Galapagos Tortoise Diet

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Active Member
10 Year Member!
Aug 24, 2007
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
okay winter is approaching, and my vast supply of mulberry leaves, hibcusus leaves, and fresh cut grass is running out. i supplement that with Mazuri tortoise diet food, mushrooms, banannas, cactus, green beans, and timothy/orchard hay.

any ideas on what else I can feed a galapagos tortoise? i havent found much info online, and zoo's arent returning my calls.

any ideas would appreciated.

or any ideas on what NOT to feed her. ex-- lettuce, watermelon, fruits, bugs/worms.


Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
My two Aldabs continue to graze all winter. I have the vinyl strips over their doorways and they come and go as they please. The types of plantlets growing in their enclosure don't go dormant, so they have a steady supply of graze year-round. However, if I didn't have the graze available, I would not be averse to feeding them anything sold in the produce section of the grocery store. I have in the past fed zucchini, banana squash, yellow crook-neck squash, endive, escarole, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, broccoli-rabe, broccoli, bell pepper, cucumber, long as you offer a nice variety of food, there's nothing wrong with feeding them any vegetables. I like to bring the veggies home and wash them, then toss the whole thing into their pen. This allows the beaks to get worn down naturally.

I think this phase we're going through about feeding only grasses and weeds is just that, a phase. In my opinion, as long as you offer many different veggies, there is nothing wrong with feeding veggies to your tortoises.



Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
5 Year Member
Sep 5, 2007
Location (City and/or State)
Foothills above Sacramento CA
Moorpark College at thier teaching zoo has a galop.. write them and see what they feed in the winter. 'Clarence' is his name.
If you dont get a response, let me know. I have a contact there...

Here is what they feed Clarence.. Note the NO hay...
Diet – Strictly vegetarian – eating large quantities of plant species including prickly pear cactus and fruits, bromeliads, water ferns, grasses, vines, bananas, apples, papayas, lettuce, and much more. See below for Clarence diet information.
Tortoises are slow digesters – it may take up to 3 weeks for food to pass from one end to the other. They have an excellent sense of smell.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Clarence will eat almost anything. There have been reports of him being fed french fries, cardboard, plastic bags and plastic bottles by patrons at the LA Zoo. Keep everything away from his enclosure – check often!!! If you hand-feed him, watch your fingers – he has a very sharp & strong beak that can unintentionally remove fingers !!

He was fed the following at the LA Zoo – Romaine lettuce, Dandelions, Bok choy, Napa Cabbage, Collard greens, Swiss chard, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, and papaya.
He has previously been fed bananas, mustard greens, Hibiscus, lawn grass, and cactus. The grass and cactus was growing in his enclosure. Per vets – not recommended is Spinach and Kale. Hay (any type) is never recommended (led to constipation in past). Clarence should keep the grass well mowed inside his enclosure. His last weight is recorded at 237 kg (= ~ 520 + pounds)

Galapagos tortoises seem to be attracted to the colors red and yellow -- perhaps the flowers and fruits eaten in the wild are these colors.
Other things Clarence should eat;

Raw green beans (both the beans and the plants)
Raw squash (acorn, butternut, kaboucha, pumpkin, summer)
Raw parsnip

Dandelion greens and flowers
Grape leaves
Mustard greens

NOTE – chard, parsley, spinach, and turnip greens are high in calcium oxalates that may bind calcium causing metabolic bone disease, and may cause visceral gout (mineralization/crystallization of the soft tissues and internal organs) Feed Sparingly
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