best diet for sulcata tortoises



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As a tortoise owner, you are likely aware of the importance of a healthy diet for your pet. Feeding your sulcata tortoise a nutritious and balanced diet is crucial to their overall health and wellbeing. In this article, we will explore the best diet for sulcata tortoises, including what they should and should not eat, as well as some tips for feeding them.

What is a Sulcata Tortoise?

Before we dive into the specifics of their diet, let’s take a closer look at sulcata tortoises. Also known as African spurred tortoises, these reptiles are native to the Sahara Desert in Africa. They are the third-largest species of tortoise in the world, with males reaching up to 200 pounds and females weighing around 100 pounds.

Sulcata tortoises are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. Their diet in the wild consists of grasses, leaves, and flowers. As pets, it is essential to replicate their natural diet as closely as possible.

What to Feed Sulcata Tortoises

The bulk of a sulcata tortoise’s diet should consist of high-fiber, leafy greens. Some of the best options include:

  1. Grasses: Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and timothy hay are excellent sources of fiber for sulcata tortoises. You can offer these in a hay rack or scatter them around the enclosure.
  2. Dark Leafy Greens: Kale, collard greens, and turnip greens are all great choices. These should make up the majority of their daily diet.
  3. Other Vegetables: Sulcata tortoises can also eat vegetables like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes in small amounts.
  4. Edible Flowers: Hibiscus, dandelion, and nasturtium flowers are safe and healthy options for sulcata tortoises.

It is important to note that while sulcata tortoises can eat fruit, it should be given in moderation due to its high sugar content. Some safe options include papaya, strawberries, and cactus fruit.

What Not to Feed Sulcata Tortoises

While it is essential to provide your sulcata tortoise with a varied diet, there are some foods you should avoid. These include:

  1. High-Protein Foods: Sulcata tortoises do not require high levels of protein, and feeding them too much can lead to health problems. Avoid feeding them meat, eggs, or dairy products.
  2. High-Fat Foods: Foods like nuts and seeds are high in fat and should be avoided.
  3. Processed Foods: Sulcata tortoises should not be fed processed foods like bread, pasta, or cereal.
  4. Toxic Plants: Some plants, such as oleander, can be toxic to sulcata tortoises. Always research any new plants before offering them to your pet.

Feeding Tips for Sulcata Tortoises

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when feeding your sulcata tortoise:

  1. Offer fresh, clean water daily.
  2. Provide a shallow dish of calcium powder for your sulcata tortoise to access as needed.
  3. Offer food in a dish or scattered around the enclosure to encourage foraging.
  4. Avoid overfeeding. Sulcata tortoises are prone to obesity, which can lead to health problems.


In conclusion, a healthy and balanced diet is crucial for the overall health and wellbeing of your sulcata tortoise. By providing them with a diet that closely mimics their natural diet in the wild, you can help ensure they live a long and healthy life. Remember to offer a variety of high-fiber, leafy greens and avoid feeding

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