My 2 month old Star tort eating substrate!!!!!!

Thundersnow

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I just saw my 2 month old Indian Star tort. Eating coconut fiber substrate!😱 I feed him daily a mixture of (each day something a little different for variety) organic romaine,baby greens, cucumbers,peppers,yellow squash,Mazuri LS soaked in warm water. I’m switching the Mazuri LS to Mazuri for Star torts.
Is this dangerous that he’s picking and possibly eating the coconut fiber substrate? He also has a Zoo Med Banquet Block that he has no interest in. I did place an order with Kapidolo Farm. I ordered 3 soakers,Rose hips,hibiscus and cactus chips. Hoping this will make his diet even better.
I adore this little kiddle I sooooo smitten with him 🥰
 

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wellington

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Babies should have food available all day. Not just one meal a day.
Feed him a pile the size of him in the morning. When it's gone give him more. When he goes to bed for the night take any remaining food out then or when you give him fresh the next morning.
 

Thundersnow

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Babies should have food available all day. Not just one meal a day.
Feed him a pile the size of him in the morning. When it's gone give him more. When he goes to bed for the night take any remaining food out then or when you give him fresh the next morning.
I do every morning I fill his dish with a nice variety of goodies. I leave it there all day and freshen it up before I turn off his light just in case he wants a midnight snack. He has food 24/7
 

Tortuug

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Another suggestion would be to make sure he has the right supplements. Sometimes when tortoises aren't getting the right vitamins or enough calcium they'll eat substrate. Make sure you dust his food with calcium powder a couple times a week. I've also read that Minerall helps to curb the substrate eating behavior. My tortoises used to eat at wood logs and bite at rocks I had in the enclosure. Once I started using Minerall one to two times a week and calcium another day, none of my tortoises eat at substrate or bite decor anymore.
 

ZenHerper

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Be extremely careful to pack the coir down and keep it damp - dry coir in the mouth can kill since it takes up saliva and sticks in the mouth and throat.

Try a layer of cypress mulch or fir bark on top.

This species should not be eating fruit, so limit high-sugar items (including cucumber and squash) and favor high-nutrition greens. Some more info here:

If the digestive flora has borked, substrate grazing may be an attempt to repopulate the bacterial culture in the gut. Get a reptile-labelled probiotic replacement (if it comes in a syringe, put the paste on food, not directly into the mouth). If the gut bacteria have been disrupted, absorption of nutrients will decrease.
 

Tom

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I just saw my 2 month old Indian Star tort. Eating coconut fiber substrate!😱 I feed him daily a mixture of (each day something a little different for variety) organic romaine,baby greens, cucumbers,peppers,yellow squash,Mazuri LS soaked in warm water. I’m switching the Mazuri LS to Mazuri for Star torts.
Is this dangerous that he’s picking and possibly eating the coconut fiber substrate? He also has a Zoo Med Banquet Block that he has no interest in. I did place an order with Kapidolo Farm. I ordered 3 soakers,Rose hips,hibiscus and cactus chips. Hoping this will make his diet even better.
I adore this little kiddle I sooooo smitten with him 🥰
I see this most commonly when people feed their tortoises a lot of grocery store foods. Grocery store foods alone don't meet their nutritional requirements. You need to add weeds, leaves, grasses and flowers to the diet. Start with small amounts at first. Your tortoise won't recognize these new and novel items as food, no matter how good for him they are. It takes weeks to introduce any new food most of the time. Baby greens and romaine lack fiber, so you tort is getting fiber from the substrate. Cucumber, peppers and yellow squash are not toxic, but these items should only rarely be offered. Weeds with their high fiber and high calcium content should be the majority of the diet. Grass adds lots of fiber.

The items you got from Kapidolo Farms are a great start, but go look for weeds instead of going to the grocery store. Sprout your own grass if you don't want to buy it.

The MinerAll that Tortuug mentioned will also help. Use a small pinch every other day until the substrate eating stops, and then cut it to once or twice a week.

More on the food here:
 

Thundersnow

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Be extremely careful to pack the coir down and keep it damp - dry coir in the mouth can kill since it takes up saliva and sticks in the mouth and throat.

Try a layer of cypress mulch or fir bark on top.

This species should not be eating fruit, so limit high-sugar items (including cucumber and squash) and favor high-nutrition greens. Some more info here:

If the digestive flora has borked, substrate grazing may be an attempt to repopulate the bacterial culture in the gut. Get a reptile-labelled probiotic replacement (if it comes in a syringe, put the paste on food, not directly into the mouth). If the gut bacteria have been disrupted, absorption of nutrients will decrease.
I have a coffee to keep his humidy
I see this most commonly when people feed their tortoises a lot of grocery store foods. Grocery store foods alone don't meet their nutritional requirements. You need to add weeds, leaves, grasses and flowers to the diet. Start with small amounts at first. Your tortoise won't recognize these new and novel items as food, no matter how good for him they are. It takes weeks to introduce any new food most of the time. Baby greens and romaine lack fiber, so you tort is getting fiber from the substrate. Cucumber, peppers and yellow squash are not toxic, but these items should only rarely be offered. Weeds with their high fiber and high calcium content should be the majority of the diet. Grass adds lots of fiber.

The items you got from Kapidolo Farms are a great start, but go look for weeds instead of going to the grocery store. Sprout your own grass if you don't want to buy it.

