The Galapagos Tortoise is a generalized herbivore that feeds on grasses, vines, cactus fruit, and other vegetation. It eats the fruit of the Manzanello tree and fallen fruits and spiny pads of the Prickly Pear. At the zoo the tortoises are fed a diet which includes Lucerne hay and meadow hay, browse such as mulberry, Chinese Elm, acacia, Kurrajong and bamboo amongst others.
They also eat a variety of vegetables including broccoli, lettuce, endive, chicory, carrots, apple, bananas, celery, calcium and mineral supplements. A tortoise eats approximately 35kg per day. They require this much food as they have very inefficient digestion. Tortoises can also go for extended periods without any food at all, up to 12 months! They achieve this by slowing their metabolism right down.
Tortoises don’t need to drink water often, due to the dew/sap from the vegetation that they eat. This allows them to survive with extended periods without drinking (up to 18months!). When they are thirsty, they can drink large amounts at a time and can store it their bladder or at the base of their neck.