Tortoises Eating Strawberries: The Complete Diet Guide

Tortoises, the adorable creatures, are quite peace-loving. With their perfect round shells, the tortoises make for a lovely pet. They belong to the reptile species and prefer to live on land. 

You might be surprised to know that turtles and tortoises are actually different in quite a lot of respects. In fact, their dietary practices vary to a great extent. While the tortoises are purely vegetarians and love to munch on fruits, plants, veggies, and other alike items, the turtles are omnivores. 

A tortoise eating a strawberry

If you are confused as to whether you should feed your tortoises strawberries, you are undoubtedly at the right place. 

We will be discussing shortly the proper diet routine of a tortoise that will help you in taking proper care of your pet. 

So, let’s delve deep into the food routine that will give your tortoise a superlative health condition. 

Types Of Tortoises 

Two tortoises munching on leaves

Do you know that there are actually two types of tortoises, divided on the basis of their natural habitat? What is interesting is that their dietary practices also vary depending upon the group to which they belong. 

  1. Tortoises Dwelling in the Dry Areas of the World 
  • Hermann’s Tortoise (Testudo hermanni)
  • African Sulcata 
  •  Indian Star Tortoise 
  • Horsfield’s Tortoise (Agrionemys horsfieldii)

This group of tortoises has an affinity to feed on leaves, stems, and other plant matter. 

  1. Tortoises Dwelling in the Woods or Forests 
  • Yellow Footed Tortoise 
  • Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata)
  • Red Footed Tortoise 

This group of tortoises lives on fruits. 

What Are The Foods To Be Fed To The Tortoises? 

  • Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
  • Mallow 
  • Clover 
  • Plaintain 
  • Coleus 
  • Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
  • Hawkbit (Species of Leontodon)
  • Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)

All of the listed foods can be grown from seeds. It is advisable for you to avoid plants that are directly available from the shops. The reason is these kinds of plants contain lethal pesticides and might affect the health of the tortoise. 

No matter which vegetables or fruits you wish to include in the diet of your tortoise, remember that variety in the diet is really important. For instance, you may feed your tortoise carrot that is well-grated. Include such food items in the meal that contain Calcium and Vitamin D3. These are really crucial in strengthening the bones of the tortoises. 

What Fruit Can Tortoises Eat? 

Fruits

Fruit-eating tortoises can be given the below-mentioned nutrient-rich fruits. 

  • Blackberries 
  • Grapes 
  • Raspberries 
  • Melon 

Sweet dessert apple and mango can be offered to the fruit-eating tortoises, but only in small amounts. Excess intake of these fruits by the tortoises may result in the condition of diarrhea. 

You may feed your tortoise bananas, cherries, and strawberries but only occasionally. Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges are to be avoided at all costs. If you have a Mediterranean tortoise, refrain from offering fruits to it. 

The tortoises belonging to the Rainforest species can be provided with bananas and cherries, but only in small quantities. 

What Are The Foods That You Should Not Feed Your Tortoise? 

To ensure your tortoise leads a healthy and disease-free life, we have come up with a well-researched list of the food items that you should never feed to your shelly pet. 

  • Avocado 
  • Daffodil 
  • Citrus fruits 
  • Iris 
  • Wood anemone 
  • Buttercup 
  • Hydrangea 
  • Auricula 
  • Azalea
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Mediterranean tortoises are fond of strawberries, so you should take great care to keep them away from this fruit. The high concentration of sugar might make them fall prey to diarrhea. Be cautious enough to include strawberries in the pet’s diet only in minor amounts. Similarly, sweetcorn and maize are also to be excluded from the diet chart of the tortoises. 

Can Tortoises Eat Strawberries? 

tortoise eating strawberries

Some tortoises can eat strawberries, but not all of them. The fruit-eating tortoises will find pleasure in munching on the juicy strawberries. But if the tortoise belongs to the Desert and Mediterranean species, you should not offer too many strawberries to them. 

However, the younger, fresher leaves of the strawberries can be fed to all the tortoises. The older leaves are not supposed to be fed to any of the tortoises. Wondering what the reason is? Well, it is because the older strawberry leaves contain hydrogen cyanide gas that is quite poisonous to the tortoises. 

Strawberry is a fruit with high sugar content. Feeding the tortoises excess amounts of strawberry may afflict them with diarrhea. Consider strawberry as a treat and offer it to your pet occasionally. 

Never include strawberries as a staple food of the tortoises. Include this fruit in the balanced diet of your pet buddy as a treat, in small to moderate amounts. Do note that things like squash or bell peppers have less sugar content and are actually very typical kinds of fruits. But, strawberries fall into the category of ‘sweet fruits’. So, you can feed these to your tort to bring variety to their diet. 

