What Can Russian Tortoises Eat List

Russian Tortoises naturally eat a lot in a short period of time. In the wild, they are active only a few months of the year. When they come out of hibernation, they feed voraciously in preparation for aestivation (Some refer to this as summer hibernation though it is not really hibernation, but more like a long siesta.)  

Contrary to what some may think, you can’t only feed a Russian tortoise lettuce leaves. For them to thrive, a Russian tortoise diet needs to be balanced and sufficient in a wide range of nutrients. This will not only help them to develop physically. A varied diet will help a Russian tortoise to live a more contented life. However, there are also some strict limitations on what a tortoise can and cannot eat.

Russian tortoises are primarily herbivores in the wild, and a similar diet should be provided in captivity. The bulk of their diet should consist of a variety of dark, leafy, greens. Romaine lettuce, collard greens, carrot tops, kale, mustard greens, and beet greens are all excellent choices. Russian Tortoises can eat a variety of vegetables and plants, many of which you can grow in an edible garden specifically for your tortoise. Russian Tortoises will consume many of the vegetables you offer but be sure to avoid poisonous plants. More examples are given below on the type of food edible for Russian Tortoise.

Feeding Your Russian Tortoise

Feed your pet food from a dish. Dirt, sand, or gravel is unpleasant to their digestive system causing problems. Chop the food into manageable pieces. Remember you are feeding a small desert reptile. Your little buddy should eat happily for about twenty minutes once a day. You can tell your tortoise has the right amount of food when it feels heavy, like a rock (not lead or feathers).

Keep a healthy temperature for your Russian tortoise. If it gets too hot or cold, your dry-land Russian tortoise eats much less, due to hibernation or aestivation.

List of Foods that are Suitable for Russian Tortoises

A well-balanced Russian tortoise diet is high in fiber and low in protein and fat, with adequate calcium to ensure normal digestive tract function. There are plenty of vegetables, flowers, commercial pallets, including food supplements that Russian tortoises can consume; the lists are given below.

Edible Vegetables and Greens that Russian Tortoises can consume

Good choices, use as the main bulk

  • Cactus pads
  • Mushrooms
  • Edible flowers
  • Fresh leafy spices- basil, etc.
  • Cabbage (only on occasion)
  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Collard, turnip, rape, and mustard greens
  • Kale, cabbage, kohl rabi, chard
  • Endive, Escarole, green-leaf, red-leaf lettuces
  • Dayflower Commelina diffusa (flowers and leaves)
  • Forsythia (flowers and leaves)
  • Hen and Chicks
  • Henbit
  • Hibiscus (flowers and leaves)
  • Hosta
  • Red or curly lettuces
  • Arugula, rocket, ‘corn salad’, ‘lamb’s lettuce’
  • Parsley, watercress
  • Carrot or radish tops
  • Sprouts
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Radicchio
  • Red and green leaf lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Turnip greens
  • Plants and Flowers
  • Californian Poppy escholzia
  • Chia
  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Cornflowers Plagiobothrys ssp
  • Dandelion
  • Ice plants
  • Mallow (flowers and leaves)
  • Mulberry leaves
  • Plantain (not the banana fruit but the weed plantago major)
  • Prickly pear flowers (fruit and pads) (burn the spines off)
  • Rose (flowers and leaves)
  • Sedum

Edible Flowers that Russian Tortoises can Consume

  • California Poppy
  • Chamomile
  • Chinese lantern
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Day Lilies
  • English Daisy
  • Evening primrose
  • Geranium
  • Hibiscus
  • Hosta
  • Mallow flowers (and leaves)
  • Marigold
  • Pansy
  • Petunia
  • bishop’s goutweed;
  • ground elder
  • Agave
  • Aloe
  • Horseraddish
  • Cow parsley
  • English Daisy
  • Comfrey
  • Artichoke
  • Orchard grass
  • Chewings fescue
  • Field pansy
  • Nasturtium
  • Garden sage
  • Domestic Rose
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Hollyhock or mallow
  • Sweet Potato
  • Yellow bedstraw
  • Bermuda Grass
  • Pot Marigold
  • Echinacea/purple cone flower
  • Reed fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Comfrey
  • European wood strawberry
  • Roses
  • Violets
  • Welsh Poppy

