Ginger_99

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I just brought a Russian tortoise home. It's only been a been day and a half, all he does is sit in the corner in his hide. But I know he needs time to adapt. He came up for a bit ate and went back. I do have a question about what exactly I should feed him and what brand of supplement I should use. Every where I look there is a different opinion. I know for sure no spinach, no bokchoi, broccoli or fruit. Some say no romaine or red leaf, others say that's all they use and I just want to make sure he is healthy and happy. On top of that the local pet shop I got him from gave me a supplement but upon looking at it I realized its totally wrong. It's way too high in protein and is for insectivores... I have temps, uvb, substrate and enclosure all set it's just these food and supplement things I need help on. Again just want him to be healthy and happy.
 

mads3732

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Harrington
I just brought a Russian tortoise home. It's only been a been day and a half, all he does is sit in the corner in his hide. But I know he needs time to adapt. He came up for a bit ate and went back. I do have a question about what exactly I should feed him and what brand of supplement I should use. Every where I look there is a different opinion. I know for sure no spinach, no bokchoi, broccoli or fruit. Some say no romaine or red leaf, others say that's all they use and I just want to make sure he is healthy and happy. On top of that the local pet shop I got him from gave me a supplement but upon looking at it I realized its totally wrong. It's way too high in protein and is for insectivores... I have temps, uvb, substrate and enclosure all set it's just these food and supplement things I need help on. Again just want him to be healthy and happy.

I feed mine a good variety. Squash, zucchini, romaine, collard greens, tomato, carrot.
 

MichaelL

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Actually, no hate, but mads3732's diet is not really the best for a russian. All those fruits and veggies are hard on the gut. They need a huge variety of weeds and flowers, to get all the fiber and nutrition they need. Fiber is key for a healthy russian. Squash, zucchini, carrots, romaine, and collards are all good treats to give a couple times a month. I wouldn't even offer tomatoes, close to no fiber and will cause diarrhea. You just need to start identifying safe weeds and flowers around you and that should be the majority of the diet. You'd be surprised how many weeds are around you that are great for russians. Good luck!
 
Last edited:

MichaelL

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I just brought a Russian tortoise home. It's only been a been day and a half, all he does is sit in the corner in his hide. But I know he needs time to adapt. He came up for a bit ate and went back. I do have a question about what exactly I should feed him and what brand of supplement I should use. Every where I look there is a different opinion. I know for sure no spinach, no bokchoi, broccoli or fruit. Some say no romaine or red leaf, others say that's all they use and I just want to make sure he is healthy and happy. On top of that the local pet shop I got him from gave me a supplement but upon looking at it I realized its totally wrong. It's way too high in protein and is for insectivores... I have temps, uvb, substrate and enclosure all set it's just these food and supplement things I need help on. Again just want him to be healthy and happy.
Romaine and red leaf are okay every once in a while, but should not be most of their diet because they lack fiber and russians need a good variety of greens. If you end up getting different kinds of weeds, you won't even need pellets or store bought greens.
 

Ginger_99

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Allentown
Actually, no hate, but mads3732's diet is not really the best for a russian. All those fruits and veggies are hard on the gut. They need a huge variety of weeds and flowers, to get all the fiber and nutrition they need. Fiber is key for a healthy russian. Squash, zucchini, carrots, romaine, and collards are all good treats to give a couple times a month. I wouldn't even offer tomatoes, close to no fiber and will cause diarrhea. You just need to start identifying safe weeds and flowers around you and that should be the majority of the diet. You'd be surprised how many weeds are around you that are great for russians. Good luck!
That makes sense. I wasnt planning on the tomatoes
Romaine and red leaf are okay every once in a while, but should not be most of their diet because they lack fiber and russians need a good variety of greens. If you end up getting different kinds of weeds, you won't even need pellets or store bought greens.
We dont really have much of a yard to get/grow weeds. I really appreciate your advice. Any ideas on store bought things I can give him? Radicchio, collard greens things like that, right? I wa mnay people say spring mix because of variety but that's a mix of 14 types of leave and I know at least 4 of them are on the avoid list...
 

MichaelL

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That makes sense. I wasnt planning on the tomatoes

We dont really have much of a yard to get/grow weeds. I really appreciate your advice. Any ideas on store bought things I can give him? Radicchio, collard greens things like that, right? I wa mnay people say spring mix because of variety but that's a mix of 14 types of leave and I know at least 4 of them are on the avoid list...
Okay so since you don't really have access to weeds and stuff, you are able to recreate it with the store bought stuff. Stick mainly to endive and escarole. Along with radicchio, mustard greens, collards, kale, dandelion greens, beet greens, not as much on the lettuces but still include them. Yeah, instead of getting spring mix I would just get the different greens individually. To include fiber I would get some sort of grassland/ grassy pellet to mix in with the greens. He probably won't like it, and you will have to put small amounts and gradually increase it.
 

Ginger_99

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Okay so since you don't really have access to weeds and stuff, you are able to recreate it with the store bought stuff. Stick mainly to endive and escarole. Along with radicchio, mustard greens, collards, kale, dandelion greens, beet greens, not as much on the lettuces but still include them. Yeah, instead of getting spring mix I would just get the different greens individually. To include fiber I would get some sort of grassland/ grassy pellet to mix in with the greens. He probably won't like it, and you will have to put small amounts and gradually increase it.
Wonderful!!! Thank you so much for all your help. I'll head right over the grocery store tomorrow morning. One last question... do you give your tortoise calcium supplements and if so, can you recommend a brand?
 

