Tortoises, being herbivorous creatures, must consume plenty of fresh vegetables to remain healthy. Unfortunately, certain foods such as potatoes contain glycoalkaloids such as solanine and chaconine that may prove toxic for these tortoises.
Though you should avoid feeding fruits and vegetables as their main diet source, tortoises still enjoy occasional treats like fruits and veggies as long as 80% of their food includes leafy greens.
High in dietary fiber
Tortoises are omnivorous animals and thus require both plants and vegetables for sustenance. For optimal results, fresh organic produce should be preferred for best results; furthermore, too many treats could lead to metabolic bone disease (MBD).
Tortoises in nature often forage for food in enclosed gardens, including grass and dandelions, while also eating other plants like marigolds, parsley, fennel, hibiscus flowers and sweet potatoes. To be safe for these creatures it’s best to stay away from toxic plants like rhododendrons and holly which contain compounds harmful to them.
Your tortoise’s diet should consist of at least 80% leafy greens. These vegetables can either be grown in an edible garden or purchased at your local grocery store. Sweet potatoes provide vitamin A and should be included as snacks or added into vegetable salads; their high potassium levels help regulate fluid levels and the heart rate, and provide important vitamin C and K that assist calcium absorption which benefits its skeletal structure and shell development.
High in vitamin A
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and should only be fed to tortoises as treats in moderation. Incorporating them as part of a healthy diet provides numerous vitamins and minerals including: Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 folate calcium phosphorus magnesium potassium zinc etc.
Tortoises need a balanced diet that includes both vegetables and fruits in equal measures. Their main source of nutrition should come from leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, turnip greens, collard greens, Swiss chard, alfalfa sprouts and kale; other beneficial vegetables for tortoises include cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli stems and leaves, watercress mustard greens and dandelion greens; fruits like berries bananas or apples should comprise approximately 10% of their diet.
Be careful when feeding your tortoise fruits and vegetables, as some can be toxic if consumed too regularly. Citrus fruits in particular should be avoided as they have been linked with metabolic bone disease in reptiles (MBD) which leads to weakening bones and impaired system functionality.
High in vitamin C
Tortoises are opportunistic feeders and require a varied diet of vegetables for proper nourishment. Although most tortoises are herbivorous, some also consume meat or some fruit from time to time. Sweet potatoes may be safe as part of a balanced diet for tortoises.
Your tortoise’s diet should center around fresh leafy greens as these are an integral component of its diet. Be wary of feeding them food from nightshade families as these contain glycoalkaloids which may lead to digestive and nervous system issues in reptiles.
Vegetables should account for approximately 40% of a tortoise’s diet. Chopped salads made up of dark leafy greens, carrots, watercress, parsley, endive collard greens escarole Swiss chard romaine lettuce bell peppers are healthy options to feed to tortoises. Hibiscus flowers or cacti pads may be hazardous as well so make sure any potential toxicities of such plants before offering them to them!
High in potassium
Tortoises need an abundance of fiber and protein in their diet, while starchy foods like potatoes should be limited as they contain high concentrations of oxalate which may contribute to urinary problems in tortoises. A few cooked sweet potato cubes as treats should be safe but should make up no more than 10% of their overall dietary needs.
Tortoises should avoid eating the leaves of potatoes as these contain glycoalkaloids such as solanine and chaconine that contain glycoalkaloid glycoalkaloid that can lead to stomach upset, neurological issues and kidney failure in tortoises. Furthermore, potatoes have a higher calcium-to-phosphorous ratio than other leafy greens which is unhealthy for tortoises.
Tortoises should have their diet supplemented with vegetables such as parsley, dandelion greens, endive and kale; fruits such as apples, bananas, papaya mango and berries; as well as access to grass/hay for foraging in an enclosed living space and regular access to fresh water.