When it comes to fruit some tortoise owners are often left confused if they can give it to their pet or not. The truth is fruit isn’t for every kind of tortoise to enjoy, due to the high amount of sugars it can cause problems with the digestive system of tortoises. Is all fruit bad for tortoise however, for example watermelon?
Can tortoises eat watermelon? Yes tortoises can eat water melon, but only if you have a fruit eating species of tortoise. This is because they have digestive systems that are equipped to deal with the high sugar content in watermelon and most fruits. Watermelon for these tortoises can be a great source of vitamin A, B6, C, antioxidants and it’s a fantastic way to keep your tortoise hydrated.
In this article we are going to explain the possible benefits of watermelon, can tortoises eat the rind and some other important things you should know before giving them watermelon so read on.
Is Watermelon Safe For Tortoises?
Watermelon doesn’t contain any harmful substances that are outright harmful to tortoises which makes it safe for them. However with most things in life moderation is important. Overfeeding your tortoise watermelon can lead to malnourishment. This is because watermelon is mainly filled with water (breaking news) and not many nutrients they need to thrive.
Watermelon is great for hydrating your tortoise however too much water will lead to watery stools for them and actually cause negative effects.
If it’s given on occasion, while added to an already well balanced diet then watermelon can be a good source of antioxidants and nutrients your tortoise will benefit from.
We will cover the positives in the next section.
Watermelon Benefits For Tortoises
100 grams of watermelon contains the following nutrients :
Can Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common reason for heart problems and other chronic diseases. Watermelon contains a compound called citrulline which is then converted to arginine. These two things help with the production of nitric oxide.
A gas molecule that helps blood vessels to relax and expand in turn lowering blood pressure.
A Source Of Antioxidants
Watermelon contains an array of antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, lycopene, and cucurbitacin E. Antioxidants are compounds found in foods that help the body fight oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is caused by unstable atoms called free radicals that do damage to you tortoises cells and can lead to things like cancer or heart disease if they build up within the body. Antioxidants work to counter these atoms.
Watermelon also contains vitamin C, it’s also an antioxidant but also works for many other functions in your tortoises body.
Vitamin C is needed to maintain a strong immune system in reptiles, leading to a decreased chance they become sick.
Potassium is a mineral found in the body that is required for many of your tortoises daily activities.
It is in charge of the following:
- Nervous system control
- Muscle contractions and muscle upkeep
- Maintaining a healthy heartbeat
- Blood pressure is controlled
- Aiding in the maintenance of appropriate fluid balance
It’s important your tortoise gets enough vitamin A in their diet as a lack can cause Hypovitaminosis A.
Vitamin A deficiency can present itself in the following symptoms :
- Swollen limbs due to liver failure
- Horny parts of the mouth thickening
- Eyelids becoming swollen and inflamed
- Difficulty breathing
Tortoises need vitamin A for skin health, mucous membranes and the reproductive system. Dark leafy green vegetables typically contain a great source of vitamin A your tortoise can have.
Can Tortoises Eat Watermelon Rind?
Many people usually just eat the flesh of watermelon and throw away the rind, doing so you are throwing away some added nutrition for your tortoise. There are two main benefits to feeding your tortoise the rind :
It can reduce blood pressure. Studies have shown the watermelon to contain citrulline a compound that helps the heart and circulatory system, further leading to a lower blood pressure due to less stress on the heart.
It’s high in fiber. The rind of watermelon is where a lot of the fiber is packed. Fiber can help your tortoise lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
It’s important to note that before feeding the rind to your reptile you need to wash it first. This is due to fruits being sprayed with pesticides while they are being grown to keep away bacteria and organisms, these chemicals can make your tortoise sick if they are ingested.
Can Tortoises Eat Watermelon Seeds?
Not only can tortoises eat watermelon seeds, but they SHOULD eat watermelon seeds. The seeds hold a lot of nutrients your reptile can reap the benefits from.
Watermelon seeds have bone strengthening properties due to them containing a healthy dose of potassium, copper and manganese.
They also contain healthy fatty acids like omega-3’s which are known for improving cardiovascular health.
Watermelon For Tortoises – Summary
Watermelon overall can be classified as a safe fruit to feed tortoises who belong to a fruit eating species. If you feed it to tortoises who wouldn’t come across fruit in the wild then they will experience digestive upset like aches and diarrhea due to the high sugar content.
The rind is full of nutrients and antioxidants however is it sprayed with pesticides during harvest it’s advised you wash it first or don’t feed it to your tortoise at all.
I hope you found this article useful and your tortoise enjoys this delicious fruit in their diet!