Tortoise Diet

As discussed previously, the food habits of the tortoises greatly depend upon the group to which they belong. Its geographical place of origin determines its food habits. Ensure that the greens and vegetables are offered to the torts in proportional amounts. Irrespective of the group to which your pet tortoise belongs, it is crucial that you try to maintain their diet at home as they would have had themselves in the wild. 

  1. Grazing Tortoises and Their Diets 
  • Leopard Tortoises: 20-30% of the diet should contain flowering plants along with juicy foods and weeds. 
  • Indian Tortoises: Any type of fruits, veggies, or salad recipes are to be avoided from their diets. 
  • African Sulcata Tortoises: The diet should comprise 70% of fresh hay and grasses of mixed types. 
  1. Rainforest Tortoises and Their Diets 
  • Red-footed Tortoises: The diet of the red-footed torts has to consist of about 70% of weeds, other green matter, and flowering plants. 
  • Yellow-footed Tortoises: The food chart has to contain about 30% fruits and protein items in small quantities. 
  1. Mediterranean Tortoises and Their Diets 
  • Hermanns Tortoise: The diet must not contain fruits, veggies or salads at all. 
  • Greek Tortoise: You can incorporate in their diets absolutely 100% variety of both flowering plants as well as the weeds. 

How To Feed Strawberries To Tortoises? 

Since strawberries have high sugar content, you can feed it to your tortoise sparingly and just as a treat. But, how shall you feed this fruit to your tort? We will see that now!

  • Make sure that the strawberries have been grown in a purely organic manner. Don’t feed your tort any wild strawberries but only the cultivated ones. 
  • Wash the fruits properly so that no traces of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides are found in the strawberries. 
  • Whether you want the tortoises to feed on the whole strawberry or on the small cut pieces is absolutely up to you. Tortoises can eat up the strawberry as a whole as well as possess the capability of feeding on the small cut pieces of the fruit. 
  • Avoid giving only strawberries to the tortoises. Mix the strawberry along with other fruits and vegetables while feeding your tort. 
  • Overfeeding the tortoises with strawberries is a big no-no. The high sugar content of this fruit makes them suffer from diarrhea and severe loose stool problems. 
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Are Feeding Strawberries To The Tortoises Safe?

As mentioned before, feeding strawberries to the torts in small amounts is not harmful. You can also feed them the strawberry leaves but those have to be young. Let’s have a look at the nutritional value of strawberries. This will give you an idea as to what benefits your pet will get on consuming this fruit and what possible health problems they may get from overfeeding at the same time. 

  • Water: 90.95 g
  • Protein: 0.67 g
  • Total fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.68 g
  • Total energy: 32 kcal 
  • Sugar: 4.89 g
  • Vitamin C: 58.8 mg 
  • Vitamin B6: 0.047 mg 
  • Vitamin A: 12 IU
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Minerals
  1. Iron: 0.41 mg 
  2. Magnesium: 0.386 mg 
  3. Potassium: 153 mg 
  4. Sodium: 1 mg 
  5. Phosphorus: 24 mg 
  6. Calcium: 16 mg 

What Are The Benefits Of Feeding Strawberries to Tortoises 

  • Proper Hydration: It is very important for the tortoises to stay thoroughly hydrated. According to the vets, acute dehydration in tortoises may lead to chemical imbalances, digestive problems, and the formation of bladder stones. Needless to say, all of these have the potential to threaten the life of the tortoise species. Provide the torts with adequate fresh and clean water on a regular basis. Take an empty bowl and pour the water in it in a way so that it maintains a shallow effect. This way of placing the water is essential to minimize the chances of the torts drowning. 

Apart from strawberries, you can also make the tortoise eat some other fruit, that is, watermelon or cantaloupe. 

  • Value of Vitamins and Minerals: We all know how important the role vitamins and minerals play in maintaining the health of literally all the organisms starting from humans to torts. Calcium is a very important mineral for the torts but it has been seen that they are mostly calcium deficient. Phosphorus is also needed for ensuring the tortoises have a good health condition. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and iron are required in traces in the tortoise’s body. The vitamins also act as good antioxidants and also have good regulators of metabolism. Strawberries are rich sources of all these crucial vitamins and minerals. So, this fruit has its own special importance!
  • Protein and Fat Value of the Strawberry: It is very essential that a tortoise has about 70% of greens, 15% of veggies, 10% of high fiber, and 5% of fruits in its diet. The amount of proteins and fruits that a tort need is sufficiently present in the strawberries. So, feeding this fruit to your pet animal in small portions is a good and healthy thing to do. 

