Can a Tortoise Eat Bananas? (3 Banana Feeding Facts You Need to Know)

If you are a fan of these reptiles, you may have wondered, can a tortoise eat bananas?

You might think the answer is obvious because practically every time you see a photo of a tortoise it is eating a banana!

But is it the right thing to do?

Does a tortoise get any nutritional benefits from bananas?

Could too many bananas actually harm a tortoise?

Can tortoises eat green or overripe bananas?

Don’t panic, I am ready to take you into the world of tortoises and bananas!

The same rules apply to turtles.

Read on for all the answers, carefully researched and delivered in bite-size portions!

Can a Tortoise Eat Bananas?

Tortoises require a diet that is high in fiber and calcium, and low in fat and protein. Bananas supply many of the nutritional needs of a tortoise but should be fed in moderation. Bananas are high in water and sugar, and in the tortoise’s natural habitat, are not something they would be accustomed to eating. The older the tortoise, the more able it will be to tolerate the sugar levels. The most worrying problem is that the banana can stick to the roof of the tortoises’ mouth, and possibly cause beak rot, which can be fatal.  

1. What Nutrition Does a Tortoise Get from Bananas?

A banana contains Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, plus numerous minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

The minerals and vitamins in a banana can be beneficial for a tortoise’s health, but only small amounts are required.

Therefore, the tortoise can typically obtain all its nutritional needs from its normal diet without the addition of banana.

However, tortoises cannot synthesize some vitamins by themselves and they need to be obtained from their diet for optimum health.

Vitamin A is extremely important for a tortoises’ eyesight, and a deficiency can actually lead to swollen eyelids.

It is also advisable to only offer a banana once a week or less, due to the fruit’s high sugar content.

Surprisingly, many tortoises do not actually like the taste or texture of a banana.

There is actually one species that relishes bananas and other tropical fruit, and that is the Red Footed Tortoise.

If your tortoise does enjoy it, mix with vegetables for the correct beneficial balance of nutrients.

2. Can Bananas Harm Tortoises?

Bananas should only ever be fed as a treat, no more than once a week.

Surprisingly, a tortoise can become addicted to the sugar in bananas and want to eat more than is good for them.

Nobody wants a tortoise with a banana addiction problem!

The fruit should be fresh and not frozen.

The sugars in a banana are relatively high and may affect the digestive system of the tortoise causing stomach upset.

The fiber in the fruit may also cause long-standing bowel problems, which is not pleasant to witness!

Importantly, do not allow your tortoise to ever eat the peel, unless you are absolutely certain that no pesticides have been used on it.

3. Which Tortoise Species Can Eat Bananas?

There are some tortoise species that are more tolerant of bananas than others.

And some species really should not have any bananas at all.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular species.

The Sulcata Tortoise originates from the Sahara and typically feeds on grass and leafy greens.

As they are not tolerant of sugar, they should have no more than a couple of slices of banana every month.

The Hermann’s Tortoise needs a low protein diet, and fruit and vegetables are not something they require.

The Red Footed Tortoise is from South America and loves fruit.

They will thoroughly enjoy bananas, but be aware of causing an addiction as mentioned earlier.

Russian Tortoises can tolerate the high sugar levels in bananas, but ideally, fruit should only be 10% of their diet.

The Ultimate Sulcata Tortoise Care Instructions

Final Thoughts

Now you know the answer to can a tortoise eat bananas.

Perhaps it has made you think carefully about your pet tortoise’s diet.

You have learned about its nutritional needs and whether bananas can harm tortoises.

Is your pet on the list of species that can safely eat bananas?

Keep your tortoise healthy when it comes to bananas!

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