Sulcata's Diet - Important for New owners (Discussion)

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mctlong

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richellesworld said:
I have requested this thread to be removed. I do not want to mislead anyone or be a part of furthering any negativity. I apologize for any misunderstandings and stress that this thread has allowed and/or caused.

Kind regards,

Please don't do that! This forum is the place to discuss tortoise husbandry. These debates are part of what makes the forum so good. Bringing new ideas to the table and/or identifying myths or outdated caring techniques is important.

Perhaps we can just switch it to the debate section of the forum?

jaizei said:
Edna said:
DeanS said:
Sure...it looks nice...but, as Yvonne says (and most of us know), it's inaccurate and out-of-date at best! Of course, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that lists 1 and 2 are EXCELLENT staples for a sulcata's diet. It's the rest of the document that leaves a lot to be desired!

True. In fact, I'd like to see the OP taken down by the moderators because it's going to come up in any search and look like a legitimate and official sulcata care sheet.

Should we censor things we do not agree with? Would following this diet cause harm? While there are errors, I think the basic approach to diet is fine.

If someone searches for "sulcata diet", that page comes up first. By having it here, at least there is discussion about its merits.

Yes! Agree. :)
 

wellington

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richellesworld said:
I have requested this thread to be removed. I do not want to mislead anyone or be a part of furthering any negativity. I apologize for any misunderstandings and stress that this thread has allowed and/or caused.

Kind regards,

Don't worry about it. Nothing personal against you. It's not the first time and won't be the last. It usually doesn't go too far. Everyone has to learn some how. You had some good stuff in it and some bad. How should you know. We all have come across the misinformation sites, even past some of it on. Then we found this forum and the great info here works, and has worked for many. Stick around, learn some good stuff and everyone gets over the bickering and goes on, no problem:D
 

DeanS

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I don't have a problem with the OP (thanks Edna;) ). Misinformation is as good an educational tool as any...in its place. I just seem to have a low tolerance for the narrow-minded...and I've seen one too many members (no longer with us) spout their unwanted philosophies...just for arguments sake! And, another (that I've ignored until now), has surfaced...and I apologize to all involved if I have offended you;)

Yes! SS's diet plan should stay up...
Yes! List 1 & 2 conform to a good diet...
No! There should NEVER be censorship!
 

mctlong

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RE: Sulcata's Diet - Important for New owners!!!

richellesworld said:
jaizei said:
When you copy and paste something, at the very least you should link back to the original to give credit.

http://www.sulcata-station.org/diet.html

I was not trying to take credit but rather give people information I found. Thanks for posting the link.

Thanks for clarifying. :)
 

Tom

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RE: Sulcata's Diet - Important for New owners!!!

Arizona Sulcata said:
I disagree with about 80% of this.

This is where I stand too. The whole first paragraph is full of incorrect assumptions and old outdated info.

Dean is absolutely correct about lists 1. And 2. being excellent, and of course I agree that some Mazuri in the diet is usually a good thing. I actually like most of list three as part of a varied diet too.
 

mctlong

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Okay, the caresheet was bothering me, so I edited it below. It makes more sense to me this way.



Why Diet Matters


Feeding an unhealthy diet can lead to serious health problems.

Common Dietary Problems

Some common mistakes keepers make include:
1. Not providing enough fiber
2. Providing animal protein
3. Not providing enough calcium and/or the right calcium-phosphorus balance
4. Not providing sufficient Vitamin D


Avoiding Dietary Problems
You are responsible for the health and well-being of your tortoise, so you must do you research and feed the right foods, and in the right quantities. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the typical dietary pitfalls:

1. PROVIDE enough fiber by feeding your tortoise a varied diet high in grasses and edible weeds as described below.

2. AVOID giving your tortoise foods that contains high levels of animal protein. Sulcatas are not designed to digest animal protein, so high protein diets stress the tortoise's system which may result in malnutrition, organ failure, and premature death. Never give your sulcata tortoise animal protein such meat, dairy products or dog/cat food.

