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Can Tortoises Eat Broccoli? [How Often Should They Eat]

Can Tortoises Eat Broccoli? [How Often Should They Eat]

My local zoo guide mentioned that despite the fact that all species of tortoises can eat vegetables. There are some vegetables that can be very harmful to tortoises if they are not offered moderately. In this post, I share the results of extensive research I did to learn more about broccoli as part of the torts diet.

Can Tortoises eat Broccoli?

Tortoises can eat broccoli, however, they should have broccoli sparingly since they have a high level of goitrogens that are harmful to the thyroid gland, the liver, and the kidney. Experts advise against feeding vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach at the same time to avoid excess goitrogens.

A tortoise’s balanced diet should be composed of various fruits, vegetables, weeds, flowers, and leafy greens. A high percentage should be composed of food items such as hay and grass that have a high fiber content since tortoises need a substantial fiber content.

Fruits should be very limited or avoided altogether for the Mediterranean and Grazing tortoises since their digestion system is not used to the high sugar levels in these fruits.

You can also feed your tortoise high-quality commercially made tortoise pellets that have been made with a consideration of tortoise the nutritional requirements. Check these options from Amazon.

Can tortoises eat raw broccoli?

Tortoises should eat raw not cooked broccoli. This is because broccoli loses their nutrients when they are cooked compared to when they are raw.

Additionally, you should avoid feeding canned vegetables to tortoises due to high levels of sodium and low nutritional content. Some vegetables are also preserved using preservatives that can harm tortoises.

Is broccoli healthy to bearded dragons?

When fed moderately, broccoli can be a healthy vegetable to add to the list of food items you can feed your tortoise sparingly.

The table below shows the nutritional benefit of broccoli to tortoises. source

Nutrient Value
Dietary Fiber2.0g
Vitamin A623.00 IU
Beta Carotene361.00 mcg
Vitamin C89.2 mg
Vitamin K101.6 mcg
Calcium47.00 mg
Phosphorus66.00 mg

Can you feed broccoli to a tortoise?

Yes, you can feed broccoli to tortoises and below are the benefits of including broccoli in the diet of tortoises sparingly mixed with other vegetables.

Keeping tortoises hydrated

Keeping your pet tortoise hydrated is very important for its metabolism. For instance tortoises use water to get rid of excess nitrogenous waste such as phosphates and oxalates.

Without enough water in their bodies, these tortoises would suffer from kidney diseases such as kidney stones.

While easy access to fresh, clean, and chlorine-free water on a daily basis is a requirement. Tortoise also gets part of their water from the foods that they eat.

Vegetables have a high water content that will help to keep your tortoise hydrated when offered moderately and as part of a balanced diet.

When providing a watering basin for your tortoise always ensure that they can also bathe in it and cool down especially when it is hot.

The basin should allow bathing without drowning. Check these options from Amazon that can provide a surface for putting food, bathing, and basking.


Broccoli is among some of the vegetables that have a good percentage of fiber, which can help increase the fiber content of tortoise feeds.

Tortoise like all herbivorous animals needs fiber in their diet as a source of energy when it is digested and to aid in bowel movement.

Fiber when fermented serves as a source of calories, calories provide energy when they are processed further.

However, when fed in excess, fiber can impair the intake of calories and cause an inhibition of the absorption of trace minerals.

The exact fiber requirements for tortoises have not yet been determined officially, however, this source recommends 12% of the dry matter to be made up of fiber.


Tortoises need vitamins for optimal growth and development and lack of vitamins can lead to life-threatening side effects.

Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of vitamins especially vitamin A and its precursor beta carotene. While some tortoises should either not eat fruits or eat them sparingly, they will still need vitamins.

Vitamin A is very important for proper bone and shell development and proper overall growth of the tortoises.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include

  • Inflammed and swollen eyelids
  • The horny part of the skin thickens
  • The horny part of the mouth develops abnormally
  • Weakened immune system
  • Liver failure leading to swelling of the limbs

These symptoms can be corrected by providing a balanced diet especially one with vegetables and some fruits to provide vitamin A among other vitamins.

Other vitamins present in broccoli beneficial to tortoises include Vitamin K and C.

Both of these vitamins are synthesized from the guts by the microflora, with vitamin C also being synthesized in the kidneys. This means that in a healthy tortoise that does not have kidney issues and its intestinal tract is healthy deficiencies of these vitamins are very rare.

However, in case a tortoise experiences a deficiency of vitamin C they may suffer from stomatitis or poor wound healing. Vitamin K deficiencies will lead to poor blood clotting properties.


Fruits and vegetables are not a good source of minerals however when offered the right way they can serve as an additional source of calcium and phosphorus.

However, you should always ensure that the concentration of calcium is always higher than phosphorus.

When phosphorus is high than calcium a condition called nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism happens, whereby a parathyroid hormone is released and leads to demineralization of the bones resulting in fractured bones or deformed shells.

Secondly, the absorption of calcium is poor compared to phosphorus that is readily absorbed. Therefore, despite the fact that there is no conclusive research to show the ratio of calcium to phosphorus for tortoises.

Experts recommend going with the ratio that has worked for other reptiles and is backed by research.

This ratio is either 1:1 or 2:1 calcium to phosphorus respectively. While there are fruits and vegetables that do not adhere to this recommendation. Experts recommend feeding these food items sparingly.

How to feed Broccoli to Tortoises

  • The best form of broccoli to feed to the tortoises is one that has been grown organically
  • Always ensure that the vegetables you offer to your tortoise are thoroughly washed
  • You can either chop it into pieces or offer it whole
  • Mix it with other vegetables preferably ones that do not have goitrogens to avoid the build-up of these toxic substances

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Broccoli?

Russian tortoises can eat broccoli as part of a balanced diet mixed with other vegetables. However, broccoli have a toxic compound known as goitrogen and should therefore be fed sparingly to Russian tortoises to avoid thyroid gland, liver and kidney damage.


Fruits and vegetables serve as a good source of vitamins that tortoises need for proper growth and development, such as vitamin A. However, these vegetables have compounds known as goitrogens which in high levels can affect thyroid glad, liver and kidney. Experts advice that vegetables such as broccoli that have goitrogen should be fed sparingly and never together in large amounts to cut down on the amount of goitrogens that they eat at one particular moment.