in the period of 5-10 minutes). They gobble so greedily, that the stomach fills that quickly. You definitely don't want him bloating himself over and over. Imagine that the stomach is about equal to the size of the head. Too much food just overloads the digestive organs and the nutrients are not absorbed. A few small meals in a day is better than an overfull stomach. I don't think starve-day diets are "natural" or appropriate. Turtles are opportunistic: they eat whatever food they come across in a day, and have no evolutionary basis for detecting/enforcing limitations.

Hand-feeding comes with a risk of being bitten...when they're small, not such a big deal. When they've grown, the jaw strength can jab the beak through your skin and into your finger. Very painful, and potential risk for all sorts of wacky infections. You also don't want to teach your pet to snap whenever your fingers come near. If you like the interaction, consider switching to feeding tongs.

Feed fully cooked shrimp only - raw shrimp flesh contains an enzyme (thiaminase) that breaks down Vitamin B1 (thiamine). Large species (like Redfoot tortoises) can manage this better since they can eat a lot more meat over time. Thorough cooking denatures the enzyme.
Thank you! Definitely cooked shrimp and not everyday. I've been bitten twice. I will try feeding for 5-10 minutes. Right now he feeds once a day because he still sleeps all day BUT, I did notice today he came up from being fully burrowed and he was napping on top of the soil, thats a first. I usually just see his head poked out and I have to dig him out. And I dont feed everything by hand, usually when I introduce something new because he's more likely to try anything once if I offer it naturally and not with tongs or placed in the water....and yes, he still feeds in the water.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
30
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
I knew some fish had thiaminase but I didnt know that about raw shrimp. I feed mostly pre cooked anyway but will drop the occasional raw. Isnt spinach a green to avoid? Disrupts calcium adsorption.
I thought about raw shrimp the last time I was at the seafood station but decided it against it-glad I did. The only raw fish he gets is salmon.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
30
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Oxalates affect many species in various ways...but I never find any concrete info about reptiles (aside from zoonotic salmonella from contaminated greens). Since most reptile keepers use calcium supplements, arguably the greater concern would be processing sharp oxalates through the kidneys.

I think well-hydrated, otherwise healthy reptiles manage spinach OK. I'm guessing there's also a Size component...larger animals have greater capacity to filter oxalates and avoid crystals/stones. Turtles spending a lot of time in water may fare better than tortoises (especially those kept too dry).

The whole key, IME, is Balance. Opportunistic species wander around eating this-and-that. Blackberries, blueberries, dandelion, chicory -- all technically high in oxalates, but all part of terrestrial turtle diets. Strawberries , tomatoes, mustard greens, watercress: "moderate" oxalate carriers, yet terrestrial turtles eat them without apparent deficit or damage.

I think captive animals run into trouble when they are:
a-chronically dehydrated, and
b-fed all-one-thing diets.

I personally avoid things that turtles won't eat in the wild (roots, barely-ripe or just-ripe tree fruit, grains, nightshade leaves, etc.)...the high-carb and outright toxic stuff, basically. Too many sugars will lead to too much fat storage in the liver. Fatty Liver Disease is a problem in captive turtles.

**************

It's been a real pain finding great info about thiaminase. lol But I am concerned that this is one of the primary factors in low reproductive/hatching rates for extinct/endangered turtle species. It is for fish.


Thiaminase is found in crustaceans. Any turtles eating live isopods, raw shrimp, etc., as a significant portion of its calcium/protein meals should probably be Vitamin B1 supplemented.


This survey cites an unknown species of marine shrimp found to lack thiaminase...but erring on the side of caution seems wise:

Two big, complicated subjects. lol

Worms and eggs are still the world's most perfect meats... =DD
Tomatoes are on the menu. I slice a think piece of cherry tomatoe and he'll eat one serving-sometimes.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
30
Location (City and/or State)
Cloud Atlas, North Carolina
Spinach

INFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATIONINFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATION

Do not feed​

Common Name
Spinach

Family
Amaranthaceae (formerly Chenopodiaceae)

Latin
Spinacia oleracea

Description
Spinach contains a high level of calcium, but it also contains oxalic acid which binds with calcium in the diet and prevents the tortoise from absorbing and using it. In addition, it possesses a high level of calcium oxalate crystals which contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Some of the calcium oxalate is in the form of needle-shaped crystals called raphides, and when consumed in large amounts these can irritate the skin and mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. So although Spinach is not toxic as such, and small amounts are unlikely to cause a tortoise any great damage, given the potential it has to limit calcium intake and cause internal irritation, we do not recommend that people feed it to their tortoises.
Thank you! He actually stopped eating spinach out of the blue so it wont be on the menu anymore. I havent tried kale yet, he still likes romaine.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
88,129
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Spinach

INFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATIONINFORMATIONIMAGESLOCATION

Do not feed​

Common Name
Spinach

Family
Amaranthaceae (formerly Chenopodiaceae)

Latin
Spinacia oleracea

Description
Spinach contains a high level of calcium, but it also contains oxalic acid which binds with calcium in the diet and prevents the tortoise from absorbing and using it. In addition, it possesses a high level of calcium oxalate crystals which contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Some of the calcium oxalate is in the form of needle-shaped crystals called raphides, and when consumed in large amounts these can irritate the skin and mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. So although Spinach is not toxic as such, and small amounts are unlikely to cause a tortoise any great damage, given the potential it has to limit calcium intake and cause internal irritation, we do not recommend that people feed it to their tortoises.
@AnitaBeausMom : please post the resource this article came from.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

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