Tortoises are quite complex animals and require a well-balanced diet full of nutrition for a happy healthy life. You want to replicate the kind of foods they would have in the wild with some added things for some extra health benefits.
Beetroot is a root vegetable with a bitter and earthy taste to it and you can get it in many forms like pickled beets, raw beetroot or you can eat it cooked. Beetroot has many benefits for us as humans but I’m assuming you’re here to find out if it’s safe for your tortoise to eat. Let’s find out.
Can tortoises eat beetroot? Yes, tortoises can eat beetroot it’s safe for them to eat and contains no substances that are immediately dangerous for torts to eat. Beetroot contains fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, and folate that your tortoise can benefit from. You should avoid feeding them the leaves of the beetroot as they are high in oxalic acid which can stop your pet from absorbing calcium. Make sure your tortoise is fully hydrated before giving them beetroot also.
In this article we are going to outline any dangers of beetroot, can torts have pickled beet, and some other things you should be aware of.
Beetroot Benefits For Tortoises
A quarter cup or 100 grams of raw beets contains the following nutrients:
A 100 grams of beetroot contains around 3 grams of fiber. A nutrient needed for your tortoise’s digestive system to operate efficiently. Fiber promotes healthier bowel movements as it reduces constipation. It does this by increasing the size and softening your pet’s stools leading to an easier passage through the stomach.
Fiber is also good for trying to control your tortoise’s weight, this is due to foods high in fiber typically being more filling. If your tortoise is full often they are less likely to overeat and become overweight.
It’s also important for :
- Blood sugar regulation
- A healthier gut
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- May help your tortoise live longer
Tortoises use up a lot of vitamin C when they are under stress and just by being alive in general so it’s important they get enough through their diet, luckily beetroot has some vitamin C.
One of the main benefits vitamin C brings is that it helps boosts your tortoise’s immune system, this, in turn, will make them less likely to become sick as they can better fight off disease and foreign bacteria.
Other notable benefits of vitamin C:
- Protects cells
- Lowers cholesterol
- Keeps blood pressure balanced
- Grows and repairs body tissue
- Heals wounds
Leafy green vegetables are a great source of vitamin C, just double check to make sure they can eat them as some won’t be safe for tortoises. You can use our websites search bar to find out if the food is safe for tortoises to eat.
Beetroot also contains iron, a mineral needed for boosting hemoglobin in your tortoise’s body. Hemoglobin is a protein that your tort needs to transport oxygen into the blood, along with creating red blood cells.
Iron is also needed for:
- Regulating body temperature
- Improving overall energy and focus
- Helps the digestive system
- Boosts the immune system
If your tortoise isn’t getting enough iron in their diet they might appear to be lethargic and not be as energetic.
Potassium is necessary for bone and muscle development. With the help of sodium, it helps with the following:
- Muscle contractions
- Nerve impulses
- Fluid balance
- Helps to maintain cardiovascular health
Another advantage of potassium is that it aids in the prevention of anemia. Potassium also helps with blood clotting.
Lastly, beetroot contains folate.
Folate is a mineral that is important for bone health. It’s also necessary for assisting your tort in converting carbs into energy.
It is also required for the healthy growth and function of your tortoise’s cells.
Downsides Of Beetroot For Tortoises
High In Oxalic Acid
While beetroot isn’t exactly toxic to tortoises, the leaves do have a high oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid is a compound found in many plants, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. This becomes a problem for tortoises because oxalic acid binds to calcium in the body meaning your reptile won’t receive the health benefits that calcium brings to them.
As calcium is one of the more important minerals that tortoises need, the oxalic acid intake in their diet needs to be low.
Tortoises need calcium for a number of reasons including :
- Bone protection and strength
- The health of tortoise eggs
- Keeps their shell healthy
- Supports proper muscle development
Romaine lettuce, kale, collard greens or a calcium supplement will ensure your tort won’t become deficient in calcium. Remember to also keep the amount of oxalic acid they consume to a minimum.
Can Tortoises Eat Pickled Beetroot?
You might want to spice up things to make beetroot more appealing to your tortoise however they can’t eat pickled beetroot.
This is due to there being many additives inside pickled beetroot like added salt, sugar, and vinegar to make it more appealing for humans. However, these additives come at a cost for torts as the health benefits from fresh organic beetroot are overshadowed by harmful substances.
Beetroot For Tortoises – Summary
Beetroot is a safe addition to your torts diet as it contains no toxins that are life-threatening to them. It’s a good source of nutrients for them however due to the high oxalic acid content it should be given in moderation. Remember to stick to fresh beetroot and avoid any kind of pickled beetroot as they are soaked in high amounts of sugar, vinegar, and salt that can harm your tort.
I hope you have found this article useful and your reptile enjoys some beet in their diet!