My Russian isn’t interested in food!

Julia B

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Mar 21, 2020
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Indiana
Hi, I just got my first tort, his name is Milo and he’s a Russian tortoise that’s about 4 years old. He has no interest in food like ever! I’ve had him about a week and the most I’ve seen him eat is three baby tomatoes, one leaf of collard greens and two slices of squash. I don’t know if I’m just putting too much food in his bowl or if he’s sick. Please help I love the little guy

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Pistachio's Pamperer

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Julia:: go over to the Russian thread and start reading. There is a newer member that started a thread called “is this an ok diet”. We have been guiding that member as well. Also plz read the care guides. Temps will also affect yr tortoises ability to digest. You are feeding the wrong things.

Sorry on my phone and have issues posting links or would post to you directly what to be reading.

Tomatoes and squash are not good, Russians don’t need the sugar. Broad leaf plants.

Hopefully someone like TOM will be along shortly that will post some links for you.

We are here to help. Welcome!!
-Meg
 

LasTortugasNinja

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Mine was fussy for a few days when I first got him. Between a little zoomed grassland hay pellets and a sprinkling of organic floral herbal tea mix (basically dried hibiscus, peach, rose, rose leaf, chamomile, and mint) that my wife got at one of those little new age earth friendly hippy grocery stores, he’s been eating what I put before him like crazy. The herbal tea is really quite potent, so he pops his head out from his hide, sniffs, and comes “running” to his food bowl now. Whatever had the tea mix sprinkles are eaten first, then he eats the rest coz he’s in a munchy mood, from dandelion greens, local backyard weeds, and a little organic spring mix. Nothing in the tea mix is bad for him because it’s such small quantities (like a quick crank of a pepper grinder) and pesticide/herbicide/fertilizer free. I’ll probably still get yelled at by someone here for “tricking” him to eat, but it gets food in his belly, so I’m good.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Julia, and welcome to the Forum!

I think the reason he's not eating is because you're not offering him the types of food he's used to eating. Russian tortoises are browsers, meaning, they eat broad-leaf weeds and plants. I think if you offer him clean weeds from the yard and dark, leafy greens from the store he'll eat. Start with endive and escarole, dandelion, etc. And make sure he's warm enough. Besides being a new-to-you tortoise, the most common cause for a tortoise not eating is because they're not warm enough.
 

Cathie G

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Mine was fussy for a few days when I first got him. Between a little zoomed grassland hay pellets and a sprinkling of organic floral herbal tea mix (basically dried hibiscus, peach, rose, rose leaf, chamomile, and mint) that my wife got at one of those little new age earth friendly hippy grocery stores, he’s been eating what I put before him like crazy. The herbal tea is really quite potent, so he pops his head out from his hide, sniffs, and comes “running” to his food bowl now. Whatever had the tea mix sprinkles are eaten first, then he eats the rest coz he’s in a munchy mood, from dandelion greens, local backyard weeds, and a little organic spring mix. Nothing in the tea mix is bad for him because it’s such small quantities (like a quick crank of a pepper grinder) and pesticide/herbicide/fertilizer free. I’ll probably still get yelled at by someone here for “tricking” him to eat, but it gets food in his belly, so I’m good.
I think it's actually a good idea. Small pet select sent me a sample rabbit treat made from herbs and flowers. My little Russian loves it. All I have to do is sprinkle it on now and then.
 

Maddy0.0

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Did he start eating? Mine hasn’t for weeks, he’s been a shy eater ever since I got him, I have mustard greens, kale, and the weeds outside to offer him right now and just, nothing.
 
Joined
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Salisbury
Hi, I just got my first tort, his name is Milo and he’s a Russian tortoise that’s about 4 years old. He has no interest in food like ever! I’ve had him about a week and the most I’ve seen him eat is three baby tomatoes, one leaf of collard greens and two slices of squash. I don’t know if I’m just putting too much food in his bowl or if he’s sick. Please help I love the little guy

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Put less in his bowel and variate his food options regularly.
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2020
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Salisbury
Did he start eating? Mine hasn’t for weeks, he’s been a shy eater ever since I got him, I have mustard greens, kale, and the weeds outside to offer him right now and just, nothing.
Torts natural instinct is not to eat during winter. He may start when it warms up a bit? Is his enclosure warm? And
Where about is it?
 

Maddy0.0

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Torts natural instinct is not to eat during winter. He may start when it warms up a bit? Is his enclosure warm? And
Where about is it?
Yeah his enclosure is warm it’s been around 90-100 in the basking spot and 70-80 on the other side, I’ve been bringing him out in the 60 degree weather, I don’t know what you mean where about is it?
 

Kthens52

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Mar 24, 2020
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Hi Julia, and welcome to the Forum!

I think the reason he's not eating is because you're not offering him the types of food he's used to eating. Russian tortoises are browsers, meaning, they eat broad-leaf weeds and plants. I think if you offer him clean weeds from the yard and dark, leafy greens from the store he'll eat. Start with endive and escarole, dandelion, etc. And make sure he's warm enough. Besides being a new-to-you tortoise, the most common cause for a tortoise not eating is because they're not warm enough.
Hi! I am a newbie russian owner and have been reading online that the pet store tortoises are usually wild caught and that causes stress. I've tried feeding my guy dandelion, romaine, other greens and zoomed grassland food but he seems to only eat the "treats" that petsmart sold me (its a bunch of dried veggies that I soak in water). Do you think he just needs to get comfortable or should I be concerned that he isn't eating what he's supposed to be eating?
 

Julia B

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Joined
Mar 21, 2020
Messages
40
Location (City and/or State)
Indiana
Milo has started eating more regularly! Since he is a captive bred tortoise I got in contact with the breeders to understand his usual diet and that helped a lot. Today he ate from my hand which made me really happy! Here are a few pictures I caught of him while we were outside today
 

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Erinsher

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Mar 25, 2020
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Torts natural instinct is not to eat during winter. He may start when it warms up a bit? Is his enclosure warm? And
Where about is it?
Hi There,

Is this true, do they not eat in winter. Reason I’m asking is because my little fella about a yr old suddenly stopped eating, I’m in Ireland & it’s winter here, he ate fine for about 6 months after we got him, but has eaten minutely in the last 2 months. He ate spinach, kale & carrot no problem at all, & now he’s stopped. 😞
 

ZenHerper

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Feb 27, 2020
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New Jersey
Hi There,

Is this true, do they not eat in winter. Reason I’m asking is because my little fella about a yr old suddenly stopped eating, I’m in Ireland & it’s winter here, he ate fine for about 6 months after we got him, but has eaten minutely in the last 2 months. He ate spinach, kale & carrot no problem at all, & now he’s stopped. 😞
Those are not natural, healthful (balanced) foods for Russian tortoises. Is that what kind of tort you have?

There are informative threads in this subforum:


Yes, most tortoises brumate in winter. This is in part due to cold temperatures, but their brains are also evolved to take cues from day length and magnetic changes as the earth tilts away from the sun.

Brumation is different from hybernation in that reptiles don't stop eating entirely, but they slow down all of their bodily processes to lowest life-sustaining levels. A tortoise that won't eat still needs to be given a morning bath in warm water. Enough warm water in a pan up to where the shell is divided from the belly plate, and set in the enclosure near the heat emitter so it does not get cold. About 20 minutes is fine; watch over your drowsy tort so that it does not doze off and dip its nostrils under the water. It may drink, it may not, but it will absorb water through the anal vent in either case. This keeps your pet hydrated and able to sustain prolonged fasting.
 
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