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It took me awhile to figure out that Malti didn’t find everything equally tasty. Pretty much from day one she was what tortoise breeders like to call an “enthusiastic eater.”
Tortoises in the wild are opportunistic feeders, which means they will eat – overeat even – when they find something really good. This is because they don’t know when they will next discover food.
But Malti doesn’t have to worry about missing any meals.
I still remember the first time we had a session with an animal communicator. I asked the communicator to ask Malti if she was happy with her meals. The communicator paused for a moment, then asked me, “Do you serve some type of crunchy dried protein?”
She was referring to crunchy freeze-dried mealworms. Since then, I have reserved dried mealworms for treats, because I now know Malti would eat the entire container in one sitting if I let her.
What is so interesting about this is that, like dogs and many humans, tortoises can be trained to learn tasks using treats for motivation. In fact, researchers trained redfoot tortoises just like Malti to press buttons on a touchscreen in exchange for treats!
I have no doubt that if Malti had been in that study, and if crunchy freeze-dried mealworms were the treat reward, she would have been their star pupil.