Blackberries are one of my favorite fruits if I have a bowl in front of me I’m not stopping until it’s empty they are so addictive. When I’m snacking on foods I usually give share to my reptile if I know he can safely eat them. However I noticed I’d never given him blackberries before so I’ve researched and put my findings into this article for other confused tortoise owners. Let’s get into it.
Can tortoises eat blackberries? The answer depends on the species of your tortoise, for example if you have a red-footed tortoises then they can safely eat blackberries. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are great for your tortoise when fed in moderation. However if your tortoise isn’t a fruit eating one then giving them blackberries will upset their digestive system due to the high sugar content.
Don’t leave us yet we are going to explain the various health benefits of blackberries along with some other things you should know before giving them to your pet.
Blackberry Benefits For Tortoises
One cup of raw blackberries contains the following nutrients :
High In Fiber
One of the most prominent nutrients packed inside blackberries is fiber. There are two types, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber both have different health benefits they bring to your tortoise.
Soluble fiber helps lower glucose levels as well as blood cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber aids in the digestive system by preventing constipation and overall healthier bowel movements.
In just one cup of blackberries there is 8 grams of fiber which is more than enough for your tortoise to receive the full effects it can have.
Tortoises utilize a lot of vitamin C already in their body when they are under stress and just by being alive in general, luckily there’s some inside blackberries.
Vitamin C has many purposes however one of the main ones is to boost your torts immune system. This is to protect them from bacteria and disease, without this they would get sick often as a weakened immune system wouldn’t be able to fight off the attacks on it.
Another one of vitamin C’s impressive health benefits is it’s ability to prevent oxidative stress. Think of your tortoises cells like rust on a bike, the older it gets the rustier the bike becomes. Your torts cells are the same the older they get the more exposed they are to age related illness like cancer. However vitamin C is an antioxidant which works to slow down the damage done to their cells.
Also found in blackberries, vitamin E is necessary for the maintenance of your tortoises skin and eyes. It’s also needed for the proper functioning of many organs in their body.
Similar to vitamin C, it also has antioxidant properties that can neutralize the harm caused by unstable atoms in the body called free radicals. These substances can cause cancer and heart disease if too many build up in your tortoises system, vitamin E works to reduce the number.
Vitamin K most known benefit is the ability to clot wounds. Your tortoise needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin a protein that has blood clotting properties. This means when your pet gets a cut that bleeds vitamin K works to heal the wound and stop it from bleeding excessively.
Other important benefits of vitamin K :
- Regulates blood calcium levels
- Bone metabolism
- Increases bone strength to prevent breaks and fractures
We’ve saved the best for last. Calcium is an extremely important mineral needed for tortoises which is why foods high in oxalic acid should be avoided for them due to them preventing torts from being able to absorb calcium.
Tortoises need calcium for proper shell growth and maintenance along with the benefits it brings to their skeletal structure. They particularly need calcium when they are in their growing stage so be sure to give them enough through their diet or calcium supplements.
Potential Downsides Of Blackberries
Although blackberries contain an abundance of healthy vitamins and minerals that can benefit your tortoise they aren’t a perfect food.
In just one cup of blackberries there is around 7 grams of sugar, even though it’s natural sugars that’s found in many fruit it’s still going to be harmful to your tortoise if they aren’t fed in moderation.
This can cause problems with your torts digestive system as too much sugar will be difficult for them to process. Too much sugar in your tortoises diet can cause issues like :
- Stomach upset
- Weight gain
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased pressure on the cardiovascular system
It’s important to wash the blackberries first before you give them to your tortoise as they are likely going to be coated in pesticides. A chemical used to keep pests away from foods while they are being harvested, this can cause problems with your tortoise if ingested.
Can Tortoises Drink Blackberry Juice?
It can be good for your tortoise to change things up now and again to add some variety to their diet, a great way to do this is to make fruit juice. Instead of giving your tort whole fruit you can instead blend it up, this way they get hydrated and receive the nutrients at the same time.
You want to avoid store bought blackberry juice as they are made with added sugars and preservatives that won’t benefit your tort. Stick to fresh blackberries and blend them up that way you know there’s no additives.
Blackberries For Tortoises – Summary
Blackberries can be added to your tortoises diet in moderation but only if they are one of the fruit eating species. Fruits can make up around 5-10% of their diet as too much can upset their digestive system due to the high sugar content in many fruits. You shouldn’t just rely on blackberries as other fruits should be added into their diet to create some variety.
I hope you have found this article helpful and your tort enjoys a delicious new snack!
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