Feeding and Nutrition :: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Turtle diets and eating habits discussed here.

Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:11 am   My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

I have an RES who's about 20 years old this year. He has always been a voracious eater and will happily accept his pellets. He was extremely crazy about carrots and bananas, and while he has always hated the greens, he will accept stuff like maize and tomatoes.

This changed some time in April this year. He went off food for about 3 weeks and his skin started shedding and he became extremely lethargic. It was the first time in all of 20 years that he got like that and we were afraid and thought he had reached the end of his life. We took him to the vet, who said there was nothing wrong with him when he examined him physically. He prescribed a change of pellets which he said was more nutritious than what we are currently providing, and more sought after by RES owners. (I can't remember the brand at the moment. I think it's American and starts with M). My terrapin accepted it happily for a couple of weeks and he also started eating some of his favourite foods (though he avoids carrot like a plague for whatever reason)

About 2 weeks later, he went off food AGAIN for weeks and started shedding skin and getting all lethargic. Out of desperation, we offered him cooked meat (pork, chicken, fish). To our surprise, he accepted them. But he will not touch food pellets or any fruits and vegetables now. He is also very picky about the type of meat we offer, and doesn't really beg for food like he used to. We're very concerned that he is not getting enough vitamins and fibre. He hardly poops these days compared to before when he was on the pellet diet and we're worried about him constipating. We give him vitamin drops but I'm sure that's not sufficient.

I'm literally at my wits' end. "Tough love" (letting him go hungry) apparently doesn't help. He hates veggies and pellets now and turns his back on all the food he used to be crazy about.

For background info, there has been no change in his living environment. He is apparently healthy, no pyramiding, no fungus, no mouth injury.
I'm from Singapore, a country that's tropical all year round so it's not the weather either.
Live bait is not an available option in my country.

Any advice is much appreciated!

ETA: I forgot to state the first time round, but I can't even try to trick him into accepting veggies/pellets by wrapping meat in the veggies or putting the pellets/veggies together with the meat for a day. He will ignore the veggies/pellets or spit them out if they get into his mouth.
hanamihoshi
 
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:44 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Did you try fresh chopped meat? I give mine fresh chopped meat goat or sheep. She loves it. She regularly gets pellets. I would not worry about the brand but that your turtle will eat it. I hope your turtle gets back to normal soon.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:08 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

AngelaAndMikey wrote:Did you try fresh chopped meat? I give mine fresh chopped meat goat or sheep. She loves it. She regularly gets pellets. I would not worry about the brand but that your turtle will eat it. I hope your turtle gets back to normal soon.


Fresh as in raw? Isn't that a bit dangerous as I read there's a risk of infection if not cleaned properly? Right now my turtle will accept certain cooked meats. But I'm worried that he's not getting a balanced diet because he won't eat veggies or pellets :(
I saw the jello shot method posted to this forum. I might try to give it a shot...
hanamihoshi
 
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:14 pm   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Very puzzling. What are the water temperatures? On a physical was done (no blood test)? I would not try raw meats.. have you tried live fish/prey?
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:50 pm   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Yes, fresh as in raw. My turtle gets that once or twice a week(which I started this year) and within 2 minutes she finishes the meat. She regularly gets turtle pellets. I have been giving her lettuce for over a year and only newly is she eating lettuce. She is very healthy. Her water is clean. She gets enough sunshine. Her shell is very strong and hard. She is very active.
I can't get live fish as the pet shop is too far away from our town.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:32 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

steve wrote:Very puzzling. What are the water temperatures? On a physical was done (no blood test)? I would not try raw meats.. have you tried live fish/prey?


I've never actually measured the water temperatures but I estimate it to be around room temperature, in the high 20s (degrees celsius) I'd say. Our temperature here is always around 32-34 degrees celsius. No blood test was done as when I brought him to the vet the last time, he'd already started eating a bit and behaved like a healthy turtle would when the vet picked him up. I don't think there's any issue with his health at the moment. He only appears sluggish when he doesn't eat. He is just very picky about his food which I'm afraid may give way to health problems if I can't get him to eat properly. I just want him to eat his veggies and pellets.

I haven't tried live fish/prey. Our pet shops don't sell them and it's not easy to catch them. It's all concrete in this city, and to be honest, I'm a bit squeamish about catching and feeding live creatures to him.
hanamihoshi
 
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:01 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

What if you mix in some pellets to the foods he's eating and slowly change the ingredients?
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:07 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

steve wrote:What if you mix in some pellets to the foods he's eating and slowly change the ingredients?


I've tried that and it used to work. But recently, he's become very discerning, and he'll either turn his nose up at it, or accept the food and spit out just the pellet/veggie. Really annoying. I will probably try to mash up the pellets a bit so they'll stick to the meat and he won't be able to spit it out. He'll sometimes sniff at the food for a long time before accepting it.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:34 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Does he like canned tuna fish or salmon? The water from those is pretty strong smelling.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:44 am   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

steve wrote:Does he like canned tuna fish or salmon? The water from those is pretty strong smelling.


I haven't tried any of these yet but I think I've got a can of tuna fish somewhere. I'll try it give it to him as soon as I can.
Do you think it's possible that at a certain point of time some RES may only like strong smelling stuff? (because their sense of smell got blunt due to age or something) Then again, he seems to like chicken and chicken isn't exactly strong-smelling... it's really a mystery.

In any case, thanks for your replies, I really appreciate it!
Hopefully I'll have some good news soon.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:41 pm   Re: My 20yo RES has become an extremely fussy eater

Some RES can be very picky, it's really hard to know what's going on. It's good that there is some appetite though.
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