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Reptiles/Feeding a tortoise


Hi, I have a tortoise, and I always give him cucumber or lettuce. I'd love to know which other kinds of food I can give to my tortoise.

Thanks a lot

Hello Christian,

Sure!  How old is your tortoise & are you providing good UVB & calcium supplementation for him on a regular basis as well?
What kind of tortoise is he?
You can use a variety of native grasses & flowers such as dandelions, mulberry tree leaves, grape leaves & small amounts of alfalfa.  Or for a more conventional diet you can use turnip greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, arugula & romaine.  Just use a couple of a few of the greens to mix & add variety.  I would stay away from kale, cabbage & spinach on a regular basis as they are high in oxalates & will bind calcium making it difficult for them to absorb calcium.
As far as veggies, a few are zucchini squash, yellow squash, butternut squash primarily, but you can also feed chopped up carrots, or bell pepper varieties, too, excluding any of the hot pepper varieties of course!  You can use mustard greens, collard greens but in moderation since they tend to be a bit high in oxalates, too.  Avoid cauliflower & broccoli as they are high in oxalates, too.
You can use ground up rabbit pellets or guinea pig pellets if you want to get some extra fiber into them, too.
Avoid fruits on a regular basis, other than cactus apple.  It can upset their GI tract & cause parasitic growth.  Also, do not feed any animal protein foods such as dog or cat food as well.  Soy or tofu is not recommended, either.
Some feed the commercialized pellets for tortoises, which would be ok for supplementation but not for a primary mainstay of their diet.

Be sure to supplement with powdered calcium without phosphorus, 3 times per week as they have very high calcium requirements.

I hope this helps out! :-)  If you have any pictures, be sure to post them.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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