An important thing to keep in mind while feeding your pet tortoise is that you need to replicate its wild foraging behavior. Tortoises, in general, are omnivorous, and they eat a mix of leaves, fruits, small insects, and so on. In order to replicate its wild foraging behavior, you can feed them leafy greens, grass, and most importantly, vegetables and fruits such as cucumber, cabbage, carrots, grapes, apricots, melons, and strawberries.
So can tortoise eat grapes? Yes, tortoises can feed on grapes. But that doesn’t mean you should feed grapes or other fruits regularly to your tortoise. An ideal way of feeding them fruits such as grapes would be to ensure that they do not comprise more than 20% of their total diet.
In this article, we will discuss in detail whether tortoises love grapes, is it safe to feed your tortoise grapes? How often to feed your tortoise? and other alternatives. So let’s get going!
- The Natural Diet Of A Tortoise!
- Do Tortoises Love Grapes?
- Is It Safe To Feed Grapes To Tortoises?
- Why Shouldn’t I Feed My Tortoise Grapes And Other Fruits?
- Can I Feed My Tort Dried Grapes?
- If Not Grapes, What All Fruits Can You Feed Your Tortoise?
- Apart From Grapes, What All Should I Not Feed My Tortoise?
- Can I Feed My Tortoise Grape Leaves?
- Except For Fruits, What Can I Feed Them?
- If Not Grapes, What Can I Feed My Tort As An Alternative Source Of Vitamin-C?
- Can I Feed Baby Tortoises Grapes One In A While?
- How Often Should You Feed Your Tortoise?
- What Are The Supplements I Should Feed My Tortoise?
- How Often Should You Give Water To Your Tortoise? Do Grapes Keep Them Hydrated?
- Keeping A Tortoise Hydrated – DIY For Tortoise Pet Owners
The Natural Diet Of A Tortoise!
First things first, before answering whether to feed grapes to your tortoise, it is important that you know what they eat in their natural habitat.
The diet of a tortoise in the wild depends on their immediate environment. Those tortoises that live in the dry and arid climate tend to feed mainly on leaves and stems, while those living in forested areas tend to feed more on fruits.
If you know the type of tortoise you have in your terrarium, things are going to be easy. For instance, if you have a red-foot tortoise, yellow-foot tortoise, or an elongated tortoise, you can feed them fruits as you wish. But if you are not sure of the type of tortoise you have, it is advised to stick on to an 80-20 diet pattern.
An 80-20 diet pattern means feeding your tortoise 80% fresh leaves & vegetables and 20% fruits.
Do Tortoises Love Grapes?
Yeah, tortoises in general love fruits. Tortoises are mainly seen in the wild, and they don’t have an option other than eating whatever they can find on forest floors or in the water.
Only a few members of the tortoise family, for instance, the red-foot tortoises, yellow-foot tortoises & elongated tortoises feed mainly on fruits in the wild. Rest all torts have a mixed diet with fresh leaves being their primary food.
Is It Safe To Feed Grapes To Tortoises?
You might know that grapes are harmful to dogs, and it is one of the leading causes of renal failure among dogs. In fact, scientists have not yet found the reason for grapes and resins being harmful to dogs.
But is that the case with tortoises too? Shouldn’t you feed them grapes?
Grapes are not harmful to tortoises as they are for dogs. But you should refrain from feeding them a significant amount of grapes. As mentioned earlier, the diet of a tortoise should consist of 80% fresh leaves and vegetables and 205 fruits.
So yeah, you can treat them with one or 2 grapes once in a while and not more than that.
Why Shouldn’t I Feed My Tortoise Grapes And Other Fruits?
As mentioned in the earlier sections, it is not that you shouldn’t feed your tortoise grapes or other fruits. Instead, fruits should only make 20% of their diet. In fact, tortoises love eating fruits. Well, who doesn’t like eating delicious & sweet fruits? And it is exactly the reason why you shouldn’t be feeding them too much of that.
The most important part of a tortoise for its survival is its hard shell, which is primarily made of calcium. With more sugar intake, the rate of calcium absorption will reduce drastically, which may be life-threatening to your tort.
