The term tortoise refers to shelled animals that live entirely on land, as opposed to turtles that spend a majority of their time in water. A pet tortoise's diet should contain around 95 per cent vegetables. These vegetables should be varied, so the tortoise is guaranteed a range of vitamins and nutrients; and the best choice is whatever is in season.
Far and away the best vegetables to feed tortoises are leafy green vegetables. Cabbage, kale, spinach, bok choi, alfalfa, cauliflower leaves and the plant tops of beetroot and potatoes.
Salad vegetables are also a great source of food for tortoises. Lettuces, such as romaine, Swiss chard, cress and iceberg are ideal. Stronger salad leaves, like lambs lettuce and rocket are also suitable.
Radish, mustard, turnip, broccoli, clover, peas, cauliflower, green beans, squash and peppers should also be included in a tortoise's diet. Defrosted bags of frozen vegetables are ideal as they contain a high level of nutrition and are in comfortable bite size pieces. In fact there are very few vegetables a tortoise will not eat. Soft-skinned and non-prickly vegetables are the best.
In the wild, tortoises graze over several plant and vegetable species. Flowers and plant leaves are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Dandelions, hibiscus, nasturtiums, weeds and cut grass are all preferred foods. Roses and carnations will also be eaten.
The remaining 5 per cent of the tortoise's diet should contain fruit. Melons, grapes, oranges, apples, berries, mango and tomatoes can all be eaten. Prickly pears, pineapples and other hard or sharp-skinned fruit should have the skins removed, before they are given to the tortoise.