Most species of tortoises are almost exclusively herbivores and have diets that consist of mostly plant-based foods. While some baby tortoises consume ants and other animal proteins without suffering any adverse health effects, tortoises tend to thrive off of live vegetation.
When living in the wild, tortoises of all ages wander throughout wide areas of land and consume seasonally available vegetation. According to Tortoise Trust, some species of tortoises consume up to 200 different types of plants each year. Tortoises consume plants that are fresh and moist as well as plants that are dry and withered. Green leaves and flowers make up the majority of their diets, and like humans, each tortoise can demonstrate a preference for a certain type of vegetation.
Domestic tortoises can thrive off produce that can be purchased at most supermarkets. Lettuce, kale, cabbage, parsley and carrot tops provide many of the nutrients tortoises need to stay healthy. They can also consume coarse mixed grasses, flowers and weeds, such as dandelion and nettle, that grow wild in fields and backyards. Domestic tortoises can also eat fruit, but it should be given to them very sparingly, as consuming excessive amounts of sweet foods can cause tortoises to develop intestinal problems. Pears, apples and mangoes can be eaten in very small amounts.