If you are planning on buying a tortoise for a pet, there are some things you need to know about tortoise food to keep them healthy and happy and thriving. They are herbivores, though they may eat a slug on occasion, but not often. If you feed them a plant diet that is well balanced, your tortoise will have no need for any animal protein in their diet.
What No Teeth?
Tortoises don’t possess any teeth. Instead their jaws which are horn covered are used to tear their food into bite sized pieces making it easy to swallow. Besides feeding them their favorite tortoise food, you are also recommended to supplement their diet with either brown bread that has been soaked in milk or bran cereal. To give them their calcium, you can provide a cuttlefish.
Favorite Greens for Your Tortoise
These types of tortoise food should compromise at least 90% of their diet. They enjoy mixed hays and grasses that are coarse. They also like collard, mustard and dandelion greens that can often be purchased at your local grocery store. When you buy a fresh bunch of carrots, save the tops and chop them finely and serve to your tortoise. Endive is another favorite as is the heads of flowers and other natural occurring fodder plants.
Foods in this category that should be served in limited portions are cabbage, kale and parsley. This type of tortoise food can easily be found in the produce aisle of your local market.
Fruits and Vegetables
Tortoise food in this category should be fed sparingly and make up only about 10% of their diet. The reason is because if they eat too much it will cause a high level of sugar in their intestines and may result in your tortoise developing colic. It is strange to hear the condition of colic in tortoises, but just like human babies, they too can get a tummy ache from eating too many sweets.
Some of the foods in this group are green beans, parsnips and peas. They may also enjoy noshing on green or red sweet peppers, apples without seeds, grapes and cantaloupes. Winter squash and sweet potatoes are also recommended along with mango slices without the pits.
What a Tortoise Wants, a Tortoise Gets
Tortoises are unique individuals and often exhibit a preference for a particular food. Though you may indulge your tortoise’s preferences, be sure that they are eating a well balanced diet in order to stay in peak condition. Fresh water is also a must and an environment that is free of stress is highly recommended for your turtle to stay healthy and happy. All tortoise food should be bought fresh and chopped into small pieces so that ingesting it is not difficult. By providing your tortoise a peaceful environment and providing it with the proper nutrition and clean, fresh water, your tortoise may live for many years. A happy and healthy tortoise is one that will live a long and contented life.