Can Tortoises Eat Basil? (Yes! But Will They?)

Can tortoises eat basil? The answer is yes, they can eat pretty much any herb, but there is a high risk that they will not be particularly interested because of the strong smell and taste.

Tortoises are herbivores that primarily feed on plant material like leaves and stems as well as soft fruit and berries. If you have a small garden or large lawn that you want to give your tortoise some fresh food from, it is important to make sure the plants have not been treated with pesticides or chemicals to keep bugs away.

Is Basil Good For Tortoises?

Introducing basil into your tortoises’ diet is definitely a good thing, basil is a source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also contains vitamins A, C, and K. If you want to give your tortoise basil then make sure you chop it up because large leaves can be choking hazards.

If you are growing your own herbs then this should be great news for your tortoise, it will help provide them with a variation in their diet but only if they are not fussy eaters. If your tortoise rejects the idea of eating basil, try mixing it with other food.

What Are The Different Types Of Plants That Tortoises Like To Eat?

Tortoises are mostly omnivorous, but plants and vegetables constitute the majority of their diet, here is a list of the most common:

Asparagus: Tortoises enjoy asparagus, but it should not be eaten too often.

Carrots: Carrots have high water content and tortoises enjoy eating them.

Celery: Celery has a sweet taste. The leaves are also edible and will provide your tortoise with vitamin A, which is important for their health.

Lettuce: Lettuce is a good source of calcium for your tortoise, but make sure the leaves haven’t been treated with pesticides or chemical fertilizers to keep bugs away because lettuce can cause salmonella poisoning.

Mint: Mint provides your tortoise with important nutrients like iron and vitamins B1 and B2, which are important as well as having an anti-inflammatory effect on their body systems. They also enjoy mint growing in the garden so they can nibble on it throughout the day.

Oregano: Oreganos contain many more phenols than other herbs and include carvacrol, thymol, p-coumaric acid, eugenol, phellandrene, myrcene, and limonene among others. These compounds all have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which can aid in preventing disease.

Mulberry: Mulberries are best for young tortoises. The fruit contains a lot of antioxidants that boost their immune system systems to fight diseases.

You Will Also Have To Follow The Guidelines Below:

Different types of grasses and plants should be offered to ensure that your tortoise eats a balanced healthy diet. You can find them at local pet stores or online at sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Bamboo shoots, leaves, and stems are safe for tortoises; they’re high fiber, low in fat and contain no gluten (it’s also an excellent source of calcium). They’re great in helping your tortoise pass stool as well as maintaining bowel health which is very important if they become ill or injured. They must be fed sparingly because they are high in sugar content and can cause an increase in weight gain since they contain a high amount of water.

Tortoises should be provided with both dry and moist food sources. The moisture is needed for hydration and some tortoises will take long sips of water from a shallow dish. This can also help in reducing dust-borne respiratory infections by keeping the air moist inside the tank (maximum humidity should be between 50 to 60%). You can use a spray bottle to add water when needed. This will also help keep your tortoise from ingesting too much dust.

Hibiscus flowers (both the red and white varieties) are a great food for tortoises, who love their sweet nectar. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and contain large amounts of fiber. They can be found at local pet stores, Asian or Hispanic markets; or ordered online.

You can use sugar snap peas sliced in half lengthwise as a treat once or twice a week. This is high in fiber and low in fat, which makes it safe for tortoises over four months old. These veggies also help to clean the plaque off your tortoise’s teeth as well as provide an additional source of calcium. Peapods make for a healthy snack (they can even grow them in their backyard), just remember to cut off the stringy fibers that come out of the sides of the pods before serving them to your tortoise.

Because they get their energy from sunlight it’s crucial to keep them warm enough so they can digest their food; you must also ensure that they have enough shade if kept outdoors during the hot summer days.

Above all else, remember to stay positive when handling your tortoise and try not to get frustrated if you find that he’s not listening because most of the time he will listen.

Ensure that the tank is safe from drafts, cold temperatures, and heat in order to keep your tortoise comfortable at all times.


Basil is a common herb and it’s good to implement it in your tortoises’ diet, it brings many benefits and they will enjoy it in small quantities especially mixed with other food due to the strong smell and taste.


Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash