How much Food Should They Eat?
The frequency at which Horsefield tortoises should be fed will vary somewhat, but feeding them every two days or so is a good pace, this is an ‘about’ measurement and not a concrete fact so use your best judgement. They shouldn’t need more than six feedings in a seven-day period.
Tortoise owners that are used to feeding dogs and cats may have a hard time getting used to this pace emotionally, since warm-blooded, active animals like dogs and cats need to eat every day. Humans eat even more often than that, and it’s difficult to avoid projecting our own needs on to animals. It’s important to remember that humans, particularly given how much energy we use just to think, need more energy than the majority of animals.
Horsefield tortoises simply don’t move much, and require only a relatively small amount of energy for their metabolic processes. To get a sense of how large an individual feeding should be, the tortoise owners should watch as their pets eat. Tortoises do tend to eat very slowly, but they will usually consume all the food they need in a twenty-minute period. Owners should look at what their animals can consume in that time period, and use that as a baseline for what their tortoises should be fed on a regular basis.
Cold-blooded animals like Horsefield tortoises will experience fluctuations in their food intake as well, since exterior temperatures influence their metabolic needs in a way that is not applicable to warm-blooded creatures. Ultimately, concerned pet owners should watch their tortoises and how much their tortoises need to eat, and make judgments based upon what they see. Animals are often good judges of how much they need. Pet owners should avoid feeding their tortoises too much, and should look for signs of their tortoises being overfed.
What Types Of Food They Eat?
Horsefield tortoises have many food preferences, including dandelions. Horsefield tortoises require large quantities of calcium in order to maintain good health. They can get some of their calcium from cuttle fish bone. Overall, however, the Horsefield tortoise diet will consist primarily of vegetables. Eating a wide variety of vegetables is helpful for them, since it will make it easier for them to get all of their nutrients. Grass species such as alfalfa, fescue, rye, or blue grass are good choices for Horsefield tortoises.
Pumpkin is a good choice for a high-energy starchy vegetable. Horsefield tortoises should eat plenty of dark leafy green vegetables, such as collard greens, clover, wild mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, mulberry leaves, and ficus leaves. There are even some fruits that Horsefield tortoises can eat, such as plantains and figs. Larger non-starchy vegetables like artichokes, cucumbers, aloe vera, sweet peppers, and celery are also great choices. Horsefield tortoises are herbivores, and need to be fed and managed accordingly.
What Foods To Avoid Feeding Them?
Horsefield tortoises simply should not consume processed food that comes in pellets, even if this is food that is marketed towards similar species. Processed food or food that isn’t fresh in general is a poor choice for Horsefield tortoises: they have a low tolerance for foreign, artificial chemicals. Many concerned owners also make the mistake of feeding their Horsefield tortoises too much protein. Pet owners that are accustomed to feeding and raising dogs and cats may be particularly prone to making this mistake.
While the tortoises may well consume the animal products that they’re offered, pet owners shouldn’t take this as a sign that this is what the Horsefield tortoises really want or need. Meat and legumes are off the menu for Horsefield tortoises. Lots of tortoise owners give their tortoises lettuce, which has become associated with tortoises. However, iceberg lettuce is completely empty in terms of nutrients, making it unnecessary at best and superfluous at worst. Green leaf lettuce is a much better choice. Fruits other than plantains and figs are great for occasional snacks, but should not be a major part of any healthy Horsefield tortoise’s diet.
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