Is it normal for my tortoise to eat all day?

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Dannikabd

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I've noticed that Sean has been eating alllll daaaay long. Is this normal?
Like ill fill his bowl and then he eats it all right then. Or he'll eat it all day long.
Is this normal?


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

pappabear1973

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I know with my girl, she will eat anything and everything I give her. I also know it's not enough for when she is outside she runs off eating more. I have to keep chasing after her and bring her back too. She is worse than my puppy lol. And he will eat everything also. Lol
 

Dannikabd

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That's exactly how Sean is!
And the rumor about turtles being "slow" is so incorrect lol! He's very quick!
But I do agree, he eats anything! I just don't want to accidentally over feed him!


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

pappabear1973

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I had started a thread concerned because I had read about them being able to get fat and saw some photos. I guess from what I take that is mostly from fruits and meats if you feed them any sort of meaty bugs. But if the diet ids primarily veggies then we are good.
 

Dannikabd

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Well I found out from a petsmart tortoise expert that Sean is the dominate male so he will eat and eat and eat, so he's not allowing my female, big mama to eat.
So I have to let him eat for 20 minutes and then take big mama out of her aquarium and allow her to eat. :)


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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I think it's normal if they are too lean and need to regain some weight. Hopefully, once they get to the point where they're well fed, they won't need to eat all day long. Of course, don't be surprised if they still have big appetites at mealtimes. :)
 

Tom

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This time of year they have to eat a lot and store up fat reserves for the coming winter. If your tortoise has large enclosures and is grazing on good foods like weeds and leaves, they will not get fat and should be allowed to graze as much as they want all day long.
 

Dannikabd

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Well what does a "lean tortoise" look like?
I got him from petsmart so honestly, they might have fed him enough.
He may be "fattening up" a little because he hasn't been fed like I feed him lol.

Also, if you notice anything wrong with the way my Russian looks, please let me know. I've had him for almost a week now. And I'm going to take him to the vet once I find a vet who has a degree in reptiles for a check up. Hair to make sure he's healthy and happy:)
He's a great tortoise very active and friendly :)
I'm just concerned that he'll over feed himself!


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 
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Laura

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he doesn't look fat.. he should feel solid like a rock, when you pick him up.
and should have a safe, escape proof outdoor enclosure....
 

Dannikabd

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Good! Then he's fine:) hahaha he has a great and safe exhibit:) I was just nervous about he's feeding:)


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

GBtortoises

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Dannikabd said:
I've noticed that Sean has been eating alllll daaaay long. Is this normal?
Like ill fill his bowl and then he eats it all right then. Or he'll eat it all day long.
Is this normal?


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

For Russian tortoises, yes, it's not unusual. They are naturally opportunistic feeder based on the type of climate they have evolved in. In short, when the food is available they consume as much as they can because it isn't there long before the dry season and ensuing heat come and dry nearly everything up. That instinct is a strong one because it is key to their survival so very few individuals change once in captivity. The key is to continue to feed them enough that they will consume during a day without overfeeding them to the point where they become obese. Russian tortoises probably more than any other species, will become obese due to the strong instinct of food consumption unless they are extremely active.
 

Dannikabd

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GBtortoises said:
Dannikabd said:
I've noticed that Sean has been eating alllll daaaay long. Is this normal?
Like ill fill his bowl and then he eats it all right then. Or he'll eat it all day long.
Is this normal?


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

For Russian tortoises, yes, it's not unusual. They are naturally opportunistic feeder based on the type of climate they have evolved in. In short, when the food is available they consume as much as they can because it isn't there long before the dry season and ensuing heat come and dry nearly everything up. That instinct is a strong one because it is key to their survival so very few individuals change once in captivity. The key is to continue to feed them enough that they will consume during a day without overfeeding them to the point where they become obese. Russian tortoises probably more than any other species, will become obese due to the strong instinct of food consumption unless they are extremely active.


Okay, that makes sense! What do you advise that I do then?




Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

biochemnerd808

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To give you a ballpark of how much 1 tortoise eats, I provide a pile of loosely placed greens for each tortoise that is about the size of its shell. Some tortoises are slow eaters, some will wolf it down, so I keep an eye on that, but I feed about the amount that an average eater can consume in about 20-30 minutes. I don't give any pellet food, just greens.

Dannikabd said:
GBtortoises said:
Dannikabd said:
I've noticed that Sean has been eating alllll daaaay long. Is this normal?
Like ill fill his bowl and then he eats it all right then. Or he'll eat it all day long.
Is this normal?


