Can Russian Tortoises Eat Oranges?

Russian tortoises are predominantly herbivorous animals and should only receive occasional feeds of fruits to ensure their gut biota remains balanced, otherwise this could result in diarrhea or other issues.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

These treats contain sugar which shouldn’t be part of their natural diet, yet can still be beneficial when given as treats.


Citrus Acid

Citrus fruits like oranges can disrupt your tortoise’s digestive system and lead to stomach upset and diarrhea, so only offering fresh fruit in moderation as treats.

Note that citrus fruits contain high levels of sugar, which could contribute to your tortoise’s obesity and poor health. Therefore, it would be ideal to offer treats with reduced levels of sugar for their best possible health and weight maintenance.

As an alternative to oranges, squash, carrots or leafy greens make great alternatives for tortoises looking for variety in their diets. Not only can these foods provide essential nutrition not found in citrus fruit like oranges but they can also help prevent metabolic bone disease (MBD), which occurs due to improper diet and lack of UVB lighting resulting in softening bones that interfere with proper function and softening as a result of metabolic bone disease (MBD). MBD may be treated by providing your tortoise with supplements without phosphorus or calcium sources containing no more than necessary.


Tortoises should only eat fruit sparingly due to its high sugar content; if you do give your tortoise some orange peels from time-to-time however, always wash it first as this could contain pesticides that make him sick.

Calcium and phosphorous levels in an orange should also be considered. A high concentration of phosphorous hinders your tortoise’s ability to absorb calcium, potentially leading to brittle bones or other health complications in its body.

Russian tortoises kept as pets can easily overeat due to being programmed to do so in preparation for aestivation (summer hibernation). They lack exercise that would normally occur in their wild environment which leads them to overeating and weight gain as well as health issues such as kidney stones. Feeding low calorie fruits like oranges may help mitigate some of these health problems while offering them flowers, weeds, succulents or vegetables is best way to ensure optimal health in pet tortoises.


Russian tortoises require a varied and balanced diet consisting of flowers, succulents, weeds, plants vegetables and fresh fruits. Their plant parts should contain low levels of protein; in addition they require fiber for digestive health as well as vitamins and minerals for their bodies to function optimally. A variety of greens, weeds and leafy vegetables should always be available as sources for feedings.

Vegetables should form at least 40% of our diets. Mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, dandelion leaves and watercress should all be part of this mix.

Fruit should only be given in small quantities as too much sugar can lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD) in reptiles, leading to brittle bones and other health problems. For this reason, fruits such as berries and melons should only be given occasionally as treats.

Homemade Orange Juice

If you own a citrus fruit tree (or even just one or two oranges), making your own fresh, all-natural orange juice is much healthier than buying prepackaged varieties that may contain ingredients such as citric acid, ascorbic acid, calcium or omega-3 fatty acids.

Doing it yourself is both easier and cheaper. All you’ll need is a juicer or blender, then start by washing and peeling oranges, removing their rinds, squeezing out all their juice, straining it through cheesecloth to speed things along, discard any unwanted pulp/rind/seeds as ground up orange seeds have an unpleasant bitter flavor, then dispose of as necessary.

Fresh orange juice can be an ideal addition to tortoise food or given alone as a treat, or used to enhance other drinks such as smoothies and cocktails. It is also perfect for adding to smoothies or put in an ice cube tray so other drinks don’t taste quite so tart. Finally, fresh orange juice is also great as an ingredient in tortoise bath soaks; they typically don’t enjoy bath time but it is important to give them at least once or twice weekly as part of their hygiene regime to wash away bacteria that collects on their shells and limbs from bacteria and dirt that accumulates on their shells and limbs.