Having a pet tortoise comes with the responsibility of having to provide for it. In the wild, tortoises fend for themselves and meet their nutritional requirements.
But since you love your pet and have decided to keep it at home with you, you need to meet up with the nutritional needs of your pet.
The food tortoises eat plays a major role in their growth, shell hardness and overall health and that is why the best food for a tortoise is what you should feed it with.
Feeding them with a meal that is deficient in a necessary nutrient will have serious effects on them as your tortoise is fragile on the inside.
You may feel your tortoise will do just fine eating leaves and insects and just about anything you can find.
The needs of tortoises depend on their species. And so before you dive into feeding your tortoise with whatever you can find, it is right to make an informed choice to ensure its safety and health.
Examining various tortoise foods, we have a pretty solid idea of what qualities make the best food for tortoise, and the Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food it’s our topmost choice.
- Rich in fiber content
- Free from chemicals and preservatives
- Suitable for consumption by different species
Foods for Different Tortoise Breeds
If you have a sulcata tortoise, it is best to feed it with a diet that is made mainly of grass and weeds.
This is easy for you considering that they mostly stay outside due to their giant size and weight.
You can think of the sulcata tortoise as a slow lawnmower, eating through your grass. They also love hay and it is good for them. Try to feed them with different types of green grass and sometimes weeds like dandelions.
Don’t forget to add veggies and dust with calcium powder to their food once in a while. Occasional treats like the hibiscus leaf and also prickly pear cactus are good for them.
Aldabra, Leopard, and Galapagos Tortoises
Just like the sulcata tortoise, these other species are capable of eating and deriving nutrients from grass.
When feeding them, their diet should be of 2/3 or 3/4 of grass or hay. The remainder should be of flowers, weeds, and greens. If you have grass growing around and you have any of these species as your pet, you could let them walk around and eat.
Just be sure to check the grasses around you and take out any toxic plants.
When keeping the russian tortoise, you have to be ready to put in more effort as compared to the others mentioned here.
A Russian tortoise eats grass, but just a little portion of it. Its diet consists mainly of greens like lettuces and vegetables.
As is obvious here, what your tortoise eats depends on its species. So get your tortoise from a breeder with a good reputation so that you will have good knowledge of the nutritional needs of your tortoise.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Tortoise
Do not be deceived by the tough shell your tortoise carries. It is as a matter of fact very sensitive on the inside and so care must be given at all times.
They need to have a balanced diet, eating a variety of vegetation but there are some things that they should never consume.
Avoid giving them peas and beans and keep away from the reach of your tortoise. These types of food are rich in protein and are harmful to their liver and kidneys.
Do not forget that although they eat quite a lot of things, they are primarily vegetarians.
If you have any other species that are not sulcata, leopard tortoise, Aldabra tortoise, or the Galapagos tortoise, avoid giving them grass heavy diets.
The mentioned species can handle high amounts of silica found in grasses and hay but other species cannot.
You can feed fruit to your tortoise but be watchful of the amount you give. Tropical species can eat a little amount but the Mediterranean tortoises should not be given any fruits at all.
Common plants that are found in the yards and around the house that are harmful for your tortoise include:
- Asparagus fern
- Avocado (its leaves and seed)
- Calla lily
- Castor bean
- Nightshade family
There are other plants that could be harmful that are not mentioned here. If you have a plant in your house that you are not sure, ask for professional advice before feeding it to your tortoise.
Best Tortoise Food
1. Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food
Top on our list of the best food for a tortoise is the zoo med natural grassland. It is natural and meets up with the fiber content needs of the tortoise diet.
Its formula contains long-stem fibers which are very necessary for your tortoise.
Unlike most commercially available tortoise food which lacks the right amount of fiber, zoo med ensures that your tortoise lacks nothing and gets a balanced diet each time.
It also contains other plants like dandelion greens and yucca so that your tortoise gets a treat each time you feed it with this.
These pellets are made for a wide variety of tortoise species like Desert, Hermann, Pancake, Leopard, Sulcata, Greek and also Russian tortoises.
It is free from harmful chemicals and preservatives but contains vitamins and minerals so your tortoise grows healthy and stays safe.
- Rich in fiber content
- It is a mixture of grass and other greens for better enjoyment
- Free from chemicals and preservatives
- Contains vitamins and minerals
- Suitable for consumption by different species
- None worth mentioning
2. Nature Zone Bites For Tortoises
If you love your tortoise and want to ensure it eats healthy, one way of showing and achieving this is by feeding it nature zone bites.
This food provides it with all its nutritional needs.
These bite-sized moist gel cubes contain essential vitamins and minerals to ensure the healthy growth of your pet.
It goes further to promote intestinal development with its plant-derived fiber and soluble carbohydrates. So this takes care of all the stomach needs of your tortoise.
Nature zone bites are a source of protein for your tortoise in the right proportion of course.
The cubes contain water in them, making it similar to the vegetables your tortoise would consume if left in the wild.
Apart from its feel, it has an appealing melon scent and flavor that whets the appetite of your pet, increasing appetite so they can eat well.
Once you have this food, all you have to do is serve. There is no other preparation needed and it makes it easy for you to take care of your tortoise.
