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Giving In To Tortoise Pellets - Help!


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#1 DevLss

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:09 PM

Hello,

 

Hopefully someone can help with some advice?

 

We re-homed a 3 year old hermann a few weeks ago. He had been fed on pellets for at least 6 months, not sure about before that.

 

When he arrived we provided him with some salad leaves, forget-me-not, dandelion, pansy and plantain and he seemed to eat those OK.

 

However, after about 4 days he stopped eating. In 10 days he lost 11g in weight (88g - 77g). He was still marching around strongly but just trampled over the food, not even stopping to inspect it.

 

We were so worried that at the weekend, against our better judgement, we gave in and bought some tortoise pellets... which he tucked into straight away.

 

We have him on a tortoise table with a combined heat/uvb light with an additional basking light next to it to boost if our house gets a little too chilly. I have been bathing him at least every 2 days.

 

Do you think we have been too soft? How much weight is it OK for him to lose if we stick it out and see if he will eat the leaves if hungry enough?

 

Any thoughts will be appreciated, thanks!

 

 



#2 Kelly

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:27 PM

The pellets to a tortoise are like sweets to a young child.

 

Reptiles can go for months without food, so he won't starve. When he's hungry he will eat. Tough love. ;)



#3 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:32 PM

I would not say 'luckily' but 'unluckily' as that means he has won the battle. 10days is nothing and certainly not enough to lose 11 true grams in weight, that is most like fluid loss, which he could easily gain by a good soak or giving him damp substrate to burrow into. As mentioned, the weight lost is not true weight and just the contents of his stomach and gut, which when empty will slow down the weight loss, which will stop when the gut is empty. When emptying tortoises for hibernation it takes up to four weeks to empty them which involves weight loss, but not true weight loss ;)  Personally I would bin the pellets as he has proved there is nothing wrong with his appetite by tucking into them. No healthy tortoise will starve itself and in over thirty years of keeping them and rehabbing rehomers I have never had one (even the sick ones) that has not started to eat eventually. It can take a couple of months, but when you think they can hibernate for much longer than this, it's really early days yet. Looking at the pic of your tortoise, he has some signs of poor feeding recently, which is likely the previous owners using pellets. My advice would be to be tough with him, ignore his little beady eyes and think of the wild where they can go a long time without eating, proving they are hardier than we think and totally unlike mammals :) Good luck :)



#4 Graham

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:04 PM

Yes, this is very true; when I first had Harry, he'd been used to a diet of lettuce and tomato for years, and turned his nose up at the weeds and flowers I offered him. There was no way I was going to let him continue his unhealthy junk diet, so I let him decide for himself; either eat the right stuff or starve. Needless to say, he soon relented; now there's no stopping him, he now happily devours all the right food. It's just a case of them getting used to it; no animal will deliberately starve itself out of stubbornness, and will soon become accustomed to your offerings.



#5 Beermat89

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:19 PM

Yes i totally agree with you guys!i also keep snakes and when gravid they may not eat up to 6 weeks but can live with out eating for months!i had the same with MAY the 65 year old spur thigh i rescued last year graham,she was used to rubbish diet to for years but after about a month she got used to her new diet :)

#6 Kelly

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:52 PM

I've got a snake too. :) 

 

I've never overfed my corn snake.... I did lots of research into her care when I got her and one book advised under feeding rather than over feeding when kept in captivity. As a result my snake is now nearly 23 years old and still going strong. :)



#7 Beermat89

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:36 PM

Ive have corns too kelly :) i love them,good tempered snakes about from my male whos a bit bad tempered lol.yes i agree,i feed mine every 10-14 days as i found when feeding once aweek they werent taking it aswell :)

#8 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:36 PM

It's a bit like us humans too - I changed my diet recently to avoid taking certain drugs for cholesterol. The thought of my porridge made with water and nothing added sounded dreadful, but now the thought of sweetening it is about as horrible as putting sugar in my tea. It's all habit and craving and easy enough to change if you put your mind to it - helps with weight loss too :D



#9 DevLss

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:08 AM

OK, the pellets are going today! I will try to stay strong and stick it out...luckily the milder temps this winter means that my garden still has quite a bit of greenery surviving.

We had bought some mixed salad from Sainsburys supermarket but my husband has now bought some from Waitrose just in case Tortoise prefers better quality veg!! I think this tough love thing is going to be harder for him than me! :-)

Thanks for the reassurance

#10 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 11:05 PM

Try not to think human, but tortoise lol. The 'better quality' mixed salads are not necessarily better for tortoises and could in fact be worse for them. The Florette Crispy salad is far better than many other human salads as it contains a good variety, compared with what they would have in nature. Anything with spinach, carrots, beets, etc should be avoided.






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