Picky Desert Tortoise Eater

AuthorrDianeBixler

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Following suggestions, I identified all vegetation in Max's outdoor enclosure. I removed anything he couldn't eat, and added some plants he can, in an effort to ensure variety. Right now, he has access to about 15 different plants/weeds/flowers. In addition, I always have an organic blend of kale & lettuce, which I offer when he appears done eating what grows outside. He does want the kale & lettuce daily, but it's diminishing as he eats more wild growing food while outside.

Lately, he's loving the cudd weed, and will nibble on hibiscus and clover, but that's it. He flat up turns his nose up & away from everything else, including mallow, petunia, geranium, tick seed, and some plantain weed I identified through this site. If I pull some prickly pear cactus, he will chow down on those, but it has to be what I'm growing. He refused pads from a friend's yard. But a good 90% of what he is choosing from outdoors is the cudd weed.

Is it OK that he really only eats the one weed? He's about 1.5 years old, lives primarily indoors (until he's bigger), and has access to an enclosure area specifically for him daily (weather permitting). His poop & pee are fine, all else is normal, he's happy & healthy, as best I can tell. He drinks water daily, and has a good sleep/wake routine. I'm just worried about him primarily eating the one food source, especially when he has access to so much more. I've really tried to make sure he has variety!
 

RosemaryDW

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If I pull some prickly pear cactus, he will chow down on those, but it has to be what I'm growing. He refused pads from a friend's yard.

Do we own the same tortoise? o_O

I have a voracious Russian but here are some things she currently will not eat: hibiscus, geranium, tickseed, cud weed, kale, plantain. Eats cactus only when Saturn is aligned with Mars. Sound familiar? She is much less finicky then last year but not hungry enough to eat everything.

QUOTE="AuthorrDianeBixler, post: 1474627, member: 92344"]

Is it OK that he really only eats the one weed? [/QUOTE]

It's not good for them to stay focused exclusively on one food for long periods of time but it doesn't sound like that is the case. He's eating some other weeds and he's eating less and less of what he's been used to (kale/lettuce mix). In the wild, even with plenty of options, there are still going to be foods they prefer at different times. I know it's not easy but keep offering variety and be patient; things should improve.
 

Yvonne G

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In my opinion, it's perfectly fine to include store bought greens in his diet. Try endive and escarole. Also, do you have access to grape leaves or mulberry leaves? Those are pretty good food items too.
 
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