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Old 11-19-2013, 06:47 PM United States
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Default Anyone know anything about Russian Tortoises?

My Russian Tortoise is a big butthead and a picky eater. I've been trying for three years to get him to at least TRY the tortoise food. He'll occasionally sample timothy/alfa but he generally only eats dark greens. Romaine, Kale, Mustard greens.

I've tried every trick in the book I know and I am so frustrated. I've kept tortoises before (they reside a 1000 miles away at my mother's house now) , but not one that is strictly vegetarian.
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:52 PM United States
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we feed ours mostly dark leafy greens, she loves pumkin and squash boiled and cubed. We do not feed her a "tortoise food" I like the natural diet. Ours likes brussel sprouts as a treat, also broccoli, and a random strawberry.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:36 PM United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Narcissus View Post
we feed ours mostly dark leafy greens, she loves pumkin and squash boiled and cubed. We do not feed her a "tortoise food" I like the natural diet. Ours likes brussel sprouts as a treat, also broccoli, and a random strawberry.
Okay, so I'm not doing something wrong, then. Thank you! I've been fretting that I'd been doing something wrong. I'm so used to the box turtles that this little guy has been an adventure.
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:57 PM United States
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Dark leafies and the occasional veggie treat sound like a pretty good diet. If anything, pelleted foods are a good chance for digestive weirdness to develop. (The rescue we work with feeds almost exclusively leafies and veggies to all the omnivorous reptiles. There's one iguana that just *won't* eat anything but pellets, but you should have seen his shock when we fed him some diced up watermelon! Mind = BLOWN.) You might dust his treat veggies with a calcium supplement with Vit D3 if he doesn't spend a good amount of time in natural sunlight, though the kale etc. provide a fair amount of calcium naturally. If you're concerned about his protein levels, have you tried superworms, mealworms, hornworms, or crickets? They're easily available and make an acceptable treat now and then (once a month, maybe twice.)

It grosses people out to hear this, but in terms of the nutrition levels of bugs, the best options are usually tropical species of cockroaches, like the Dubia and Orangehead or Cave roaches. (7-10x more nutrition in a fingernail sized roach than a cricket; that's like putting a Cliff bar next to a marshmallow!) Some reptile specializing pet stores will have roach feeders available, but you might have luck buying just a few to try from your local Herpetological society. I can think of 4 or 5 families in ours that breed some kind of feeder bug. That's also a good place to ask questions and have an experienced keeper (which you don't always find in pet store reptile departments) check out the tort and talk about his set up etc.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:58 PM United States
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Thank you so much, guys.
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Old 11-21-2013, 12:36 PM United States
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just to mention... russian tortoises shouldnt have meat, bugs, or anything like that. they are strictly vegetarians.
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:47 PM United States
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Good to know. (I was told protein consumption was based on age and hatchlings should have very limited access to bugs for the first year or so but we don't know how old this Russian is.)
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:52 PM United States
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Russian tortoises are one of the few types of tortoise that are strictly vegetarians.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:11 AM United States
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Sorry it took a day to reply to this, I had an emergency with one of my dogs yesterday. >.< He's fine, though.

Boris, judging by his shell and his size, is probably about four or five years old. He's not that big.

And yes, complete vegetarian. Unlike the other tortoises I've had experience with in the past.

I think that was what was throwing me off. I'm used to giving a mix of protein (meal worms etc) with the greens.

For Boris, it's all greens and I was worried I was missing something.

I want to thank all of y'all for your help, thank you so much. I feel a lot more confident about what I'm doing with Boris.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:12 PM United States
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Excellent! He's just smarter than you knew! Any pictures of him?
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