3. AVOID excessive amounts of fruit and other sugar-rich foods. Grazing tortoise species such as leopards and sulcatas will opportunistically eat sugary foods such as fruits and flowers when they come across them in the wild. These foods make up a small percent of their diet and vitamins provided in these fruits may even be beneficial. However, excessive amount of these same foods could be detrimental to the tort’s overall health. Sulcatas have bacteria in their intestines to help them digest and extract nourishment from the food they eat. If your tortoise eats excessive amounts of fruit, the acids and sugars in the fruit can change the pH of the tortoise's digestive tract and this pH change can cause the beneficial bacteria in the tortoise's gut to die off. As such, fruits & flowers should only be given in moderation. Excessive amounts of sugary foods such as these should be avoided.

4. PROVIDE enough calcium, and good Calcium:phosphorus ratios. Sulcata tortoises require a great deal of calcium in their diet. The Sahel area of Africa where sulcata naturally occur is a semi-arid region that has calcium-rich soils. Wild sulcata tortoises therefore get sufficient calcium by eating the grasses that grow in these calcium-laden soils. Think about where you live and how you feed your tortoise. If you live in a semi-arid or arid area with little rainfall, the calcium levels in your local soil will be relatively high. Any grasses grown in such a calcium-rich soil will also be high in calcium, so if you allow your tortoise to graze at will on grasses grown in this soil, you might not have to give your tortoise as much in the way of calcium supplements. However, if you live in a rainy, humid area, then the calcium levels in your soil will be very low because it is dissolved and removed from the soil by the frequent rainfall. Any grasses grown in your local soil will be calcium-poor. Therefore, you should provide your tortoise with calcium supplements on a regular basis.

In choosing a calcium supplement, make sure you choose one that does NOT contain Phosphorus. Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus (P) are both necessary to build healthy bone tissue. However, the phosphorus available in most food items is used much more readily by the tortoise's body than calcium, so you really don't need to supply any additional phosphorus to your tortoise.

We've found that the easiest way to get calcium into our tortoises is to leave cuttlebones in their pens. We purchase large (10"-12" length) cuttlebone in bulk from a supplier on the Internet. (Suppliers can change, so we recommend you use Google to find "cuttlebone in bulk".) If you choose to use cuttlebone for your tortoise, make sure that you remove the hard shell-like backing from each cuttlebone (a small flat-blade screwdriver seems to work best to pop this backing off), then break the cuttlebone into pieces and spread it around your tortoise enclosures. Your tortoise will chew on the cuttlebone when it feels the need for additional calcium. If you prefer to use a powdered calcium supplement, we recommend one that contains calcium citrate and/or calcium maleate as these tend to be more easily absorbed. However, calcium carbonate will also work. You could spray or sprinkle the supplement lightly over your tort's favorite food. If using powder, keep in mind that it sticks better to dampened greens, so wash the greens, shake off the excess water, then sprinkle the powdered supplements onto the greens.


5. PROVIDE Vitamin D. Sulcatas need Vitamin D to absorb the calcium provided in their diet. The best way to ensure that your tort is getting the required Vitamin D is house your tort in an outdoor enclosure. Another option is to allow the animal to graze outdoors daily in natural sunlight, weather permitting. During colder seasons where outdoor grazing is not possible, an artificial UV lamp can be used to fulfill the tort’s Vitamin D requirements.


Recommended Diet Items


Now, after reading about all the things that you shouldn't feed your tortoise, you may be thinking, "What on earth am I supposed to feed this little guy/gal?"

VARIATION

The key to a good diet is variation. Provide as much variation as you can to ensure that your tort is getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients. Below are some healthy tort foods. This list is not all inclusive and there are lots of nutritious foods not listed here.

GRASSES:

Below are some healthy, edible grasses for sulcatas. This list is not inclusive and there are many other healthy grasses not listed here.

• Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
• Bermuda Grass (Cynodon Dactylon - actually originated in Africa!)
• Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata)
• Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
• Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparious)
• Western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii)
• Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
• Arizona Fescue (Festuca arizonica)
• Lawn Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
• Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina)
• Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)

The best way to provide grasses is to have a large, safely-enclosed outdoor yard in which you can plant various types of grasses for your sulcata to graze on. This will allow your tortoise to graze at will, while he gets exercise and exposure to sunlight (Vitamin D :) ). Owners who can provide a tortoise yard don't have to worry about overfeeding, or whether the tortoise is getting enough UV exposure.

