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Prepared Tortoise Diets

- to feed or not -

Burmese Star tortoises (Geochelone platynota)

Burmese Star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) babies eating softened, classic Mazuri as a treat. No, I did not pose them around the food. They did it on their own. :O)

Prepared tortoise diets

Ideally, Stars and other tortoises should eat a great variety of natural foods. Tortoises do not need any commercially prepared pellets if they eat a balanced diet, but many tortoise owners like to serve them occasionally as extra nutritional insurance.

Discussions on commercial diets tend to cause hot debates among tortoise owners and breeders. Many keepers think it's beneficial to offer small amounts of commercial tortoise foods as a complement to grasses, weeds, flowers, greens, and other natural foods. Others feel it's totally unacceptable to feed any prepared foods.

If your tortoise youngster is not fond of munching on greens that have vitamin powder on them, feeding prepared tortoise diets every so often is one way to provide additional vitamins and minerals to him.

Commercial foods can also be fed as supplemental "rich" food to gravid or ill tortoises, and dry grass products can be handy in the winter time when tortoises cannot graze outside. Pellets made from dried herbs and weeds are a better choice than grain based products.

You can increase the fiber content of commercial pellets by mixing them with finely chopped hay, dried herbs, or fresh weeds. For example, when I serve the classic Mazuri Tortoise Diet to my tortoises, I first soften it with water and then mix in chopped salad hay or herbal hay for a 70/30 or 50/50 mix.

Nutrients

Below is a listing of commonly available tortoise pellet foods. For Star tortoises and other dry area species, look for products that are very high in fiber, low in protein, and low in fat. For example, something like 30% fiber, 5% protein, and 2% fat in dry matter.

Note: The nutrient content of dried and fresh plants is different. For example, the protein content is way lower on wet basis (fresh plants) than in dry substance for the same plant.

Unfortunately, many of the tortoise food manufacturers show their product ingredients as maximum or minimum values, so we really don't know what the actual percentage is. Fiber % is usually listed as a max value and protein % as min value. In other words, the product may be much lower in fiber (-) and much higher in protein (-) than the number listed.

The product links and nutrient values posted on this page were correct when I last checked them. They may have changed since. As always, do double check the container labels.

Key:
Quick look % codes used below = fiber / protein / fat
(+) = good, (-) = bad

Zoomed Natural Grassland food mixed with dandelions

Moistened Zoo Med Natural Grassland food mixed with dandelions

Popular tortoise foods

1.) Zoo Med Laboratories (USA)

a.) Natural Grassland Food

zoo med natural grassland food

b.) Gourmet Tortoise Food

2.) PMI Nutrition - Mazuri (USA)

Note: Starting Oct 2013, the U.S. Mazuri tortoise food is available in two different formulas, the classic Tortoise Diet and the new Tortoise LS Diet.

a.) Mazuri Tortoise Diet - classic formula

mazuri tortoise pellets

b.) Mazuri Tortoise LS Diet - new formulaMazuri tortoise diet, classic & LS

European vs U.S. Mazuri

In the U.S., the PMI trademarks Mazuri and Nutrazu are registered to Purina Mills. In the U.K., the trademark Mazuri is registered to Dietex International Limited. The U.S. Mazuri tortoise food and the U.K. Mazuri tortoise food are two different products. Note that the European one is lower in fiber (-) and higher in protein (-).

1.) PMI Nutrition Int. - Nutrazu (Europe)

2.) Dietex Int. - Mazuri Exotic Leaf Eater (U.K.)

Other tortoise foods

1.) Agrobs - Pre Alpin Testudo food (Germany)

2.) Ectotherm - Sulcata Gold

3.) Exo Terra - Tortoise Adult food

4.) Exo Terra - Soft Pellets European Tortoise Foods

5.) Fluker - Tortoise Diet

6.) Happy Pet Products Ltd - Komodo Complete Holistic Tortoise Diet

7.) Marion Zoological - Mozaic Reptile Food (Tortoise)

8.) Pretty Bird International - Pretty Pets Tortoise Food

9.) Rep-Cal - Tortoise Food

10.) Repashy - Grassland Grazer

11.) T-Rex - Tortoise Dry Formula

12.) Zeigler - Tortoise Monster Diet

13.) Zilla - Fortified Land Turtle & Tortoise Food

 

Related pages: natural diet, supplements

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