Can Tortoises Eat Onions? (YES, But Here’s What You Need To Know)

The answer is YES, but here’s what you need to know. The tortoise can digest the natural sugars and carbohydrates in raw onions without digestion problems, but the onion’s sharp flavor may cause an upset stomach.

That said, onions can be good food for your tortoise to eat occasionally.

What Are The Benefits Of Onions For Tortoises?

Onions are a great food for your tortoise because they provide natural salt, minerals, and B vitamins. They can also provide a good source of fiber and protein. The fibers in onions help to clean out your tortoise’s gut, which is good for the health of your tortoise. Onions also provide a variety of antioxidants that protect against free radicals.

Vegetables like collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, and spinach are rich in calcium and other nutrients. These vegetables are also lower in fiber than most grains or vegetables.

Onions contain a lot of Vitamin C, which is an important vitamin for tortoises. If you think your tortoise might be lacking in Vitamin C, feeding them a variety of vegetables will help to ensure they get enough of it.

Onions are a good source of Vitamin B6 and Folate.

Many animal keepers have reported that their tortoises and other reptiles love onions. Onions are a popular food for grey box turtles and red eared sliders. There have also been reports of tortoises eating peeled onions whole, but many tortoises will eat them unpeeled if they don’t know what they are. The best way to get your tortoise to start eating onions is to provide them in unpeeled form so that your tortoise has the chance to become familiar with them. Thereafter you can begin peeling them yourself if you want to stop peeling for your tortoise’s benefit.

Some people keep onions in their turtle tanks as a beneficial bath for their turtles and tortoises, but this has not been proven to be beneficial for reptiles or amphibians. It is believed that the onion’s sulfurs in water can cause burns on the skin of the animal and that it can cause cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. 

What the tortoise will eat after the onions are gone?

After you have gotten your tortoises to eat onions for a couple of weeks you can introduce them to a variety of other vegetables that are known to be good for their health. There are many people who feed chopped green beans or peas, sliced sweet potato, pumpkin, cucumber, and carrots in their pet tortoises’ diet because they believe them to be high in Vitamins A and C.

The bonus is that they are low in calories so they will not cause your tortoise to gain weight too quickly. There are also people who boil various vegetables in order to make them softer for the reptiles, but most reptile keepers prefer not to do this as it takes away some of the nutrients that they would otherwise get from eating these foods unboiled. 

How Much Onion Should I Feed My Pet?

It is a good idea to feed your pet tortoise no more than one onion per week.

You should keep track of the number of onions that each of their individual tortoises will eat per week so you can adjust their diet accordingly. Remember, if you feed an onion to one tortoise and they refuse to eat it; then they are going to attempt to avoid eating the onions in the future.

And if they don’t get any onions, then they will refuse it the next time as well. It’s just not worth it when you go through this much effort just for them to throw a hissy fit over something that should be easy for them to eat! If your tortoise does not eat the onion, make sure after only two days, you remove all traces of them from his or her habitat.

Which Vegetables Should I Feed My Tortoise?

Keep in mind that tortoises are meat eaters and they need access to animal protein, so a diet that provides this is ideal. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your tortoise has plenty of fresh water and a high-quality habitat because these are essential for survival. You should also monitor your pet’s weight regularly and provide a healthy diet that includes adequate calcium and vitamin D3.

It’s good to include these vegetables in a typical diet of a tortoise:

Cabbage, carrots, and watercress

Swedish or Kentucky Blue Grass Hay

Alfalfa Sprouts


Beets, sweet potatoes, and squash

Radishes, zucchini, and yellow wax beans

Corn and kale

What I shouldn’t Feed My Tortoise?

There are a few foods that are not recommended for your tortoise to eat. You should keep these foods out of reach as they can cause an upset stomach, constipation, and other common health problems. These include:

– Alcohol

– Avocado

– Chocolate

– Caffeine

– Citrus fruits (except lemon)

– Coffee beans or grounds


Yes, eating onions is a good idea for your pet tortoise. It’s important to give your pet enough nutritious and natural food that he/she can fully process and assimilate. By providing them with the right diet, you will have a happy tortoise that enjoys good health and provides a great deal of love in return.

It is important to recognize the signs of an upset stomach and treat the situation immediately. Make sure your tortoise has plenty of fresh water, a high-quality habitat, and a healthy diet to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life.


Photo by Joel M Mathey on Unsplash

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash