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Can Sulcata Tortoises Eat Cabbage?

Sulcata tortoises also known as African spur thigh tortoises, are from the Sahel region of Africa and happen to be one of the most popular species of tortoise. They are slow but tough and eat almost everything they see, but many are asking this question, can Sulcata tortoises eat cabbage? All the answers you need about this question are right here in this article.

Cabbage contains both calcium and phosphorus. While calcium is essential for the maintenance of the shell, cabbage contains phosphorus which hinders the absorption of calcium. Tortoise needs calcium but phosphorus is harmful to them, so this implies that cabbage might not kill them but it is not good for them to consume it regularly. Sulcata tortoise can take cabbage but it should be occasionally and also in a very small quantity.

Sulcata Tortoise Specie

Sulcata tortoises adapt more easily to temperature fluctuations than other types of tortoises. The very interesting thing about them is that they are sensitive to temperature change, and would seek refuge elsewhere when it eventually gets cold outside, this is unlikely to be seen in another tortoise which will just freeze where they are when it gets cold.

Their adults average 18 inches in shell length and up to 150 pounds in weight when fully grown, it has a lifespan of about 54 years. They conserve energy when they move slowly, and while on the move, this energy sustains them for weeks without food. Also in the wild, they show little or no interest in drinking water, they get the water that they need from the plants that they eat.

Nutritional Benefits Of Cabbage To Sulcata

Cabbage might look like one of the members of the lettuce family, but just like broccoli, they belong to the set of vegetables called the Brassica genus.

Although they mostly get overlooked, Cabbage is highly nutritious, they are rich in Vitamin C which helps to protect the body from damage, and they are equally rich in vitamin K and fiber which helps improve digestion. They have low calories, it contains many different antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Cabbage is also rich in potassium, and potassium is a very important electrolyte needed by the body to help regulate blood pressure by excretion of excess sodium through urine, this lowers blood pressure as it relaxes the blood vessel wall.

Risks Involved In Feeding Sulcata With Cabbages

Cabbage is good for the body but as the saying goes, everything has advantages also has disadvantages. Excess intake of cabbage can result in abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, it can also result in an increase in goiter and benzyl cyanide which can result in potential adverse effects, talking about the dermal and respiratory manifestations.

Be careful when feeding cabbage to your sulcata tortoise because cabbage is a shelter of many warms, so make sure you wash it thoroughly, remove the rough back, and this will help evacuate worms, bacteria, and germs. So in all findings, too much intake of cabbage is not good for your sulcata tortoise, yes they can have it but don’t make it an essential part of their diet.

What Sulcata Tortoise Should Not Eat

Avoid giving your Sulcata tortoise any foods that do not provide them with the right proportion of calcium and phosphorus, foods that will not provide them enough fiber, foods that provide too much protein, also don’t give them fruits or sugary foods too often, and lastly don’t overfeed them.

Sulcata tortoises have developed this character of dealing with harsh life in the Savanna region, where they have only dry grasses and weeds available for most of the year.

Many foods from the grocery store carry high water content that has proven to be too much to be handled by this tortoise’s tiny livers.

If you give your tortoise a large number of fruits, the sugar and acids contained in them can change the potential of hydrogen (PH) of the tortoise digestive tract, and this can kill off the beneficial bacteria in the tortoise gut, this beneficial bacteria in their intestine is what helps them digest and extract nutrients from the grasses that they consume.

They need grasses and hay to graze on as their major diet, but make sure these hays and grasses are free from pests and herbicides. Feed them all hay except predominantly alfalfa hay, this type of hay contains too many oxalates and can cause stone bladder and kidney failure.

What Sulcata Tortoise Should Eat

Grass and hay should be 90% of their main diet, such grasses include Orchard grass, Timothy hay, Meadow grass, and Oat hay. A high-fiber grass-based diet like clovers, cheatgrass, shrubs, and edible flowers such as hibiscus, geraniums, and rose petals.

Leafy greens are acceptable, like mustard, turnip, kale, dandelion greens, and collard greens, let this make at least 40%, then other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, grated raw carrots, broccoli, cub corn, winter squash should make like 20% of their vegetable diets.

Due to the high sugar and water content of fruits, they should be fed occasionally because sulcata are not used to such that in the wild. Fruits such as strawberries, organically grown banana chunks, apples, and pears can also be given to them as treats.

Supply them with foods that are high in calcium to help them grow healthy bones and shells, but make sure you don’t choose one with phosphorus too, Grass could be a good example of such food.

Always include one colored food in your collection, this will attract them because they respond to bright colors. Adding a multivitamin supplement is a good idea, do this twice a week. It will help babies and smaller sulcata since they find it difficult to eat tougher grass and hay.

Behaviors Of Sulcata Tortoise

Sulcata tortoises can be housed both indoors and outdoors but will always need a wide space to roam about freely when they mature. They are strong, they will always retire to their muddy wallows, and stay there for hours flipping cool mud on their back when it gets hot outside.

They are insatiable eaters and climbers, but be careful not to allow them to climb steep things that will make them topple over because they might fall and die. Dogs, children, and raccoons should be kept away from them. They eat a lot, so guard them against eating things that might harm them.

They do not relax on bare ground, and provide muscular low growing plants they can crowd in. It is also important to build small rocks, pieces of wood, edible plants, and some low hummocks for their comfort.

Good Health And Sickness Symptoms

Some of these signs will help you detect if they are healthy or sick and needs medical attention.

Sickness Symptoms

Weight loss, watery feces, discharge from places such as mouth, nose, eye, and ears, breathing through the mouth. All these are the early symptoms you will discover when your sulcata tortoise is down with one sickness or the other.

Signs Of Being Healthy

It won’t be hard to notice if they are healthy because their overall behavior will tell. They will have a good appetite and sound activities, no single sign of discharge, white urine and well-formed feces, and a very neat shell that is free from flakes. A few things can help them stay healthy, and that includes keeping them in a large place where they can move freely, plus always feeding them with a balanced diet.


Sulcata is a strong, big, and heavy tortoise from the Sahel, they eat a lot but still have something they should avoid, and cabbage happens to be one of them because of the phosphorus contained in them which causes problems with calcium absorption. Don’t feed your Sulcata tortoise with cabbage, it is not good for them.




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