May 28, 2017


There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what constitutes a good or acceptable diet for a Hermann’s tortoise.  I’ve decided to play it safe in Rover’s formative years and go with plants that either I know grow wild in the region his species is from, or that are on all the “yes” lists and none of the “no” lists.  When he’s had a few years eating things that are definitely safe and get him all the nutrients he really needs, I’ll relax the requirements and let him try iffier veggies.  I already let him wander yards and parks and taste whatever strikes his fancy.

Foods Rover has been offered


Typical daily menu:

  • mostly kale or another leafy veg
  • some bell pepper
  • endive if I have it
  • some squash or other item (or two) not on the favorites list

Two claws up

Rover is pretty much always enthusiastic about the following foods.  In most cases, he’ll eat as much as I am give him, or nearly so.  In his first few months, kale was his favorite food, and other things were just garnish.  Then for a year red bell pepper was tops.  In his second year, endive started winning.  But they are all still clear favorites.

  • kale
  • endive
  • romaine
  • clover
  • bell pepper—red, orange, and yellow, in order from favorite to still-love-it-but-not-as-much

One claw up

Rover usually munches a noticeable amount of these, especially if he hasn’t had them recently, but usually leaves some of it on his plate unless I chop it up quite small.

  • bell pepper—green
  • escarole
  • pumpkin
  • zucchini
  • butternut squash
  • yellow squash
  • pattypan squash
  • arugula
  • lawn grasses

Might get a nibble

There are several foods that he mostly ignores when I provide them, but he’ll occasionally nibble them.

  • carrot—shredded or grated only; chunks are not worth his effort
  • parsnip—shredded or grated only; chunks are not worth his effort
  • aloe—the aloe gets sniffed endlessly, but only gets a couple small nibbles; aloe soaps are a bad idea in my house because they encourage him to nip at hands
  • camellia petal

Not one bite

At the time I write this, Rover is still quite young.  He was quite picky when I first got him and has started to relax and try new foods a little more.  In his second year he finally was willing to try carrot and parsnip, if I prepared them to his liking.  I’m hoping I’ll have cause to move a few more items from the “not one bite” section someday.

  • watercress
  • parsley
  • dandelion