EDIBLE WEEDS, LEAVES, AND FLOWERS

Here are some recommended weeds, leaves, and flowers for sulcata tortoises. This list is not inclusive and there are many other healthy weeds not listed here.

- Dandelion
- Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)
- Broadleaf Plaintain or Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago lanceola)
- Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea grossulariaefolia)
- Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
- Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
- Sowthistle
- Chickweed
- Hibiscus (Hibiscus species)
- Geranium (Pelargonium species)
- Mulberry Leaves (Morus species)
- Grape Leaf (Vitis species)
- California Poppy

STORE BOUGHT GREENS
Here are some good store-bought greens. This list is not inclusive and there are many other healthy greens out there not listed here.

- Arugula
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Chicory
- Kale
- Bok Choy
- Dandelion Greens


OXALIC ACID:
You should be aware that some plants contain significant levels of a compound called oxalic acid. Some studies indicate that this compound may affect calcium absorption. Thus, you should not feed large quantities of these greens on a regular basis. For more information on oxalic acid, please read: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/oxalicacidvegetablelist.html

CALCIUM:pHOSPHORUS LEVELS
You should be aware that some plants contain significant levels of phosphorus compared to calcium. Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus (P) are both necessary to build healthy bone tissue. However, the phosphorus available in most food items is used much more readily by the tortoise's body than calcium, so the tort needs much less phosphorus than calcium. In addition, some studies indicate that phosphorus may affect calcium absorption. Aim for foods that have high calcium levels, but low phosphorus levels. A calcium:phosphorus ratio table for popular store-bought greens can be found here: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/Ca-P_ratios.html

TOXINS:
Make sure that any plants you feed to your tortoise have not been treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. If you buy a plant from a large chain store like Lowe's, Home Depot, Do-It-All, etc., re-pot the plant in organic potting soil and wait a couple of months to feed the plant to your tortoises -- it will take a while for all the fertilizers and/or pesticides used by the store to leach out of the plant
 

DeanS

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mctlong said:
Okay, the caresheet was bothering me, so I edited it below. It makes more sense to me this way.

Some common mistakes keepers make include:
1. Not providing enough fiber
2. Providing animal protein
3. Not providing enough calcium and/or the right calcium-phosphorus balance
4. Not providing sufficient Vitamin D

I'm ONLY going to address these 4 points...take it for what it's worth!

Grass and/or hay takes care of the fiber...as does cactus...and if you're not feeding this stuff ...you've got no business owning a sulcata in the first place!

There is nothing wrong with adding animal protein here and there...they're opportunistic feeders, and carrion, bones and feces are part of their diet...be it frequent or seldom? Who knows!

If everyone would offer cactus, mulberry leaves and collard greens REGULARLY...then that alone takes care of the calcium:phosphorous ratio...making Ca supplements unnecessary!

Get your damn tortoise in the sun...that's your Vitamin D. Ca w/ D3 is a joke! You can't reduce the sun to talcum! Again...if you can't get your sulcata in the sun...you need a different pet!
 

mctlong

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DeanS said:
Get your damn tortoise in the sun...that's your Vitamin D. Ca w/ D3 is a joke! You can't reduce the sun to talcum! Again...if you can't get your sulcata in the sun...you need a different pet!

Amen!


Dean,
I thought about your comments and updated the caresheet a bit:


Why Diet Matters

Feeding an unhealthy diet can lead to serious health problems.


Common Mistakes

1. Not providing fiber-rich foods such as grasses and weeds.
2. Providing commercial foods not specifically designed for tortoises, such as dog food or cat food.
3. Not providing calcium-rich foods and/or foods with good calcium-phosphorus ratios
4. Not providing sufficient UVB to fulfill Vitamin D requirements.


Avoiding Dietary Problems

You are responsible for the health and well-being of your tortoise, so you must do your research and feed the right foods, and in the right quantities. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the typical dietary pitfalls:

1. PROVIDE enough fiber by feeding your tortoise a varied diet high in grasses and edible weeds as described below.

2. AVOID giving your tortoise foods that contains high levels of animal protein. Sulcatas are not designed to digest animal protein, so high protein diets stress the tortoise's system which may result in malnutrition, organ failure, and premature death. Never give your sulcata tortoise animal protein such meat, dairy products or dog/cat food.

