• Welcome! Are you interested in tortoises? If so, we invite you to join our community! Our community is the #1 place for tortoise keepers to talk online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your tortoise and enclosure, and discuss any tortoise topic with other tortoise keepers. Get started today!

New caregiver to Desert Tortoise need advice.

Anilasor

New Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
5
Location (City and/or State)
Arizona
Like I tried this morning you could make a hay paste and stuff it in a snap pea if Phillip is a picky one! Seriously learn something new everyday and forget half a thing every other! HA!
Great idea! And you're right! We learn something new every day but forget half the next! Lol!
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
10,893
What kind of calcium do you give your tort ? I dry out my eggshells for 24 hours and then grind them into a powder and sprinkle the powder over the torts greens . Egg shells are free ![emoji217]
I don’t like store bought stuff
Much ! Cause if you look at people food you’ll see they add a lot of stuff to it to cut cost like salt (they add it of salt to soup and sugar so it don’t taste as salty!cuddle bone can choke a tort and cuddle fish are from salt water . But in the wild your tort finds lizard , bird eggshells for Calcium. Someone posted that it takes longer for a tort to take in egg shell calcium . But that was whole eggshells . Not eggshell powder . But I mix eggshell powder with carbonate calcium. But I have 51 torts so I buy 5 pounds of carbonate calcium. Carbonate calcium is taken in to the torts system faster .
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
I don’t like store bought stuff
Much ! Cause if you look at people food you’ll see they add a lot of stuff to it to cut cost like salt (they add it of salt to soup and sugar so it don’t taste as salty!cuddle bone can choke a tort and cuddle fish are from salt water . But in the wild your tort finds lizard , bird eggshells for Calcium. Someone posted that it takes longer for a tort to take in egg shell calcium . But that was whole eggshells . Not eggshell powder . But I mix eggshell powder with carbonate calcium. But I have 51 torts so I buy 5 pounds of carbonate calcium. Carbonate calcium is taken in to the torts system faster .
Interesting thanks! That's what I was wondering usually the store bought stuff does seem to have a lot of different ingredients made up of a lot of fillers. I think I will try this maybe mix the powder with the pellet mush and gut load the snap peas with it and see how that goes. This might be a difficult question to answer considering you have a legion of terrestrial tanks! I have the one 20 year old guy. What do you think would be a good amount to include? Some every meal, every other meal, once a week? I don't think the previous owners ever gave any such stuff so I'm sure he is deficient in that area. Once again thanks for the knowledge and advice!
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2013
Messages
10,893
Interesting thanks! That's what I was wondering usually the store bought stuff does seem to have a lot of different ingredients made up of a lot of fillers. I think I will try this maybe mix the powder with the pellet mush and gut load the snap peas with it and see how that goes. This might be a difficult question to answer considering you have a legion of terrestrial tanks! I have the one 20 year old guy. What do you think would be a good amount to include? Some every meal, every other meal, once a week? I don't think the previous owners ever gave any such stuff so I'm sure he is deficient in that area. Once again thanks for the knowledge and advice!
I f your talking calcium? The TFO says a very little bit once or twice a week .If your talking about Mazuri o the bag it says Mazuri or other pellet food should not be more then 20 percent of your torts diet.
 

