Having a tortoise as your pet can be incredible, for not only do these shelled creatures live a long life, but they are also easy to care for. In case you ever run of their feed, you can easily find a fruit or vegetable in your kitchen to feed them. But can they eat all fruits and vegetables? What about bananas?
Can tortoises eat bananas? While most of the tortoise species can safely eat bananas in moderation, there are some species that should not be eating these fruits, or any fruit or vegetable at all. Bananas can be a healthy treat for the fruit-eating tortoise species. But you must be careful not to overfeed bananas to your tortoise, for too much sugar can be detrimental to their health.
Below, we will explore all aspects of feeding bananas to tortoises: their nutritional value, health benefits, risks involved with overfeeding, different tortoise species, serving ideas, and more.
The Nutritional Value Of Bananas
Bananas are widely regarded as highly nutritious fruits. But do you know exactly which vitamins and minerals are present in them to make them healthy for us? It is okay if you don’t because we are here to help you with it. Given below is a table that contains the nutritional composition of bananas. Check it out:
|Vitamin A||64 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.032 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.072 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.664 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.333 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.366 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||20 mcg|
|Vitamin C||8.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||5 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.27 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||27 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.077 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.28 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Potassium, K||359 mg|
|Selenium, Se||1 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.16 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.61 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Do Tortoises Like Eating Bananas?
Just because tortoises are herbivores in nature, most people assume that they can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want to without any difficulty. This, however, is far from the truth.
In reality, these shelled creatures can be categorized into two groups depending on their nativity. One group comprises those that belong to dry and arid areas and are used to eating stems and leaves of plants. In the other group belong tortoise species that are native to the forests and often eat fruits in their natural habitat.
Feeding any fruit (including bananas) to the tortoise species from the first category is not a good idea. And even though the fruit-eating tortoises can eat bananas safely, these fruits should not be fed to them too frequently.
With that being said, whether or not your pet likes eating bananas depends on their individual taste as well. While some tortoises will eat bananas fondly, others might turn up their nose at the sight of these fruits. If your pet happens to like the taste of bananas, you’re lucky.
However, if they seem to dislike these fruits, instead of trying to feed it to them forcibly, you should simply pick another fruit for them.
Are Bananas Healthy For Tortoises?
If you scroll up to the table of banana’s nutritional composition above, you will find that these fruits are loaded with many micro and macronutrients.
While these nutrients make bananas great for our health, the nutritional needs of our little pets are quite different from our own. Can banana benefit their health as well? If yes, how? If you want to find the answers to these questions, keep reading.
Vitamins are an essential part of tortoises’ nutrition, for the lack of these can make them suffer from severe health problems. While they can synthesize Vitamins C and K on their own, for the rest of the vitamins, they’re dependent on their diet. Luckily, bananas contain Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, all of which serve different purposes in their body.
Vitamin A is essential for tortoises’ skin, eyesight, and respiratory health. The deficiency of it in their diet can lead to swollen eyelids, thickening skin layers, breathing difficulties, and so on.
Vitamin E is responsible for the healthy growth and development of your pets. If your tortoise doesn’t consume enough of this vitamin, they might suffer from a lack of appetite, tongue ulcers, and liver necrosis.
Next comes Vitamin K; while tortoises can synthesize this vitamin in their gut, its deficiency is common among them, especially in those tortoises that are under medication. As a result, they end up bleeding spontaneously and incessantly.
Although tortoises need all the minerals in their diet to stay healthy, just like we do, some minerals are needed in larger quantities than the others, such as Calcium and Phosphorus.
Calcium is first and foremost paramount in building and strengthening the exoskeleton of these reptiles. Other functions of this mineral in your tortoises are:
- Regulation of acid and base in their body
- Regulation of their heartbeats
- Controlling muscle growth and contraction
- Controlling iron absorption
On the other hand, Phosphorus is responsible for the transfer of DNA materials in your pet’s body, repairing their cells, promoting kidney health, and producing energy.