The dietary pattern of torts in the wild mainly comprises of fresh leaves, vegetables, and sparingly on small insects and worms. It is doubtful that a tort’s digestive system is capable of digesting a large number of fruits.
Can I Feed My Tort Dried Grapes?
Ideally speaking, you shouldn’t feed your tort anything sweet because too much sweet can reduce the calcium absorption. But yeah, you can always treat them with a dried grape or two once in a while.
Another reason why we don’t entertain feeding torts dry grapes or any dry fruits is that the chances of dehydration increases. Torts, in general, spend some quality time in the water, and they mainly live near water bodies too. That is not the case with torts that are kept as pets.
Which is why prefer not to feed torts any dry fruits. Always keep in mind that the best way to go about choosing what to feed them will be to replicate its dietary pattern in the wild.
If Not Grapes, What All Fruits Can You Feed Your Tortoise?
As we mentioned in the earlier section, tortoises feed on fruits in the wild only when their immediate environment permits it. You also need to keep in mind that not all fruits are readily available on the wild, and their availability too may vary significantly with the terrain.
Keeping all these combinations in mind, we have categorized the list of fruits you can feed your tortoise into two.
- Perfect choice
- Okay choice
We’ll begin with the ideal choice. The ideal choice includes
- All kind of melons
If you choose to feed fruits from this list, you can select any one and feed them often in the 80-20 diet pattern we mentioned earlier.
Moving forward to the okay choice,
The fruits in the okay choice are
If you are feeding your tortoise from this okay list, make sure that you feed them this sparingly. More like, only if the fruits on the ideal list are not available, you can opt for the ones in the Okay list.
Apart From Grapes, What All Should I Not Feed My Tortoise?
You must be aware of what all the food you should not feed your tort. As mentioned in the earlier section, fruits should comprise only 20% of their diet because most fruits are rich in oxalic acid content, which can harm torts.
Among all the supplements a tort need, calcium is the most important because of its shell. The higher oxalic acid content in their diet will lead to reduced calcium absorption, which can be fatal for a tort.
Similarly, never feed your tort pet any dog or other pet food that is rich in animal proteins. Though torts are omnivorous, animal proteins comprise a small percentage of their diet, so refrain from feeding your torts pet food.
Can I Feed My Tortoise Grape Leaves?
It is perfectly fine to feed your tort grape leaves. Anything that is not sweet can be fed to your tort. Grapes leaves can make the perfect food for them, considering the amount of Vitamin A grape leaves have.
Apart from being rich in Vitamin A contents, grape leaves also have a high concentration of calcium. You can even feed your torts grape leaves regularly to avoid them artificial calcium supplements.
Except For Fruits, What Can I Feed Them?
Fruits do not make a significant diet of tortoises, as mentioned earlier. This means about 80% of the diet of your tortoise should be fresh vegetables or green leaves. You can feed them with a variety of green leaves or raw vegetables such as kales, dandelions, and so on.
You can even treat them with small pieces of sweet potato or tapioca once in a while if you wish to. But make sure that you don’t give them these regularly as it might create digestive issues to them.
These are the general dietary pattern that you can follow, but apart from these, you may also have to give them vitamins and other supplements at regular intervals. Yeah, similar to us, humans tortoises also need vitamins and other minerals to survive.
If Not Grapes, What Can I Feed My Tort As An Alternative Source Of Vitamin-C?
Yeah, grapes are indeed rich in vitamin-c content, and that’s something your tort needs. Instead of feeding them grapes, you can feed them other safer alternatives such as Grape leaves, spinach leaves.
You can even feed them fruits such as apple & kiwi that are rich in Vitamin C but with less sugar content in them. Yeah, yet these are only to be fed once in a while, ideally once a week.
Can I Feed Baby Tortoises Grapes One In A While?
You need to refrain from feeding baby torts grapes, at least till they are 6 to 8 months old. Unlike an adult tort, the digestive system of a baby tort can be susceptible. It is always advised to keep them on fresh leaves diet.
