The Greek tortoise, also known as the spur-thighed tortoise, is a herbivore species that primarily come from south and southeastern Europe. In the wild, they typically graze on grass and hay, as well as any other plants and vegetables they can get ahold of. In today’s article, I will review everything you need to know about a Greek tortoise’s diet and the best food for a Greek tortoise.
Greek tortoise diet
A Greek tortoise diet should be high in fiber, calcium, and carotenoids (similar to vitamin A). It is also important that they don’t consume too much fiber, as this can lead to obesity.
Best food for Greek tortoise
The best food for a Greek tortoise is dark, leafy vegetables. You can also feed them other types of vegetables as well as pellets and some fruit.
It’s also important to supplement their diet with calcium.
Vegetables for a Greek tortoise
Vegetables should make up around 75-90% of your Greek tortoise’s diet. Below is a list of the vegetables that you can feed your Greek tortoise:
- broccoli (in moderation)
- cactus pads
- collard greens
- dandelion greens
- mustard greens
- romaine lettuce
- Spring mix
- turnip greens
While there are certainly other vegetables they can eat, you should do some research online if you want to feed your Greek tortoise a vegetable that’s not on this list.
You should also make sure to cut the vegetables up into smaller pieces, especially for hard vegetables such as carrots.
Grass/Hay for Greek tortoise
As mentioned above, Greek tortoises in the wild usually have grasses and hay as the majority of their diet. If you want to provide some for your tortoise, check out the list below of some of the best grasses and hay for Greek tortoises:
- hibiscus leaves and flowers
- Bermuda grass
- rye grass
- fescue grass
- timothy hay
If you plan to grow your own grass, make sure that you don’t put any pesticides on it.
Pellets for Greek tortoises
While vegetables should make up the majority of their diet, you can also supplement their food with some commercial pellets.
An advantage of pellets is that they typically provide a wide range of nutrients and vitamins, some of which your turtle might not be getting from their vegetables.
If you do want to supplement their diet with pellets, make sure to get pellets that are specifically for grassland tortoises. They should be high in fiber and low in protein, similar to the composition of hay/grass.
One of my favorite pellets for Greek tortoises is this gourmet grassland tortoise food.
An often overlooked part of a Greek tortoise’s diet is calcium. Calcium is crucial for a Greek tortoise’s health, and helps them grown and maintain a healthy shell.
While you can try to feed your tortoises vegetables that are high in calcium, it’s usually best to also put calcium powder on their food. This will help ensure that they are getting enough calcium. Most people recommend that you give your Greek tortoise additional calcium two times per week.
There are also some types of liquid calcium that you can spray on their food.
If your tortoise doesn’t get enough calcium, they could get tortoise shell pyramiding.
Fruits for Greek tortoises
Fruits should only make up around 10% of your Greek tortoise’s diet. This is mainly because they are high in sugar, and Greek tortoises have a tough time breaking down sugar. Fruit is also not a big part of a Greek tortoise’s diet in the wild.
That being said, below is a list of fruit that you can feed your Greek tortoise:
When feeding your Greek tortoise fruit, make sure to cut it up into small pieces that they can easily consume. Also make sure to remove any large seeds or pits.
Lastly, it is important that you remove any uneaten fruit. If you don’t it will attract bugs and flies, which can spread diseases to your tortoise.
If you are interested in learning about fruit eating tortoises, check out my guide on what to feed a red-footed tortoise.
What food can you not feed a Greek tortoise?
You should not feed a Greek tortoise fruits or vegetables that are high in protein, sugar, goitrogens, or oxalates. Below is a full list of food you should not feed your Greek tortoise:
- green beans
- bell peppers
What to feed a Greek tortoise?
As I’ve explained, you should feed your Greek tortoise mostly vegetables. You can also supplement their diet with pellets. Fruit that is lower in sugar is okay to feed once a week or so.
Lastly, make sure to add calcium powder to their diet to make sure that they get enough calcium.