MichaelL

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Wonderful!!! Thank you so much for all your help. I'll head right over the grocery store tomorrow morning. One last question... do you give your tortoise calcium supplements and if so, can you recommend a brand?
I do, but rarely. They have access to cuttlebone and eggshells in their pen, and recieve an enormous variety of weeds that they don't need it as much. Still give it occasionally though. I have Zoo med repti calcium, that is a good one.
 

Ginger_99

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I do, but rarely. They have access to cuttlebone and eggshells in their pen, and recieve an enormous variety of weeds that they don't need it as much. Still give it occasionally though. I have Zoo med repti calcium, that is a good one.
Great! I have a cuttle bone but he doesnt show much interest in it yet. Again thanks for all your help. Have a great night!
 

MichaelL

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Great! I have a cuttle bone but he doesnt show much interest in it yet. Again thanks for all your help. Have a great night!
Sometimes they prefer eggshells over cuttlebone.. Once your tortoise needs the calcium, it'll eat the cuttlebone. Good night!
 

Dutchgirl

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Apr 14, 2020
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I just brought a Russian tortoise home. It's only been a been day and a half, all he does is sit in the corner in his hide. But I know he needs time to adapt. He came up for a bit ate and went back. I do have a question about what exactly I should feed him and what brand of supplement I should use. Every where I look there is a different opinion. I know for sure no spinach, no bokchoi, broccoli or fruit. Some say no romaine or red leaf, others say that's all they use and I just want to make sure he is healthy and happy. On top of that the local pet shop I got him from gave me a supplement but upon looking at it I realized its totally wrong. It's way too high in protein and is for insectivores... I have temps, uvb, substrate and enclosure all set it's just these food and supplement things I need help on. Again just want him to be healthy and happy.
Dear Tot Mommy,
While you are weighing all of the offered opinions - cuddle him and offer romaine. Avoid weeds that have been sprayed or treated but grab any clean dandelion flowers and leaves you come across and if a neighbor has a rose bush; ask if they’ve treated it (likely not!), and ask if you can trim some blooms and leaves!!
If there are rose hips - grab them.
For thoughtful pruning, cut above a five leaf and the owner will get new buds. Remove leaves and petals and let your baby enjoy a nutritious meal !!
We all know it’s confusing and we only offer the best of what we’ve researched and tried. A nice lukewarm bath/drink is probably most important while you’re doing your research.
 

Tom

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We dont really have much of a yard to get/grow weeds.
Its a big world out there and its full of good stuff to feed your tortoise. Look for mulberry trees, grapevine leaves, hibiscus or rose of sharon.... Weeds can be found all over the place. In vacant lots and in wild places there is no one going around wasting expensive weed killers or pesticides. When you find a potentially good place for weeds, look for signs of insect life like holes in the leaves, ants on the ground, spider webs, etc... No chemicals if the insect population is healthy. Broadleaf weeds are far better for your tortoise than grocery store greens, and they are free. Got any friends, relatives or neighbors that might not be treating their lawns with toxic chemicals? They will love it if you come pull their weeds for them and prune their mulberry trees. You could grow grape vines on a balcony in a pot. There are many many options.
 

RosemaryDW

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That makes sense. I wasnt planning on the tomatoes

We dont really have much of a yard to get/grow weeds. I really appreciate your advice. Any ideas on store bought things I can give him? Radicchio, collard greens things like that, right? I wa mnay people say spring mix because of variety but that's a mix of 14 types of leave and I know at least 4 of them are on the avoid list...

Are there any kinds of ethnic groceries where you are? Many cultures eat things you and I think of as weeds that are great tortoise foods. Let us know and we can possibly give us some foods to look for.
 

Ginger_99

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Are there any kinds of ethnic groceries where you are? Many cultures eat things you and I think of as weeds that are great tortoise foods. Let us know and we can possibly give us some foods to look for.
We have a few arab markets and one Asian market, that's about it.
 

RosemaryDW

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We have a few arab markets and one Asian market, that's about it.
Okay, you are about to see that I love to visit grocery stores! Here is a post about shopping at my local Persian market: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-tortoise-chef.153728/page-4#post-1496328, along with one about our more “general” Asian store: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-tortoise-chef.153728/page-3#post-1482434. We have a Korean market that leans more heavily toward good tortoise food than Chinese markets; let us know if you have one of those.

Any Hispanic grocery stores? All of them will have nopales (cactus) which is good tortoise food.
 

Ginger_99

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We dont have any Hispanic stores, but the arab store is where everyone in town buys their produce. You can never find a parking space. They might have some, they try to cater to a lot of different foods.
 

RosemaryDW

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We dont have any Hispanic stores, but the arab store is where everyone in town buys their produce. You can never find a parking space. They might have some, they try to cater to a lot of different foods.
Ours caters to a variety of clientele as well, but not so much Asian cultures, as we have multiple Asian vendors in town. They have some Indian produce, which can be helpful.
 

killdashnine

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Also see tortoise table . I live in city so finding wild weeds is not an option but if shop around many grocery stores carry everything like dandelions.
 
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