The Tortoise Club

Plant Name:

Prickly Pear, Cactus Pad

Latin Name:

Opuntia ficus-indica

Plant Type:


Edible Part:

Entire Plant


Opuntia, commonly called the prickly pear cactus, is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family Cactaceae, many known for their flavorful fruit and showy flowers. The cactus pads are a great source of calcium and hydration. Limit feeding the fruit to non-fruit-eating species.

Opuntia will have varying degrees of needles, ranging from hair-like spines, called glochids, to sharp needles. The small spines likely cause no irritation to tortoises, but all spines and needles can be removed with a knife or flame.