How to feed a baby tortoise
So you’ve just adopted a baby tortoise and want to know how to feed it?
We’ve got you covered! If you wonder how to feed a baby tortoise, this blog will show you the basics, from what kind of food is good for your pet, to when and how often they should be fed.
If there’s one thing we all know about tortoises in general, it’s that they’re slow.
They live in the desert were moving too fast, risk overheating their shells and dehydrating them to death.
Slow and steady wins the race when your home is an arid wasteland!
Not all tortoises are the same.
Different breeds of tortoise have different dietary needs, but there are a few things all baby tortoises will need to survive and thrive.
For instance, the Mediterranean tortoises are omnivores, so they eat both plants and animals.
They are the most popular pet tortoise in America.
Tropical tortoises and red-footed tortoises are herbivores that eat mostly plants.
The leopard tortoise is also an herbivore, but it eats mostly grasses.
The desert tortoise is the only entirely herbivorous tortoise in North America; its diet consists solely of plants.
These are just a few examples to show you that there is not one type of tortoise but many, each with their own dietary needs.
With baby tortoises, the amount of food you give your tortoise will depend on its size, but as a general rule, start with enough for it to eat within 15 minutes.
If you give your baby tortoise too much food, it will simply pick at some and leave the rest.
It’s important to remember that a young tortoise may eat more or less than this amount, depending on its mood and activity level.
You should always have fresh water available for them as well!
A shallow bowl of clean water is all they need.
If you wonder how to feed a baby tortoise, the best thing is to get them used to eat in front of you while they’re still young.
This way, it will be easier for you when they grow up and become less skittish about being handled by humans.
Baby tortoises are most commonly found in pet stores and online.
They are often sold as a ‘starter kit’ with everything you need to keep your new baby tortoise happy and healthy.
The first step towards knowing how to feed a baby tortoise is knowing what tortoises eat.
The second step for knowing how to feed a baby tortoise is understanding what not to give them.
Finally, the third step is knowing when to feed them and how often to do so.
What does a baby tortoise eat?
So what do tortoises eat?
They are herbivores, so their diet consists of grasses, alfalfa, dandelions, leafy greens like collard and mustard greens, and flowers such as hibiscus and rose petals.
However, since we want to ensure they have a balanced diet, we recommend adding fruits such as berries and peaches. A good rule of thumb is about 40% greens for your tortoise’s daily intake.
We also want to get them used to eat human food so that when you’re ready to start feeding them off the ground, they’ll be accustomed to it.
It will help your tortoise adjust faster, and you won’t have any accidents with uneaten food that could rot or attract pests.
From day one, you should introduce human foods such as:
-Apples (no seeds)
-Berries (no stems, washed)
-Peaches (washed, no skin or pit)
If your baby tortoise is still too small to eat these foods on its own, you can mash them up into a pulp and feed them to him.
If he doesn’t like the taste of something, wait until next week before trying again.
Keep a food journal so you know what he’s been eating, and try to stick with a schedule of at least once per day.
When should I feed my baby tortoise?
Baby tortoises can eat as soon as they’re ready, but we recommend waiting until their carapace length is about an inch long (measured from front to back ).
If they’re not ready, their digestive tract can’t handle the food properly, and it may cause them to get sick.
Baby tortoises should be fed after they wake up in the morning (around 11 AM) because that’s when they’ve digested all of yesterday’s meals.
We want maximum nutrition!
At night we don’t recommend feeding them because they won’t eat, and if you leave the food out, it could attract pests, such as ants.
How often should I feed my baby tortoise?
Your pet will let you know whether he’s hungry or not, but we recommend feeding him every day at least once a day (twice is better) unless he seems sickly. If he seems hungry, feed him.
If you don’t know if your tortoise is hungry or not, give it the benefit of the doubt and offer food.
They can live to be well over 100 years old with proper care, so there’s no rush!
What if my baby tortoise won’t eat?
If your baby tortoise refuses food, you can try removing all other foods from his enclosure and leave him with just the items he’s supposed to be eating.
If this doesn’t work, remove everything but a small pile of vegetables and non-leafy greens such as iceberg lettuce or cabbage. Leave these out for about five days, then try giving him something different again.
It may take several weeks, but eventually, your pet will understand that there is only one thing it should eat!
You can also try adding dark leafy greens like kale which are high calcium content foods, to encourage healthy growth.
What if my baby tortoise is overweight?
