There are over 356 known species of turtles in the world. With this diversity, the question of what turtles can eat and what they can’t is always common. Tomato, which is from the Solanaceae family, is well known for its various nutritional advantages, which is just what turtles need.
So, can turtles eat tomatoes? Yes, turtles can eat tomatoes, but only when ripe because green tomatoes are toxic to turtles. Tomatoes are rich in calcium which many reptiles require for their bones and shell. However, it’s advisable to give turtles tomatoes as a treat rather than the main diet.
Whenever you’re skeptical about what diet is good for your turtle, it’s always best to first identify your turtle’s species. The next step should be surveying through websites to determine the right food for your pet and any possible side effects. Below is an in-depth analysis of this topic.
Can You Feed Tomatoes To Your Pet Turtles?
Lack of calcium and vitamin A are two major causes of turtle’s illness. These nutrients are present in tomatoes, so it’s quite right for pet turtles to eat these fruits. With turtles possessing no teeth, they find this soft fruit comfortable to feed on. Tomatoes are also low on fiber which enables turtles to digest them more comfortably and faster.
As you read about tomatoes and turtles, you will observe that raw or green tomatoes are toxic to turtles. It is recommended to feed turtles only ripe tomatoes, which are most nutritious when red and fresh. Leaves and stems of the tomato plants are also dangerous to the turtles’ health if consumed. Also, it is advisable not to feed too many tomatoes to turtles since the high sugar level can result in bloating.
Despite being a fruit, tomatoes are generally eaten like vegetables. They are a major source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate. 95% of tomato is water, with the rest being mainly carbohydrates and fiber. These nutrients are very important to humans and animals, including turtles.
Despite having a variety of both land and sea turtles, most of their diets are alike. Therefore, it’s not likely to mistakenly feed these pets the wrong foods even though for starters it’s proposed to begin with small treats. Most of these treats, however, are less nutritious than their natural foods, which are mostly more nutritive.
These fruits should be offered less frequently than their usual diets. Of course, you have other foods and vegetables to feed your turtle, and you don’t want to interfere with their feeding behaviors.
Do Turtles Like Tomatoes?
Turtles like tomatoes. This mostly is because tomatoes are sugary, sweet, and comfortable for turtles to eat. Since turtles are known to be opportunistic feeders, it’s advised to feed these fruits less frequently than other healthier diets. But, remember, only ripe tomatoes should be fed to turtles.
Health Benefits For Turtles Eating Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain various vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to the turtle’s health. They contain beta-carotene, which on consumption converts to Vitamin A, aiding in the eye and respiratory health. Vitamin C, on the other hand, helps to fight diseases, boosts immunity, and assists in iron absorption in turtles. High fiber in tomato fruit helps to control metabolism while enzymes, potassium, and vitamin B6 nurture cardiovascular activities in turtles.
How Many Tomatoes Should Turtles Eat?
Even though tomatoes are very rich in nutrients, they’re not healthier than most vegetables. Therefore, turtles should be fed just a few tomatoes and more on healthier foods like collards and dandelion. Overfeeding turtles on tomatoes can be lethal. Tomatoes contain an alkaloid compound called tomatine, which if ingested in large quantities, can be toxic.
How Do You Prepare Tomatoes For Turtles?
Turtles can eat tomatoes either sliced or as a whole. The softness of this fruit makes it easy for the turtles to eat them. It’s recommended to first wash the tomatoes before feeding the turtles to get rid of any pesticides that might be contaminating them. Tomatoes should also be ripe and fresh before feeding them to the turtles.
Can You Feed Tomatoes To Baby Turtles?
You can feed tomatoes to baby turtles though sparingly and after cleaning them thoroughly. Since they are small and their digestive system isn’t yet developed, it’s best to give them a small amount and then observe their stool. Avoid feeding them green or raw tomatoes since the tomatine in the raw tomato can be poisonous.
Video Of A Turtle Eating Tomatoes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Box turtles can eat tomatoes. 10-20% of box turtles’ diet should be fruits and the rest vegetables. Box turtles tend to like the less nutritious foods like fruits over the much healthier ones like vegetables. With this in mind, it’s best to give turtles tomatoes sparingly so they can retain some appetite for a healthier diet.
An occasional tomato treat to the red-eared slider turtle is okay. Although they like feeding on their natural aquatic vegetation, red-eared slider turtles eat almost everything they are offered. It’s recommended to give them only ripe tomatoes to snack on to avoid toxicity from the high levels of tomatine that we talked about.
Painted turtles enjoy feeding on a variety of diets and will therefore enjoy tomato fruits. However, it’s advised to feed these pets once every two days to reduce the chances of them becoming overweight. They should not be fed on tomato plants’ stems or leaves since they can be poisonous to them.
Tomatoes have many nutritional advantages to both humans and animals. It’s best to share the most beneficial foods with pets to watch as they reap the much-needed nutrients and grow healthy. Even though there are many turtle species, most of them share the same diet interests.
Can turtles eat tomatoes? The best way to know what your pet likes is by offering them a few treats and observing their reactions. Some of them might end up liking these treats more than others. However, you should first enlighten yourself on what is harmful and what isn’t before feeding them.