Can Tortoises Eat Tomatoes? | Is Tomato Healthy Or Toxic?

Fresh, delicious, and ripe tomatoes are a favorite choice of tortoises. Tomatoes are nutritious and bring numerous health benefits for reptiles. All fruits eaten by tortoises can have ripe, juicy tomatoes but in a permitted quantity. Overfeeding tomatoes is not suitable for tortoises. A Tomato- rich diet will ultimately cause damage to their health. Grazing and Mediterranean species of tortoises should not be allowed to consume tomatoes at all. Grazing tortoises eating tomatoes should remain under careful observation.

Let’s discuss the nutritional value of tomatoes and whether it is a healthy option for tortoises or not. 

Nutritional Facts Of Tomatoes

Tomatoes belong to a nightshade family of fruits but it is usually known and consumed as a vegetable. Tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants that prevent bodies from getting cancer and heart issues. The 95% content of tomatoes is water while the remaining 5 percent has all carbs, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and more. 

In a 100 gram of small raw tomato, you will get

  • Calories: 18
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Water: 95%
  • Carbs: 3.9 grams
  • Sodium: 6mg

Moreover, it contains Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Chlorogenic acid, Beta carotene, Lycopene, etc. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure in vessels and prevents heart stroke. Vitamin K1 boosts bone health and prevents blood clotting. Vitamin B9 promotes cell functions and tissue growth. 

Benefits Of Feeding Tomatoes To Tortoises

Benefits Of Feeding Tomatoes To Tortoises
Tomatoes is a rich source of water

According to the food data center, uncooked tomatoes can provide numerous benefits to your torts. 

  • Tomatoes are rich in water content

We know that water is essential to keep the body hydrated. One has to make sure that their tortoises remain damp and can access enough water in their daily feed. Tomatoes are a great source of water, preventing dehydration. At the same time, different tortoises species require different fruit quantities. Fruits should be 30 percent of the diet of rainforest tortoises. In contrast, Mediterranean and grazers species can take fruits in balance. 

  • Vitamins

The vitamins are crucial because they ensure that the tortoise body is working properly. Vitamins interact with each other and support body development. Tomatoes contain Vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and more. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant and comes from beta-carotene. The presence of folate, niacin, and Vitamin B6 promotes healthy cardiovascular function. Vitamin C in tomatoes does two important functions. One they speed up the iron absorption in the body and the other function is to facilitate the healing process. 

  • Minerals

Tomatoes contain high levels of phosphorus and calcium content. Tortoises require calcium in abundance because it helps to develop the skeleton and their outer shell. The absorption of calcium in the body depends on two factors, the availability of calcium in the diet and the body’s need. The body will remove excessive calcium through urination. Phosphorus present in tomatoes disturbs the calcium absorption in the body. A recommended ratio of calcium-phosphorus in the food should be 1:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio respectively. 

How To Feed Tomatoes To A Tortoise?

There is no hard and fast rule of feeding tomatoes to the tortoises. You can feed them in the way you like the most. Tortoises can consume tomatoes as a whole or cut them into small pieces. When the tomato is cut into small pieces, it will be easy for the tortoise to eat. This minimizes the risk of choking. If you want to feed them whole tomatoes, just put tomatoes a few steps away from them. They will sniff and reach towards it by themselves. Tortoise will love to bite it off. It is better to peel the tomatoes because tortoises do not like the skin. 

Can I Feed Tomatoes To Tortoises Every Day?

Can I Feed Tomatoes To Tortoises Every Day
Every day to give tomatoes is not suitable to tortoise

Feeding tomatoes every day is not suitable for tortoises. Tomatoes should be taken as an occasional treat. No doubt, it contains a lot of water and healthy contents but its daily consumption will provoke health issues. 

How Overfeeding Of Tomatoes Affects Their Tortoise?

Natural occurring fruits always have a high concentration of sugars present in them. Tortoise digestive systems are not as strong to break and digest sugar molecules. Tomatoes are high in sugars so overfeeding will cause severe damage. It will result in excessive weight gain for the tortoise. Pet torts do not exercise much therefore the excessive sugars will not burn out. When the stomach refuses to digest sugars, it leads to diarrhea. A tortoise with a diarrhea problem cannot eat much due to ingestion. Malic and citric acids present in tomatoes are also contiguous while consumed in larger quantities. 

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?

Russian tortoises can eat tomatoes while keeping a moderate quantity in the first place. Correspondingly, it is not recommended by the experts to feed tomatoes to Horsfield, Hermann tortoises belong to the Mediterranean species. Mediterranean tortoises including Russian ones have delicate digestive systems. Their stomachs are unable to handle sugars present in fruits.

Can Desert Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, tortoises living in the desert can eat tomatoes but in moderation. Excessive eating of tomatoes will disturb the digestive system and hinder the body from functioning properly. Tortoises living a life in the desert rely upon the grass, hay, and other succulent plants. 

Can A Tortoise Eat An Unripe Tomato?

No, a tortoise cannot eat an unripe tomato. Unripe tomatoes contain some harmful components that can cause serious health diseases. You can only give them fully ripe and juicy tomatoes. 

Can A Tortoise Eat Tomatoes, Vines, And Leaves?

Tomato vines and leaves are not recommended for any species of tortoises. Vines and leaves of tomato plants have “tomatin” present which is a harmful chemical. Exposing torts to leaves or vines can lead to adverse health problems in their body. 

What Can Tortoises Eat?

With a little brainstorming and planning, we can provide a well-balanced diet to our tortoises. 

Here is the list of some fruits and vegetables that tortoises can eat.

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Apple
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Banana (peeled only)

You can grow these vegetables at home or can shop from a grocery store. Tortoise food available in pet shops will be adequate for them because it contains all the necessary minerals and vitamins. The best is to feed them a mixture of fresh fruits and vegetables with their commercial diet. 

Tortoises And Their Eating Habits 

Tortoises eat vegetables, fruits, grass, and hay and that is why they are called herbivores. Before feeding any vegetable or fruit to your tortoise, make sure it will not interfere with their calcium absorption ability. Here are different types of tortoises and their related food choices. 

  • Horsefield or Russian tortoises

They love to eat vegetables like zucchini, aubergine, and squashes. Russian tortoises also enjoy having fruits sometimes. 

  • Sulcata tortoises

This species loves to eat grated vegetables, cactus, hay, and some succulent fruits.

  • Hermann’s tortoise

Hermann’s tortoises are unable to handle fruits. They live in grasslands and enjoy weeds, grass, and succulent plants. 

  • Red-footed tortoise

They are much like the Hermann species. Red-footed tortoises eat vegetables and cannot tolerate fruits. They can eat earthworms because of their omnivorous nature. 


Tortoises can have tomatoes once in a while. They can eat tomatoes as a treat by maintaining the portion size. Remember that tomatoes are not recommended for all species of tortoises. You can feed tomatoes to rainforest tortoises but not to the Mediterranean and gazars. Tortoise can eat ripe tomatoes but keep them away from eating tomato plants, their leaves, and vines.

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