Can Tortoise Eat Peppers? (Green, Orange & Red)

Yes, your tortoise can eat peppers. Green, red, or yellow, sweet peppers make for a great treat and will be quickly munched up, I’m sure. You must be aware that the stem, roots, and leaves of bell pepper plants are toxic, however.

Can Tortoise Eat Peppers

What Should You Feed Your Tortoise?

First of all, let’s cover some of the basics of feeding tortoises.

The good news is, feeding tortoises really isn’t that hard and it’s not something you need to stress over.

There are plenty of good commercially produced tortoise feeds, and generally speaking, tortoises can and will eat most fruits, vegetables, and plants from your yard.

The main consideration is always which species of tortoise you have, and there are some small differences between species that can be tied back to their natural habitat in the wild.

To make it easy, most people divide tortoises into broad groups; those that eat mostly plant matter, and those that eat more fruit.

Some of the common species of tortoise that eat mostly leaves, stems, and plant matter include:

  • African Sulcata
  • Hermann’s tortoise
  • Horsfield’s (Russian) tortoise
  • Leopard tortoise
  • Indian Star tortoise

Some of the common species of tortoise that eat a lot more fruit in the wild include:

  • Red-Footed tortoise
  • Yellow Footed tortoise
  • Elongated tortoises

So, when deciding what treats to give your tortoise, this should give you a guide as to how receptive they’re going to be to plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Plants You Can Feed Your Tortoise

Plants make up a big part of a tortoises’ diet in the wild so you should feed them plant matter daily.

A lot of the best plants can easily be grown in pots or the yard, too, which makes it easy, fun, and economical.

Here are just some of the plants that are safe for tortoises:

  • Dandelions
  • Plantain
  • Aloe vera
  • Brambles (remove thorns)
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Forget-me-nots
  • Mulberry
  • Mustard leaves
  • Chicory
  • Hibiscus
  • Evening primrose
  • Dock leaves

Fruits You Can Feed Your Tortoise

Fruits should be fed in moderation due to the high sugar content. That said, some species absolutely love certain fruits.

Here are some fruits that are perfectly safe and will go down a treat in small amounts:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Figs
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Cherries
  • Banana

Vegetables You Can Feed Your Tortoise

Vegetables make for a nutritious addition to a tortoises’ diet in moderation. Here are some of the best vegetables to dice up and offer to your tortoise:

  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Squashes
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsnip
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin

Author Comment: My Horsefield favorites are; squashes, parsnips, cabbages leaves, and he’s partial to a little bit of pear!

Foods, Plants Etc Tortoise Should Not Eat

It’s equally – if not more – important that you are aware of the foods, plants, etc. that are potentially toxic, poisonous, or harmful in any way to your tortoise.

This is something I’ve always been very diligent about and done a good deal of research into, although it is a little bit of a grey area in places.

The best advice is to err on the side of caution. If you don’t know something is 100% safe to give to your tortoise, don’t offer it to them.

That said, here is a list of some of the foods that have been reported to be potentially toxic:

Fruits, Vegetables, and Foods

  • Citrus fruits
  • Chili Peppers
  • Parts of nightshade plants (explained in more detail below)
  • Bread
  • Yogurt
  • Beans
  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb


  • Morning glories
  • Ivy/Poison Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Hemlock
  • Holly
  • Azalea
  • Tiger Lily
  • Hydrangea
  • Buttercups
  • Yew
  • Foxglove
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Rhododendron

Precautions When Feeding Bell Peppers to Tortoises

There are two things you need to be aware of when feeding peppers to your tortoise;

The first is that we’re talking about sweet bell peppers, not spicy peppers. The second thing is that you strictly only feed them the fruit part and not the leaves, stem, etc.

Not feeding your tortoise the stems, leaves, and typically other green parts of a pepper plant is incredibly important.

This is because bell peppers fall under the group of plants known as nightshades.

Nightshade plants, which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and tomatillos, contain a group of substances called alkaloids which can be toxic.

In particular, they contain a compound called solanine. Solanine is known to cause stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

Nightshades produce these alkaloids as a way of protecting themselves from being eaten. Most animals and reptiles are naturally aware of this in the wild, but it’s also our responsibility not to try and feed the toxic parts to our pets.

Can Hermann Tortoises Eat Peppers?

Although a Hermann tortoise is very unlikely to come across bell peppers in the wild, it’s perfectly safe for them to eat peppers.

Can Tortoises Eat Red Bell Peppers?

Yes, tortoises can eat red bell peppers. Red peppers are the ripest and have the best nutritional value. So, there’s an argument that they are actually the best-colored pepper to eat.

Can Tortoises Eat Green Bell Peppers?

Yes, tortoises can eat green bell peppers. When bell peppers are green it means that they are the least ripe, but they’re still perfectly fine to eat.

Can Tortoises Eat Orange Bell Peppers?

Yes, tortoises can eat orange bell peppers just fine. They’re in the middle in terms of brightness and nutritional content but still make for a great snack.

In Summary

Hopefully, I’ve helped you better understand what you can and cannot feed your tortoise – as well as the potential dangers with certain parts of pepper plants.

The important thing to remember is that as long as you’re slicing up parts of fresh peppers, it’s going to make a nice nutritional treat for your hard-shelled friend.

With a good balance of commercial feed and various plants, vegetables, etc., and keeping an eye on how much your pet is eating, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Important Tip: No matter how much your tort loves certain foods, the key to keeping a tortoise healthy is to offer a wide variety of greens.


Image credits – Taken by author; copyright

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