The MinerAll that Tortuug mentioned will also help. Use a small pinch every other day until the substrate eating stops, and then cut it to once or twice a week.

More on the food here:
All I can say is thank GOD for all of you folks who care enough to answer and help newbies like me.I love my tiny tyke and i just need guidance that you folks are giving me to keep him healthy so he can grow and thrive. I am in KY and the grass in my yard is fescue. if that has no fertilizer on it will that grass be good enough for him?I also have alfalfa cubes which I break apart into little tiny fiber pieces will that be ok for his fiber? What weeds do you recommend?Thanks so very much.I so appreciate all the help
 

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Thundersnow

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Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
Be extremely careful to pack the coir down and keep it damp - dry coir in the mouth can kill since it takes up saliva and sticks in the mouth and throat.

Try a layer of cypress mulch or fir bark on top.

This species should not be eating fruit, so limit high-sugar items (including cucumber and squash) and favor high-nutrition greens. Some more info here:

If the digestive flora has borked, substrate grazing may be an attempt to repopulate the bacterial culture in the gut. Get a reptile-labelled probiotic replacement (if it comes in a syringe, put the paste on food, not directly into the mouth). If the gut bacteria have been disrupted, absorption of nutrients will decrease.
I have a fogger that i have on constantly.I also spray the substrate with filtered water several times a day to help keep it damp.Thank you VERY much for answering me and helping me:)
 

Tom

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I have a coffee to keep his humidy

All I can say is thank GOD for all of you folks who care enough to answer and help newbies like me.I love my tiny tyke and i just need guidance that you folks are giving me to keep him healthy so he can grow and thrive. I am in KY and the grass in my yard is fescue. if that has no fertilizer on it will that grass be good enough for him?I also have alfalfa cubes which I break apart into little tiny fiber pieces will that be ok for his fiber? What weeds do you recommend?Thanks so very much.I so appreciate all the help
Grass from your yard outside will be fine when he is larger, but its too ought and coarse for a baby. He needs soft, tender, freshly sprout grass at this age. You can buy it at most pet stores and at Whole Foods market. Its sprouted wheat grass. If you keep it watered and in a sunny window sill, you can get 8 or 9 cuttings from one little $2 plot. Or, you can get some pasture seed, NOT Home Depot lawn grass seed, and sprout your own. Its very easy. Put seeds in a pot with some soil, water it, and after a week or two, you've got plenty to feed to your little guy. Tortoisesupply.com sells several excellent seed mixes.

The alfalfa cubes may be too tough and stemmy. It depends on what you've got. Alfalfa is also a bit high in protein. I wouldn't want to feed that every day. I do feed alfalfa to mine, but its fresh stuff that I grow myself, and only once or twice a week as a small percentage of a mix of other foods.

I use Timothy hay pellets for horses to add fiber when I feed grocery store greens. Make sure that what you are getting has no additives or preservatives. I soak some and mix it all in all over the greens. Your little one would only need a single pellet.

I have a fogger that i have on constantly.I also spray the substrate with filtered water several times a day to help keep it damp.Thank you VERY much for answering me and helping me:)
Foggers should not be used with tortoises. They should not be breathing water droplets in the their air. This is different than humidity. I'd shut that off ASAP. Indian stars are exceptionally prone to respiratory infections and that will do it. Humidity should be maintained by using a closed chamber. Prevent the humidity from leaving your enclosure rather than adding it back as a mist.

Spraying the surface of the substrate doesn't do much. You need to be dumping water into the substrate to keep it damp. How much water and how often varies tremendously from one enclosure to another. You have to do it be feel. Some enclosure need a gallon a day, while others only need a little cupful once a week. Depends on many factors.
 

autumn_0201

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Jan 29, 2021
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Kuantan
I just saw my 2 month old Indian Star tort. Eating coconut fiber substrate!😱 I feed him daily a mixture of (each day something a little different for variety) organic romaine,baby greens, cucumbers,peppers,yellow squash,Mazuri LS soaked in warm water. I’m switching the Mazuri LS to Mazuri for Star torts.
Is this dangerous that he’s picking and possibly eating the coconut fiber substrate? He also has a Zoo Med Banquet Block that he has no interest in. I did place an order with Kapidolo Farm. I ordered 3 soakers,Rose hips,hibiscus and cactus chips. Hoping this will make his diet even better.
I adore this little kiddle I sooooo smitten with him 🥰

I think your tortoise might be eating dirt because he isn't receiving an appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals in his diet. Do u feed him enough calcium? When torts are deficient in minerals such as calcium, they'll deliberately seek calcium-rich items in their environment to make up for it. Some sources of calcium are cuttlebone or tortoise calcium powder. Just sprinkle the powder on top of his food pile every time u feed him.
 

Thundersnow

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May 19, 2021
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Location (City and/or State)
Kentucky
I think your tortoise might be eating dirt because he isn't receiving an appropriate amount of vitamins and minerals in his diet. Do u feed him enough calcium? When torts are deficient in minerals such as calcium, they'll deliberately seek calcium-rich items in their environment to make up for it. Some sources of calcium are cuttlebone or tortoise calcium powder. Just sprinkle the powder on top of his food pile every time u feed him.
I ordered Reptile-Cal from Chewy. Thanks
 
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