Can Turtles & Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Many fruits and vegetables are not naturally accessible to turtles and tortoises, but they may be a healthy addition to a pet turtle or tortoise’s diet. On the other hand, not every food is good for your turtle, and some might even be harmful. Therefore the issue, “Can turtles and tortoises consume tomatoes?” comes up. 

Only fully ripe, red tomatoes are safe for turtles and tortoises to consume. Tortoises and turtles should avoid eating any part of green tomatoes, including the leaves and stems. Incorporating tomatoes into a turtle or tortoise’s diet should be reserved for special occasions.

Tomatoes are safe for turtles and tortoises to consume, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Several qualifications should be made about this claim. 

Read on, since the following piece addresses every concern you may have about the nutrition of turtles and tortoises with respect to tomatoes.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Turtles?

It’s not the same thing to say that something is safe for your turtle to consume just because it is not harmful.

To put it another way, if you’re a healthy human being, eating gummy worms won’t kill you, but they also aren’t exactly healthy.

Tomatoes are a fantastic meal for your pet turtle, as you probably already knew. In this case, we’re talking about those perfectly red, juicy tomatoes.

Your turtle may get vitamins and minerals, like calcium and phosphorus, from the red tomato flesh, which is also high in color.

Can Turtles Break Down Tomatoes?

Only easily digested meals will allow the body to absorb the nutrients they contain.

To your fortunate relief, tomatoes do not have such a high fiber content that they are expelled from your turtle’s body without being digested, nor are they covered in an inedible coating that has to be peeled off before your turtle may consume them.

This means that the nutrients in tomatoes are readily available to turtles, since the reptiles may absorb them.

However, you need to watch how much, when, and what sections of the tomato you feed your turtle.

Should You Feed Tomatoes To Your Turtle?

Tomatoes are good for your pet turtle for a few reasons:

You may get your fill of calcium, vitamin A, and hydration from them. They are delicious.

However, there are several factors why you shouldn’t give tomatoes to your turtle:

  • You should not give non-organic tomatoes to your turtle since they may be polluted by insecticides, which are detrimental to your turtle.
  • Tomatoes, especially when fresh or green, are toxic to turtles, so don’t give them to your reptile.
  • If you want to keep your turtle safe, avoid giving it any part of the tomato plant, including the leaves and stems.
  • Because of the significant amount of sugar that tomatoes contain, you should limit the number of tomatoes that your turtle consumes (tomatoes are actually fruits). If you give your turtle excessive glucose, it might lead to diarrhea and stomach bloating, both of which could be uncomfortable for your turtle.
  • Tomatoes are not good for turtles in excessive numbers and may be poisonous if fed to them in excess.
  • If your turtle is ill, you shouldn’t give them tomatoes since the acid in tomatoes might aggravate an existing inflammation.
  • You shouldn’t feed your turtle tomatoes often. instead, save them for special occasions.

Are Tomato Leaves Safe For Turtles To Eat?

Due to the substantial concentrations of the poisonous alkaloid tomatine in tomato leaves, turtles should not try to consume them. Turtles should avoid this at all costs.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Box Turtles To Eat?

Tomatoes are OK for box turtles to consume when they are fully ripe and red in color, however, green tomatoes, leaves, and stems should be avoided.

Additionally, watch out for the quantity. Tomatoes, with their greater sugar content, will be more appealing to a box turtle than vegetable food.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Aquatic Turtles To Eat?

Your aquatic turtle’s normal diet is unlikely to contain tomatoes if they still existed in the wild. Vegetables are suggested for feeding your aquatic turtle for the plant component of its diet.

There shouldn’t be an issue if you offer your turtle a tiny bit of red tomato now and again.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Snapping Turtles To Eat?

Freshwater ecosystems are home to snapping turtles, a kind of aquatic turtle. Because of this, tomatoes are not a staple in their diet but may be offered as a treat.

The red, fleshy section of the plant is the only safe component to feed turtles.

Is It Safe To Feed Baby Turtles Tomatoes?

Most pet turtle hatchlings are relatively tiny. In this situation, they are considerably more likely to consume a lethal dose of tomatine or an unhealthy quantity of sugar.

Therefore, until tomatoes are mature and larger, it is best to avoid feeding them.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Yellow-Bellied Sliders To Eat?

As aquatic creatures, yellow-bellied sliders do not come across tomatoes in their native environment. A yellow-bellied slider wouldn’t have any problems eating an occasional red tomato.

Are Tomatoes Safe for Red-Eared Slider Turtles To Eat?

The red-eared slider is a species of aquatic turtle that shares many characteristics with the snapping turtle and the yellow-bellied slider.

Therefore, it’s possible that an occasional indulgence of a ripe tomato wouldn’t do any damage.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Musk Turtles To Eat?

Another aquatic reptile, the musk turtle is mostly a carnivore. This implies that you may offer them a slice of ripe and red tomato periodically, but they are less inclined to consume it.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Map Turtles To Eat?

One of the tinier reptiles, map turtles are a rarity. Considering their size, tomatoes may not be the ideal choice of food for your map turtle.

Are Tomatoes Safe For Painted Turtles To Eat?

A tiny quantity of red tomato once in a while shouldn’t affect your painted turtle, as it wouldn’t harm any of the other aquatic turtle species.

Is It Safe To Feed Cherry Tomatoes To Turtles?

Cherry tomatoes are edible for turtles, but just the red meat within the tomato. Never give your turtle the part that is even somewhat green, including the foliage and stems of cherry tomatoes.

