Desert tortoises eat mostly weeds, grasses, cactus, and dark leafy greens, additionally they eat some smaller amounts of fruits and vegetables.
In college, I had a Russian tortoise named Ivan, and I fed him primarily romaine lettuce. He enjoyed it greatly! And it was very fun to watch him eat!! In fact, one of the lunch ladies would actually wrap some up and give it to me each night so I would never run out of food! Ivan thought it was gourmet!
However, there are commercial foods available for tortoises, and some people argue that these are the best foods for tortoises to eat. In addition, many experts suggest that Desert tortoises kept as pets–and they are routinely kept as pets–need to have vitamin supplementation. Actually, these people argue that pet desert tortoises should not be fed lettuce because of a low nutritional value.
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