When it comes to feeding your pet tortoise, owners often tend to get confused due to the vast amount of conflicting information available. This makes it difficult to know what is safe and preferable. However, one thing that is known and consistent across the board is that 80% of a pet tortoise’s diet should consist of fresh vegetables. But, does this include cucumbers?
Can tortoises eat cucumbers? Simply put, yes, it is safe for tortoises to eat cucumber. However, there are certain things you must take care of. The main purpose of adding cucumbers to a tortoise meal is that most of them enjoy the delicious taste and coolness of this vegetable.
Moreover, tortoises shouldn’t just be provided with soft leaves to consume as it does not encourage any wear on their jaws. This may lead to the ‘beak’ at the front of the mouth to overgrow. Cucumbers provide that extra crunch needed, along with a bountiful of taste.
However, cucumbers ideally don’t offer many nutrients; hence, they aren’t very beneficial to tortoises. While adding cucumbers to a tortoise meal, you must ensure that it is mixed with other nutritious green vegetables to ensure your tortoise gets a balanced diet.
Tortoise species that can consume cucumbers
Regardless of the species, all tortoises need to consume a variety of plants. However, which plant suits them best and provides them with a healthy living depends on their species. So, which tortoise species can consume cucumber? We’ve listed a few popular breeds and given a brief overview.
A giant Sulcata tortoise needs a considerable amount of roughage in their diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Grasses and weeds make up for most of their diet, and hay and grass work well for this species as well.
In addition to this, you should add chunks or scraps of cucumber to their diet too. You can also feed them with hibiscus leaves and Opuntia, also known as the prickly pear cactus. Be sure to dust their food with calcium powder as well to give them the additional boose of energy.
Aldabra, Leopard, and Galapagos
The Aldabra, Leopard, and Galapagos tortoises need to have a diverse diet, filled with various grasses, vegetables, and fruits. Cucumbers are recommended for all these species, along with different flowers and weeds. You should consider adding hay to the meal as well to add playtime with healthy meals.
When it comes to tortoises, the Russian tortoise isn’t a picky eater, and they do enjoy the crunch and delicious taste of cucumbers in their meals. But, unlike the other species in this list, the Russian tortoise doesn’t require as much grass in their diet than a blend of various vegetables.
So, ensure that you add vegetables like cauliflower, lettuce, and carrots, along with cucumbers to your pet Russian tortoise’s meal.
As mentioned, a tortoise’s diet can differ greatly based on their species; hence, you need to carry out proper research before providing for your pet. To know for sure, you could also consider consulting a vet or get your pet from a reputable breeder who will help you figure out what your friend can eat to maintain a healthy diet.
Do Cucumbers Keep Tortoises Hydrated? How Often Should You Give Them Water?
It’s crucial to keep your tortoise appropriately hydrated as dehydration can cause chemical imbalances, bladder stones, weakening of shells, bladder stones, and other issues. These can often be life-threatening to your tortoise.
Common symptoms of your tortoise being dehydrated include:
- Sunken eyes
- Loose skin
- Dry feces
- Loss of appetite
- Thick mucus on the mouth
Hence, it’s imperative to replicate the dietary behavior of a tortoise in the wild. This includes accounting for the lack of natural sources of moisture, which include rain, fog, and mist.
It’s no secret that cucumbers are a good source of water as it contains 90% of water by weight percentage. However, as cucumbers don’t add too much nutritious value for tortoises, it’s recommended to feed them cucumbers moderately.
Hence, if cucumbers are fed in limited amounts, they don’t act as a rich water source, and can’t be relied upon to keep your pet well-hydrated.
If you’re looking for more effective ways to keep your tortoise hydrated, we’ve covered certain best practices below:
If your tortoise is showing the early signs of dehydration, place it in a tub filled with warm water. The water level should be halfway up to its shell.
You should mix electrolytes to the warm water and keep your tortoise soaked in it for about 30 minutes. The best way to carry this out is by placing the tub in the sun with your tortoise.
Keep a bathtub filled with water inside the terrarium of your tortoise. Ensure that the tub is deep enough for your pet to be covered in the water till half of its shell. You should add warm water to this tub at least once a day as tortoises love soaking themselves in water.
Keep the terrarium of your pet humid, as this can reduce the rate of dehydration.
Ensure your tortoises’ food is moist as this keeps them hydrated. Hence, their diet should include moist food soaked in grains, wet grass, melons, and others.
Apply a thin layer of moisturizing cream, gel, or olive oil on your tortoise’s shell to reduce the evaporation rate. Before applying the solution, soak your tortoise in warm water for about 15 minutes for the best effectiveness.
Ways To Feed Cucumber To Tortoises
Now that we’ve established that cucumbers can be added to a tortoise diet let’s see the various ways in which you can feed this vegetable to your pet.
As A Whole
It’s a known fact that tortoises aren’t good at eating dense or big chunks of foods or fruits. This is because their beaks only allow them to consume bite-sized portions of food.
Hence, when you’re feeding your pet cucumbers as a whole, you should quarter the vegetable and slice it in small pieces for easy consumption. If you give a big chunk of cucumber to your tortoise, it’ll just be another play toy for your pet.
Grate Your Way
Another good way to feed cucumbers to your tortoise is by grating it into the bowl of chopped weeds and vegetables and mix it all up.
Juice It Up
Another way to add this delicious vegetable in your tortoise’s meal is by extracting its juice and sprinkling it on the meal.
Frequently asked questions
Mentioned below are answers to some of the most common questions pertaining to the diet of tortoises.
How often should you feed tortoises? While this largely depends on the species and the meal size, the general rule is to feed the animal every other day or even three times a week. If you have a baby tortoise, you should consider feeding it once a day.
What foods are not safe for tortoise consumption?
Following foods are unsuitable to tortoises and should not be fed:
- Asparagus Fern
- Avocado (leaves, seeds)
How long can a tortoise go without food? Ideally, the species, size, diet, overall health, and age play a major role in determining how long your tortoise can survive without food. Moreover, some species often undergo hibernation or brumation, which dramatically lessens their need for food.
In conclusion, to answer the original question of whether tortoises can eat cucumbers, yes, most tortoises can eat cucumbers along with a well-balanced diet.
While most tortoises will immensely enjoy this vegetable, there can be the odd tortoise that doesn’t enjoy the vegetable. In such cases, there’s no need to enforce consumption on the animal as it is not a vital ingredient to ensure a tortoise’s well-being.