Greek tortoises have become one of the popular pet options among reptile enthusiasts. They are cute, have a reasonable size, and don’t require high-maintenance care, making many people want to adopt them as pets. However, no matter how simple to care for greek tortoise compared to other pets, the owners still need to pay serious attention to their daily care, especially their diet list.
Just like other pets and us as humans, a balanced and high-quality diet is crucial for Greek tortoises to maintain their health. A proper diet ensures they live a happy and healthy life, avoid several health issues, and expand their life spans.
As a herbivore, greek tortoises need a lot of fiber, so plant-based diets can be the ideal diet for them. However, they need various nutrients as well, including protein and calcium. If you have a greek tortoise as a pet or are planning to adopt one, the following is a greek tortoise diet list you can follow to give them proper nutrition for their well-being.
Greek Tortoise Food List
1. Edible Weeds and Leafy Plants
Greek tortoises need a lot of fiber in their diets. Hence leafy greens should have a more significant portion on their diet list. Lettuce, mustards, endive, and kale are a few of the leafy greens they will love to eat. These plants ensure they get a sufficient amount of fibers to get their digestive system healthy all the time. The texture of the leafy greens also allows them to have fun while feeding.
2. Variety of Plants
Variation is very important to keep the tortoise interested in their food. Even though the majority of their diet plan should consist of lots of fibers, they still need variations in terms of textures and taste. It’s okay to throw some additional food here and there to keep things interesting. However, the portion still moderate. In addition, you can also incorporate plants such as dandelions, parsley, and clover into the mix.
Vegetables can provide them with fiber and nutrition and keep the menu varied. Greek tortoises enjoy munching on carrots, zucchini, and broccoli so you can add some portions of vegetables to their menu as well. Vegetables that contain lots of water can also help them to hydrate and help them to maintain their digestive system.
Various fruits will provide them with extra vitamins, and they actually love to eat fruits such as wild strawberries, blueberries, melons, and grapes as snacks. However, you must remember that the fruit portion should take at most 10% of their diet plan and not more. As we know, fruit contains high sugar and even when the tortoises enjoy to eat fruits so much, high sugar can affect their digestive system and causing several problems.
5. Pellet & Supplements
Commercial pellet products explicitly made for tortoises can also be added to their food. It can give a nutrition boost. However, this is just an additional option. Pellet products are optional if your tortoise already gets sufficient nutrition from organic food. Also, pay attention to the portion according to your tortoise’s age and size. Consult your veterinarian about whether they need additional supplements or not.
What is The Best Diet For a Tortoise?
The best diet for tortoises is a plant-based and fiber-rich diet. This is because tortoises generally have a slow metabolism, and they need a lot of fiber to help maintain their gut health. Lack of fiber will cause the tortoise to experience digestive problems, such as difficulty defecating, that will cause discomfort and may trigger a more severe health problem. The main emphasis should be fibers with other vitamins and minerals, but a moderate amount of variations is also important to maintain their nutrient intake as well as keep things interesting.
Should You Feed a Tortoise Every Day?
There are a lot of things that need to be clarified regarding whether you should feed a tortoise every day or not. Some people may think that they need daily feeding to get enough nutrition. However, due to their slow metabolism, tortoises must starve at daybreak when they don’t eat and let their digestive system work. Ideally, you should feed your tortoises once per day, 5 times a week, and give them two starving days to maintain their digestive system to work correctly. This is very important to allow the tortoise system to clean itself. If this cycle is not complete, they will have a digestive problem and experience discomfort because there is too much food in their system they need to process.
Other than that, keeping feeding tortoises without any breaks can also lead to more severe health problems. Obesity is one of them and it is very dangerous since it can make them feel uncomfortable to live inside a shell that is too small for their body. This may lead to more serious problems such as shell or bone breaks.
What is Poisonous to Tortoises?
Just because tortoises need high fiber in their diet and love to eat plants, it doesn’t mean they can eat all types of plants. There are some foods that you should’nt offer because they are considered to be toxic and can harm the tortoises.
The list of poisonous food to tortoises includes but not limited to : daffodils, azalea, foxglove, avocado, buttercup, auricula, bean sprouts, citrus fruit, hydrangea, iris, morning glory, and wood anemone.
Tortoises already have a good sense of what’s considered dangerous to them and will naturally avoid poisonous food. However, tortoises bred and kept in captivity may need more understanding and may accidentally eat the toxic food mentioned above. As the pet owner, you should keep an eye on them and avoid offering that food to your tortoise at all costs.
Other than that, some foods are not as dangerous but can be given in strict moderation, such as fruits with high sugar, as they can cause diarrhea if taken too much.
What Must Be Included in the Greek Tortoise Diet?
The key to good nutrition is a balanced diet designed according to the tortoise’s needs. Remember that every tortoise may have different needs, so ideally, you should adjust their food variety and portion accordingly. Ideally, a greek tortoise typically consumes 1-4% of their body weight. Exceeding this number may result in them having digestive problems or even becoming obsessed.
The food portion depends on each tortoise’s specific needs. For example, younger tortoises need more energy than older tortoises. Hence, a nutritious pellet might be necessary to fulfill their energy needs. Be mindful in choosing the energy source for the greek tortoise. Instead of giving them food that is high in sugar, you can opt for low starch and high fiber options.
Remember, all the things that must be included in the Greek tortoise diet are relatively simple. You can remember the following list:
First thing first, when it comes to the Greek tortoise diet, think of fiber. Fiber is essential for greek tortoise health and should take up the biggest portion of their diet. You can look up a variety of fiber options we mentioned above and be careful on what should and what should not offer to your tortoise.
Yes, along with fibers, they still need proteins. Protein is essential for greek tortoises to maintain their immune system and muscle gain. It also helps them to develop a healthy shell. They can get proteins from natural sources such as green beans, but you can also add a small amount of high-protein pellets into their food.
3. Vitamin & Minerals
Balanced vitamin and mineral intake is also super essential for their health. Calcium is vital for tortoises to maintain healthy and strong bones and shells. A variety of vitamins are also crucial for them, namely vitamins A and E, which are highly important for their immune system and eye health.
Remember to provide a good amount of water in your tortoise’s diet. No matter how great their food is, it will only work optimally if they are well-hydrated. Hydration is super important to all tortoises, so you must provide them with fresh and clean drinking water daily. Letting them sink in a bath of fresh water will also help them to hydrate themselves.
This is additional, but you may need it if you want to keep your greek tortoises’ appetite. Sometimes they’ll get bored with the food they get, and they need some new variation to keep them interested. Therefore, giving them sugary fruits as treats can be a good idea to keep them excited. However, the treat that you give should be in moderate amount.
There are so many things to consider when providing tortoises a good food and a nutritious diet. In practice, it should be easy and not as confusing. Just stick to the information we mentioned above and keep the correct food ratio, and your greek tortoise will live a happy and healthy life. If you find some changes in their body or appetite, you can consult the vet to get your greek tortoises examined so you know if some adjustments are needed on their diet.
After all, keeping a tortoise as a pet should not be a hassle especially since they are relatively low-maintenance. But ensuring they live in their best condition possible is still very important. We all just want to see our Greek tortoise live a long healthy life.