Which Reptiles are Herbivorous?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. May 7, 2017
Which Reptiles are Herbivorous?

There are many fans of reptiles who would like to adopt one that is very easy to maintain. However, most reptiles available in pet stores have a common factor which that is a draw back to these amateurs. Almost all reptiles up for adoption are insectivores.

This displeases reptile lovers for various reasons. One very important thing is that they find these insects creepy. Another factor to consider is the incessant trips to the pet shop to stock up on live food, which can often escape and colonizes the house. Some escaped crickets inside a home can plunge its inhabitants into sleepless despair!

If you are interested in looking after a reptile, continue reading. AnimalWised are here to show you the various types of herbivorous reptiles.

You may also be interested in: Male Vs. Female Cats - Which Should I Adopt?


Undoubtedly the most common herbivorous pet reptiles are tortoises. In addition, they are also the easiest to maintain if you cover two basic premises. You will need a garden (albeit tiny) and the animal must be compatible with the temperatures in your environment.

The fact that they need a garden is motivated by the need for the tortoises to hibernate. They cannot do this in an apartment because they need to bury themselves in the ground to proceed to hibernation. If they cannot hibernate, tortoises die very soon. The matter of environmental temperature is also important if we want to enjoy a healthy and happy tortoise. Discover some species of tortoises here.

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? - Tortoises

Mediterranean tortoises

Mediterranean tortoises are easy to maintain. Their vital temperature range is very broad and their diet is based on plant food available to everyone. Next we put forward a couple of examples:

  • The Mediterranean tortoise, Hermann's Tortoise is a very common herbivorous pet. It should be noted that fruit does not agree with these tortoise because it gives them diarrhea. Their diet should be based on green vegetables: alfalfa, lettuce, watercress, rosemary, sage, clover, lettuce and any plant or flower from the garden.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean tortoise, Hermann's Tortoise boettgeri is of a paler color than the previous and its temperature range is slightly lower. It comes from the Balkan area. Their diet includes endives, spinach, clover, yarrow, dandelion, thistle, lemon balm and many other wild plants (up to 60 plant species). Fruit intake should be minimal and always ripe.

Both species in the garden will optionally feed on small insects and snails (the calcium from the shell will be good for them). However, we can also provide them with calcium preparations available in pet shops.

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? -

Mexican tortoise

There are various species of Mexican tortoise, but all of these are threatened. One of the reasons for this threat, among others, is the removal of the wild animals for sale. We must fight to eradicate this trade. Pets must always come from approved hatcheries or entities involved in the rescue of exotic animals. Next we point out a couple of Mexican tortoise species:

  • The Sinaloa scrub tortoise, Gopherus evgoodei. An endangered species whose main characteristic is that its shell is flatter than most tortoises.
  • Desert tortoise, gopherus agassizii. This turtle inhabits the deserts of Mojave and Sinaloa. It can weigh up to 7 kg. It is threatened.

In the picture we can see the desert tortoise:

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? -

Argentine tortoise

There are 2 species of land tortoise in Argentina. Both are threatened by habitat destruction and the pet trade.

  • Argentina tortoise, Chilensis chelonoidis. Endemic species of Argentina's arid scrub land. Threatened species. Among various plants and fruits also consumes cactus. It is the southernmost of the tortoise species.
  • Chaco tortoise, Geochelone chilensis. Species from Mendoza, San Luis, Cordoba and Paraguay. They have a small size (20 cm) and are threatened. Their habitat is the savannah and scrub and hawthorn landscapes.

In the picture we can see the Argentinian tortoise:

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? - Argentine tortoise

Colombian tortoise

Colombia is a country that is very rich in tortoise and up to 27 species can be found. It is the 7th country in the world in different tortoises and semi aquatic turtles, and the 2nd of South America after Brazil. River basins of the Orinoco and Amazon are the territories where most turtle species in Colombia proliferate. Unfortunately more than ten species are threatened.

Development, communications and livestock have altered the ancestral habitat of various species of turtle. The capture for pet shops has also been a negative influence. Next we show the two fully terrestrial species of the 27 catalogued. The rest are semi-aquatic.

  • Morrocoy, Chelonoides carbonaria. This tortoise is omnivorous, active during the day and of medium size. It can reach 51 cm long. Globally it is not threatened, but within Colombia its situation is critical. This is due to the destruction of their habitat and the illegal hunting of young specimens for the pet trade.
  • Yellow-footed tortoise, Chelonoidis denticulata. Large land turtle that can reach 82 cm long. Its longevity reaches 80 years. Their habitat is the deep forest that exist in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. It is very threatened at all levels by the destruction of their habitat and illegal trade of eggs and hatchlings.

In the picture we can see the yellow-legged morrocoy:

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? - Colombian tortoise

The Sahara spiny-tailed lizard

The Sahara spiny-tailed lizard, Uromastyx Geyri, belongs to the genus Uromastyx. Which, is composed of more than 20 species that inhabit the desert areas and pre-desert of North Africa, India, Central Asia and the Middle East.

It measures an average of 35 cm long and 250 grams of weight. It is one of the smaller species among Uromastyx lizards. Their habits are diurnal, feeding on grass, flowers and occasionally small insects.

It has a quiet character but if it gets nervous or feels attacked it uses its tail as a whip, as do the other lizards of the same genus. Their usual colors can be red, orange or yellow on a dark background and with lighter points studding all over the back and flanks. It inhabits rocky semi-arid areas of Algeria, Nigeria and Mali.

Which Reptiles are Herbivorous? - The Sahara spiny-tailed lizard

If you want to read similar articles to Which Reptiles are Herbivorous?, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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