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Feeding your Tortoise

Tortoises are one of the most interesting reptiles to keep. They are calm and don’t bite. Tortoises live a long time and they are a long time commitment. One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced tortoise keepers make is giving their tortoise the wrong diet. Some people think they can feed their tortoise ice berg lettuce leaves and nothing else. Well here is a wake up call !!! The reason super models and actresses who live off salad made almost completely of ice berg lettuce, are so thin is that ice berg lettuce is basically fibre and water and has no nutritional value whatsoever. You need to feed your tortoise with the most variation of green leafy vegetables as possible. I buy mixed salad packs that contain a large variety of dark green lettuce leaves and herbs. Dark green lettuce varieties contain nutritional value as does butter lettuce. Never feed your tortoise spinach as it binds calcium and  your tortoise will develop calcium deficiencies because of this. Feed fruit occasionally, apples are the best. Try feed your tortoise on other vegetables you may have in your fridge and see what he or she will eat. The golden rule of feeding a tortoise is variety, variety and more variety. Tortoises can become fussy eaters and will refuse to eat certain things. You may get frustrated as there is usually no explanation as to why your tortoise will not eat a food item. The best thing you can do is give your tortoise a selection of the things he or she will eat. Never give your tortoise a single food item that he or she loves. You may do this out of desperation to get your tortoise to eat. However once you begin doing this you will have a tortoise that will only eat that one food item and nothing else. Tortoises develop food addictions, I know for certain that if I feed my tortoise only apples ( his favourite food) he will only eat apples for the rest of his life. Supplementation is very important with tortoises and you should dust an adult tortoises food with a calcium powder twice a week. Juveniles and gravid females should have their food dusted with calcium once a day. Give your tortoise as much access to UVB lighting as possible whether it is a UVB light bulb or natural sunlight. This allows your tortoise to metabolise the calcium from its food. Shell deformities are a sure sign that a tortoise has a calcium deficiencies. Remember variety is the spice of life.