If you have a tortoise, you will know that they will try to eat almost anything. When it comes to different types of fruit and vegetables, while there are many options that are safe for them to consume, there are some that aren’t.
Tomatoes are a type of salad item that many people are unsure of whether they are safe for tortoises to consume. While they are safe, there are a handful of things you will need to take into consideration when choosing.
In this article we will be chatting you through the health benefits of tomatoes, the nutrition, and whether they are safe for all species.
Can Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?
As we have already touched upon, yes, tortoises can eat tomatoes. However, when it comes to the daily feeding, this shouldn’t be food that you over feed. In small doses, they are certainly fine for tortoises to eat. However, if they are given too much of this fruit, it can have a negative impact.
What is great about tomatoes is that they have a high water content. As a result, in the summer months, they do make for a great snack. However, in general, tortoises shouldn’t eat too many types of fruit and vegetables that are not leaf based.
While tortoises can eat any type of tomato, we would only recommend feeding red or ripe tomatoes, as these will be better for digestion. In addition to this, if the tomatoes have gone bad, you will not want to feed these to the tortoise, as it can make them ill.
How Often Can You Feed Tomatoes to a Tortoise?
When you are feeding tomatoes to a tortoise, this is something you do not want to do often. This is because tomatoes should be fed as a treat, rather than as a staple part of a tortoise’s diet.
While tomatoes are great in that they are full of water, which helps with hydration, they are not the most nutritious options to choose. Given this, too many tomatoes can have a negative effect on a tortoise. Overfeeding should always be avoided.
If you are looking to feed tomatoes to a tortoise, you will want to feed them as a treat occasionally, perhaps a few times a month. When feeding, you will only want to give a small amount. The bulk of a tortoise’s diet will still need to be made up of leafy vegetables, and hay.
While you can use any type of tomato to feed tortoises, we would recommend cherry or plum tomatoes. This is because they are a lot smaller, and are a great snack size. In addition to this, they can be fed to the tortoise whole, which takes away the need to have to cut up the tomatoes before feeding.
When feeding tomatoes, you will want to feed one cherry tomato to a fully grown tortoise. If you are looking to feed a younger tortoise, even half of a tomato is more than enough. They do not need to eat a lot of tomatoes at all.
What are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes for Tortoise?
While it is no secret that tomatoes are not the most nutritious food for a tortoise to eat, they are still great at providing hydration, due to their high water content. In addition to this, they do have a number of other health benefits that are great for tortoises.
Some of these health benefits include:
- Calcium — As tomatoes contain a lot of calcium, this has great benefits for the tortoise. It helps to improve and maintain stronger bones, and it is also great for the blood circulatory system too. In addition to this, it allows the acid and alkali in the tortoises’ system to balance out.
- Vitamin C — While tomatoes are not typically associated with vitamin C, they contain a surprising amount. This vitamin is great as an antioxidant, and helps with collagen production.
- Vitamin A — vitamin A is so important for a tortoise. It maintains the health of their eyes, reproductive functions, and skin, and mucus membranes.
- Phosphorus — This has many benefits for a tortoise, such as helping to maintain and repair cells, and regulating bone growth.
Even though tomatoes do have all of these great nutrients, they will receive these nutrients from the other types of food they eat. Given this, any they receive from tomatoes are just great additions.
What are the Health Risks of Feeding Tomatoes to a Tortoise?
While tomatoes are great as an occasional snack, as we have already mentioned, they can be dangerous for tortoises to eat in high doses. Given that tomatoes have a fairly high sugar content, this is not great for tortoises. They shouldn’t have a high sugar content in their diet.
In addition to this, if your tortoise has too much sugar in their diet, this can cause them to become obese, which can lead to fatigue and many other health issues.
As tomatoes are very watery, too much water in a tortoises diet can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhea. In addition to this, tomatoes are slightly acidic. The acid in the tomatoes can affect a tortoise’s stomach if they are eaten in high amounts.
To conclude, while you can feed tomatoes to a tortoise, they should always be fed in moderation, and very small amounts. You will want to feed them tomatoes occasionally, and not as a snack too often.
While tomatoes are a great treat for tortoises on occasion, and do have some health benefits, there are some downsides to tomatoes too. Feeding them too often and in high amounts can cause obesity and stomach upsets.
However, one small cherry tomato for a fully grown tortoise is fine. Tortoise do enjoy eating tomatoes, and they do have some health benefits that are great. As a responsible tortoise owner, the majority of the food you should feed are leafy greens, vegetables, and hay.