DesertGirl12

New Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2015
Messages
13
Location (City and/or State)
Yucca Valley, CA
You mentioned you have a mulberry tree. The mulberry leaves are great for your tort. Mine prefers the newer growth leaves better. That’s something else you have already for him!
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
You mentioned you have a mulberry tree. The mulberry leaves are great for your tort. Mine prefers the newer growth leaves better. That’s something else you have already for him!
Yeah I have offered it to him and he will eat it and then not eat it depends on his mood I guess.
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
Okay so Morty update and behavior question. So since Friday he will come out for breakfast after quite a bit of coaxing. Then when I get him to come over to his food paver he takes a couple of munches and then turns and starts to walk away. When I hold a green bean in front of him he'll eat it and as I get him to come back to the pile of fresh food he'll maybe take a bite and then just turn around and head back in his burrow. But if I sit there and feed him one snap pea, green bean at a time he'll keep eating more. If he was hungry wouldn't he eat it up like I've seen him do before? Or do they just not want to eat sometimes? Could he still be adjusting to his new digs? I'm just confused since I don't know what his normal is I'm at a loss. Any suggestions or ideas are welcome! Thanks!!!
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
Okay so Morty update and behavior question. So since Friday he will come out for breakfast after quite a bit of coaxing. Then when I get him to come over to his food paver he takes a couple of munches and then turns and starts to walk away. When I hold a green bean in front of him he'll eat it and as I get him to come back to the pile of fresh food he'll maybe take a bite and then just turn around and head back in his burrow. But if I sit there and feed him one snap pea, green bean at a time he'll keep eating more. If he was hungry wouldn't he eat it up like I've seen him do before? Or do they just not want to eat sometimes? Could he still be adjusting to his new digs? I'm just confused since I don't know what his normal is I'm at a loss. Any suggestions or ideas are welcome! Thanks!!!
Yes to all of the reasons you listed....i would pick early am for food offerings and then try afternoon in a shady spot and then late day...i would try a time for each day to see if time of day is a key factor for the tort.....it is super hot the last week and even the torts here are not on routine for their normal munching....
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
Thanks for replying! Yes I feed him in the morning around 7:30 before I go to work and around 7pm when I get home from work. He seemed okay with that schedule it kind of mimicked his previous schedule. Unfortunately he use to have people and dogs around him during the day and now only sees me in the morning and evening except on the weekends when I try and go out there more often. Also when he comes out in the evening I usually stay out there within until he heads back to his burrow. I was thinking it could be heat related also. Like you said I'm in Lancaster area and it's been triple digits! Heck on Sunday when I went out there at 9 am it was already 92! I gave him a good soak on Friday and he drank and peed so I'm assuming he's hydrated. I spray his area to dampen the ground make it a little cooler. I put the food in shaded spots. I'm just hope I'm doing things right! Do your torts not eat as much when it's super hot? Do they prefer cooler temps?
 

kthomas

New Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
AZ
I f your talking calcium? The TFO says a very little bit once or twice a week .If your talking about Mazuri o the bag it says Mazuri or other pellet food should not be more then 20 percent of your torts diet.
Mazuri doesn't say that. They say that if you add fruit and vegetables to the diet, they should not be in concentrations of more than 5% and 20% of the diet. At least that's what my Mazuri tortoise food bag states. Nothing about limiting the actual Mazuri pellets.

My understanding is that Mazuri is the only commercial tortoise food that provides the complete nutrition that a tortoise needs. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that, I've only had tortoises for about a year so I'm far from an expert.

My desert tortoises love the Mazuri pellets, they act like it's candy. I soak the pellets in water so it's easier for them to eat (they are only a year old).
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
Mazuri doesn't say that. They say that if you add fruit and vegetables to the diet, they should not be in concentrations of more than 5% and 20% of the diet. At least that's what my Mazuri tortoise food bag states. Nothing about limiting the actual Mazuri pellets.

My understanding is that Mazuri is the only commercial tortoise food that provides the complete nutrition that a tortoise needs. Perhaps I'm mistaken on that, I've only had tortoises for about a year so I'm far from an expert.

My desert tortoises love the Mazuri pellets, they act like it's candy. I soak the pellets in water so it's easier for them to eat (they are only a year old).
I still need to try that stuff. See if he likes it.
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
Hello ALL!

An update and questions. Morty is doing good eating, pooping, running around and seems in generally good spirits. Now the weather is changing and his previous caretaker told me this morning I should bring him in for his winter sleep. I'm wondering should I stop feeding him. now and wait for a week for him to clear his guts or bring him in now? Also he doesn't seem to be slowing down or not eating like everyone says they should when they are ready. I'm wondering if I bring him in will he just go to sleep or will he be like hey what's going on and spend all his time trying to get out? Since this is my first time with him during this period of time I want to make sure I'm getting things right. This week's weather is nighttime lows of down to 40's to high of 85 daytime. I still need to make his sleep chamber. I'm thinking the box in a box with news paper is the route I will take. Also could you use the pink insulation foam boards instead of newsprint for insulation? Thanks for all the help and advice it's been very helpful!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,008
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello ALL!

