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Posted by Brian-SFCRC on April 24, 2003 at 10:11:15:
SOUTHERN FLORIDA CORUCIA RESEARCH CENTER (SFCRC)
The subject came up on feeding Geochelone paradalis romaine.
Here's the SFCRC's 2-cents...
1). Leopard tortoises can become imprinted on specific foods. If when young, you feed them only hay, as they get older they will often refuse all food but hay. If you feed a young leopard only romaine she/he will grow up prefering Romaine.
2). A human child may enjoy eating cotton candy. Should you give this often as part a daily diet? NO.
3). Romaine (unlike iceberg etc.)is a good dark green leafed vegetable>>>>>>FOR THE RIGHT SPECIES! Leopards come from a savanna environment and have through many generations of evolution, been designed to subsist on dry foods (hays and grasses-like Sulcata's). Lettuce is a wet food. You can feed a wet food diet to a leopard but like running a car on dirty cheap oil or gasoline, it's lifespan will be greatly reduced. (kidney,liver problems etc.)
4). Unlike a Redfoot or Yellow foot, leopards are very prone to high moisture. With a wet food, your inducing into the body excess moisture which the tortoise can't handle. Thus it will be even more prone to external humidity.
5). For maximum success, keep species in line with where you live. For instance, if you live in Southern California or Arizona, a Sulcata or Leopard will fare better with the climate. If you live in Hawaii or Southern florida, your better off with a Redfoot tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria).
Good luck with whatever tortoise you choose-but choose wisely in choice of food.