What Can A Greek Tortoise Eat? A Guide to Their Leafy Feast

As the name implies, Greek tortoises are native to the Mediterranean region. They are known for their small size and unique shell markings. They are herbivorous animals which mainly feed on vegetation such as grasses, weeds, and wildflowers. When taking care of Greek tortoises, they should consume various plant materials to balanced their diet. But, what else can a Greek tortoise eat to stay healthy and happy? 

What Can A Greek Tortoise Eat
Food For Greek Tortoise

In the wild, Greek tortoises eat high fiber and low protein. In captivity, a diet should also resemble the wild condition. However, they should not be fed too much fruit, as it is high in sugar and can lead to obesity. If you want to take care of Greek tortoises and need to know what a Greek tortoise eats, then you have come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explore the diet of a Greek tortoise and learn what they need to eat to stay healthy.

What Is A Greek Tortoise?

A Greek Tortoise (also known as a Spur-thighed Tortoise) is one of the most commonly kept tortoise species in captivity. They are a popular pet for reptile enthusiasts. The Greek Tortoise is a medium-sized tortoise growing to a maximum length of 5-8 inches. Not to mention, they are a terrestrial species, meaning they prefer to live on land rather than in water.

What Can A Greek Tortoise Eat
What Is A Greek Tortoise

Greek Tortoises usually have a dome-shaped carapace, typically dark brown or black. Meanwhile, the plastron or bottom of the shell is usually tan, which curves slightly inward. Moreover, they have short necks and heads covered in scales and short tails. They alsoo have four short and robust legs, each with five toes.

Since Greek Tortoise is a herbivore they primarily consume plants. So, they feed on various grass, flowers, and herbs in the wild. In captivity, Greek Tortoise also should be fed various greens. Collard greens, dandelion greens, and kale are recommended plants for Greek Tortoise.

What Is The Best Diet for Greek Tortoises?

With a proper diet, your tortoise can get all the nutrients and vitamins needed to stay healthy and active. Therefore, we should provide the best diet for Greek tortoises to ensure their longevity. Let’s deep dive on the best diet for Greek Tortoises in this section!

What Can A Greek Tortoise Eat
What Is The Best Diet for Greek Tortoises

High Fiber Low Protein Diet

First, Greek tortoises should consume high-fiber diets. We recommend some plants such as fresh parsley and collard greens. Moreover, vegetables like shredded carrots and broccoli are recommended to the Greek Tortoises diet.

In addition, you can also give Greek Tortoises fruits like chopped strawberries and apples for additional vitamins. However, don’t give fruits more than 10% of their diet. Consuming excess fruits can cause digestive problems like diarrhea and bloating to the Greek Tortoises.

Commercial Pellet Fed

We recommend giving the Greek Tortoises which used to live in the wild a high-quality pellet as a daily supplement. It’s due to the various plants they consume in the wild which can’t fully meet the nutritional needs. 

In captivity, Greek Tortoise’s diet also is primarily only vegetables. So, Greek Tortoises can be deficient in essential vitamins. That’s why calcium supplement and multivitamin should be added to Greek Tortoises’ food. 


Greek Tortoises need water to stay hydrated. Not to mention, water also helps their digestion. Therefore, you can give them a shallow water bowl in their enclosure. The water will keep them regulate Greek Tortoises’ body temperature.

Remember to pick a water dish for your tortoise to drink and urinate when necessary. To keep things clean, change the water daily.

How Often To Feed A Greek Tortoise?

You have the option of feeding your tortoise once or twice daily. We recommend eating a substantial amount of mixed veggies twice daily. Depending on how big or small your tortoise is, you should feed it in portions equal to the size of your fist twice daily.

As they grow, you’ll see that they’ll require more food and come to your dish in search of it. Simply pay attention to the cues they provide you to better comprehend their needs. Moreover, you can offer a variety of fresh vegetables, dark leafy greens, and occasional fruits. Remember to give a calcium supplement and vitamin 2-3 times per week.

What Can A Greek Tortoise Eat
How Often To Feed A Greek Tortoise

How Can My Greek Tortoise Eat Properly and Safely?

Greek tortoises are a popular pet choice due to their unique look and easy maintenance. Therefore, we should understand the needs of your Greek tortoise to keep them healthy. That’s why, we will explore the important aspects of feeding your Greek tortoise properly and safely in the following tips below.

what can a greek tortoise eat
How Can My Greek Tortoise Eat Properly and Safely?

Choose The Right Food Plate

A plate is an essential item when feeding your Greek tortoise. We recommend you choose a rock food plate since it prevents the food from contaminating the bedding, which could harm the animals if ingested. 

The feeding plate also offers other advantages, such as being simple to maintain cleanliness and letting your tortoise know that he may always find food here. Once they’ve finished eating, make an effort to clear the food as much as possible.

Provide Additional Vitamins and Turtle Bones

Like people, Greek tortoises also require a regular supply of vitamins and food. Additionally beneficial to include in your tortoise habitat are turtle bones. They are an excellent supply of calcium, which your turtle needs. Another approach to trimming their beaks and preventing enlarged beaks is to have one in their enclosure.