Some people think that because a tortoise has a low metabolism, it can eat as much food as it wants and not gain weight, but this isn’t true!
If your pet starts to look like he’s packing on the pounds, you’ll need to cut back on how often you feed him (twice per day) and what types of foods you give him (only vegetables).
Remember, too many carbs are just bad news all around, so limit those carbohydrates in your little one’s diet.
Remember exercise is essential, which includes time outside walking around or digging into their substrate.
You should also make sure his enclosure doesn’t have any hidden stashes where he could go searching for extra snacks between meals.
How do I know my baby tortoise is eating enough?
It can be hard to tell how much food a pet will eat at one time, but we recommend leaving only as much food as they’ll clean up in about an hour (usually two small piles of vegetables) and not leave any extra out for snacking between meals or overnight.
If there are leftovers after that amount of time, then put them away until tomorrow!
You should also check their stool every few days because it should be solid with no foul odors coming from his behind.
Remember always give your little guy some dark leafy.
Remember to keep your tortoise hydrated.
Mist your baby tortoise’s shell with water every day.
We use a spray bottle, but you can also keep a shallow bowl of water in the enclosure for him to drink out of when he’s thirsty.
For a baby tortoise, water is an essential aspect of feeding them. If they are not hydrated enough, their body will not move around unassisted, and if the tortoise is too dehydrated, it could die.
Adding in some vegetables or fruits can help hydrate your pet, but for optimal health, you should make sure it’s getting water from misting, shallow dishes, soaking, etc.
They must also have adequate humidity levels, so keep an eye on that as well!
They like humid environments because they’ll stay moist, which means their food won’t dry out before being digested (which leads to constipation).
You can tell when a tortoise has low humidity by looking at its skin: shiny skin indicates dehydration while flaking scales indicate lack of moisture.
Can you keep your baby tortoise with other pets?
If you want to keep your baby tortoise with other animals, make sure they are around the same size or larger.
Also, be aware that some pets may view a smaller animal as prey which could result in it being attacked and killed!
Tortoises are low-maintenance pets that require special care, which means you should be prepared for long-term commitment when getting one as a pet.
What should I do with uneaten food?
We recommend removing any uneaten food after about an hour because if it sits out too long, it will begin to rot, attract pests or dry up.
You can leave some water near their dish for them to drink with the leftovers but only leave a small amount, so they don’t drown in it!
Foods To Avoid Feeding A Baby Tortoise
It is essential to learn how to feed your pet tortoise properly.
There are some specific foods that you should not provide a baby tortoise, including chocolate, caffeinated beverages, raisins, and grapes.
It’s also recommended that you avoid high-sugar fruits like bananas or watermelon because they can cause yeast infections in the animal’s gut.
If your little one is still hungry after eating vegetables and fruit, it may be time for a protein shake!
Mixing chicken with carrots in a blender will provide them with all of their necessary nutrients and being healthy for them.
When it comes to feeding a turtle or tortoise, we want to learn how to avoid food that the animal should not eat.
For example, things like chocolate and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.
Some fruits and vegetables should be avoided, such as raisins and grapes, because they cause yeast infections in the animal’s gut.
It is essential to continue with protein shakes for turtles and tortoises.
If the soup still isn’t eaten after eating foods like carrots and fruit together in a blender, then you might want to add protein powder to get the necessary nutrients.
Beware of poisonous plants that can harm a turtle or tortoise.
For example, please don’t feed them any lily because it will cause their kidneys to shut down.
Also, avoid wild mushrooms because they could make them sick.
It’s also recommended that you keep any house plants out of their reach because some are poisonous.
Tortoises welcome the occasional treat.
While it’s important not to overfeed them, giving a tortoise the occasional treat is fine.
You can give your pet some fruit or vegetables that are high in sugar, like bananas and watermelon.
Just be sure they don’t eat too many of these foods because this will cause yeast infections in their gut.
It’s also acceptable to give your pet a protein shake made out of chicken and carrots.
If the tortoise isn’t hungry after this meal, it might be time for some vitamins and minerals to get all their necessary nutrients.
How much food does a baby tortoise eat?
A baby tortoise only needs a small amount of food each day.
Only feed as much as your pet can eat in about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how big he is and his activity level, then remove the rest, so it doesn’t rot or attract pests such as ants.
Feed your baby tortoise after they wake up in the morning around 11 AM because that’s when they’re digested all of yesterday’s meals; don’t feed at night because they won’t eat it, and if you leave it out, pests will come like ants; give them food every day at least once a day.
