This morning I spent some extra time preparing prickly pear cactus pads and cactus fruit for our tortoises. Even though this type of prickly pear is known as “spineless,” there are still small spines on pads. Tortoises do not have problems eating these small spines, but you don’t want to get one of these under your skin. It’s like a splinter you can’t find; hard to see, hard to remove, bugs you all day. Carefully scraping a knife along the pad followed by a good rinse helps get rid of the tiny spines.
The insides of the pads and fruit are very juicy. Cactus pads are low in protein and fats, high in calcium and fiber. We recently found a Hispanic foods store that stocks the pads and fruit at a good price. You can also order cactus pads online from various tortoise supply companies. The larger pads can be planted in the ground for regrowth. We’ve tried this method, but wild rabbits are quick to devour this cactus treat.
With so many animals to feed, finding time to do simple tasks such as this can be a challenge. There is never a wasted moment. Some people would view the work we do as thankless chores; for us it is a labor of love. Please feel free to email us with questions and ideas for future blogs. Have a happy animal filled day! 🙂 Mrs. Zoo