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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11461
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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I have two small sulfate tortoises. They are the same age,

Customer Question

I have two small sulfate tortoises . They are the same age, one has double in size in 3 months the other one has not grown at all! They eat leafy greens, spinach and alfalfa. I keep a bowl of tortoise pellets available. What could be her problem?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. There are several possibilities for what is wrong. One is that the smaller tortoise has been bullied away from the food at some point, and became afraid to go after it. Aggression is common in tortoises, especially between two males, but it does occur regardless of the sexes. It is generally recommended to keep the tortoises in individual enclosures unless you have a large outdoor home for them. If bullying has occurred, the smaller tortoise would probably be injured if he persisted in trying to get food. Therefore, he wouldn't try very often, and when he did would quickly eat only a small amount.

Another possibility is that the smaller one doesn't like the food enough to eat very much. Tortoises need a high fiber diet. Hay and grasses should be a big part of the diet. Most tortoises prefer grass hay, and it is better for them than alfalfa. You can buy bags of timothy in pet stores - you'll find them in the rabbit supplies area. Greens such as dandelion, collards, and turnip greens are also good. Those commercial tortoise pellets are really a waste of money. You can supplement calcium with calcium carbonate powder or give your tortoise a cuttlebone (available in the bird department of pet stores). You can read more about diet at the following sites:

While either of the above are certainly possibilities, it is also quite likely that something physical is wrong.Most tortoises are wild-caught. They're then transported in crowded, dirty conditions, and transferred from one location to the next until they finally end up in a pet store. Many of them are sick and infested with parasites at that point. For that reason, I recommend that any new tortoise be taken to a reptile vet right away for a check-up. It is even more important to do this when a tortoise fails to thrive. The vet can check for parasites and provide treatment if needed. There may be other health conditions that also require attention. These links will take you to a state-by-state directories of reptile vets:

If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope this baby will soon thrive for you.


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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Myrtle And Turtle. How is everything going?