3. AVOID excessive amounts of fruit and other sugar-rich foods. Grazing tortoise species such as leopards and sulcatas will opportunistically eat sugary foods such as fruits and flowers when they come across them in the wild. These foods make up a small percent of their diet and vitamins provided in these fruits may even be beneficial. However, excessive amount of these same foods could be detrimental to the tort’s overall health. Sulcatas have bacteria in their intestines to help them digest and extract nourishment from the food they eat. If your tortoise eats excessive amounts of fruit, the acids and sugars in the fruit can change the pH of the tortoise's digestive tract and this pH change can cause the beneficial bacteria in the tortoise's gut to die off. As such, fruits & flowers should only be given in moderation. Excessive amounts of sugary foods such as these should be avoided.

4. PROVIDE enough calcium, and good Calcium:phosphorus ratios. Sulcata tortoises require a great deal of calcium in their diet. The Sahel area of Africa where sulcata naturally occur is a semi-arid region that has calcium-rich soils. Wild sulcata tortoises therefore get sufficient calcium by eating the grasses that grow in these calcium-laden soils. Think about where you live and how you feed your tortoise. If you live in a semi-arid or arid area with little rainfall, the calcium levels in your local soil will be relatively high. Any grasses grown in such a calcium-rich soil will also be high in calcium, so if you allow your tortoise to graze at will on grasses grown in this soil, you might not have to give your tortoise as much in the way of calcium supplements. However, if you live in a rainy, humid area, then the calcium levels in your soil will be very low because it is dissolved and removed from the soil by the frequent rainfall. Any grasses grown in your local soil will be calcium-poor. Therefore, you should provide your tortoise with calcium supplements on a regular basis.

In choosing a calcium supplement, make sure you choose one that does NOT contain Phosphorus. Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus (P) are both necessary to build healthy bone tissue. However, the phosphorus available in most food items is used much more readily by the tortoise's body than calcium, so you really don't need to supply any additional phosphorus to your tortoise.

We've found that the easiest way to get calcium into our tortoises is to leave cuttlebones in their pens. We purchase large (10"-12" length) cuttlebone in bulk from a supplier on the Internet. (Suppliers can change, so we recommend you use Google to find "cuttlebone in bulk".) If you choose to use cuttlebone for your tortoise, make sure that you remove the hard shell-like backing from each cuttlebone (a small flat-blade screwdriver seems to work best to pop this backing off), then break the cuttlebone into pieces and spread it around your tortoise enclosures. Your tortoise will chew on the cuttlebone when it feels the need for additional calcium. If you prefer to use a powdered calcium supplement, we recommend one that contains calcium citrate and/or calcium maleate as these tend to be more easily absorbed. However, calcium carbonate will also work. You could spray or sprinkle the supplement lightly over your tort's favorite food. If using powder, keep in mind that it sticks better to dampened greens, so wash the greens, shake off the excess water, then sprinkle the powdered supplements onto the greens.

5. PROVIDE Vitamin D. Sulcatas need Vitamin D to absorb the calcium provided in their diet. The best way to ensure that your tort is getting the required Vitamin D is house your tort in an outdoor enclosure. Another option is to allow the animal to graze outdoors daily in natural sunlight, weather permitting. During colder seasons where outdoor grazing is not possible, an artificial UV lamp can be used to fulfill the tort’s Vitamin D requirements.


Recommended Diet Items
Now, after reading about all the things that you shouldn't feed your tortoise, you may be thinking, "What on earth am I supposed to feed this little guy/gal?"


VARIATION

The key to a good diet is variation. Provide as much variation as you can to ensure that your tort is getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients.
Below are some healthy tort foods. This list is not all inclusive and there are lots of nutritious foods not listed here.

:tort:GRASSES:tort:
Below are some healthy, edible grasses for sulcatas. This list is not all-inclusive and there are many other healthy grasses not listed here.

• Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
• Bermuda Grass (Cynodon Dactylon - actually originated in Africa!)
• Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata)
• Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
• Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparious)
• Western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii)
• Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
• Arizona Fescue (Festuca arizonica)
• Lawn Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
• Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina)
• Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)

The best way to provide grasses is to have a large, safely-enclosed outdoor yard in which you can plant various types of grasses for your sulcata to graze on. This will allow your tortoise to graze at will, while he gets exercise and exposure to sunlight (Vitamin D Smile ). Owners who can provide a tortoise yard don't have to worry about overfeeding, or whether the tortoise is getting enough UV exposure.

:tort:EDIBLE WEEDS, LEAVES, AND FLOWERS:tort:
Here are some recommended weeds, leaves, and flowers for sulcata tortoises. This list is not all-inclusive and there are many other healthy weeds not listed here.

- Dandelion
- Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)
- Broadleaf Plaintain or Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago lanceola)
- Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea grossulariaefolia)
- Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
- Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
- Sowthistle
- Chickweed
- Hibiscus (Hibiscus species)
- Geranium (Pelargonium species)
- Mulberry Leaves (Morus species)
- Grape Leaf (Vitis species)
- California Poppy

:tort:STORE BOUGHT GREENS:tort:
Here are some good store-bought greens. This list is not all-inclusive and there are many other healthy greens out there not listed here.

- Arugula
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Chicory
- Kale
- Bok Choy
- Dandelion Greens


OXALIC ACID- You should be aware that some plants contain significant levels of a compound called oxalic acid. Some studies indicate that this compound may affect calcium absorption. Thus, you should not feed large quantities of these greens on a regular basis. A list of oxalic levels for store bought greens can be found here: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/oxali...elist.html

CALCIUM:pHOSPHORUS LEVELS - You should be aware that some plants contain significant levels of phosphorus compared to calcium. Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus (P) are both necessary to build healthy bone tissue. However, the phosphorus available in most food items is used much more readily by the tortoise's body than calcium, so the tort needs much less phosphorus than calcium. In addition, some studies indicate that phosphorus may affect calcium absorption. Aim for foods that have high calcium levels, but low phosphorus levels. A calcium:phosphorus ratio table for popular store-bought greens can be found here: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/Ca-P_ratios.html

TOXINS- Make sure that any plants you feed to your tortoise have not been treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. If you buy a plant from a large chain store like Lowe's, Home Depot, Do-It-All, etc., re-pot the plant in organic potting soil and wait a couple of months to feed the plant to your tortoises -- it will take a while for all the fertilizers and/or pesticides used by the store to leach out of the plant
 

Madkins007

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If you guys can hash out an ORIGINAL (not re-written) 'grassland/weed' diet that the experienced folk are comfortable with, we can make it a sticky.

One of the goals of this forum is to have a nice collection of useful stickies and articles. The current plan is to lock the sticky from comment, then create a comment thread for it, then use good comments to edit the original sticky.

(This is designed to prevent those stickies that are 10+ pages long with useful stuff scattered all over them when the new keeper just wants to get some simple answers.)


BUT WATCH YOUR GOL-DURNED LANGUAGE! We gots womenfolk and kids here!

DeanS said:
jaizei said:
DeanS said:
I'm not talking about grocery store greens...I presume (obviously a mistake) people know I'm talking about 'garden-grown'...

What's wrong with canned pumpkin? Are you high? The preservatives aren't meant for human consumpation, much less a primitive digestive system!

Grocery store greens refers to greens commonly found in the grocery store, not that they were bought there. It doesn't matter whether you buy them or grow them. A "natural" diet would be predominately grasses with some weeds and leaves.

What preservatives are you talking about? Do you not understand the canning process? That is what preserves the food. So canned pumpkin is fine. Canned pumpkin. Not spiced pumpkin, or pumpkin pie filling. 100% pumpkin in a can.

OK...quibble all you want! Have you EVER seen grass that grows in Africa? More specifically, the Sahara? It's more like hay than the grass in the backyard! Also, we have taken these animals out of their natural environment and have (in several cases) attempted to replicate their biome! There is no "natural" diet except for that in the "natural" environment. You also left out waste from other inhabitants, bones, and dirt!

I don't give a [semi-explitative deleted- Mark/Mod] about the canning process. If you don't think some chemicals or preservatives go into that can with a pile of mush...then you're outta your mind...NEVERMIND the fact that it's a tin can! It serves no purpose, so canned pumpkin is not fine. It's only a sign that you're too lazy to go to the pumpkin patch once a year!