An update and questions. Morty is doing good eating, pooping, running around and seems in generally good spirits. Now the weather is changing and his previous caretaker told me this morning I should bring him in for his winter sleep. I'm wondering should I stop feeding him. now and wait for a week for him to clear his guts or bring him in now? Also he doesn't seem to be slowing down or not eating like everyone says they should when they are ready. I'm wondering if I bring him in will he just go to sleep or will he be like hey what's going on and spend all his time trying to get out? Since this is my first time with him during this period of time I want to make sure I'm getting things right. This week's weather is nighttime lows of down to 40's to high of 85 daytime. I still need to make his sleep chamber. I'm thinking the box in a box with news paper is the route I will take. Also could you use the pink insulation foam boards instead of newsprint for insulation? Thanks for all the help and advice it's been very helpful!
Its much too warm during the day to bring him in just yet, and our night are too cold to leave them out if they don't have a burrow.

In the wild, they spend most of their time deep underground to avoid the temperature extremes at the surface. In summer, the ground is 80 degrees. In winter, its a steady 49-50. Above ground temperature extremes are not good for them. Hibernation is a whole process. Its not as easy as just bringing them inside one day. Its too hot outside most days in winter, and too cold at night. Like wise, any normal house is much too warm for them to hibernate in, and day to night, or day to day temperature fluctuations are also bad.

Scroll down to post number 19 of this thread for a more detailed explanation of the hibernation process. Leaving them outside, or putting them in a box in a closet is often fatal. https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/looking-for-an-rt-hibernation-mentor.128790/
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
Its much too warm during the day to bring him in just yet, and our night are too cold to leave them out if they don't have a burrow.

In the wild, they spend most of their time deep underground to avoid the temperature extremes at the surface. In summer, the ground is 80 degrees. In winter, its a steady 49-50. Above ground temperature extremes are not good for them. Hibernation is a whole process. Its not as easy as just bringing them inside one day. Its too hot outside most days in winter, and too cold at night. Like wise, any normal house is much too warm for them to hibernate in, and day to night, or day to day temperature fluctuations are also bad.

Scroll down to post number 19 of this thread for a more detailed explanation of the hibernation process. Leaving them outside, or putting them in a box in a closet is often fatal. https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/looking-for-an-rt-hibernation-mentor.128790/
Thanks for responding! I have read the linked post and still have some questions. The weather report says it's going to get down to 42 in Lancaster, CA tonight. I will bring him in tonight just to be safe. He does have a burrow I made him with concrete blocks and board that is about maybe a foot underground and dirt mounded on top is this not very protective against the elements? Your post talks of old refrigerators and such while Yvonne just throws a pile of leaves on their burrow outside. The lady I got him from use to just put him in a plastic tub with like rabbit pellets in a spare room. So I don't think he has ever been properly hibernated. I don't think I can afford a mini fridge right now or make a heated night box proper right now. Are those my only options? Would a double box set on top of a pink foam board or two in the garage work? Should I stop feeding him now for two weeks or do you think he's got a little bit before that? I know you said it's a feeling but that's what is making it so hard because the old owner's feeling is bring him now. And I haven't had that much time with him yet to know his normal or anything else. Sorry for the long reply I'm just kinda confused here as what is the best way for the little guy. Thanks for the help and any other info you need from me or clarification let me know. Thanks Tom!
 

Analogue

New Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Phoenix AZ
tortoises do perform coprophagy it is NORMAL. Fibrous tortoise "pellet" appears perfectly healthy! The enclosure/shelter is GORGEOUS. Good job on that shelter.
 

BILL IV

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
27
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster, California
tortoises do perform coprophagy it is NORMAL. Fibrous tortoise "pellet" appears perfectly healthy! The enclosure/shelter is GORGEOUS. Good job on that shelter.
Thanks! I can't wait for all the plants to grow in. Hopefully he doesn't eat them up before they get established.
 
Top