Food advice- opuntia

MsParedes

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Home Depot, Lowes, or just mix in a bunch of sand to you local dirt. I would recommend no water for the first month. Plant it some where hot and in full sun all day.
My sulcatas are adults, over 20 years old. I'm curious if you scrape off the spines or feed the pads as is?
 

MsParedes

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Is opuntia something that can be fed daily to adult sulcatas?
Also, I have a large senita cactus, is that something I can put in the food lineup? If so, scraped or not?

Thanks in advance
 

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Tom

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My sulcatas are adults, over 20 years old. I'm curious if you scrape off the spines or feed the pads as is?
I do not scrape off the spines when feeding "spineless" opuntia. The few tiny spines and the glochids don't seem to bother any species or size tortoise.

I don't know if the cactus in your pics is toxic or not. I have fed organ pipe cactus for years, so that seems to be safe, but its different than the cactus species in your picture.
 

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Miracle Grow has chemicals in it that are not healthy for your tortoise. You can make your own "cactus mix" with any organic top soil by adding sand to it. Soggy soil will rot your cactus. They like to be dry and get lots of sun. Also, I plant in heavy clay pots because they dry out faster than plastic and won't fall over when the pads get big. Good luck. I know your tortoise will appreciate your efforts, someday.
 

MsParedes

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I do not scrape off the spines when feeding "spineless" opuntia. The few tiny spines and the glochids don't seem to bother any species or size tortoise.

I don't know if the cactus in your pics is toxic or not. I have fed organ pipe cactus for years, so that seems to be safe, but its different than the cactus species in your picture.
Maybe I don't know exactly what opuntia is. I didn't know it was spineless. This is what I have, and it has spines.
Is this what we are talking about?
 

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MsParedes

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Is opuntia something that can be fed daily to adult sulcatas?
Also, I have a large senita cactus, is that something I can put in the food lineup? If so, scraped or not?

Thanks in advance
This cactus is in my yard, so definitely organic. How do I know if it is toxic?
If It is safe to feed, do I scrape the spines? I wonder if the spines will hurt my torts tongues?
 

Tom

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Maybe I don't know exactly what opuntia is. I didn't know it was spineless. This is what I have, and it has spines.
Is this what we are talking about?
This is the correct species of cactus, but that is the "regular" fully spined version. There are dozens of "spineless" varieties in this genus of cacti, opuntia, that we grow and feed to our tortoises. You can buy them in any Mexican grocery store, and grow them yourself. You can also find local variants, cut some off, and grow those at your house too. I have about 40 stands of cactus at my place. Around 12 different varieties. All are types of opuntia.

Even the "spineless" types will sometimes still have small spines, and also "glochids" which are tiny little irritating micro spines, but it is fine to feed those to your tortoise. It does not hurt them in any way. Wild tortoises eat the fully spined versions of these cacti.

If you want to drive up to Santa Clarita, I'll give you some starter pads of a few types for free. I just cut a huge mature pad off today that needs to be re-planted somewhere.
 

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I made a purchase from kapidolofarms.com that came with a free sample of cactus powder. The one tortoise I had that wouldn't eat cactus pads started to after dusting his food with the powder for a couple of weeks.
 

MsParedes

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This is the correct species of cactus, but that is the "regular" fully spined version. There are dozens of "spineless" varieties in this genus of cacti, opuntia, that we grow and feed to our tortoises. You can buy them in any Mexican grocery store, and grow them yourself. You can also find local variants, cut some off, and grow those at your house too. I have about 40 stands of cactus at my place. Around 12 different varieties. All are types of opuntia.

Even the "spineless" types will sometimes still have small spines, and also "glochids" which are tiny little irritating micro spines, but it is fine to feed those to your tortoise. It does not hurt them in any way. Wild tortoises eat the fully spined versions of these cacti.

If you want to drive up to Santa Clarita, I'll give you some starter pads of a few types for free. I just cut a huge mature pad off today that needs to be re-planted somewhere.
I would love to take you up on that if you are serious?
 

MsParedes

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Of course I'm serious. Send me a PM. Friday work for you?
You are a very kind person, and I would love to come see all your critters. But because of family obligations, I'm going to have to stay close to home for a couple weeks. I hope for a rain check.

Today, on my way to Walmart, I noticed 1 of my neighbors has a couple plants. I stopped and she gave me 2 pads and I picked up some cactus potting soil. Now, I have a very brown thumb, but if you tell me how to start them, I'd love to try.

Thanks again for being so gracious.
 

Tom

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You are a very kind person, and I would love to come see all your critters. But because of family obligations, I'm going to have to stay close to home for a couple weeks. I hope for a rain check.

Today, on my way to Walmart, I noticed 1 of my neighbors has a couple plants. I stopped and she gave me 2 pads and I picked up some cactus potting soil. Now, I have a very brown thumb, but if you tell me how to start them, I'd love to try.

Thanks again for being so gracious.
Set the pads somewhere outside in the shade with good ventilation. The current hot temps are fine for them. Let the cut ends scar over for a week or two. Then put your dry cactus soil in a big pot and stick the pad upright about 1/3 to 1/2 buried and leave it alone for a month. No water. Its okay if the soil is damp coming out of the bag, just don't addd any more water. After a month, water once or twice a week in the summer heat and not at all over winter when the plant is dormant. Place the pots in full hot sun.

You can also plant them the same way in the ground, which will be better as they grow. When the new pads grow, you can cut some off for tortoise food and leave some to keep growing and building your cactus stand.
 

MsParedes

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Set the pads somewhere outside in the shade with good ventilation. The current hot temps are fine for them. Let the cut ends scar over for a week or two. Then put your dry cactus soil in a big pot and stick the pad upright about 1/3 to 1/2 buried and leave it alone for a month. No water. Its okay if the soil is damp coming out of the bag, just don't addd any more water. After a month, water once or twice a week in the summer heat and not at all over winter when the plant is dormant. Place the pots in full hot sun.

You can also plant them the same way in the ground, which will be better as they grow. When the new pads grow, you can cut some off for tortoise food and leave some to keep growing and building your cactus stand.
Ok, I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the directions.
 

MsParedes

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Ok, I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the directions.
My neighbor also has a purple cactus, opuntia violacea, very pretty. I'd like to try to grow it if it's ok to feed? Are there some varieties that are a no no?
 
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