Best Food For a Sulcata Tortoise

best food for a sulcata tortoise

If you’re thinking about adopting or adding a sulcata tortoise to your family, make sure they get the correct food. This will ensure they receive all of their nutritional requirements and stay healthy for an extended period of time.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Sulcata tortoises should be fed a high-fiber diet consisting of grasses and weeds. Furthermore, they need calcium-rich food in order to avoid conditions like metabolic bone disease or shell softening.



Sulcata tortoises are large, herbivorous turtles from sub-Saharan Africa that can weigh up to 200 pounds and measure over 30 inches from tongue to tail.

Sulcata tortoises primarily obtain their nutrition from grass and hay. Feed your sulcata tortoise an average of 80% of its diet in pesticide-free timothy grass or orchard hay.

Hays are an important source of dietary fiber for sulcata tortoises, making them a vital component of their overall diet.

Fruit is an essential part of a sulcata tortoise’s diet, though it should only be offered sparingly and rarely. Good options for fruits include melon, bananas, strawberries, kiwi and peaches; however they should always be offered with caution and moderation.

Finally, ensure your sulcata tortoise has a temperature-controlled environment. They can tolerate temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is essential that the enclosure remains cool at night and warm during the daytime. If it gets too hot during this period, your tortoise may not eat as much.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly pear cactus pads are an easy and budget-friendly food option for sulcata tortoises. Not only that, but they’re highly nutritious with plenty of variety.

They can be included as a supplement to other foods like pellets or greens, providing essential nutrients like calcium, fiber and potassium as well as high levels of vitamin D.

Prickly pear cacti are a major food source for sulcata tortoises and other desert species, commonly found in the Southwest deserts. While they can be found throughout the United States, their main habitat is the Arizona desert.

Prickly Pear Cactus are hardy desert plants with vibrant flowers and spines. They make excellent food for tortoises, iguanas and other wildlife such as tortoises.


Sulcata tortoises enjoy various species of clover. Not only do they enjoy its leaves and flowers, but it’s also an excellent source of calcium for them.

Clover is an ideal natural food source for sulcata tortoises and other herbivorous reptiles, as their digestive systems can easily break down its fiber. Plus, these amphibians reap the rewards of Clover’s antioxidants.

Sulcata tortoises should have access to a variety of grasses and hays for 80 to 85% of their diet while in captivity. Timothy hay and orchard hay are particularly recommended due to their high fiber content.

Vegetables are an integral part of a tortoise’s diet and should make up around 15% of their food intake. Safe greens for sulcatas include dandelion greens, turnip greens, kale and spring mixes.


A baby tortoise’s diet should include around 10% leafy greens. Examples include dandelion greens, turnip greens and kale.

Sulcata tortoises are grazers that require a varied and nutritious diet to stay healthy and content. A diet consisting of grasses, weeds and vegetables will supply them with essential nutrients for strong growth and activity levels.

Fruits should only make up a minor part of a sulcata tortoise’s diet, as they can cause digestive upset and lead to an imbalance of acidity within the body that could potentially wipe out beneficial bacteria in the stomach and intestines.

Sulcata tortoises depend on their gut bacteria to break down and absorb nutrients from plants they eat. When large numbers of these beneficial bacteria die off, toxic by-products may cross over into their digestive tract and enter their bloodstream – leading to a potentially lethal condition known as Toxic Shock Syndrome.