The effect your tortoises diet can have on it’s life can be the difference between a tortoise that lives a long and healthy life, or one that faces deficiencies and other diet related problems. As a tortoise owner it’s important to research things and the fact you have landed on this page means you’re doing so.
Can tortoises eat dragon fruit? Yes tortoises can eat dragon fruit it’s considered a safe food for them to have and it’s actually encouraged to be fed as it’s a great source of fiber that can aid with digestion along with containing vitamin C, iron and magnesium. The plant itself has some laxative properties so you should limit how much of it your tortoises eats.
In this article we are going to explain the nutritional benefits of dragon fruit, some potential negative effects and some other things so continue reading!
Dragon Fruit Benefits For Tortoises
100 grams of dragon fruit contains the following nutrients :
Helps With The Digestive System
Dragon fruit is a great food to help your tortoise with digestive processes. This is because it contains 3 grams of fiber which is a nutrient important for gut health and overall digestive health.
Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements in the body by allowing food to have a smoother process through the gut reducing constipation.
Tortoises can make their own vitamin C through the body which is necessary as they utilize a lot of it just by being alive and when they are under stress.
Perhaps the best benefit of vitamin C is that it has antioxidant properties. This means it can help reduce the damage oxidative stress does to the body. As they get older unstable atoms called free radicals start to build up in the body and cause health problems such as cancer. Antioxidants work to neutralize them and slow down or prevent any harm.
Vitamin C is also vital for the cardiovascular and immune system.
Dragon fruit is also a great source of iron for tortoises. They need the mineral for vital energy in their day to day life.
This is due to iron being responsible for creating haemoglobin which is a protein that’s responsible for creating red blood cells.
Iron also plays a role in immune function, body temperature and intestinal processes.
To finish off the health benefits dragon fruit also contains some magnesium. A mineral responsible for over 300 processes that occur in the body.
Magnesium has positive effects on your tortoises cardiovascular system, anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce depression and regulate blood sugar levels.
Potential Downsides Of Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit acts as a natural laxative which can be great if you want your tortoise to go to the toilet more but it’s likely not going to be desired.
Feeding too much dragon fruit to your tort will likely result in diarrhea. This can cause further issues like dehydration as it’s one of the main side effects that comes with diarrhea due to the body losing excess fluid.
Dehydration in tortoises can lead to death if it’s not monitored and treated, always make sure your tortoise is regularly being soaked and has access to fresh drinking water.
Limit dragon fruit and increase how much water your tortoise consumes if you plan on feeding them it.
As dragon fruit is a fruit (surprise) it’s high in sugars that a lot of tortoise species will struggle to deal with.
Tortoises have very sensitive digestive systems and sugar is one of the things can disrupt it. Too much sugar will lead to stomach aches and diarrhea in tortoises that don’t belong to a fruit eating species of tortoise.
A majority of fruits and vegetables are coated with chemicals called pesticides while they are being grown in order to keep away insects and other bacteria that might spoil the food.
With some fruits it’s possible to wash the pesticides off using some cold water however with dragon fruit rind being so tough it would be hard to wash them off as they could have soaked into the rind.
This means you should avoid feeding this part of the dragon fruit to your tortoise as pesticide ingestion could possibly make them sick.
As pesticides are toxic long term exposure to them will no doubt cause a number of health problems for your tortoise.
How Much Dragon Fruit Should I Feed To My Tortoise?
The amount of dragon fruit you should feed to your tortoise depends on a few factors such as the age and size of the reptile.
For example a baby tortoise is going to require a lot less than a fully grown tort. I would recommend feeding some dragon fruit to your tortoise no more than once a week.
This way they will experience all the health benefits dragon fruit can offer while limiting the laxative effect and possible stomach upset.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Fruit Can Tortoises Eat?
Not all species of tortoise should have fruit in their diet as it contains high amounts of sugars which can disrupt the digestive system of some tortoises.
The tortoises who should have fruit in their diet are ones who would eat it in the wild like the Red-footed or Yellow-footed tortoise. For these tortoises the following fruits are suitable for them to eat :
Fruit shouldn’t play too big a role in your tortoises diet with them only needing around 5% fruit in their diet.
Dragon Fruit For Tortoises – Summary
Dragon fruit makes for a safe food that’s on the menu for tortoises to eat. It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals than can aid them with their daily life and meet some of their dietary requirements.
Be sure not to feed it too often as the plant can act as a laxative and the fruit itself may cause some digestive issues due to the sugar. However in moderation dragon fruit won’t cause any problems and your tort will love it.
I hope this post has been useful and your tortoise enjoys some delicious dragon fruit in their diet!