- Bite-sized and moist cubes making it easy for your tortoise to eat
- Balanced and contains all the essential nutrients
- It has the aroma and taste of melon which is appetizing to tortoises
- Comes ready to use
- Needs to stay refrigerated or will get bad
3. Zoo Med Tortoise Block
This is one example of a product that gives your tortoise good nutrients while helping with its development.
Made from a mixture of spineless cactus and vegetables like carrots and alfalfa, it takes care of the stomach needs of your friend and keeps it healthy.
The vegetables are a rich source of nutrients and are a great way to ensure that your pet stays happy.
It comes shapes as a block, and when your tortoise chews on it, it is rewarded with the goodies that are contained inside.
The chewing action of this block helps to prevent the overgrowing of your tortoise’s mouth.
Zoo med makes it easy for you to care for your tortoise as you can feed it straight from the package. No need for any form of preparation.
All you have to do is place it for your pet and watch it eat to its satisfaction. It is free of chemicals and preservatives, so your pet is free from harm.
- It is a great source of calcium, spineless cactus, and other vegetables your tortoise needs
- Enriches your tortoise as it chews the block for the food inside
- Helps to limit the growth of your tortoise’s mouth
- Easy to use and saves you time
- Not for every tortoise as some do not eat it
4. Rep-Cal SRO00807 Tortoise Food
This product was made with your pet tortoise in mind. It ensures that your pet grows well and has all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Highly recommended by vets, it contains fruits and plants that tortoises love and doesn’t just satisfy their mouth, it also nourishes their bodies.
It also contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and calcium in the right amounts, so you do not have to add any further supplements to their food as they have all they need here.
If you want your tortoise to enjoy its meal and stay nourished, look no further than rep-cal tortoise food.
- Recommended by vets
- Provides complete daily nutrition for your tortoise
- Contains essential vitamins and minerals
- No need for other food supplements
- The pellet size is so small
5. Zoo Med 5124 Gourmet Tortoise Food
Step up your tortoise’s nutrition with zoo med gourmet tortoise food. Your tortoise will thank you.
It is a mixture of hibiscus flower petals, carrots, and also sweet potato that your tortoise would eat if it were in the wild.
This combination makes your tortoise long for its meal without getting tired of it. It contains essential vitamins and minerals in their right proportions to ensure that your tortoise gets what it needs all day.
It is rich in fiber and contains sun-cured dandelion, endive, escarole, and timothy hays greens.
There are no artificial colors and preservatives or flavors here, so your tortoise enjoys a natural meal.
- Contains vitamins and minerals in good amounts
- No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Rich in fiber
- Doesn’t appeal to some tortoises
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Food for Tortoise
When feeding your pet tortoise, there are some considerations to be met.
This is because of their nutritional needs which have to be met if they must stay healthy.
Things to look out for in the best food for a tortoise are:
What Should A Healthy Tortoise Diet Consist Of?
Tortoises are not so demanding when it comes to feeding. There are few household items that will perfectly provide for your tortoise’s nutritional needs.
Such meals are:
- Sweet potato
- Yellow or green bell pepper
- Powdered calcium
Tortoises also need a good amount of protein to build a good immune system. You should avoid feeding some vegetables like cabbage to your tortoise because it can harm the kidneys.
Other foods to avoid are:
- Dog food
So before you make any purchase, check out the content and be sure to rule out any harmful ingredient for the safety of your pet.
The Age Of Your Tortoise
If you have a young tortoise, you have to be careful in selecting food meant for it. The young torts have special needs as they are growing for development.
They need more protein and so ensure you feed them with good amounts of it.
If your pet is an adult tortoise, too much protein can be bad for it and so you have to be careful when making your purchase. Choose something with little protein in it.
Look For Ready To Use Foods
Since you can feed your tortoise with some food found in your home, it won’t make any sense to purchase something that will stress you to prepare.
The idea of purchasing is to make the whole process easier so when you are at the store, look for the ready to use types of food.
Also, be sure to confirm the nutritional contents of each product before you buy it so as to ensure you are getting what your tortoise needs.
Commonly Asked Questions About Tortoise Foods
Q: How Much Should I Feed My Tortoise?
It is best to feed your tortoise once a day with the amount of food it can finish in half an hour. You will need to try out different amounts of course before finally getting the right portion.
Q: How Long Can Tortoises Go Without Food?
Tortoises can stay for very long periods with no food. They can go for as long as 2 to three years without eating. The quality of their health will be questionable though so avoid this.
Q: Do Tortoises Need Feeding Every Day?
Most tortoise species need only be fed five or six times a week. They do not need to be fed every single day. Also, avoid overfeeding them.
Q: Can Tortoises Eat Banana?
Yes, they can and will not die from eating it. They can, however, die from the complications that result from eating a banana.
Your pet tortoise’s diet is as important as its light and heat. It is essential for growth and health.
Knowing what to feed your tortoise can help it live a long and happy life.
Being that they are not difficult to care for, and can eat almost anything doesn’t mean this should be abused.
Care should be taken to meet their nutritional requirements and you can get all your tortoise needs from any of the products mentioned here.
If you are still confused about what to buy for your tortoise, we will narrow down your choices to zoo med natural grassland tortoise food and nature zone bites.
These products are loved by a lot of tortoises and satisfy the nutritional needs of your tortoise for healthy growth.
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