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Can Tortoises Eat Strawberries? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

three pieces of fresh strawberries on the table

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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Tortoises are fascinating and long-lived reptiles that can make specialized pets. When caring for a tortoise, it is important to ensure that they are being fed a species-appropriate diet. There are many different species of tortoises, but only several of them are kept as pets.

Each of these different tortoises has specific dietary requirements that need to be met in captivity. However, they all have one thing in common—they are primarily herbivores. Tortoise owners should supplement their tortoise diet with fresh leafy greens and fruits, but first, you need to determine whether the food you plan to feed is safe for them.

Strawberries are safe for tortoises to eat. However, strawberries should be included in their diet as a treat and fed only in moderation.

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Are Strawberries Safe for Tortoises?

If you own a species of tortoise that primarily eats fruits, strawberries can make up a larger portion of their diet. The majority of Mediterranean tortoises like the Hermann’s tortoise tolerate sugary fruits like strawberries better in comparison to most desert-dwelling ones. Mediterranean and some rainforest-dwelling tortoises frequently come into contact with fallen fruit in the wild, so they are used to eating it.

It is best to avoid feeding too many strawberries to tortoises that originate from deserts. This is because these tortoises don’t typically eat fruit in the wild, and the high sugar content may interfere with their intestinal flora. These types of tortoises have different dietary requirements and fruit should not make up a large portion of their diet. Overfeeding strawberries to desert-dwelling tortoises may cause diarrhea and minor digestive issues since they do not need a lot of sugary foods in their diet. Strawberries should be fed sparingly to these tortoises alongside a healthy and balanced species-appropriate diet.

What Nutrition Do Strawberries Offer Tortoises?

Sulcata Tortoise staring at the strawberry
Image Credit: liyanurin, Shutterstock

Most tortoises enjoy eating strawberries because of their sweet taste and juicy texture. It’s rare to find a tortoise that will refuse to eat strawberries. Strawberries have a decent variety of nutrition for fruit-eating tortoises and contain a high number of vitamins such as vitamin C and antioxidants. They can make a great treat for tortoises that should be eating fruit in their diet, such as the Red-Footed Tortoise whose diet consists of around 30% to 55% of fruit.

What Should a Tortoise Be Eating?

Most domesticated tortoises are strict herbivores, which means that they feed on a diet consisting of leafy greens, fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Some species of tortoise may occasionally eat animal proteins like insects and carrion. Each species of tortoise has a specific diet that they need to be fed in captivity. This makes it important to research the specific dietary requirements that your species of tortoise requires or consult with an exotic veterinarian on the best diet for your type of tortoise.

You can also feed your tortoise a commercial pellet mix that is formulated for tortoises. There are several options available that meet the nutritional requirements of different species of tortoise. However, they aren’t an entirely complete diet for tortoises, and you will still need to supplement their diet with fresh leafy greens, fruits, and veggies.

All tortoises require calcium and often vitamin D3 supplements in their diet to maintain proper shell and bone health. These supplements are crucial for young and developing tortoises who need them for healthy shell development. Without proper supplementation in a tortoise’s diet, they could be at risk of developing metabolic bone disease (MBD).

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

russian tortoise eating strawberry
Image Credit: Elena M. Tarasova, Shutterstock

How often can tortoises eat strawberries?

Mediterranean and some tropical rainforest tortoises can eat strawberries a few times a week alongside other fruits and leafy greens. Desert-dwelling tortoises shouldn’t be fed fruits like strawberries very often, and a few times a month will be fine. If you notice that your desert-dwelling tortoise is suffering from diarrhea after eating strawberries, you should stop feeding them or feed them more sparingly. It is best to consult with your tortoise’s veterinarian about any concerns you have about your tortoise’s diet.

How many strawberries can tortoises eat?

You can feed smaller species of adult tortoises one strawberry at a time. Slicing up the strawberry into pieces can make it easier for your tortoise to eat. Larger tortoises like the Sulcata can be fed two strawberries at a time.

Which types of tortoises can eat strawberries?

The following tortoise species tolerate fruits in their diet well:
elongated tortoise eating strawberry
Image Credit: seasoning_17, Shutterstock

What fruit can tortoises eat?

Fruit can be a great sweet treat for tortoises.

Aside from strawberries, tortoises can also be fed fruits such as:
  • Mangoes (remove the pit)
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Raspberries
  • Melons
  • Grapes
  • Cherries (remove the pit)
  • Peaches (remove the pit)

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Although strawberries are safe and non-toxic to tortoises, they should be fed sparingly and not as a staple food. All pet tortoises require a healthy and balanced species-appropriate diet to prevent health issues and shell deformities. Certain species of tortoises need fruit in their diet, while other species should be fed strawberries in moderation only due to the high sugar content.

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Featured Image Credit: Jacek Dylag, Unsplash

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