Do Tortoises Eat Meat (Or Just Plants?)

Tortoises are known as one of the animals in the animal kingdom that can live up to a 100 years old. The reason behind this definitely has something to do with their diet.

There’s a lot of curiosity circulating in regards to a tortoise’s diet since there are some kinds that eat meat.

These animals have been commonly viewed as herbivores since they eat fruits and vegetables the majority of the time, but are they 100% herbivorous animals or do they consume both meat and plants? Quench your curiosity and find out the answer as you read along.

Do Tortoises Eat Meat?

Yes, there are some specific kinds of tortoise that include meat in their diet.

Take note, not all tortoises can eat meat. There are only specific kinds that can incorporate meat in their diet because that’s where they get their extra nutrition.

Moreover, people tend to confuse the diet of turtles from tortoises to the extent that some owners feed their pets the wrong diet because of this.

It’s important to know that two of these animals differ from each other, especially when it comes to their diet, despite being classified as the same species.

Turtles eat foods that are high in protein and they also include small fish and insects in their diet. Tortoises on the other hand are mainly herbivores and they don’t necessarily eat foods that are high in protein.

Tortoises are also to avoid commercial foods that come from pet stores and citrus fruits as these will harm them and cause complications such as illnesses, deformities, and even death.

[ez-toc]

Are Tortoises Carnivores, Herbivores, or Omnivores?

Tortoises are herbivores. The majority of these tortoises actually fall under the herbivore category such as land tortoises.

Then there are also omnivorous tortoises, although they are not as many as herbivorous ones.

Herbivorous Tortoises

  • Cherry Head Red Footed Tortoise
  • Red Footed Tortoise
  • Greek Tortoise
  • Russian Tortoise
  • Mediterranean Tortoise
  • Leopard Tortoise
  • Sulcata Tortoise
  • Indian Star Tortoise

Carnivorous Tortoises

  • Juvenile Box Tortoise

Omnivorous Tortoises

  • Redfoot Tortoise
  • Yellowfoot Tortoise
  • African Hingeback Tortoise
  • North American Box Tortoise

Can Tortoises Eat Raw Meat?

Yes, tortoises can eat raw meat as long as said meats are organic ones.

Of course, this only applies to carnivorous and omnivorous tortoises.

What Kind Of Meat Do Tortoises Eat?

Tortoises eat meat such as fish.

It’s important to know why omnivorous and carnivorous tortoises eat meat in the first place, and this is because they need protein in their diet in order to become healthy, although an excess of it would be disastrous as it can cause deformities.

Meat is not only their source of protein, they also get protein from eating slugs, snails, beetles, earthworms, waxworm larvae, night crawlers, and mealworms.

Why Do Tortoises Eat Meat?

Tortoises eat meat because they need protein in order to have a balanced diet.

This only applies to carnivorous and highly omnivorous tortoises. Herbivorous tortoises can’t digest meat because of its high protein count and it would ultimately lead to rectal problems and other health issues.

Carnivorous and omnivorous tortoises also get the majority of their vitamin D3 needs from protein foods.

What Type Of Tortoises Eat Meat?

Do Sulcata Tortoises Eat Meat?

No, Sulcata Tortoises are herbivores, so their diet mainly consists of vegetation.

Sulcata Tortoises must only eat the following foods:

  • Grasses
    • Buffalo grass
    • Dallas grass
    • Darnel Rye grass
    • Western Wheatgrass
    • Kikuyu grass
    • Couch grass
    • Big Bluestern grass
    • Blue Grama grass
  • Hay (the hay mustn’t have any prickly seed heads as these can lead to injuries in the eyes and mouth)

This diet must also include some flowers like Hibiscus, Viola, dandelions, etc.

Do Hermann Tortoises Eat Meat?

No, Hermann Tortoises are strictly herbivores so they can’t eat meat.

There are other foods that Hermann Tortoises can’t eat as it will cause problems in their digestive system such as meats that contain high protein, fruits, and vegetables.

The only foods that are included in a Hermann Tortoise’s diet are weeds and flowers.

Here’s a list of some of the foods that are safe for Hermann Tortoises to consume:

  • Plantains
  • Clover
  • Hebe
  • Speedwell
  • Mallows
  • Dandelions
  • Smooth sow thistle
  • Bindweed
  • Bittercress
  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Pansies
  • Prickly sow thistle
  • Bristly ox-tongue

The list shown below are some of the foods that are harmful for Hermann Tortoises:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Cat and dog food

Do Russian Tortoises Eat Meat?

No, Russian Tortoises don’t eat meat. They’re purely herbivores that feed on fruits, flowers, vegetation, grasses, and twigs.

