Can Tortoises Eat Celery – Safe for All Species (Nutrition, Toxins, & More)?

Tortoises are popular pets for many people since they are quiet, however, they require specific care that you should be aware of.

If you’re a new tortoise parent you might be wondering: Can tortoises eat celery?

In this article, I will cover some key information about tortoises and their diet, including whether they can eat celery.

Keep reading to find out more.

Formulating a healthy and balanced tortoise diet can be difficult to do. From sources of protein to hydration levels and the importance of calcium, there is a lot to consider to ensure your tortoise is as healthy as they can be.

Can tortoises eat celery?

While it is safe for tortoises to eat celery, you should only feed your tortoise celery in moderation due to the medium oxalate levels that are toxic to tortoises. When oxalate levels are high, there’s a greater chance it will bind to calcium, and increases the risk of kidney stones forming. 

Plants containing high amounts of oxalates are fine to feed to tortoises provided that you feed them in small quantities and as part of a varied diet. However, if you offer a variety of different plants to your tortoise during the same feeding session and they all contain high levels of oxalic acid, then there is an increased risk of your tortoise developing a health condition. 

As a result, you should always be mindful when it comes to how often you feed your tortoise celery, and it shouldn’t be a part of their daily diet. A stick of celery cut up once or twice a month is more than enough celery for your tortoise to digest. 

Can tortoises eat celery leaves?

Yes, tortoises can safely eat celery leaves. In fact, celery leaves contain the most calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. However, because they don’t store well, you will need to feed your tortoise the celery leaves within a day or two of purchase.

Does celery keep your tortoise hydrated?

Yes, considering celery is 95% water, celery is a good way to provide your tortoise with an extra boost of hydration. However, as you should only feed your tortoise celery in moderation, if your tortoise is experiencing dehydration you will need to find other means to rehydrate them on a daily basis.

Nutrition of Celery

Tortoise needs several minerals in their diet for proper development, with calcium being one of the most important as it supports their skeleton and shell growth. 100 grams of celery contains 40 mg of calcium, 24 mg of phosphorus, and 11 mg of magnesium alongside important antioxidants and fiber to aid digestion. 


Calcium is very important to all reptiles. As far as tortoises, especially young tortoises are concerned, the calcium level of the food is very important both for healthy bone and shell development. Calcium deficiency is also extremely common as a growing tortoise requires substantial quantities of this mineral in order to build its skeleton.

If you have young or juvenile tortoises, it is especially important to ensure that they are getting enough calcium in their diet. Calcium can bind with phosphorus to form calcium phosphates that prevent calcium from being absorbed into the tortoise body. It is usually advised that the calcium to phosphorus ratio of the total ration is between 1:1 and 2:1.


If a diet is heavy in phosphorus in relation to calcium, the excess phosphorus will prevent the uptake of calcium to the bone. It is very easy to feed your tortoise a diet too concentrated in phosphorus because it is widely available.

If the phosphorus content in the food you’re giving your tortoise is high, additional calcium must be taken to maintain proper balance. Phosphorus is available in a wide variety of foods and further supplementation is not necessary.


Magnesium is important to your pet tortoise to facilitate the absorption of calcium in their body. Magnesium facilitates production of the parathyroid hormone that regulates the metabolism of calcium.


Celery is known to support digestion. For herbivorous reptiles like tortoise food rich in fiber is very important. Tortoises obtain energy through the fermentation of fiber in their lower bowel, and the carbohydrates that are broken down from fiber acts as one of the main energy sources alongside protein. Celery contains generous amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to support a healthy digestive tract and keep your tortoise regular. 

Feeding your tortoise a diet low in fiber will result in loose feces. As a general rule, it is recommended that the fiber intake of tortoises should be 10-40% of the total dry matter that the tortoise takes in per day.


Celery contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, but there are at least 12 additional kinds of antioxidant nutrients found in a single stalk. It’s also a great source of phytonutrients, which have been shown to reduce evidence of inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs.



Celery is also one of the vegetables highest in pesticide content, unless it is organically grown. As celery doesn’t have a protective skin to absorb harmful pesticides, your tortoise is more likely to ingest those pesticides when eating the vegetable.

While exposure to pesticides isn’t likely to seriously harm your tortoise in moderation, frequent exposure to them may weaken their immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases over time.


Celery is high in nitrates, which, when exposed to certain micro-organisms contained in foods and in the gastrointestinal tract, can be reduced to potentially toxic nitrites.

In Summary

Yes, tortoises can eat celery. However, it should only be treated as a treat and given to your tortoise in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet. However, celery leaves contain the most amount of calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Always make sure that you are providing your tortoise with a varied diet to ensure that they are receiving the right nutrients to thrive.