I'm new and want some information about tortoise diet and food

BoredPotato

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So I am planning to get some greek tortoises, If I'm right it's species name is Testudo Hermanni Boetgerri? Something along that line. I am planning to get two that are some months old (Born in late july/begin august)

I know basically everything I need like the enclosure space, a shallow water dish, UVB and a heat basking lighting, 50/50 top soil mix and some coconut fur thingy (I think), some nice rocks (for in the enclosure), a hiding spot to sleep, I need to soak them x amount of time per week, 50% humidiy (actually not sure about this one but I heard someone saying the greek tortoises need 50% humidity) ect.

But the food really brings confusion to me. It's stated that I mostly need weed and grasses. But here's the thing. I'm not the person who wants to go outside my house to only find some weeds and grasses to feed my tortoises. I am planning to buy some seeds of them or find some weeds to throw them in my yard and hoping that they will grow in spring/summer. (Also, I am a horrible gardener, can't grow plants as they die so I didn't really bother to consider that an option)

But weeds are not available all the time so what should I feed them? I heard some vegetables are good if you add some supplements with it. Like the andive or some specefic lettuce?

So it would be nice to know if I can feed them different types of vegetables if weeds aren't available as their diet. I also heard there was something like commercial diet, Mazuri? That I can feed them but I really would like to hear what the best for them is aside weeds and flowers. That are cheap and easy to get.

Oh, very important, as I did my research I never saw how many times I need to feed my tortoises.. It's stated that overfeeding them is bad so I want to know, how many times do I need to feed them every week and what amount?


P.S I live in the Netherlands if that is relevant
 
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Maro2Bear

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Greetings.

There’s lots of info on Hermanns in that section of the forum.

➡️➡️ https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/

You might not be able to purchase “Mazuri” in the Netherlands, but “Nutrazu” is the exact same product that is very good for tortoises - http://www.nutrazu.com/Nutrazu/media/Content/50J3 NutraZu.pdf

Here is the section on food for Hermanns

Food

Low protein, high fiber and calcium rich are crucial points to keeping Hermann’s tortoises stable and healthy. In nature, much of their day is comprised of grazing or browsing for edible vegetation. Unfortunately, many uninformed keepers turn to supermarket produce which is generally lacking in acceptable fiber levels and is too high in sugar. A diet rich in protein will eventually cause renal failure and offering too much fruit will bring on diarrhea or even an outbreak of internal parasites. Pesticide-free weeds grown in the yard such as dandelion, clover, plantain, catsear, thistle and vetch make for excellent food items. Mulberry leaves are also recommended. Here, we make sure our tortoises get Mazuri tortoise diet (original blend and LS blend) several times a week. This commercial diet aids in keeping a healthy weight on the animals, enables hatchlings to grow steadily and rapidly replenishes nutrients lost in females who have recently deposited eggs. For years we have raised many species of tortoise by using this diet in combination with appropriate weeds and the outcome is more than satisfactory. We also mix the Mazuri diet with organic dried herbs which can be purchased online at www.mountainroseherbs.com. This method comes in handy during the winter months when weeds are really inaccessible. On my site www.hermannihaven.com, a video I have put together shows how to make this mix. Sometimes, supermarket produce may be your only option. Whenever possible, purchase only organic greens and stay away from all lettuces. Collard greens, mustard greens, radicchio, endive and turnip greens will suffice in moderation. Various “tortoise seed mixes” are now available from distributors and while these can make for an excellent variety of safely grown edibles, be extremely careful with them. Reports of tortoises becoming poisoned from these mixes are now beginning to surface. This may be attributed to the accidental presence of seeds from poisonous plants being mixed into the mix. Doing your homework in order to gain the knowledge of how to properly identify poisonous plants goes a long way. Google is at everyone’s fingertips now so start researching, it could save your tortoise’s life.