How often should I feed my baby a tortoise?
A baby tortoise should be fed once a day around 11 AM because they digest all of yesterday’s meals at that time.
It is essential to remove any food left at the end of each meal not to rot or attract pests such as ants.
You only need a small amount of food every day for your baby tortoise, but you should give them food at least once a day.
It is essential to feed your baby tortoise only as much as they can eat in about 30 minutes or an hour, depending on how big they are and their activity level. Then remove the rest, so it doesn’t rot or attract pests such as ants.
Baby Tortoise And Supplements
While you don’t need to supplement a baby tortoise’s diet with vitamins and minerals, they must get calcium in their daily meals.
Most pet stores sell vitamin supplements for turtles and tortoises, added to the food or water.
It doesn’t matter if the weather is hot outside because an outdoor enclosure will have lots of sunlight exposure which helps the tortoise produce Vitamin D.
Baby turtles need a lot of calcium in their diet, but there are also supplements that you can add to food or water if your pet store has them.
The weather doesn’t matter because they get vitamin d from sun exposure on an outdoor enclosure. Tortoises don’t need any extra supplements if they live outdoors because of all the sunlight.
Baby tortoise food preparation
There are different ways you can prepare food for your baby tortoise.
For example, if they don’t need to eat meat, cook it without adding spices or other ingredients.
Mediterranean tortoises eat a diet of mostly plants and grasses, so an excellent way to prepare their food is by boiling it without adding any extra spices or ingredients.
When preparing vegetables to be sure to remove the seeds because they can be poisonous if left inside.
There are different ways to prepare baby tortoise food.
If they don’t need meat, cook it without adding anything extra and look up how to properly cook the type of vegetables listed here to be sure not to make them poisonous.
To prepare the food, you feed your baby tortoise and cook whatever meat they need without adding spices and other ingredients.
Cook vegetables properly so they aren’t poisonous; always look up how to cook different veggies that are not listed here and remove any seeds.
Baby tortoise safe weeds list
-dandelion (leaves and flowers)
-kale leaves (only after they’re at least 12 inches long & don’t have any red veins left in them)
-nettles/stinging nettle (make sure to cook or boil first before feeding – can be fed fresh or dried; avoid giving to baby tortoises)
-beets (tops are okay, but no beet greens until they’re at least a year old & huge; the root is safe to eat for babies once it’s about one inch in diameter or more significant – you can feed cooked or raw beets)
-collard greens (can be fed at any size but must introduce slowly)
-chard (can be fed at any size, but must introduce slowly)
-endive/escarole (can be fed in small amounts when they’re young & can eat it all; no more than a couple of bites per feeding for younger tortoises)
-turnip greens and turnips (most types of turnips are too high in goitrogens and oxalic acid for tortoises, so only feed them the greens; can be fed at any size, but must introduce slowly)
-parsley (can be fed fresh or dried – avoid giving to young tortoises)
-dandelion flowers and dandelion roots (the root can be fed raw or cooked; avoid giving to baby tortoises)
-clover (mostly safe – don’t feed too much as it’s high in protein)
-carrots (tops are delicate, but no carrot greens until they’re at least a year old & huge; the root is safe to eat for babies once it’s about one inch in diameter or more significant – you can feed cooked or raw carrots)
-bell peppers (no green peppers, though!)
What is calcium in tortoise diets?
Calcium is an essential nutrient for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth.
It is also vital for blood clotting and nerve signaling.
It may be challenging to provide sufficient calcium levels if your pet tortoise’s diet consists solely of lettuce, as it has deficient calcium levels.
Calcium deficient tortoises may show signs of muscle twitching, seizures, or even sudden death.
However, calcium supplements can be dangerous for some animals as they may form stones within the urinary tract or consume too much calcium at one time.
To obtain calcium from leafy vegetables, the tortoise must eat about 12 times as much calcium-rich dark green leaves to get an equal amount of calcium that’s in a single cup of chopped up romaine lettuce.
A tortoise diet predominantly made of green vegetables will not provide an appropriate calcium level and may lead to serious health problems.
If you are concerned about the amount of calcium your tortoise is getting, consult with a vet or experienced reptile keeper for help in creating a more balanced diet plan specific to your pet’s needs foods can give to a baby tortoise?”
With these tips, you can ensure that your new tortoise is always getting the best care. Be sure to check out our blog for more great information about owning a pet tortoise!