I find myself getting really curious about this, so I am starting a different thread about it so it does not take over this discussion- http://www.tortoiseforum.org/newthread.php?fid=21#axzz231RGvXBl
 

mctlong

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Original ..............




Note on Sully Diets


Feeding your sulcata is not an exact science. There has not been enough peer-reviewed scientific research on this issue and most of the information we have is based on common sense and years of experience by the 25,000 plus members on this forum. There are many different opinions regarding what a sulcata should and should not eat and keepers have had success with differing sully diets. The diet sheet below is deigned to provide a basic understanding of a sully’s dietary needs. It does not cover every possible feeding scenario. Ultimately, it is up to you to ensure that your tort receives the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Do your research and use your common sense.


Summary at a Glance

1.) Provide a fiber-rich diet based primarily on grasses and weeds.
2.) Provide calcium-rich foods and foods with high calcium/low phosphorus ratios
3.) Vitamin D is essential. The best way to get vitamin D is though exposure to natural sunlight.
4.) Provide variation in your sulcatas diet. The more variety you provide, the better the chances your tort is getting all the necessary nutrients.
5.) Never Provide commercial foods not specifically designed for tortoises, such as dog food or cat food.


Nutritious Foods for your Tortoise

A sulcata’s diet should consist primarily of grasses and weeds. Below is a list nutritious options. The key to a good diet is variation. Feeding a wide variety of plants will ensure that your sulcata is getting all the nutrients it needs.

(Note that this list is not all-inclusive and there are many more plants not listed here. Do your research.)

Arizona Fescue (Festuca arizonica)
Arugula
Barley Grass
Bermuda Grass (Cynodon Dactylon - actually originated in Africa!)
Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis)
Bok Choy
Broadleaf Plaintain or Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago major or Plantago lanceola)
Buffalo Grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
California Poppy
Chia
Chickweed
Chicory
Collard Greens
Creeping Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
Crimson Clover
Dandelion
Flowering maple (Abutilon)
Geranium (Pelargonium species)
Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea grossulariaefolia)
Grape Leaf (Vitis species)
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
Hibiscus (Hibiscus species)
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
Kentucy Blue Grass
Lawn Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparious)
Malabar Spinach (Basella Rubra)
Malva Sylvestris "Zebrina"
Mulberry Leaves (Morus species)
Mustard Greens
Oat Grass
Opuntia Cactus/Prickly Pear Cactus
Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata)
Orchardgrass
Plantain
Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea Sativa)
Red Clover
Rye Grass
Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina)
Sowthistle
Strawberry Leaves
Timothy Grass
Turnip Greens
Western Wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii)
White New Zealand Clover

Other Considerations

Fruits and Flowers: Grazing tortoise species such as leopards and sulcatas will opportunistically eat sugary foods such as fruits and flowers when they come across them in the wild. These foods make up a small percent of their diet. These foods benefit the tortoise by providing nutrients and dietary variation. Fruits and flowers are not necessary as a captive tort can get all its nutrients from a varied diet of grasses and weeds. If you choose to give your torts fruits and/or flowers, do so in moderation. Excessive amounts of these foods may be detrimental to the tort’s overall health. This is because high levels of sugar can raise the pH in a tort’s digestive tract. An increased pH may kill off beneficial bacteria within the tort’s digestive system.

Animal protein: Sulcatas are opportunistic feeders and have been known to eat high protein foods, such as carnivore feces, in the wild. This minimal amount of protein does not seem to affect their overall health. A sulcata is primarily a herbivore and is not designed to digest animal protein in the same way humans, cats, and dogs digest protein. Diets high in animal protein stress the tortoise's system which may result in malnutrition, organ failure, and premature death. Avoid animal protein such meat and dairy products. DO NOT FEED YOUR SULCATA DOG OR CAT FOOD OR ANY COMMERCIAL FOOD NOT SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR TORTOISES.

Calcium: Sulcata tortoises require alot of calcium in their diet. Feeding them calcium rich foods will ensure that they get this vital mineral. This mineral is particularly vital in the tort’s first year of life. Insufficient calcium levels can lead to serious bone deformation and long term health complications.

