Grasses northeast (sulcata)

Ali311

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Southbridge ma
Hi, i have a baby sulcata and i wanted to feed some grasses. Any ideas about grasses that can grow in the northeast US that are good for sulcatas. Also, the research that I have been doing about diet has been confusing. Some say to feed things like kale, Romaine, and collard greens others say not to because it will bond to the calcium and make the bones not develop. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
 

RosemaryDW

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Welcome!

I can’t help you with the grass but that information about the plants in the brassica family like kale and collard greens (also bok choy, turnip greens, mustard, arugula, radish greens) is more that if you fed only those things or a heavy percentage of them it might be problematic. Our tortoises need calcium for proper bone development so don’t worry about feeding some; just make sure they aren’t the majority of the diet. Perhaps twenty percent of the non-grass foods you feed, it will depend on how much calcium you feed in other things.

I’m personally not convinced brassicas have a bad effect on bone development; seems more like an old wives tale than solid research to me. In the wild, my type of tortoise (Russian) eats a ton of brassicas. But we definitely know they aren’t the majority of your sulcata’s native diet and they shouldn’t be heavily used for that reason alone.

There is nothing wrong with romaine in terms of calcium bonding, it’s in the lettuce family so if you’ve read that somewhere, the advice was incorrect.

There is a LOT of conflicting advice on tortoise care and I think information on diet is one of the most confusing. This forum has some very experienced members and we still disagree. :0 But I can’t think of any long term owner who avoids the brassicas altogether.

This stuff does get easier as you go along, I promise.
 

Ali311

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Southbridge ma
Welcome!

I can’t help you with the grass but that information about the plants in the brassica family like kale and collard greens (also bok choy, turnip greens, mustard, arugula, radish greens) is more that if you fed only those things or a heavy percentage of them it might be problematic. Our tortoises need calcium for proper bone development so don’t worry about feeding some; just make sure they aren’t the majority of the diet. Perhaps twenty percent of the non-grass foods you feed, it will depend on how much calcium you feed in other things.

I’m personally not convinced brassicas have a bad effect on bone development; seems more like an old wives tale than solid research to me. In the wild, my type of tortoise (Russian) eats a ton of brassicas. But we definitely know they aren’t the majority of your sulcata’s native diet and they shouldn’t be heavily used for that reason alone.

There is nothing wrong with romaine in terms of calcium bonding, it’s in the lettuce family so if you’ve read that somewhere, the advice was incorrect.

There is a LOT of conflicting advice on tortoise care and I think information on diet is one of the most confusing. This forum has some very experienced members and we still disagree. :0 But I can’t think of any long term owner who avoids the brassicas altogether.

This stuff does get easier as you go along, I promise.
thank you for this info...I am just wondering, if the foods you mentioned are for 20% of the time, what do you feed the other 80% of the time?
 

RosemaryDW

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Hmm. Anything else that’s good! So many choices. Here are a couple of links from this forum about things that aren’t grass, both things you can grow or find and things you can buy at a grocery store.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-diet-sheet.64290/.

There is no single best food, just as there few foods that are absolutely “bad.” What people feed is very dependent on what they have access to. And there are hundreds of things you won’t find on these lists that *you* might have access to.

For example, I live in a very mild climate and as a result have broad access to different foods much of the year. I’m also in a fairly big city with all kinds of different people and cultures, cultures that eat items many people in the U.S. think of as weeds. Our grocery stores sell things you probably won’t find at Shaw’s or Big Bunny.

You’re in a small town in an area that gets darn cold so you can’t just run out and get weeds and grass in January or (probably) cactus pads from a Latino market. But I bet you can grow things over the summer and in fall that would never make it where I live due to how dry it is here. Does that make sense?

The longer you are at this, the more comfortable you’ll get finding different foods. For a new owner you’re already a rock star for realizing your sulcata needs grass; many owners never learn that! If this first year—or any year, really—you need to be reliant upon your grocery store and supplement with something like Mazuri to ensure adequate fiber while you’re figuring out the grass thing that is perfectly fine.

Gosh, ^^ that’s a lot of words, lol. I notice you’re still working on getting your enclosure worked out to be “just right?” That’s actually more important for your baby’s health than figuring out the food thing right now. When you’ve got your little guy at the right humidity, come back to ask us questions about food options near you. Your tortoise is going to live for decades; you don’t need to get everything figured out immediately. :)
 

Ali311

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
57
Location (City and/or State)
Southbridge ma
Hmm. Anything else that’s good! So many choices. Here are a couple of links from this forum about things that aren’t grass, both things you can grow or find and things you can buy at a grocery store.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/.

https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/sulcata-diet-sheet.64290/.

There is no single best food, just as there few foods that are absolutely “bad.” What people feed is very dependent on what they have access to. And there are hundreds of things you won’t find on these lists that *you* might have access to.

For example, I live in a very mild climate and as a result have broad access to different foods much of the year. I’m also in a fairly big city with all kinds of different people and cultures, cultures that eat items many people in the U.S. think of as weeds. Our grocery stores sell things you probably won’t find at Shaw’s or Big Bunny.

You’re in a small town in an area that gets darn cold so you can’t just run out and get weeds and grass in January or (probably) cactus pads from a Latino market. But I bet you can grow things over the summer and in fall that would never make it where I live due to how dry it is here. Does that make sense?

The longer you are at this, the more comfortable you’ll get finding different foods. For a new owner you’re already a rock star for realizing your sulcata needs grass; many owners never learn that! If this first year—or any year, really—you need to be reliant upon your grocery store and supplement with something like Mazuri to ensure adequate fiber while you’re figuring out the grass thing that is perfectly fine.

Gosh, ^^ that’s a lot of words, lol. I notice you’re still working on getting your enclosure worked out to be “just right?” That’s actually more important for your baby’s health than figuring out the food thing right now. When you’ve got your little guy at the right humidity, come back to ask us questions about food options near you. Your tortoise is going to live for decades; you don’t need to get everything figured out immediately. :)
I appreciate all of this information and hope you have a very happy easter. I have been able to up the humidity, but am I shooting for 80% humidity all the time? i had heard between 60-80 is ok. thank you again.
 
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