For calcium intake, I choose to not force it on the tortoises. The all too familiar practice of dusting each meal with calcium powder can cause long term problems down the road. Instead, a constant supply of cuttle-bone is kept in every enclosure with tortoises of all ages. The animals will nibble the bone as they feel the need. Adults, particularly females, will use the cuttle bone more often than males or neonates. Only occasionally will we dust the food items with powder. In the case of growing youngsters and gravid females we may do this twice weekly. Phosphorus free calcium powder and cuttle-bone can be purchased at most pet stores or in bulk online.

Good luck
 

BoredPotato

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Greetings.

There’s lots of info on Hermanns in that section of the forum.

➡➡ https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/sticky-hermanns-tortoise-care-sheet-updated.101410/

You might not be able to purchase “Mazuri” in the Netherlands, but “Nutrazu” is the exact same product that is very good for tortoises - http://www.nutrazu.com/Nutrazu/media/Content/50J3 NutraZu.pdf

Here is the section on food for Hermanns

Food

Low protein, high fiber and calcium rich are crucial points to keeping Hermann’s tortoises stable and healthy. In nature, much of their day is comprised of grazing or browsing for edible vegetation. Unfortunately, many uninformed keepers turn to supermarket produce which is generally lacking in acceptable fiber levels and is too high in sugar. A diet rich in protein will eventually cause renal failure and offering too much fruit will bring on diarrhea or even an outbreak of internal parasites. Pesticide-free weeds grown in the yard such as dandelion, clover, plantain, catsear, thistle and vetch make for excellent food items. Mulberry leaves are also recommended. Here, we make sure our tortoises get Mazuri tortoise diet (original blend and LS blend) several times a week. This commercial diet aids in keeping a healthy weight on the animals, enables hatchlings to grow steadily and rapidly replenishes nutrients lost in females who have recently deposited eggs. For years we have raised many species of tortoise by using this diet in combination with appropriate weeds and the outcome is more than satisfactory. We also mix the Mazuri diet with organic dried herbs which can be purchased online at www.mountainroseherbs.com. This method comes in handy during the winter months when weeds are really inaccessible. On my site www.hermannihaven.com, a video I have put together shows how to make this mix. Sometimes, supermarket produce may be your only option. Whenever possible, purchase only organic greens and stay away from all lettuces. Collard greens, mustard greens, radicchio, endive and turnip greens will suffice in moderation. Various “tortoise seed mixes” are now available from distributors and while these can make for an excellent variety of safely grown edibles, be extremely careful with them. Reports of tortoises becoming poisoned from these mixes are now beginning to surface. This may be attributed to the accidental presence of seeds from poisonous plants being mixed into the mix. Doing your homework in order to gain the knowledge of how to properly identify poisonous plants goes a long way. Google is at everyone’s fingertips now so start researching, it could save your tortoise’s life.


For calcium intake, I choose to not force it on the tortoises. The all too familiar practice of dusting each meal with calcium powder can cause long term problems down the road. Instead, a constant supply of cuttle-bone is kept in every enclosure with tortoises of all ages. The animals will nibble the bone as they feel the need. Adults, particularly females, will use the cuttle bone more often than males or neonates. Only occasionally will we dust the food items with powder. In the case of growing youngsters and gravid females we may do this twice weekly. Phosphorus free calcium powder and cuttle-bone can be purchased at most pet stores or in bulk online.

Good luck

Thank you for the information. But several times a week feeding the tortoises I assume is like 4 - 5 times a week? And feeding endive, mustard greens, collard greens in moderation, it's not clear for me. Does in moderation mean that I can't feed them every day? But twice a week or so?

Also, how much do i need to feed them? I saw on some websites that I need to feed them the amount the size of their shell? Also, on the tortoise table I saw that lamb's lettuce is okay for them to eat every single day, they are also known as corn salad. I can buy it from my local supermarket right?

Sorry for so many doubts but I am really insecure and scared of making them sick.
 

JoesMum

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First thing to know is that the species you mention, like most tortoises, is not social. Both males and females are solitary and territorial from a very young age.

They prefer to live alone and don’t want company. If you decide to breed in the future then introduce them to mate before separating them.