Like every other herbivore, tortoises need fibers in their diet as well. Fibers not only help them in digestion but can also be broken down into carbs, providing them with energy. About 10-30% of your pet’s diet should ideally consist of fibers.
Downsides Of Overfeeding Bananas To Tortoises
Bananas can enhance your pet’s health in many ways. But when you feed too many of these fruits to your tortoises, they might suffer some serious consequences as well.
The first issue with overfeeding bananas to tortoises is their high sugar content. Tortoises have difficulty in digesting too much sugar, which is why they can easily suffer from digestive issues like loose stool or diarrhea when they eat too many bananas. Moreover, its sweetness and stickiness can also lead to the rotting beak of your pet.
Another concern about bananas for your pet’s health is their improper Ca:P ratio. If your pets are eating bananas in excess, they can suffer from the deficiency of calcium, which can result in their fragile bones and exoskeleton.
Therefore, it is vital that you feed your tortoise bananas, or any other fruit, in careful moderation.
Is It Safe To Feed Tortoises Banana Peels?
As you already know, banana peels are highly fibrous, which makes them healthy for adult tortoises in moderation.
However, if you want to feed these peels to your pets safely, you must always purchase organic bananas for them, because they’re grown without the use of any toxins or pesticides. And even then, these peels should only be fed to the tortoises occasionally, just like the fruits themselves.
Tortoise Species And Bananas
There are many different tortoise species in the world, and not all of them have similar eating habits and nutritional needs. Therefore, it’s not likely for bananas to fit into all of their diets. Below, we will discuss whether the following tortoise species can or cannot eat bananas:
Can Sulcata Tortoises eat bananas?
Also known as the “African Spurred Tortoise”, the Sulcata Tortoises belong to the southern part of the Sahara. Being the largest mainland tortoise species in the world, these reptiles are voracious eaters that primarily feed on grass.
Ideally, leafy greens should make a large portion of their diet and fruits like bananas should be fed to them in extreme moderation (a couple of slices in 2 months). This is because these tortoise species can fall sick if they eat sugar.
Can Hermann’s Tortoises eat bananas?
Native to southern Europe, Hermann’s Tortoises are a near-threatened tortoise species that have a varied diet consisting of weeds and edible plants. These tortoises need a low-protein diet with an abundance of calcium and fibers.
Since fruits and vegetables (including bananas) are not a part of their natural diet, eating them can create problems in their digestive system. Bananas should, thus, not be fed to Hermann’s Tortoises.
Can Red-footed Tortoises Eat Bananas?
The Red-footed Tortoises are species of fruit-eating tortoise that are endemic to South America. These tortoises can safely eat a number of fruits, including bananas.
Can Russian Tortoises Eat Bananas?
Also referred to as the “Afghan Tortoise”, the Russian Tortoises are a vulnerable species of tortoise that are native to Central Asia. Although these tortoises primarily eat fruits and vegetables, a large portion of their diet consists of leafy greens. Fruits like bananas should make only 10% of their diet, therefore, you should feed them these in moderation.
How To Feed Bananas To Tortoises?
Bananas are one of the most hassle-free fruits to feed your pets, since they contain no seeds, have soft flesh, and can be peeled by hands. Below, we are going to give you some pointers that can help you in feeding them bananas:
- Always purchase organic bananas for your tortoises, for these are free from all kinds of pesticides and chemicals.
- While purchasing bananas, make sure that they’re fresh.
- You can feed both sliced as well as mashed bananas to your tortoise.
- Every once in a while, a small piece of a banana peel can also be fed to your tortoise in order to add more fibers to their diet.
Conclusion: Can Tortoises Eat Bananas?
To wrap it up, let’s do a quick recap of everything we have learned so far: not all tortoise species can eat bananas, so make sure to check about your pet’s specific needs before feeding bananas, or any other fruits to them.
Even the fruit-eating tortoise species should eat bananas only in moderation if they are to stay healthy. When fed in excess, the sugar and improper Ca:P ratio of bananas can be harmful to them.