Risk Of Overfeeding Strawberries To Tortoises 

Though strawberries are excellent treats for the cute tortoises to be given in moderation, offering them in large amounts can actually make them fall sick. 

The high sugar level of the strawberries can lead to severe decay of the beak of the tortoise. Such is the effect of strawberries on the torts if taken in excess! The fact that strawberries contain negligible fiber value may lead to a loose stool in the torts and thus causing diarrhea. 

Always consider strawberry as a treat to be fed in little amounts and not include it as a staple food item of the torts. 

Can You Grow Your Own Tortoise Food? 

Growing food for your dear tortoise is absolutely possible. Thanks to the availability of special seed mixes in the market, you can now purchase these and grow the plants easily on your windowsill. 

Put the plant-laden containers in the frequented location of your tort. The tortoises can now be fed any of their favorite food as they will just move out of their location and munch on the food that they like. Make sure that the sides of the container are low so as to let the tort have access to the plant food easily. Just take out the container sometimes to water the plant and then again keep it back to the frequented site of the tort. 

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How Much Should I Feed My Tortoise?

Since tortoises have the habit of moving about and nibbling green matter across their settlement periphery, it is usual that they will have a substantial amount of food while wandering around. Tortoises are exposed to a varied diet while living in the wild. Therefore, it is important that you offer a variety of foods to your tort while it is staying indoors. Instead of feeding it large quantities of food at a time, break it into small intervals and feed it twice a day. 

Can Desert Tortoises Eat Strawberries? 

Both the green matter and fruits are to be fed to the desert tortoises in moderate amounts. Avoid strawberries as these contain high sugar and starch levels that might disrupt the functioning of the bacteria present in the digestive tract of the torts. 

Can Tortoise Eat Grass? 

It is very important that you feed the torts with grass, weed, and hay. Grasses are a storehouse of nutrients and form an integral part of the tortoise food diet. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can Fruit-eating Tortoises Eat Berries? 

Fruit-eating tortoises can eat berries of all kinds. The non-fruit-eating tortoises are to be fed berries either in little amounts or not at all. 

Can Greek Tortoises Eat Strawberries? 

Greek tortoises will love to have strawberries and blueberries. But, you must feed strawberries to them only as a treat. You can provide them with highly dark leafy and succulent greens along with fruits such as pears and apples. 

Can Tortoises Eat The Strawberry Tops? 

The tortoises can be fed with the young, juicy leaves of strawberries. Strawberry leaves add to the variety in the diet, so it is good if you are feeding them this item only occasionally. You can give the strawberry fruit to your pet only if it is a fruit-eating tortoise. Do note that leaves contain tannin that lends a bitter taste to the plant, so your shelly buddy may not always like to have these. 

How Many Strawberries Can A Tortoise Have? 

You may feed the tortoises about 5 strawberries but feed it to them only after mixing it with other vegetables and fruits. 

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Strawberries? 

Russian tortoises can eat strawberries but vets suggest not doing so. This is because they fall into the category of Mediterranean tortoises and they have a very weak digestion tract. Thus, the element of excess sugar does not get properly digested in the tortoises’ body and makes them suffer from diarrhea. 

Can Baby Tortoises Eat Strawberries? 

You can make both the adult and baby tortoises have strawberries. However, make sure that they are fed strawberries only in moderation as an excess of it might make them suffer from diarrhea. 

Do Tortoises Eat Banana? 

Try to feed the tortoises banana in moderation. It will be better if you can mix the banana with other foods and provide it with a mixed diet. Tortoises can also eat banana peels which is a good source of fiber. But feed the banana peels to the torts only in moderation. 

Can A Tortoise Eat Cucumber And Bread? 

A tortoise can eat cucumbers but it is better if you provide it as a part of other greens that you will be including in the diet. Avoid providing your torts with bread or any other canned food items.

Can Tortoises Eat Cheese? 

Never feed tortoises with things like cheese, milk, or any other kind of dairy product. They are not able to digest the dairy items and fall sick as a result. 

What Do Tortoises Drink? 

Fresh and clean water is the thing that you should never forget to give to your tort. Greens and vegetables are a must in the diet as these too contain some percentage of water in them. 

Can Tortoises Swim? 

A turtle can swim very well but a tortoise cannot. The former uses its flippers while swimming.  

Do Tortoises Like Being Touched? 

It varies from one tortoise to the other. While some tortoises like to get their shells scratched a bit, others get really annoyed if you touch them. 

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Author
Abdul Rahim