Their diet is weedy and leafy greens. A variety should be fed, but that is variety over time not in one day, week or meal. If you buy a bag of collards then use it up and buy something different next time.

Ideally you should be using weeds rather than supermarket greens, but they are in short supply in winter and few of us manage without using a pellet tortoise food (which must be soaked in water) in the winter months.

Write a list of things that grow around you and those that you can buy and look them up on The Tortoise Table Plant Database for suitability to feed. If you can’t identify a plant, post a photo in our Plant ID section and someone will help.

 

BoredPotato

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First thing to know is that the species you mention, like most tortoises, is not social. Both males and females are solitary and territorial from a very young age.

They prefer to live alone and don’t want company. If you decide to breed in the future then introduce them to mate before separating them.

Their diet is weedy and leafy greens. A variety should be fed, but that is variety over time not in one day, week or meal. If you buy a bag of collards then use it up and buy something different next time.

Ideally you should be using weeds rather than supermarket greens, but they are in short supply in winter and few of us manage without using a pellet tortoise food (which must be soaked in water) in the winter months.

Write a list of things that grow around you and those that you can buy and look them up on The Tortoise Table Plant Database for suitability to feed. If you can’t identify a plant, post a photo in our Plant ID section and someone will help.


Then once again, how much should I be feeding them? They are still babies and I don't know how much I should feed them one day. Like the amount of the size of their shell or more? I am grateful for the info that their variety of food is given 'over time' and not in one meal or week. As I didn't know that thus I am very grateful.

Also, I am pretty sure testudo hermanni boetgerri is a social type of tortoise as I see a lot of youtubers/breeders keep them together at all times, even someone I saw online were selling them in a batch of 2 not one less as he/she said it was a social animal. So I don't know about that.
 

JoesMum

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As babies they will tolerate each other, but as they mature they will not. In the wild they roam for miles, meet up to mate and move on.

Groups of three or more tortoises of similar size - one male and two or more females - may succeed if kept in a very large enclosure, but there are no guarantees. Pairs do not succeed. We see far too many bullied and stressed tortoises on here that get very sick.

For quantity, feed a mound of greens roughly the size of the shell. Always feed first thing in the morning as they browse throughout the day. If it’s all eaten then it is perfectly OK to feed more.
 

JoesMum

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You will find this helpful too
 

BoredPotato

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As babies they will tolerate each other, but as they mature they will not. In the wild they roam for miles, meet up to mate and move on.

Groups of three or more tortoises of similar size - one male and two or more females - may succeed if kept in a very large enclosure, but there are no guarantees. Pairs do not succeed. We see far too many bullied and stressed tortoises on here that get very sick.

For quantity, feed a mound of greens roughly the size of the shell. Always feed first thing in the morning as they browse throughout the day. If it’s all eaten then it is perfectly OK to feed more.

Hmm.... My misconception as I thought tortoises could be kept together as I did research on how to keep them healthy instead if they could be kept together but I already ordered some from someone. So I did research on that topic a bit and a site said that generally two females kept together should be fine? I don't know, with this I rather have one then two but my seller already requested a CITES certification so I don't know if I can change my order to 1 tortoise...
 

Yvonne G

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Just keep in mind that the reason one seems to be growing better, bigger than the other is because PAIRS DON'T DO WELL, and eventually one will either get sick and die, or will stop growing.


You can set up two totally separate enclosures.
 

BoredPotato

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Just keep in mind that the reason one seems to be growing better, bigger than the other is because PAIRS DON'T DO WELL, and eventually one will either get sick and die, or will stop growing.


You can set up two totally separate enclosures.
Thank you, I started to notice this very quickly as I already requested to change from 2 tortoises to one as I don't have enough space to keep 2 seperate enclosures. Even though I need to request an another CITES certificate, at the end of the day it's only 15 euros and it's better having 1 tortoise than 2 together.

I think it's better for me (future troubles and no bullied/stressed tortoise) and for them
 
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