Animal Behavior Animal Health Cleaning Habitat

Tortoise Poop

Call it Poop, Feces or a word we can’t say… Do you wonder what tortoise poop should look like?

According to Reptile Magazine…

The normal feces of a tortoise consists of fecal material. This usually appears as an odiferous formed mass consisting of the end products of digestion. The color, consistency, and volume of the feces will vary depending on what the tortoise is ingesting. But for the most part, the feces will be brown or greenish-brown. A healthy turtle/tortoise produces quite firm, well-formed feces. If they contain undigested food or are runny, then the possibility of parasites should be ruled out by analysis of a stool sample by your vet. If this isn’t the case, then a low fiber diet is the likely culprit.

Tortoises also produce urine and urates.  Urine  is the liquid portion stored in the urinary bladder. Urine contains waste products and toxins that are filtered from the bloodstream. Reptiles also have one more type of excretion product, called urates or uric acid. This is the end product of protein digestion and is also stored in the urinary bladder as a creamy, off-white pasty semi-solid. In reptiles, uric acid is cleared from the bloodstream by the kidneys. When the tortoise urinates, it will pass the liquid urine and the semi-solid urates at the same time. A tortoise may urinate and defecate at the same time, which may leave  urate  deposits on the fecal material. This will make the feces appear as if it is white or off-white.

How Important Is Tortoise Poop?

In new research, Dr. Cynthia Froyd of Swansea University took samples of soils throughout the Galapagos and tested them for the types of environments recorded and the species present.

They found that prior to 500 years ago; they found “dung-affiliated” fungi, suggesting a large, plant-eating organism dominated the area. Since there aren’t other options for living in the Galapagos wetlands, the only option was the tortoises.

Prior to the arrival of man, tortoises roamed freely across the islands but starting in the 16th century, their numbers declined from 250,000 to 14,000 by 1970, and 5 of the original 14 subspecies have gone extinct.

At the same time, wetlands began drying up, a change recorded by the soil samples. About 500 years ago,  the tortoise feces vanish , and at the same time, the plants change. The freshwater wetlands that once populated large areas of the Galapagos dried and the plants supported by those wetlands began dying, disappearing, and even going extinct.

The plants which supported those wetlands relied on the tortoises in several ways, including fertilization and churning up the ground as they walked through. The tortoises were a keystone species; once they began dying, the entire ecosystem surrounding them died with them.

How You Identify What Is Pooping?

The first step to identifying pests by droppings is understanding what kind of insect, rodent, or larger animal you might be up against. There are three general categories of animal poop:

  • Small to medium-sized rodents: mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, etc.
  • Larger animals: raccoons, possums, skunks, groundhogs, woodchucks, etc.
  • Insects: cockroaches, termites, and bed bugs
  • Bats: Many different species of bats
  • Reptiles: snakes and lizards

There is a wonderful article full of information. Click here to read…

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