what to feed a russian tortoise

Russian Tortoises are one of the most popular pet reptile species. They are unique for first-time tortoise owners because of their smaller shapes, calm characters, and friendly personalities. If you plan on getting one, it is important to know the best food for a Russian tortoise.

Best Food for a Russian Tortoise

As they are herbivores, the best food for Russian tortoises are leafy vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens.

I usually feed my Russian tortoise vegetable mixes that I found on amazon. Below are my two favorite.

You should also include grass hays, bromes, timothy, etc., for a good fiber source in
their diets.

Plant-based diets are perfect for Russian tortoises because they do not contain toxins that may build up in their bodies. However, it is important to feed your Russian tortoise the right types of plants, since some may be poisonous or insufficient.

For example, iceberg lettuce should not be fed to your tortoise because they do not provide any nutritional value.
Pellets are also not recommended as they contain too many grains that are not nutrient-complete. Below is a list of the best types of plants for a Russian tortoise. They are rich in important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and calcium.

Best vegetables for a Russian Tortoise

  • Watercress
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Kale (should be fed in limited amounts)
  • Spinach (should be provided in limited quantities)
  • Chicory
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine Lettuce

These vegetables are easily accessible to us through our local grocery stores and are a great starter diet for your Russian tortoise. It is important to ensure that all the plants you feed your tortoise are free from pesticides. Remember that giving your Russian tortoises the same nutrition every day may not be the best solution.

It is important to note that making their diet a wide variety of different nutritious food helps develop an even better dietary pattern in the long run. Leaves, flowers, and weeds are perfect additions to their daily plates. For added variety, you can feed your tortoise:

  • Hibiscus flowers and leaves
  • Mulberry leaves
  • Grape leaves
  • Honeysuckle
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Dandelions
  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Petunia
  • Parsley

If you notice that your Russian tortoise stops eating, you should introduce something new in their diet.

Aside from food, you should also know how to make the best Russian Tortoise habitat.

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Meat?

Since Russian tortoises are herbivores, meat and insects are unsuitable for their diets. Instead, it is recommended that tortoise owners add a supplement powder of calcium to their food. These supplements should be added to their food once every day if your tortoise is less than one year old. If you are dealing with an adult tortoise, you may add the calcium supplement 2-3 times weekly.

Do Russian Tortoises Need Water?

You should keep an adequate water supply for your Russian tortoise. You should have a large water bowl since a tortoise will soak in to regulate their body temperature


The most crucial aspect of owning a Russian Tortoise is that they live up to 40 years! Their lifespan is extensively long, so owning this tortoise requires a determined commitment, in the long run, to ensure they live a longer and healthier life.

Luckily, taking care of Russian tortoises is relatively low maintenance since they don’t have an elaborate husbandry requirement. These animals can also live in enclosures indoors or outdoors because of their stout nature. Most importantly, the key to a healthy lifestyle for Russian tortoises is taking good care of their diets!

Aside from diet, it is also important that you give them a large enclosure space where they can move around and exercise. You should also make sure you have the best heat lamp for your Russian tortoise. This is important for both their physical and mental health.