Can Tortoises Eat Clover? (Answered)

Yes, tortoises can eat clover. Clover is a weed that is rich in nitrates and other minerals that help tortoises maintain good health. As long as you feed clover sparingly as part of a balanced diet, it’s a good addition.

Can Tortoises Eat Clover

Is Clover Good for Tortoises?

Tortoises do best when fed a wide variety of greens. This is because in the wild they cover a large distance and graze on dozens, even hundreds of different plants.

People always ask what they should feed the tortoise, and the answer is always the same; you should feed your tortoise a diet as close to that as they would have in the wild as possible.

The species of tortoises that are most likely to come across clover are generally grouped as Mediterranean species.

This includes the five popular tortoises; Hermann, Spur-thighed, Marginated, Egyptian, and Russian. So, if you have one of these, you should certainly give them some clover and see how they like it.

Even if you have a species of tortoise that may not come across clover in their natural habitat, as it’s safe and provides some decent nutrition, you should still give them some clover if it’s easy to come by.

Can Tortoise Eat Clover Flowers?

Sometimes you need to be cautious about the flowering part of a plant, but the white flower of the clover plant is perfectly safe to feed your tortoise as well.

Important Note: You can feed all of the clover plants, just snip or pull the parts you want, drop them into your tortoise’s enclosure, and see what they think of it.

What Should You Feed Your Tortoise?

Ideally, you want to try and replicate what your tortoise would eat in the wild as closely as possible.

This usually isn’t very difficult as tortoises roam around eating bits of plants, weeds, and fruits.

There are also some good commercial feeds that provide a good range of nutrition tortoises need, this makes feeding them and ensuring they’re getting the right nutrients a little easier.

I use the combination of commercial pallets and bits of fresh plants daily for my Horsefield, as well as little bits of fresh fruits and vegetables that add some variation when I have them.

To help you know what the best foods for your tortoise are, you need to know what species you have and what kind of food they would have eaten in the wild.

Generally speaking, tortoises are split into two groups; those that live on terrains that provide plenty of plants, weeds, flowers, etc. (Mediterraneans), and those that would have access to more fresh fruits in damper climates.

Some of the common species of tortoise that are commonly kept as pets that need a lot of plants in their diets are:

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

Tortoises that would eat some fruits in the wild and benefit from fruits in captivity include:

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

This isn’t a complete list, so if you have a species that you don’t see above, my best advice is to look at what they would eat in the wild (or ask a local reptile seller).

Fruits That Tortoises Can Eat

There is a long list of fruits that are safe for tortoises. Just keep in mind that some are high in sugar, and fruits spoil quickly.

Some of the fruits I’ve been able to confirm are safe for tortoises, and most of which I fed my tortoise over the years are:

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

Plants That Tortoises Can Eat

Tortoise love plants, leafy greens, foliage. Here are some of the plants and flowers etc that are known to be safe:

  • Forget-me-nots
  • MulberryChicory
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Arugula
  • Cat’s ears
  • Hibiscus
  • Dandelions
  • Plantain
  • Dock leaves
  • Knotweed
  • Aloe vera
  • Brambles (remove thorns!)
  • Mustard leaves
  • Evening primrose

Related Lavender has some interesting benefits for tortoises.

Vegetables That Tortoises Can Eat

Vegetables are one of the best ways you can provide nutritionally dense foods for your tort. Here are some vegetables that tortoises love:

Important Note: Generally speaking, 80% of a tortoise’s diet will comprise of leafy greens, vegetables, and plant matter.

Things to Avoid Feeding Your Tortoise

Tortoise can eat most of the plants and foods that grow naturally and are commonly available, but there are some that you need to be aware of if you’re going to let your tortoise out to graze.

Here are some of the fruits, vegetables, and plants that are on the banned list as they may be toxic or harmful in some way:

Fruits, Vegetables, and Foods to Avoid

  • Citrus fruits
  • Parts of nightshade plants
  • Rhubarb
  • Bread
  • Chili Peppers
  • Avocado
  • Yogurt
  • Beans

Plants to Avoid

  • Azalea
  • Buttercups
  • Tiger Lily
  • Asparagus Fern
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy/Poison Ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Mistletoe
  • Rhododendron
  • Holly
  • Morning glories
  • Hemlock
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Yew
  • Foxglove
  • Parts of nightshade plants

Can Desert Tortoises Eat Clover?

It’s very unlikely Desert tortoises would come across clover in their native environment as they are native to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

That said, it’s perfectly safe for Desert tortoises to eat clover, they just may not choose to.

Can Horsefield Tortoises Eat Clover?

Horsefield or Russian tortoises can eat clover, yes. This species is popular across Europe, as is wild clover, so many Horsefield torts do get to eat clover.

What Other Weeds Can Tortoises Eat?

There is a long list of weeds that tortoises can eat, which is great if you were wanting to rid your garden of weeds.

Some of the common weeds that are known to be good for tortoises include; hawkbit, mallow, wild garlic and mustard, nettles, cat’s ear, chickweed, and hawksbeard.

Summary

The Clover plant is perfectly safe for tortoises to eat – in moderation and part of a well-balanced diet, of course.

Learning what your tortoise would eat in the wild, along with the foods they prefer and what you offer them is a lot of fun. I hope your tort enjoys some clover, good luck!

Resources

Image credits – Canva.com

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