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[T. marginata] Won't Take Her Vitamins

Donald Esker

Mar 20, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Waco Texas
Hey All! I have a marginated tortoise named Oliver who is proving to be a very picky eater. I got her last Sunday, and until today she refused to eat anything -- not spring greens, not squash or carrots. I even tried pellets -- nothing. Then this morning I saw her nibbling on the decorative moss in her habitat. Clearly, she's hungry but didn't like anything I offered. I wondered if the vitamin powders I used might be the problem, so I gave her some spring greens without them today. She ate readily. So I've got a baby tortoise that wont take her vitamins. How big a problem is this? Can I cut back on her vitamin dose? (I'm using the recommended amount) Does she NEED the vitamins if I give her a varied enough diet? Did I just pick a bad brand? I'm using Rep-Cal's 'Calcium with Vitamin D' and 'Herpetivite' -- are there more palatable brands? I want to make sure she grows up healthy!



Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Two things - make sure he's warm enough (if their inner core isn't at LEAST 80F degrees, they can't digest their food, so they won't eat), and the other thing - new tortoises "pout" until they become accustomed to their new territory. Tortoises are territorial and being removed from their safe old territory and plunked down in a new one disturbs them. They try to escape and get back to their old territory, and they stop eating. Give him a couple weeks.

Also, they don't like the taste of vitamins or calcium on their food. You only need to add vitamins once a week or even once every two weeks, and then just a tiny pinch between thumb and index finger. Sprinkle it over wet food and mix it up good. Same with calcium, only you can use it two or three times a week.