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

For Russian tortoises, yes, it's not unusual. They are naturally opportunistic feeder based on the type of climate they have evolved in. In short, when the food is available they consume as much as they can because it isn't there long before the dry season and ensuing heat come and dry nearly everything up. That instinct is a strong one because it is key to their survival so very few individuals change once in captivity. The key is to continue to feed them enough that they will consume during a day without overfeeding them to the point where they become obese. Russian tortoises probably more than any other species, will become obese due to the strong instinct of food consumption unless they are extremely active.


Okay, that makes sense! What do you advise that I do then?




Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

Dannikabd

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Sounds like a new plan for me:) my boy definitely wolfs it down!
I've been feeding greens and a variety of vegetables (cucumbers, squash, lettuce and celery) haha, but mainly greens:)


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 

Team Gomberg

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I see a huge yard in the background of those photos!
You could build a pretty big, awesome enclosure out there. You'd have some happy Russians if you did ;) :D

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GeoTerraTestudo

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Dannikabd said:
Well what does a "lean tortoise" look like?
I got him from petsmart so honestly, they might have fed him enough.
He may be "fattening up" a little because he hasn't been fed like I feed him lol.

Also, if you notice anything wrong with the way my Russian looks, please let me know. I've had him for almost a week now. And I'm going to take him to the vet once I find a vet who has a degree in reptiles for a check up. Hair to make sure he's healthy and happy:)
He's a great tortoise very active and friendly :)
I'm just concerned that he'll over feed himself!


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

If you recently got him from a pet store, then odds are he really does need to fatten up. For one thing, he's wild-caught, which means he was shipped here from Central Asia for 7,000 miles in a crate. His fat reserves may have been okay in the wild (not necessarily), but they probably weren't huge, which means a long trip could really take its toll on him.

Also, many pet stores do not feed tortoises a good diet, and they may not provide the right conditions (like adequate basking temperature) for the tortoise to digest his meal properly.

In short, by the time your tortoise reaches you, he could be literally starving. Add to that the instinct for northern animals, like Russian tortoises, to store up fat for their winter hibernation or brumation, and you get an animal that really needs to eat a lot. Let him go for it! :)

BTW - If you weigh your tortoise and measure its straight-line carapace length, you can easily calculate whether he weighs enough for his size. Just use the "tortoise BMI," developed by Susan Donoghue, DVM, and/or the Jackson Ratio. Donoghue's tBMI is more of a general purpose healthy weight index, while the Jackson Ratio is more for checking if your tortoise weighs enough to hibernate (brumate). In both cases, the equations are more geared toward tortoises of "typical" proportions, i.e. slightly oblong shells, as in Hermanns, Greeks, etc. For tortoises with a longer shell, like a marginated, these equations might indicate that they are underweight. In contrast, tortoises with a rounder shell, like a Russian, might seem obese. For this reason, if you have a Russian, their Donoghue and Jackson numbers should be well over 100%.

As a general rule, it's good for tortoises to be a little chubby. Don't let them get so fat that they can't pull themselves into their shell. But it's good to have a little pudge, because that way they can store energy and fat-soluble vitamins for times when they don't have as much to eat, or in the case of Russians, Hermanns, and Greeks, to safely hibernate if they are healthy enough to do so.

Donoghue's tBMI:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-38420.html

Jackson Ratio:
http://www.tortoise-protection-group.org.uk/site/171.asp
 

gieseygirly

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Dannikabd said:
Well what does a "lean tortoise" look like?
I got him from petsmart so honestly, they might have fed him enough.
He may be "fattening up" a little because he hasn't been fed like I feed him lol.

Also, if you notice anything wrong with the way my Russian looks, please let me know. I've had him for almost a week now. And I'm going to take him to the vet once I find a vet who has a degree in reptiles for a check up. Hair to make sure he's healthy and happy:)
He's a great tortoise very active and friendly :)
I'm just concerned that he'll over feed himself!


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

He looks great! Be glad yours is actually awake - all mine wants to do is sleep all the time :(
 

Dannikabd

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gieseygirly said:
Dannikabd said:
Well what does a "lean tortoise" look like?
I got him from petsmart so honestly, they might have fed him enough.
He may be "fattening up" a little because he hasn't been fed like I feed him lol.

Also, if you notice anything wrong with the way my Russian looks, please let me know. I've had him for almost a week now. And I'm going to take him to the vet once I find a vet who has a degree in reptiles for a check up. Hair to make sure he's healthy and happy:)
He's a great tortoise very active and friendly :)
I'm just concerned that he'll over feed himself!


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]

He looks great! Be glad yours is actually awake - all mine wants to do is sleep all the time :(

Sean is very active and sweet :)


Sean Lee, my Russian Tortoise[TURTLE][TWO HEARTS]
 
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