In the race of the Tortoise and the Hare, we know the tortoise won by persistence and a lot of energy. So what was the secret diet behind the much proverbial victory of the tortoise? Tomatoes! Yes, indeed, feeding tomatoes to your tortoise can alter your pet’s health to an enviable one.
Can tortoise eat tomatoes? Yes, tortoises can eat these red, ripe, and juicy tomatoes but within a particular or permitted amount. Tomatoes are deemed to be quite nutritious for their health and have made a permanent place in these reptiles’ diets.
Diet rich with antioxidants though pertinent shouldn’t be overflowing with the same category of fruit. The resultant diet will give rise to a lethargic pet. If a tortoise is fed fruit constantly, it will grow an acquired taste of the sweet only and will immediately reject other foods, if it’s any different, for instance, green veggies.
A diet based on fruit or just tomatoes will be unbalanced and might harm the little reptile into sickness. Vegetables must make a daily appearance in their meal.
Health benefits of tomatoes and why tortoises should eat tomatoes?
Most tortoises are, of course, herbivores, but this does not mean you can just get away with feeding him a few limp lettuce leaves and the occasional avocados.
You have to remain vigilant about your pet’s health since it will adapt to a new environment altogether. Everything about its habit must be under careful supervision- from diet to wandering, defecating, and resting.
There are eight elements to good nutritional health, and it is up to you to provide these. They include water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. All work together to prevent illness and promote growth.
- Tomatoes are known to be an excellent source of potassium, sodium, and vitamins. It is resplendent with Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
- Vitamin A is an antioxidant and comes from the carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, found in tomatoes. Vitamin C facilitates healing and also aids in iron absorption.
- Since tomatoes are enriched with fibers, it is a missive of health for the metabolism of the tortoise.
- Tomatoes also contain vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, and folate, all of which promote cardiovascular functions.
- The water content in the fruit also adds to the daily requirement of the tortoise’s water intake.
Tomatoes are naturally sweetened without any additional dosage of sugar, and tortoises are organically inclined to the sweet palate. Regulated amounts of tomatoes balanced with other foods scilicet vegetables and fruits can make up a perfect, balanced diet for the pet.
Manufacturers who produce food for tortoises will claim they supplement their feed with essential vitamins and minerals, but you should also provide fresh vegetation and occasional fruit whenever possible. Not only will this broad diet be healthier, but it will also be more interesting for your pet.
How to feed tomatoes to your pet tortoise?
As we know, tortoises aren’t well versed in eating dense foods or big chunks of fruits. Their beaks allow them to eat a bite-sized portion of food.
Therefore, when you’re feeding your reptile the tomato, let’s keep in mind that it should be quartered or further sliced for the convenience of consumption. Otherwise, a whole tomato would just be another play toy for your pet.
In the case of most foods, tortoises go on nibbling the softest part and leave behind the peel. The part that they cannot eat often gets pushed away and remains discarded.
Additionally, the food or tomato must be placed at a distance from the tortoise.
Is there anything called too much tomato?
Yes, there is, and nonetheless, it’s harmful to any pet. Inspired by the abundance of misinformation on the web, people often feed their pets an unevenly balanced diet.
If you would look at YouTube, it is filled with videos of tortoises eating tomatoes. But is it the only thing they should eat?
Fructose – a sugar compound known to add up the cholesterol in the body of the reptile helps in fattening the tort unnecessarily.
An obese tort is usually lethargic (more than their normal self), the metabolism cycle gets interrupted, resulting in overall bad health. Lack of fiber in the body will also lead to decreased life expectancy.
So, if you’re in love with your pet companion, an overload of tomato-ey diet shouldn’t ever be on the agenda.
Foods that should be kept away from your pet tortoise
Feeding it indoors will make your pet depends on you and to an extent subjugate their natural instinct for filtering out toxic foods for themselves so here is a list of food that you must not include in their diet:
- Bean sprouts
- Citrus fruit
- Morning glory
- Wood anemone
Tortoises are adversely affected by Goitrogens, which are found in cabbage. Goitrogens are mainly thyroid inhibiting enzymes that affect the liver and the kidney. Thus, it’s highly advisable to avoid them at every meal of your sloth pet.
Lettuce, which seems to be a highly favored food of the tortoise, according to the internet, actually owes very little to the tortoise’s nutritional intake. Instead, it gives rise to loose-motion, disturbing the gut bacteria.
Corn or maize has also proved to be harmful to quite a few species and should only be included in the meal plan after thorough research and professional opinion. Grapes can also be included but with moderation.
Types of tortoises and their food habits
Tortoises are herbivores, and if you do some research into wherein the natural world your kind of tortoise would generally live, this will give you an idea of what sort of foods to provide.
Be careful not to feed your tortoise too many plants from the cabbage family as they can interfere with the thyroid function and calcium absorption. They are an excellent source of nutrition, but just give them in small amounts every couple of weeks or so.
Hermann’s tortoise, which naturally lives in arid grasslands, enjoys grazing on grasses, weeds, and succulent plants.
If you have a Russian or Horsfield tortoise, they like to eat fleshy vegetables such as squashes and aubergine or zucchini. They also enjoy fruit and some flowers.
A Sulcata tortoise enjoys hay and cactus, as well as some succulent fruit and grated vegetables.
A Red or Yellow-footed tortoise cannot tolerate much fruit in their diet and enjoys vegetables more. Since these turtles are omnivores, earthworms can also be included in their meal.
Mediterranean tortoises are known for their appetite for strawberries.
What to feed your tortoise other than tomatoes?
It is not difficult to provide a nutritious and exciting diet for your tortoise; it just takes a little thought and planning.
If you have an outside enclosure, you could grow some fresh vegetables and plants for your tortoise to munch on daily. They will enjoy foraging as if in their wild natural environment, and this will help them to keep mentally healthy and physically well.
Here is a list of food items for your pet’s daily menu:
- Peeled banana
Specially manufactured food which you can buy from pet shops will be quite adequate as it does usually have vitamins and minerals added. But the best diet for tortoise health and well-being is a mixture of this plus natural fresh vegetables and fruit.
Water – this source of sustenance for life is equally important for the reptiles too. Although tomatoes are filled with water content, it does not meet the daily requirement for the reptiles.
Thus, keeping a bowl of fresh water is always a good idea to prevent your pet from suffering from dehydration.
Few things to keep in mind while caring for a tortoise
High diet, lots of care, and free reign in the house, all of these things add up to turn your pet into a happy member. But is it enough, or is there more you can do?
1. Age is a significant factor that must be taken into account while setting a diet for the tortoise. For instance, if your pet is a newborn, the diet must focus on protein-rich food. On the other hand, if age has taken its toll on your tortoise then protein wouldn’t be such a good idea.
2. Keeping an eye on the entire diet of the tortoise would positively impact on its overall health. That is to say, when you’re feeding your pet any food, be well informed on its nutritional information.
3. Regular checkups for the pet isn’t reserved for dogs and cats only. Tortoises are known to be docile creatures, so identifying disease in them is quite tricky. A regular checkup routine ensures a healthy life for your companion. Vets often suggest activities that keep your pet active and joyous. These reptiles are especially prone to loose-motion and obesity.
Be it Tomato or Toh-mah-toe; it is all about placing your pet’s best interest in the forefront and making them your homie.