List of Foods Consumable for Russian Tortoises in Captivity

Edible vegetables and flowers that are consumable for your Russian Tortoise are listed above. It is vital to note that there are some foods that are suitable for Russian tortoise in captivity. Examples of those foods are;

  • Dandelion
  • Endive
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Radicchio
  • Spring mix
  • Chicory
  • Turnip greens
  • Collards greens
  • Kale
  • Finely chopped hay
  • Rose flowers that are pesticide-free
  • Mulberry leaves
  • Hibiscus flowers
  • Prickly pear flowers
  • Plantain weed
  • Cornflowers
  • Mallow flowers
  • Chrysanthemum flowers
  • Californian poppy
  • Chia
  • Forsythia
  • Day-flower
  • Spinach only in moderation
  • Mustard greens only in moderation
  • Adequate fresh water supply
  • Ice Plants
  • Henbit
  • Hosta
  • Sedum
  • Calcium supplement added to food lightly
  • Probiotic supplement Flora

Commercial Food Pallet For Russian Tortoises

Russian tortoises can also eat commercially available pelleted diets manufactured specifically for tortoises, but these diets should not make up more than 25% of their total food. Commercial diets have caused hot debates among tortoise owners and breeders in the past, but have become more accepted in recent years. Many keepers think it’s beneficial to offer small amounts of commercial tortoise foods as a complement to grasses, weeds, flowers, greens, and other natural foods, while others feel it’s totally unacceptable to feed any prepared foods. Below are list of commercial pallets products you can feed your Russian Tortoise including the name of the companies that produce them.   

  • Zilla – Land Turtle & Tortoise Food
  • T-Rex – Tortoise Dry Formula
  • Pretty Bird International – Pretty Pets Tortoise Food
  • Lugarti – Premium Tortoise Food
  • Fluker – Tortoise Diet Large Pellet
  • Exo Terra – Tortoise Adult food
  • Agrobs – Pre Alpin Testudo food
  • Moistened Zoo Med Natural Grassland food mixed with dandelions
  • Exo Terra – Soft Pellets European Tortoise Foods
  • Fluker – Tortoise Diet Small Pellet
  • Happy Pet Products Ltd – Komodo Complete Holistic Tortoise Diet
  • Marion Zoological – Mozaic Reptile Food (Tortoise)
  • Repashy – Grassland Grazer
  • Zeigler – Tortoise Monster Diet
  • classic Mazuri Tortoise Diet
  • Zoo Med Natural Grassland Tortoise Food and timothy hay pellets.
  • Mazuri Tortoise LS Diet

Food Supplements Suitable For Russian Tortoises

When you are ensuring that you are providing the right greens and fruits for your Russian tortoise, it is also recommended that you provide supplements to the their diet. While there are several supplements you can include in the diet, the most important supplement good and suitable for your Russian Tortoise is calcium. It is however important that you monitor the amount of calcium you give to your Russian tortoise depending on its exposure to UVB. Russian Tortoises raised outside in the open require a light dusting of calcium on their food on a daily basis. Those raised indoors should consider a phosphorous supplement that is free of calcium. Below are examples of food supplements that you can give your Russian Tortoise.

  • Vionate
  • Standard Bone Meal
  • Reptivite
  • Reptavite
  • Rep-Cal D3
  • Nutrobal
  • Cuttlefish bone
  • Calcium Carbonate (Limestone Flour)
  • Arkvits
  • Ace High
  • Calci Dust

Suggestions and Recommendations for Feeding Russian Tortoises

You can buy a number of different vegetables for your tortoise too of course. It is always better, however, to use food that has been grown without the use of chemicals, especially as tortoises are long-lived.

Try to avoid offering just soft leaves in any case, as these will not encourage any wear on the Russian tortoise’s jaws, and could lead to its so-called ‘beak’ at the front of the mouth becoming overgrown. Through the winter, several forms of cabbage can be used in moderation on occasions, but avoid lettuce, unless it is one of the red-leaf varieties, as the green forms are of little nutritional value.

Mushrooms make a useful stand-by for Russian Tortoise; they eat this type of food in the wild. Fresh food should always be supplied for them– remove any food that is uneaten at the end of the day before it could become a health hazard. You should also provide your Russian tortoise with clean, freshwater. A shallow dish is best for this.

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