Limit your turtle’s intake to infrequent occasions, just like you would with normal tomatoes.

Can You Feed Tortoises Tomatoes?

Most likely, if your tortoise eats ripe tomatoes, it won’t get sick.

Toasted foods have less nutritional content than other fruits, so it’s best to avoid giving them to your tortoise frequently. Additionally, the plant itself has several dangerous elements.

Is It Beneficial For Tortoises To Eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes’ beneficial effects on health are proportional to the quantity and quality of plant matter consumed.

1. Safety

Tortoises can eat ripe tomatoes, but it’s not like they do themselves any favors. However, because of the greater levels of tomatine and solanine in immature tomatoes, all species of tortoises should avoid eating them.

These two chemicals are antimicrobial, according to the National Library of Medicine. When consumed, they cause harm to animals. 

The more harmful of the two chemicals is solanine, which is present in all members of the nightshade family. The most typical symptoms of overdosing on this alkaloid are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

While less poisonous than other chemicals, tomatine still possesses enough fungicidal and anti-microbial qualities to make animals sick if they consume it in sufficient numbers. 

It causes weakness, nausea, and diarrhea by interfering with neurotransmitters and damaging cell membranes.

The tomato plant contains different concentrations of the chemicals solanine and tomatine. The fruit peel has the highest quantities, whereas the fruit itself has the lowest. The leaves and stems have the largest concentrations of toxins.

Nutritional Worth

Tomatoes include the following essential nutrients:

  • Vitamin K1 primarily helps the blood clot in the event of an accident, but it also helps the skeletons and carapace stay healthy.
  • Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, with an average of 20 milligrams per 100 grams. The antioxidant components in it effectively stop cell and tissue deterioration.
  • Potassium aids in carbohydrate digestion and maintains a normal heart rhythm. The chemical folate plays a crucial role in the creation of new red blood cells.
  • Lycopene protects against cellular deterioration and damage. It also reduces the rate of bone loss associated with aging, so your turtle can carry on moving and working for a longer period of time. 
  • Constipation is avoided and gut health is enhanced by dietary fiber.
  • The typical ripe tomato is more than 95% water.

As dehydration is a leading cause of mortality in tortoises, it is crucial that you feed your tortoise meals that contain a lot of water.

But you can’t rely just on the water content of tomatoes and other meals. It’s important to provide them with clean water on a consistent basis to sustain their metabolism.

Which Tomato Type Is Good For Tortoises?

Nutrient content varies widely across tomato varieties.

Tortoises, provided they are fed ripe cherry tomatoes, are thought to benefit from the food. To provide just a few examples, they include a lot of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A , potassium, salt, and iron.

In addition, tortoises like them because they are sweet and juicy. Despite their seeming high caloric content, they really provide adequate fiber (approximately 8% of RDI). This implies they are good for tortoises’ digestive systems since they encourage regular bowel motions.

Compared to regular tomatoes, grape tomatoes are a healthier option since they include the same types of minerals in similar proportions, with the exception of greater fiber content. 

If you don’t want your tortoise to eat sugary meals, you may find their milder sweetness appealing.

Are Tortoises Safe to Eat Tomato Seeds?

Ripe tomatoes are the only ones whose seeds include tiny traces of solanine and tomatine.

To make matters worse, the tomato brown rugose virus may be transmitted via the planting of infected seeds. 

Though the long-term consequences on animals are unknown at this time, it is anticipated that ingestion by tortoises will result in digestive distress.

The seeds do, however, contain advantageous biomolecules, including polysaccharides, phytochemicals, and proteins, according to Biomedicine Pharmacotherapy. 

Depending on the dosage, these macromolecules may serve as antioxidants or even kill bacteria. Tomato seeds are safe for tortoises, provided they come from healthy tomatoes.

How Many Tomatoes Can A Tortoise Safely Eat?

The percentage of a tortoise’s diet that should come from fruit varies per species. Tomatoes aren’t as healthy as other fruits, therefore you shouldn’t feed them to your tortoise too often.

It takes a tortoise anything from 6 days to 13 days to digest a tomato seed, according to research out of Sweden’s Uppsala University. This implies you should limit your tortoise’s tomato intake to one every two weeks.

Tomatoes are generally safe for tortoises, although they aren’t exactly the best diet option. Tomatoes contain the same essential elements that are also present in greater concentrations in grasses, flowers, and leafy greens. 

These items should compose the bulk of your tortoise’s diet, at least 80 percent.

Which Tortoises Enjoy Tomatoes?

While it’s true that any tortoise will eat a tomato, certain species are more ideally adapted to doing so than others.

These tortoises thrive in tropical environments like savannahs and rainforests because of the abundance of plant matter like as fruits, stems, and flowers. 

Yellow-footed, red-footed, African-spurred, and leopard tortoises are all in this group. Because of this, their gastrointestinal systems have adapted to fruit eating.

Tortoises including the Sulcata, Russian, and Hermann’s tortoises, as well as those native to arid regions where fruit trees are scarce, have digestive systems more adapted to processing grasses and leaves.

Before You Go

The tortoise diet may seem uninteresting and tasteless to humans. It’s reasonable to want to liven up their diets by including a vibrant vegetable or fruit like a tomato. 

Tomatoes, once ripe are okay for tortoises to eat, but as we’ve seen, they don’t contribute much to their diet other than flavor. 

Instead of feeding your tortoise just tomatoes, try feeding it a variety of veggies. To know more check out: 

Can Turtles & Tortoises Eat Spinach?

Can Turtles & Tortoises Eat Celery?

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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