Malti Explains Redfoot Tortoises: Biting

When Malti was a tiny tort, she had trouble even opening her mouth wide enough to chomp down on a lettuce leaf or carrot shaving.

It was at the same time really cute and really nerve-wracking to watch her eating. Sometimes it felt like she couldn’t quite figure out how to move her head and jaws to grab at the food morsel she was aiming for.

Often, I would end up picking up the tidbit in question and offering it to her. While she was never super crazy about this method when she was really little, as she’s gotten older hand-feeding has grown on her.

Now, I suspect she sees it as a method to consume as much as possible while expending as little energy and effort as possible (what in the corporate world is often called a “win win”).

But while in the beginning I never had to worry about or protect my soft little fingertips when hand-feeding her, now it is a different story. This growing girl can bite!

To be clear, she never means to bite me. In fact, when her beak and my fingers do connect accidentally, I can always tell it was an accident by how she responds next.

I try never ever to exclaim or react like I’m in pain or seem angry when she chomps down on me, because of course it isn’t her fault. She didn’t mean to do it and I feel like it is always my fault because I should have been more watchful and careful.

But still, when I go back to offering her another tidbit, often she will refuse to take it if it looks too small or sits too close to my fingertips. Or she will open her mouth and wait for me to drop the food into her mouth rather than moving to grasp and bite it out of my fingers.

It is very clear that she knows she has hurt me and doesn’t want to risk doing it again. Precious girl.

My not-so-little girl has no trouble opening up her beak now to grab whatever she wants to eat!

And remember…..

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