Calcium Supplements
: Calcium supplementation is not required if a tort is eating a high calcium diet. High calcium foods includes things like oputunia cactus, dandelion greens, grape leaves, and many many more (do your research). Some sully owners choose to supplement. One way to ensure that a tort has enough calcium is to leave a cuddlebone or calcium block in their enclosure. Ideally, the sully will nibble on the cuddlebone or calcium block when it needs calcium. Using a cuddlebone or calcium block is a good way to provide enough calcium without fear of overdosing the tortoise with too much of the mineral.

Another calcium supplement option is to use a powder or spray supplement. You could spray or lightly sprinkle the supplement over your tort's favorite food.

Oxalic Acid
- Some plants contain significant levels of a compound called oxalic acid. Some studies indicate that this compound may affect calcium absorption. Use foods with high oxalic levels only in moderation. A list of levels for store bought greens can be found here: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/oxali...elist.html

Natural Sunlight: Sulcatas need Vitamin D to absorb the calcium provided in their diet. The best way to ensure that your tort is getting the required Vitamin D is house your tort in an outdoor enclosure where it is free to bask in the sun at will. Another option is to allow the animal to graze outdoors daily in natural sunlight. During colder seasons where outdoor time is not possible, an artificial UVB bulb can be used to fulfill the tort’s Vitamin D requirements.

Water: Water is a vital part of a sulcata’s diet. ALWAYS have water available within the enclosure for your torts to drink. A tortoise does NOT get all the water it needs from the plants it eats.

Calcium:phosphorus ratios - Some plants contain significant levels of phosphorus. Calcium and Phosphorus are both necessary to build healthy bone tissue. However, the tort needs much less phosphorus than calcium. In addition, some studies indicate that phosphorus may affect calcium absorption. Aim for foods that have high calcium levels, but low phosphorus levels. A calcium:phosphorus ratio table for popular store-bought greens can be found here: http://www.repticzone.com/articles/Ca-P_ratios.html

Variation: The key to a good diet is variation. Provide as much variation as you can to ensure that your tort is getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients.

Toxins
- Make sure that any plants you feed to your tortoise have not been treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Wash all store-bought greens thoroughly.
 

richellesworld

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wellington said:
richellesworld said:
I have requested this thread to be removed. I do not want to mislead anyone or be a part of furthering any negativity. I apologize for any misunderstandings and stress that this thread has allowed and/or caused.

Kind regards,

Don't worry about it. Nothing personal against you. It's not the first time and won't be the last. It usually doesn't go too far. Everyone has to learn some how. You had some good stuff in it and some bad. How should you know. We all have come across the misinformation sites, even past some of it on. Then we found this forum and the great info here works, and has worked for many. Stick around, learn some good stuff and everyone gets over the bickering and goes on, no problem:D

Thanks! I feel a bit better now. I really just want to be in peace with ALL. But there are so many conflicting opinions in regards to diet and whatnot. It can consume a person if they really dig deep. The world goes on... thanks again!
 

Livingstone

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That website is not the best source of information, forums like this one are. This forum's information moves blindingly fast, one day you are right, the next you are wrong. The good news is that only being wrong for one day is not going to hurt your tortoise, but standing by an aged care sheet like that one will.

I do agree this needs to be deleted/edited for content so only the re-re-re-corrected care sheet stands. Nobody with an average attention span will read far enough to understand what wrong with the first care sheet.

Please, before we have 20 new posts asking why a 2 month old sulcata wont eat dry timothy hay.
 

mctlong

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Livingstone said:
That website is not the best source of information, forums like this one are. This forum's information moves blindingly fast, one day you are right, the next you are wrong. The good news is that only being wrong for one day is not going to hurt your tortoise, but standing by an aged care sheet like that one will.

I do agree this needs to be deleted/edited for content so only the re-re-re-corrected care sheet stands. Nobody with an average attention span will read far enough to understand what wrong with the first care sheet.

Please, before we have 20 new posts asking why a 2 month old sulcata wont eat dry timothy hay.

I'll start a new thread for the final version of the diet sheet to avoid confusion.
 
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