This page last edited on

02 May, 2010



Feeding and Water


  Because I have several species of turtles and tortoises in the tortoise pen, I need to put food out for everyone. Thankfully they all pretty much eat the same foods.  All of my tortoises are basically vegetarian.  The yellow and red foot tortoises will eat worms on occasion because they need a small amount of animal protein. Russian tortoises are pictured on the right.


  This is a list of the foods that I give them:



  • Romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, or endive (chicory)

  • Shredded carrots

  • Bananas, strawberries, mango or peaches.  The fruit is for the red and yellow foots and the turtles. The Russians may try a piece of fruit but don't care for it. They should not have much fruit, if any.  The African spur thigh will eat more fruit than the Russians but does not eat it like the red/yellow foots and turtles.

Every other day:

  • Mazuri tortoise chow - $$$ $aving tip - buy at the local feed store where it is much cheaper than a pet store. They can order it for you if they don't stock it.

Several times a week:

  • Tomatoes, cut in small pieces

  • Yellow or green zucchini squash, cut in small pieces

  • Green beans, cut in small pieces

  • Hibiscus leaves and flowers

  • Petunia leaves and flowers

  • Prickly pear cactus (actually a few times a month)

Once a week:

  • Rep Cal Calcium without Vitamin D powder and Herptivite with Beta Carotene Multivitamins powder. I sprinkle it on their food. If you have indoor tortoises you need to give them the Herptivite and the Calcium WITH Vitamin D. Outside tortoises do not need Vitamin D because they get it from the sunshine. You can find both of these at any pet store, reptile shop or online.

  Mazuri tortoise chow should also be a staple of their diet because it has the nutrients they need as well. It was originally formulated for Galapagos tortoises. They all love the chow, even the turtles!  

  Occasionally I will see a tortoise eat the hibiscus or petunia in the pen. This is quite natural for them so I am happy to see them doing so.  I also pick the flowers and leaves from the back yard for them and include with their other food every few days.

  I have three water dishes in the tortoise pen. Russian tortoises don't drink much water, if any. When I first got some of the Russian tortoises they were dehydrated and needed to be soaked a few times but normally Russian tortoises should not be soaked. Russian tortoises should always have water available to them even though they do not drink that much. Red and yellow foots love to soak in the water and drink water easily. The box and wood turtles also enjoy the water. The African spur thigh rarely sits in the dishes but I have seen him in them a few times. Nonetheless, you need to have a large but shallow pan for water and you need to clean it out once a day. Tortoises not only like to soak and drink in the pan, they use it as a toilet! This is perfectly natural and normal for them. You need to make sure the pan is shallow because turtles and tortoises easily tip over in water and you would not want to find them drowned!!!

  I also have about 6 toads that live in the pen.  The toads crack me up by the way they hang out at the food stations all day. If you have never seen a toad eat lettuce before its hilarious! The toads love to eat the tortoise chow which is surprising. As a result, I have huge toads! Occasionally the feral iguanas will come down into the pen and also eat from the food stations. I've been able to watch them several times from the living room window which is totally way cool! One time I was actually in the pen when an iguana came to eat. It didn't see me for a few minutes so that was really exciting. Once it saw me it hauled over the fence quickly!




Click on Playlist to view the three movies of tortoises eating together.

   I hope that my information on feeding and water for tortoises was helpful to you and that you enjoyed the video of them eating.

Tortoise Page | Tortoise Housing & Care | Tortoise Feeding & Water | African Spur Thigh | Red Foots | Russians | Yellow Foots

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