Plants in outdoor habitats

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Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby crawley5959 » Wed May 10, 2017 6:57 pm

Hi
I am very new to this forum and to tortoises so please bear with me! We recently acquired a year old Horsfield tortoise. We bought a tortoise table and replaced the bark substrate that it came with, with a 50 / 50 topsoil and play sand mixture, having read this site. The tortoise is eating well on a variety of freshly picked weeds and I don't think that we are feeding it too much but any advice on amounts welcome! It has a light sprinkling of a tortoise calcium+ supplement on the leaves. It bathes and drinks regularly. As soon as I started researching on this site I decided that we would have to create a secure but interesting outside habitat (great advice and suggestions on this site, thank you!).

We are well on the way to that but I am worried that if tortoises do not discriminate between plants that we do not leave or introduce a plant that will harm the tortoise. I think that both Ivy and Foxgloves are toxic to them?
Any help, suggestions will be much appreciated.
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby Bigjoe » Thu May 11, 2017 12:12 pm

I'll get back to you later today, sorry just seen your post
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby Stuart » Thu May 11, 2017 6:00 pm

I tend to the view that tortoises won't eat what is bad for them. I don't mean that they'll avoid iceberg lettuce or strawberries, or even brassicas, but that they won't eat poisonous plants, especially if there are appropriate alternatives. Certainly my hermanns puts her nose and maybe her mouth to a few things in her outdoor enclosure, but often walks away to find something more to her taste. They are selective browsers. So the daffodils,which technically perhaps shouldn't be there, she doesn't eat and as far as I know has never eaten.

The oft quoted "what do they do in the wild?" may apply here? (Andy may enlighten us here: are there injurious plants in the natural habitat which are available to tortoises, but which they never touch?)

OTOH, deliberately or ignorantly feeding injurious plants to captive tortoises, especially if mixed in with non-injurious plants, or if there are no alternatives offered, might challenge innate instincts too far?

But others may not agree, and I guess it's probably best to err on the side of caution especially if you're not sure about this.
Stuart
Hermanns (old female and 6 home-bred offspring), iberas (two), kbn (rescue), leopard, horsfield (rescue), stars (2 - long term loan), red-eared sliders (5)
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby Sandy » Thu May 11, 2017 6:39 pm

crawley5959 wrote:Hi
I am very new to this forum and to tortoises so please bear with me! We recently acquired a year old Horsfield tortoise. We bought a tortoise table and replaced the bark substrate that it came with, with a 50 / 50 topsoil and play sand mixture, having read this site. The tortoise is eating well on a variety of freshly picked weeds and I don't think that we are feeding it too much but any advice on amounts welcome! It has a light sprinkling of a tortoise calcium+ supplement on the leaves. It bathes and drinks regularly. As soon as I started researching on this site I decided that we would have to create a secure but interesting outside habitat (great advice and suggestions on this site, thank you!).

We are well on the way to that but I am worried that if tortoises do not discriminate between plants that we do not leave or introduce a plant that will harm the tortoise. I think that both Ivy and Foxgloves are toxic to them?
Any help, suggestions will be much appreciated.


A lot depends on the size and if the tortoise comes from the wild.
I have found that adult that were previously wild, do have a good idea of what its good for the and what is not.
But I would never trust this, and certainly not trust any captive bred tortoise to know what is poisonous and what is not.
Foxgloves, ivy, any plant with shiny leaves, christmas rose, lobelia, anything with a bulb or corm, buttercups, all can be harmful to tortoises.
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby gettingwarmer » Fri May 12, 2017 5:23 am

I think in the wild with room to roam in the habitat they've evolved with,tortoises know what to eat, or at least have so much variety that a few bites of something untoward won't hurt them.

I don't trust my Horsfield to have good sense about plants. She is curious, a greedy eater, and has access to much less variety of healthy plants than a wild tortoise. I think this makes her more vulnerable to the temptations of any new flavor she gains access to. So for now, she remains highly managed, and vigilantly watched.

Here is a site that has been recommended on the TT forum:

http://thetortoisetable.org.uk/

Have fun creating your tortoise's habitat and watching your tortoise explore!

Stephanie
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby Stuart » Sat May 13, 2017 10:33 am

gettingwarmer wrote:I think in the wild with room to roam in the habitat they've evolved with,tortoises know what to eat, or at least have so much variety that a few bites of something untoward won't hurt them.


Yes.it's true that in captivity they're quite likely to encounter plants they wouldn't find in their natural habitats...so it would be best to err on the side of caution...
Stuart
Hermanns (old female and 6 home-bred offspring), iberas (two), kbn (rescue), leopard, horsfield (rescue), stars (2 - long term loan), red-eared sliders (5)
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Re: Plants in outdoor habitats

Postby crawley5959 » Tue May 16, 2017 12:57 pm

Thank you so much everyone for your advice-I will do as suggested, err on the side of caution. Thanks for the additions to foxglove and ivy too. Any thoughts about Wisteria?
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