Sulcata tortoises can eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables outside of their typical pellet diet. Since Sulcata’s are naturally herbivores in the wild, their digestive system has the capability to process a good amount of common fruits and vegetables.
However, there are a few that they cannot properly digest, so it is a good idea to know which fruits and vegetables are okay and which ones are not. In this list, we’ll discuss both good and bad fruits and vegetables for Sulcata tortoises.
Fruits for a Sulcata tortoise
Fruits should generally make up a relatively minimal part of a Sulcata tortoise’s regular diet. Because fruits typically contain a high amount of fruit and sugar, they fall outside the range of foods that Sulcata tortoises’ would digest in their natural habitat.
Sulcatas originate from dry, desert regions where water is sparse. Therefore, the amount of water they need to survive is relatively low. Too much water can overwhelm their bodies. The same goes for sugar. Most of the food they naturally digest does not contain lots of sugar, so too much can be considered foreign to their bodies.
However, Sulcata tortoises tend to enjoy eating fruit, and it should be given to them as an occasional treat. Think of fruit like candy for people. It is delicious, but it shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis, especially for an adult Sulcata tortoise.
My Sulcata tortoise loves to eat prickly pear cactus as a treat.
What fruits can a Sulcata tortoise eat?
Some fruits that you should consider feeding your Sulcata tortoise as a treat on an occasional basis include:
- Most berries: strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
- Small chunks of banana unpeeled
- Small, cut-up pieces of pears and apples
If you want to feed your Sulcata tortoise fruit, you can also try this tortoise fruit mix.
What fruits should you not feed a Sulcata tortoise?
Fruits that can be hard for Sulcata tortoises to digest and that may cause blockages and other health issues include:
- Any fruits containing a pit (removing the pit beforehand should be okay)
Greens should consist of most of your Sulcata tortoises diet along with pellet food. Grasses should make up a majority of their diet (around 70%!) and other vegetables should consist of another 10%.
Grasses and vegetables can provide the nutrients and hydration that a Sulcata tortoise needs without exceeding its body’s limits. Since Sulcata tortoises are naturally herbivores, it is not surprising that most of their body’s nutritional needs are met by vegetables and grasses. Always make sure to serve your Sulcata tortoise in reasonable portions and cut up their vegetables into digestible portions.
What vegetables can a Sulcata tortoise eat?
Vegetables that are not only healthy for your Sulcata tortoise but should also make up a majority of their diet include the following:
- Grasses and hays that are pesticide and herbicide free
- Edible flowers like rose petals and hibiscus
- Dandelion greens
- Kale, spring green mixes, collard greens
- Household vegetables like pumpkin, squash, broccoli, and carrots.
Below are my two favorite vegetables for Sulcata tortoises.
You can also try to grow some of these vegetables on your own if you have an outdoor Sulcata tortoise enclosure.
Keep in mind that with vegetables and greens like broccoli and collard greens, portions should be limited. These vegetables, while being okay for a Sulcata tortoise to digest, should not consist of a majority of their diet. An oversaturation of these greens can lead to health issues. They should act as complementary pieces of the diet instead of the main component.
What vegetables can a Sulcata tortoise not eat?
Vegetables that are unsuitable for Sulcata tortoise consumption are vegetables that have high oxalate content. High amounts of oxalates can be very difficult for a Sulcata tortoise to digest and may lead to blockages and the development of kidney and bladder stones. Some of these vegetables are:
- Grasses or hays that have been treated with chemicals
A Sulcata tortoises diet is relatively simple, but every Sulcata owner needs to be informed on the kinds of fruits and vegetables they can properly digest. Grasses and hays should make up a majority of their diet, and the rest should come from vegetables and fruits.
The vegetable portion of their diet should primarily consist of leafy greens, while vegetables with a high oxalate content should be avoided. Fruits are also a great snack for your Sulcata tortoise, but they should be given sparingly.
Because fruits have more water and sugar than a Sulcata tortoise would regularly encounter in their natural habitat, they should be treated more like a treat than a component of their everyday diet. Overall, it is a good idea for every Sulcata tortoise owner to be well-versed in what foods it is okay for them to eat.
If you are debating whether or not to give your Sulcata a certain food or green, look it up online or ask your veterinarian before trying it out. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you plan on getting a pet Sulcata tortoise, you should check out my guide on baby Sulcata tortoise care.
Sulcata tortoises have similar diet requirements as Hermann tortoises.