Once they are 6 to 8 months old, you can slowly start giving them fruits that have less sugar content and slowly progress towards giving them grapes and other fruits. This will ensure that the digestive system of baby torts get adequate time to accustom to the dietary pattern.
How Often Should You Feed Your Tortoise?
Before you understand how often you should feed your tortoise, you must understand its diet in the wild. You know how fat a tortoise can move, which speaks about the area it can forage. It isn’t easy to find food in the wild, so tortoises have evolved to be capable of consuming a large variety of food.
Not every day can a tortoise find food to eat and there might be days when they have to remain with an empty stomach. So while feeding your tortoise, it is important not to feed them for 2 days a week. These 2 days will help the tortoise’s slow digestive system to catch up, helping them stay healthy.
The best way to go about feeding your tortoise is to give them an amount equivalent to the size of their shell. Feed them once a day, 5 times a week. You can keep the starve day anytime in a week, but make sure that you don’t let them starve for straight 2 days.
What Are The Supplements I Should Feed My Tortoise?
If you know, the shell of a tortoise is made up of calcium. The shell of a tortoise must remain healthy for its survival. For pet tortoises, it is advised to mix powdered calcium along with the food they eat to give them calcium supplements.
While choosing calcium supplements, it would be better if you can find the one with good calcium to phosphorus ration.
Vitamin D3 is important for the proper absorption of calcium. If you are strong in biology, you might know that sunlight is the natural source of Vitamin D3. Since tortoises forage in the wild during day time, it’ll have adequate levels of Vitamin D3.
That is not the case with your pet living in the terrarium. In that case, you have to feed them Vitamin D3 & multivitamin supplements once a week.
Proteins are vital for the growth and strengthening of muscles, but you need to be very careful while feeding a protein-rich diet to your tortoise. As mentioned earlier, tortoises are omnivorous, which means they eat both plants and small insects in the wild.
These small insects and critters they eat in the wild are a significant source of protein for them. An important thing to keep in mind is the fact that tortoises need only a tiny percentage of proteins in their diet. Which means you should be careful not to feed them excess proteins.
How Often Should You Give Water To Your Tortoise? Do Grapes Keep Them Hydrated?
Well, grapes are a good source of water that contains 90% water by weight percentage but due to high sugar content, we avoid feeding them often to our pet tortoise. For baby tortoises, grapes should be completely avoided as they can deteriorate their health.
So, even though grapes are a rich water source, we can’t feed them to pet tortoises to keep them hydrated. Now, let’s know what is the right way to keep torts hydrated.
Keeping your pet tortoise hydrated is very important because dehydration can cause chemical imbalances, bladder stones, digestive issues, weakening of shells, and more. These can be life-threatening to your tortoise.
Tortoises can get dehydrated fast, and the common symptoms of dehydration include
- Sunken eyes
- Loose skin
- Dry feces
- Loss of appetite
- Thick mucus on the mouth
This is where the importance of replicating its dietary behavior in the wild comes. The packaged tortoise food most pet owners give does not have any moisture content in them and for a pet tortoise that’s devoid of natural sources of moisture such as rain, fog, and mist, it is going to be dangerous.
Keeping A Tortoise Hydrated – DIY For Tortoise Pet Owners
1. If you feel that your tortoise is dehydrated, place it inside a tub filled with warm water. An ideal water level would be about half the way up to its shell. Mix some electrolytes to the warm water and keep your tortoise soaked for about 30 minutes. The best way to go about this is to place the warm water tub out in the sun while soaking the tory.
2. Keep some water in a bathtub inside the terrarium you keep your tort. Make sure that the tub is big enough for the tort to get in and out and deep enough to cover half of its shell. It would be best if you can fill the tub with warm water once a day because vets claim that torts love to soak themselves in warm water.
3. Keeping the terrarium of your tort humid can reduce the rate of dehydration.
4. Feeding your torts moist food can keep them hydrated. Offer them moist food such as soaked grains, wet grass, melons, and so on.
5. Applying a thin layer of gel, baby oil, moisturizing cream, or olive oil to your tort’s shell can reduce the rate of evaporation. The best way to do this is to soak your tort in warm water for 15 minutes and then apply the gel.