Body weight changes of leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) fed two isoenergetic diets

Growth patterns of captive leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) have been compared with those of free-ranging individuals (Hailey and Coulson, 1999; Rall, 1988; Ritz et al., 2010). Although useful comparative references for captive animal management, the lack of quantified food intake and opportunistic morphometric sampling associated with wild specimens limits their application. Average daily gain (ADG) of 17 female leopard tortoises...

Intake apparent digestibility and digesta passage in leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) fed a complete, extruded feed

The influence of feeding juvenile female leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis, n=18) a commercially available, complete, extruded feed on two commonly used feeding schedules was evaluated. When fed seven (compared to three) days per week, dry matter and digestible energy intakes were greater (P<0.05). Tortoises gained more body weight, kilogram (BWkg), but not when adjusted per initial BWkg, grew more in...

Application of body condition indices for leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis)

Indirect methods of assessing chelonian body condition using combinations of body mass and shell measurements have been explored: however, there is little published data on tracking captive chelonian health and growth using a body condition index (BCI). Two published BCI formulas were compared for application with a captive colony of leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis).

Assessment of leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) scent preference

It is suggested tortoises are attracted to certain ingredient scents. The preference for scent of ginger, anise, rose, and a control (water) among leopard tortoises was evaluated. Sixteen leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis) participated in a series of trials exposing them to pair-wise combinations of the three scents and control. Response criteria evaluated include position (left, right, no decision) and scent...

Application of allometric field metabolic rate equations to predict energy and food requirements of leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis)

In the absence of species specific energy requirements, allometric formulas are one method to predict practical diet quantities. The objective of this study was to quantify individual voluntary dry matter (DMI), metabolizable energy (MEI) intake and body weight (BW) in 18 juvenile leopard tortoises (Geochelone pardalis). Over two 15-day periods (A, B), each animal was offered a nutritionally complete, extruded...

Routine dietary husbandry influences sensory evaluation in leopard tortoises (Stigomochelys pardalis)

Controlled sensory evaluations objectively assess physical and/or chemical characteristics that may influence food preference. Such evaluations are valuable to determine food properties that may encourage, or discourage food intake. Multiple factors influence animal behavior and subsequent choice. These must be strictly controlled so specific treatments can be considered in relative isolation. Six, subadult female leopard tortoises (Stigmochelys pardalis) participated in...

Evolution of diets for Herbivorous and Omnivorous Reptiles at the Philadelphia Zoo: From Mystery Toward Science

At the Philadelphia Zoo the diets for herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles evolved over a period of years. Prior to 1992. the diets had been formulated solely by the former curator. Analysis of the general salad fed to smaller species of herbivorous and omnivorous reptiles (Animal Nutritionist – N-2) indicated unbalanced levels of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition. one of the salad’s...