It’s a fantastic idea to get vitamin sprays or drops that you may put just 1-2 sprays or drops on their food. This will provide them with the vital vitamins and minerals that are less in their food or from natural sources like sunlight and water. Vitamin overdose can result in diarrhea, so please ensure you take only the prescribed dosage listed on the bottle.

Prepare Water Dish

A water dish for a Greek tortoise is used to provide a source of drinking water. Keeping the water dish whole is essential, as Greek tortoises need to stay hydrated. We recommend you always maintain a low, accessible water dish in their enclosure. 

Moreover, your tortoise could use this to urinate or drink. Make sure to change this each day. Otherwise, it will contaminate your Greek tortoise water.

Greek Tortoise Illness Caused By Wrong Diet

Unfortunately, an incorrect diet can lead to serious health issues in Greek Tortoises. Without proper nutrition, these animals can suffer from various ailments, including malnutrition and shell deformities. To ensure a long and healthy life for these beloved animals, let’s take a look at the dietary needs of the Greek Tortoise and provide the correct nutrition for its species.

Greek Tortoise Illness Caused By Wrong Diet
Greek Tortoise Illness Caused By Wrong Diet

Dehydration and Malnutrition

Greek tortoises can become dehydrated and malnourished if you don’t give them a proper diet. First, you should give them enough fresh food and water. Then, give them warm temperatures and expose them to more natural light. 

Additionally, inadequate husbandry can also lead to dehydration and malnutrition. Therefore, we should provide a large enough enclosure  and enough materials for the tortoise to burrow in.

One of the symptoms of improper diet is sunken eyes which suggest dehydration. Moreover, enlarged bodily tissues or watery stools indicate malnutrition or illness. Meanwhile, overweight tortoises could suffer huge bladder stones, which necessitates veterinary care.

Bone Disease

Greek tortoises can suffer from bone disease due to inadequate diet, improper habitat, and lack of exercise. When your tortoises are lacking essential vitamins and minerals, it can weaken the immune system and decrease bone density.

Bone Disease
Bone Disease

A soft shell is frequently a sign of the bone disease fibrous osteodystrophy. It is usually caused by a lack of calcium to phosphorus ratio and sunshine. You may also see raised “pyramidal” scutes on the upper shell as one of the symptoms. It can be avoided and treated by giving your tortoise a healthy meal regularly and by letting it spend time outside.

Vitamin Deficiency

If Greek tortoises are not given a balanced diet, they may experience vitamin deficiencies. Additionally, certain overeating foods, such as lettuce, which is abundant in water and low in vitamins and minerals, can result in vitamin deficiencies. A lack of sunlight exposure can also contribute to vitamin D deficiencies.

Meanwhile, turtles frequently exhibit puffy eyelids and nasal discharge due to vitamin A deficiency. It will cause long-lasting shell abnormalities to your Greek Tortoises.


Greek tortoises will be overweight if their diet contains excessive high-calorie foods such as sweet fruits. Moreover, inappropriate foods like cat or dog chow also contribute to obesity. To prevent this issue, Greek Tortoises should have enough exercise and move..

A large, bloated body, lethargy, lack of energy, and swelling around the eyes are a few symptoms of obesity. These symptoms are caused by the excess fat stored in the Greek tortoise’s body, which can lead to health problems and a reduced lifespan.


Diarrhea in Greek tortoises can appear as a white liquid. Seeing this means that they haven’t been responding well to something in your eating plan. Suppose this happened to me once or twice; it usually occurs when too much fruit is provided. 

Therefore, try to only feed your tortoise a tiny bit of fruit once or twice a week at most. Even though Greek tortoises adore fruit, overeating it is terrible for them. If your tortoise still suffers from diarrhea, it is essential to take it to the vet to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.


In conclusion, Greek Tortoises are herbivores that can eat various plants. They should have a diet primarily of dark leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables. Moreover, additional vitamins and supplements are also needed to balance their nutrient intake. We hope this article will give you more insights to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What can Greek tortoises not eat?

Greek tortoises should not eat anything high in phosphorus, calcium, and protein. This includes foods such as nuts, seeds, and dog or cat food. They should also avoid foods that are high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, and kale. In addition, they should not eat any fruits or vegetables that are not explicitly recommended for tortoises.

How often does a Greek tortoise eat?

Greek tortoises typically eat small amounts of food several times a day. They should be provided with fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as some high-quality turtle pellets. They need a diet that is high in calcium, low in protein, and high in fiber. Regular feedings of spring mix and dark leafy greens, including parsley, and collard greens, are recommended.

Do Greek tortoises eat lettuce?

Yes, Greek tortoises can eat lettuce as part of a varied diet. However, lettuce should only make up a small portion of the tortoise’s diet and should be supplemented with other vegetables and fruits. Despite the fact that they also like lettuce, it is not advisable for them to eat it too much because it needs more nutrients than tortoises require to survive.

What can tortoises not eat?

Tortoises should not eat any dairy products, processed foods, raw meats, or junk food. They should also avoid foods containing high levels of oxalic acid, such as spinach and rhubarb. Not to mention, they should also avoid eating food that has been treated with chemical pesticides or herbicides.

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