Tortoises are one of the most popular pets in the world. They can stay alive for 60-100 years and can grow between 16-28 cm. As they are herbivores, they need to keep a high fiber diet high in calcium, but low in fat and protein. If you’ve ever seen a turtle at the zoo or a friend’s place, you might have wondered if they can eat any kinds of plants or if their diet is restricted to just a few. In this article, we list some non-toxic plants and weeds for tortoise keepers.
What are the edible plants and weeds that tortoises eat?
Here are various plants and weeds on the following lists that a tortoise can eat. The latter are varying from wild plants to cultivated plants. We split them into 7 categories for your convenience down below:
1. Entire plants
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant loved by tortoises. You can cut it into pieces to make it easier for your turtle.
Cactus (Prickly Pear, Indian Fig)
Believe it or not, your tortoise will love eating cactus! That said, please don’t feed them a spiky one.
Creeping bells are pretty common. You can do low growing creeping bells so that your tortoise can easily reach them.
Chickweed is one of the most common weeds that you can find. It is edible for land turtles and grows really fast!
Also common, most tortoise keepers like to grow plantains as they provide plenty of fibers and can be stored in a fridge for seven days.
Vetch is also common. This weed is packed with nutrients, and you can grow its seeds outside the enclosure.
2. Florets & Leaves
Also qualified as a snapdragon. Its florets and leaves are full of nutrients that your tortoise needs.
This flowering plant usually grows in early spring, which is an advantage that several other weeds don’t have.
This plant is a common weed type that can grow hugely and strongly.
Clover (Both Red and White)
Clovers are full of protein. Please take note that your baby turtle cannot eat too many of these, since it could endanger its health.
The dandelion has large leaves and is pretty easy to find. Most tortoise keepers love to feed this plant to their turtles.
It is a cultivated plant that many animals love to eat, not only turtles. Moreover, it is a very beautiful plant to grow.
Geranium Species (Perennial)
It is also cultivated. The geranium is considered to be vigorous. Furthermore, it can grow its florets and foliage pretty fast compared to other plants of a similar type.
It is both a cultivated plant and a common weed. If you grow it for your turtle, know that it will be bushy and outstanding in its size and appearance.
Forget Me Nots
It commonly grows in the early spring months. Therefore, it is ideal for feeding your tortoise during that time.
This plant doesn’t require much attention. Nevertheless, caterpillars love this plant, so you will still need to do a checkup once in a while.
It is another cultivated plant that can grow by itself during summertime. Pansies can be great food for your turtle during the autumnal season.
3. Leaves Only
Remember that, the thorns on the lower side of the leaves have to be removed before feeding your tortoise.
It is a common weed that can grow in both your garden and in the wild. Therefore, you can find this plant pretty easily.
This is a cultivated plant. Unfortunately, most turtles don’t fancy its leaves. Nonetheless, you can still feed your turtle a single leaf to alter the diet.
This tree will make your yard cooler with its shade when it grows. The leaves are good for young and older tortoises.
4. Florets and Occasional Leaves
It can widely grow as a decorative plant and can provide shade to animals and yard owners.
Hibiscus florets are a most favorite among tortoises. Your little shelled friend will love it!
Desert dwelling tortoises really love this flowering plant. Moreover, these trees are popular as summer bedding schemes in most parks and gardens.
5. Flowers & Leaves
It is a common weed type approved by many torts. Sow thistles can also be annual, biennial, or perennial herbs.
Strawberry (Wild and Cultivated)
All torts love to eat young leaves of cultivated/wild strawberries as the leaves can vary their diet.
It can easily grow in the winter or autumn. Moreover, it is safe and full of nutrients for turtles.
When it grows, it has outstanding colors and gives your yard some shade. Its leaves and flowers are great for your turtle’s consumption.
We suggest you grow it as a bedding plant, it will provide leaves and flowers for the entire summer season. Moreover, it is one of the top food for your turtle, and it’s easy to find.
6. Petals Only
Just make sure that your roses have no chemicals nor any pesticides before feeding your tortoise. Once that’s out of the way, you are good to go!
When its florets are fully grown, they will bloom plenty in the early summer for months on end, which is perfect for your little turtle.