Edible Plants You Can Feed Your Leopard Tortoise
If you are anything like me, you love turtles and tortoises. I admire them so much. The turtle requires water to swim at times while the tortoise predominantly lives on land. One species of tortoise is the leopard tortoise. The leopard tortoise is a grazing species which favors semi-arid grassland habitats. The adult tortoise measures 10 to 18 inches long and weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. The tortoise shell has a pattern of straw-yellow background with a splashing of jet black over the entire concave shell. Life expectancy is about 50 to 100 years old, and many leopard tortoises are successfully kept in captivity. There are a variety of edible plants you can feed your leopard tortoise. Their diet consists of a mixture of grasses, weeds and plants. You can also feed them an array of vegetables.
Since their natural habitat is the grasslands, the preferred diet of the leopard tortoise is grasses, weeds and flowers. Provide a yard for your leopard tortoise with a plentiful variety of grasses such as alfalfa, crab grass, couch grass, dew grass, barnyard grass and winter grass. Some welcomed weeds are clover, paper thorn, plantain, dandelion, opuntia, thistle and chickweed. Grasses and plants can also be grown in trays and pots to provide for indoor feeding.
The leopard tortoise loves a warm, sunny area with plenty of plant varieties to nibble on. Their required high-fiber diet, along with grasses and weeds, should include a diversity of other plants such as hibiscus, mulberry, wandering jew, aloe vera and Chinese lantern. Some other acceptable plants are kalanchoe, papaya, pawpaw, violets, petunias, daisy, heath, ifafa lily and white and blue mazus.
Store-bought vegetables should be chemical free. Either purchase organic produce or wash the vegetables with mildly soapy water and rinse before chopping and feeding them to your leopard tortoise raw, not cooked. Some store-bought dark green leafy vegetables they enjoy are endive, watercress, collard greens, kale, dandelion, chicory, escarole, radicchio and turnip greens. The leopard tortoise also enjoys the fruit and pod of the prickly pear. You can also offer your tortoise some sliced cucumbers and tomato, thinly sliced carrots, pieces of red and green peppers, sliced pumpkin or butternut squash, shreds of cabbage and slices of zucchini. Offer these foods early in the morning and remove any uneaten vegetables by lunchtime. Never feed your tortoise rhubarb, fruits, any kinds of beans, pet food and pasta.
It’s also advisable to provide the leopard tortoise with a daily supplement of calcium/D3 vitamin in powder form, and a good vitamin and mineral supplement should be added to the diet once a week. Cuttlebones provide a good source of calcium while also helping to keep the beak and nails trim. You can find cuttlebones in most pet stores. Hydration is also important for your leopard tortoise. Always supply plenty of fresh water.
http://africantortoise.com/leopard_tortoise.htm http://www.carecentre.org.za/leopard.html http://www.reptilechannel.com/turtles-and-tortoises/tortoise-care/leopard-tortoise-care.aspx?cm_sp=Internal http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/drink.html