Fiber in tortoise feed

Source: Keeping and breeding tortoises in captivity, A.C. Highfield, 1990
Fiber is an essential part of a good feed for tortoises, a part which is often left out. Lack of fiber causes a poor digestion, diarrhoea and enlarges the chance that the animals get colic.
In the wild, the feed of tortoises is very high in fiber. This may also cause a quick clearing of parasites from the intestinal tract. Low fiber feed would be one of the reasons why animals in captivity have many parasites.
The feces of wild land turtles contains much higher levels of fiber than the feed of the animals living in captivity. Wild tortoises produce feces which is compact, well shaped and contains remains of several kinds of grasses. Animals in captivity often produce loose, badly shaped feces.
It is therefore important to provide the animals with feed which is rich in fiber, such as alfalfa hey, grass hay and banana leaves. The protein-level and the Ca:P ratio of the feed do need to be checked. The level of protein can not be too high and the Ca:P ratio for herbivores should be between the a.25:1 (fully grown animals) and the 2:1 (growing animals). For carnivores this is 15:1 or even 20:1.
A relatively easy way to ensure a higher intake of fiber is to present the animals with dried leaves and grasses. Even turtles that just come from the egg are very fond of this.
In general the following can be said about turtle feed. Low in fat and protein, Rich in minerals and vitamins, High/b> in fiber and Sufficient in fluids.