The diet of Russian Tortoises are similar to Mediterranean Tortoises, their diet includes food such as:

  • Dandelions
  • Chicory
  • Kale
  • Cornflowers
  • Mallow flowers
  • Collards greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Endive
  • Mustard greens
  • Fruits (in moderation)
  • Plantain weed
  • Hibiscus flowers

These are only a few examples of the foods that Russian Tortoises can safely consume. The food that they would have to avoid are commercially bought pet food and meats that are high in protein.

Do Desert Tortoises Eat Meat?

No, Desert Tortoises can’t eat because their diet must only contain plants (such as grasses and weeds) as they are herbivorous.

With that being said, the foods that Desert Tortoises must consume should be high in fiber as this can be beneficial for their health and will contribute to their overall growth.

The perfect way for these tortoises to look for suitable and healthy grasses are in places where they can graze. Alternatively, owners can provide grasses to their tortoises as well such as Bermuda grass, Timothy grass, and other grasses.

Desert Tortoises must never consume the following foods because these will cause complications in their health such as shell deformity and kidney disease:

  • Meat
  • Insects
  • Cat and dog food
  • Monkey biscuits

Do Redfoot Tortoises Eat Meat?

Yes, Redfoot Tortoises can eat meat because they are omnivorous.

The meats that Redfoot Tortoises can eat are mice, organ meat, chicken, and shrimp. They also include insects and worms in their diet as well. Also, these tortoises consume carrion, which means they eat decaying animal flesh.

Here’s a list of the foods that are safe for Redfoot Tortoises to consume apart from the usual flowers, fruits, and leaves:

  • Carrion
    • Deer
    • Agouti
    • Lizard
    • Bird
    • Snake
  • Live meat
    • Butterflies
    • Ants
    • Snails
    • Beetles
    • Termites
    • Bees
  • Others
    • Mushrooms (high in protein)
    • Sand
    • Soil
    • Tortoise feces
    • Bark
    • Pebbles

The diet of Redfoot Tortoises, and any kind of tortoise for that matter, will vary in a year.

There will be instances where a Redfoot Tortoise’s diet during the first few months of a year would consist of leaves and flowers, then it would change as months pass and the diet would then consist of fallen fruits.

List Of Meat Products That Tortoises Eat

Of owners want to purchase some meats that their tortoises can consume, they can visit the following links on Amazon shown below:

Vermont Smoke and Cure Jerky Sticks (Beef & Pork)

Is It Safe To Feed Tortoises Meat?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to feed tortoises meat but only to carnivorous and omnivorous kinds.

Meat is part of a (carnivorous and omnivorous) tortoise’s diet because this is their source of nutrients and vitamin D3 which are essential in their growth and overall health.

Although omnivorous tortoises shouldn’t eat a considerably large amount of meat since too much protein can be bad for them and cause health complications, they still need to eat meat in moderation at least.

Is Meat Good For Tortoises?

Yes, meat is good for tortoises because this is their source of vitamin D3 and other nutrients. However, too much of it (protein) will cause health complications such as kidney disease and shell deformity.

Should Tortoises Eat Meat?

Yes, tortoises should eat meat because this is an essential part of their diet.

Meat is a contributor to their overall health, so without this, tortoises will become sickly because they don’t receive the complete nutrients from their diet which is made purely out of vegetation, grass, and fruits.

Do Baby Tortoises Eat Meat?

Yes, there are instances where baby tortoises eat meat. This occurrence would be most common in the wild.

The diet of tortoises will vary heavily, depending on where they are located. If they are being raised in captivity, they will receive a different diet compared to if they are in the wild.

Since tortoises are more exposed to various kinds of meat in the wild, they may consume more than what is safe for them. This is why we see tortoises that have deformities on their carapace; this kind of result comes from foods that are high in protein.

Are Tortoises Cannibals?

Tortoises will turn to cannibalism if they aren’t able to find any source of food.

This actually occurs in the wild since tortoises aren’t always lucky and end up finding good food to keep them full.

Do Tortoises Eat Their Babies?

Yes, there are some tortoises that eat their own babies, especially if it came from a broken egg.

The reason behind this ranges from tortoises lacking nutrients and turning to their own babies to get said nutrients to not finding enough space for them to create a nest that would cater to every single egg.

Do Tortoises Eat Their Own Eggs?

Tortoises eat their own egg for numerous reasons such as the eggs not reaching full fertility, the tortoise mother needs more nutrients such as calcium, and they simply can’t create a nest that would cater to all of their eggs.

Resources:

https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/turtle-and-tortoise

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/tortoise.htm