Helpful info for new star owners in India - from an amateur*

vg333

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Thanks to many kind and generous people, I learnt a lot from various posts on this forum and others. As a new owner, I often read many sites that had conflicting information and it was confusing to me at first. Also, some information is not readily applicable to conditions in India. I have owned the stars for about 9 days now. I prepared the attached spreadsheet which should be helpful for new owners. This is my attempt to give something back. I welcome suggestions to improve the content.
 

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Yvonne G

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This should be very helpful to those folks in India - especially the different names for the foods. It's nice of you to want to give back. Thanks.
 

RickyGoldsmith

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Thanks to many kind and generous people, I learnt a lot from various posts on this forum and others. As a new owner, I often read many sites that had conflicting information and it was confusing to me at first. Also, some information is not readily applicable to conditions in India. I have owned the stars for about 9 days now. I prepared the attached spreadsheet which should be helpful for new owners. This is my attempt to give something back. I welcome suggestions to improve the content.


I looked at your document. Thanks for preparing it.

I have general question for all members in the forum.

Do torts really just blindly eat ? I mean don't they select ? I've fed them spinach too (which is in the No list in the PDF). They don't always prefer, but at times, they do eat it.

I've even noticed that my torts are more fond of fresh food. They don't prefer the leftovers, which gives me some data points that they are selective in their eating habits.
 

Tom

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vg333, Your list looks pretty good with one exception. The "jasmine" we have over here is toxic to tortoises. I don't know which type you have over there but ours is Trachelospermum jasminoides, or "star jasmine". I'd be careful to be very specific about which plant you are recommending.
 

vg333

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Ricky, I found my stars to prefer freshly prepared food. In my research on star forums, Spinach was consistently mentioned as a food that has either water or protein content. And hence to be avoided. I tagged that column 'no or avoid'.

Tom, The jasmine flowers available in India are worn by women and also used as food fragrance. I did not realize there are poisonous varieties. Here is a link that has some info: http://nice-rose48.blogspot.in/2012/01/jasmine-flower-cultivation-and-plant.html
 

vg333

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It appears that Jasminum sambac (from Olive family) is the non-poisonous variety. This is used for tea & food fragrances and other edible ways. I updated the spreadsheet with the species name. Can the moderator or admin replace the document above with this one? .
 

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shanu303

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Jasminum Sambac aka arabian jasmine is safe to feed moderately, i feed the leaves as well as the flowers occasionally. This variety isn't toxic
 

shanu303

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may i suggest some edits:
1)clean bowl twice a week instead of once a month
2) No bell peppers or capsicum: These don't have a good calcium to phosphorous ratio (it is 1:2.1) and the ripened pepper can be too high in sugars for most tortoises,especially indian stars as they are grazing species. (although it can be fed sparingly to fruit-eating species)
3) The cactus pads are of Opuntia genus.
4) Cabbage should be added to "Avoid column"
5)lettuce can be fed more often as long as it is the green leafy variety high in fibre like romaine lettuce
6)Armenian cucumber(kakdi) can be fed regularly (i feed on alternate days). These have less water as compared to normal cucumber and this could be fed in summers to maintain hydration.
ARMENIAN CUCUMBER: (kakdi)
100_2208.jpg

7)3x2 feet enclosures are good for hatchlings only, tortoise bigger than 4 inches require a larger enclosure
8) coco peat is a good substitute to any kind of mulch.
 

shanu303

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I looked at your document. Thanks for preparing it.

I have general question for all members in the forum.

Do torts really just blindly eat ? I mean don't they select ? I've fed them spinach too (which is in the No list in the PDF). They don't always prefer, but at times, they do eat it.

I've even noticed that my torts are more fond of fresh food. They don't prefer the leftovers, which gives me some data points that they are selective in their eating habits.

Tortoises don't eat any food blindly, they are picky eaters more than the humans. That's how they survive in the wild as all kinds of poisonous and nonpoisonous stuff is out there. They are the better judge. What happens in captivity is that they might not be used to the food that we give them hence it takes time for them to get used to it. and it is true that they would prefer fresh food over leftovers.
They may encounter spinach in the farms near their habitats and have a munch or two on them but spinach is not part of their staple diet.
The reason for spinach to be in the No list is that spinach contains high amount of calcium but it also has High amount of oxalic acid which binds with calcium and the calcium is of no use to the tortoise. In addition it has Oxalate crystals which can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Now much is not known about how the torts treat their kidney stones in the wild but since they are under our supervision we need to take extra care especially in india since we don't have vets that treat reptiles specifically tortoises
 

vg333

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Thanks for your feedback Shanu. I will update the document and post it shortly
 

vg333

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Document has been updated with recent feedback. Thanks.
 

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vg333

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The site is not allowing me to upload excel files. Give me your email id and I will send it to you.
 

S.Seth

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Apr 21, 2015
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Thanks to many kind and generous people, I learnt a lot from various posts on this forum and others. As a new owner, I often read many sites that had conflicting information and it was confusing to me at first. Also, some information is not readily applicable to conditions in India. I have owned the stars for about 9 days now. I prepared the attached spreadsheet which should be helpful for new owners. This is my attempt to give something back. I welcome suggestions to improve the content.
Simply Excellent....
 

Gillian M

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Thanks to many kind and generous people, I learnt a lot from various posts on this forum and others. As a new owner, I often read many sites that had conflicting information and it was confusing to me at first. Also, some information is not readily applicable to conditions in India. I have owned the stars for about 9 days now. I prepared the attached spreadsheet which should be helpful for new owners. This is my attempt to give something back. I welcome suggestions to improve the content.
Very nice and extremely helpful.
 

Rahul15

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Nov 5, 2015
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Hey I got Baby Indian Star Tortoise last week....he is 2.3inches I thk he is 4/5mths old
At start for 2days I gave him lettuce...now he only eats lettuce ignores all the greens veggies and tomato
I thk he is addicted to Lettuce... Pls suggest smthg
I don't want him to get some disease or improper diet
 

vg333

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Try hibiscus flower and leaves. Lettuce has lot of water and should be given in moderation (once a month?)
 

Rahul15

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I have tried everything in this last week....
Hibiscus Flower n leaves, Methi, Spinach, Kothmiri, Grass, Tomato,etc
But he will ignore all the stuffs...will smell n move forward or change his direction...
At the end I have to give him lettuce
 
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