Help! My turtle wants to be fat!


New Member
Dec 30, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Ok, the title might be a little misleading but I do have a question about my tortoise's diet. I recently got a (they think she's about this age) two year old Russian tortoise for Christmas. While researching I found that feeding a tortoise too much could be harmful. The problem is, I dont know the exact amount to feed her. The website said no more than what could be eaten in 30 minutes. I feed her a mixture of either kale, jicama and carrots or collared greens, zuccini and squash. But usually after fifteen minutes she cleans her plate and then stares at me. Like she wants more. I feed her when I wake up and I only feed her once a day. Should I be doing something different?


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
May 29, 2014
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Welcome to the Forum.

I’d say, if your tort is polishing off all of the food that you are providing, and looking for more, then you should provide a few handfuls more. Always good to have some food around for your tort to crawl around and find and eat. In nature, they crawl around all the time nibbling away. There’s lots of good info under the main stickies under Russians.


Active Member
Dec 19, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Allentown, Pennsylvania
How big is your enclosure? If she's in a small area she won't get much exercise to wear it off. Otherwise, it should probably be okay to feed her some more. If her enclosure is outdoor, provide some plants for her to graze naturally. Take a look here for diet and other info:

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jan 23, 2008
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
If this was a pet shop tortoise, it's older than two. Here in the states the only way to have a YOUNG russian is if it was bought from a breeder.

For one tortoise, I put down a pile of food about as big as the tortoise. If, by the end of the day, the food is all gone, I know I didn't give him enough. Or, if there's food left over, I gave him too much.

Tortoises graze/browse all day long. I don't subscribe to the notion "no more than can be eaten in 30 minutes." My tortoises have food in front of them all the time.


Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Feb 17, 2016
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Coast, CA

Russians eat and walk, then eat and walk some more!

I’m afraid that isn’t the best diet, though. Too many vegetables and not enough leaves.

Here is a looong list of information on foods, most of it put together by very experienced members of this forum. It's a ton of reading, for now you will probably want to focus on the section about grocery store foods that is under the first two links; I bolded the part that mentions spring mix, and the greens that go into it.

If you haven't already read it, check the Russian care sheet, it has a section on food near the bottom:

There is another great list for foods that was written for another type of tortoise but if you skip the first bit about grass, all the foods below it are great for your Russian:

You may need to rely on grocery store foods for now. Good foods for tortoises are "chicories," types of lettuce that are likely to be on the far side of the more common floppy green heads of lettuce most people buy. Anything labeled as simply "chicory"is good, as are radiccio, frisee, escarole, and endive; you might even find something labeled as dandelions. You can find a bag of "Spring" or "Spicy" mix that is good, just check the label to be sure it has some of the chicories I just mentioned.

The leaves (just the leaves) of turnips and radishes are also good, as are carrot tops. Collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and other dark, leafy greens are okay as well. If you have any kind of Mexican/hispanic market near you, they will sell cactus, labeled "nopales."

You don't need to feed all of these at one time, just make sure your tortoise is getting access to different types of food. As you get more experienced, you can find the better types of food listed on the care sheets.

Here are a whole bunch of non-grocery store suggestions.

Mulberry leaves
Grape vine leaves
Hibiscus leaves
African hibiscus leaves
Blue hibiscus leaves
Rose of Sharon leaves
Rose leaves
Cape honeysuckle
Leaves and blooms from any squash plant, like pumpkin, cucumber, summer squash, etc...
Young spineless opuntia cactus pads


Smooth Sow thistle
Prickly Sow thistle
Milk thistle
Goat head weed
Cats ear
Wild onion
Wild mustard
Wild Garlic
Broadleaf plantain
Narrow leaf plantain
Chick weed

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