Banana is a food crop that has so many health benefits ranging from improved digestion, energy boost, bone strengthening and many more. This is why doctors recommend a moderate intake of one or two bananas each day. Some tortoises like to eat bananas but is it healthy for them? Should they be allowed to eat it? In this article, we will discuss if tortoises can eat bananas and if it is a good food for them.
Can Tortoise Eat Bananas?
Yes, Tortoise can eat bananas and in fact, it is good for them. Banana contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Although it is advisable to know the specie of the tortoise you’re about to feed because not all species of tortoise can properly digest it.
Tortoise are herbivores which means that they can eat and digest plants. While some species of tortoise eat and digest bananas safely, some specie finds it difficult to digest bananas, and feeding them with the fruit can cause complications. This complication is a result of sugar overload in the digestive system, and bananas contain a high amount of sugar.
The species of tortoise that doesn’t digest bananas are mostly the desert types like the sulcata tortoise or the leopard tortoise. They haven’t quite developed digestive systems for that much sugar in bananas. When these desert tortoise species take in banana or banana peels, they may end up having indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach upset.
Nutritional Benefits of Banana And Its Effects on Tortoise
Vitamins and minerals are abundant in bananas. They are necessary for human health but do they make up a healthy diet for the species of tortoise you have? The nutritional advantages of bananas and their impact on your tortoise’s health are discussed below;
Bananas are a rich source of vitamins, which are a vital part of a tortoise’s diet. Because tortoises are herbivores and obtain all of their vitamins from fruits and leaves, a deficiency in these nutrients might result in serious health issues. Vitamins C and K can be synthesized by tortoises on their own. But they would need to consume fruits like bananas to receive all the other necessary vitamins. Most of these vitamins like vitamins A, B, C, E, and K are all found in bananas and have various functions in the body.
Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are present in bananas. These minerals are essential for the health of turtles. Reptiles like tortoises need calcium to grow and strengthen their exoskeletons. Phosphorus functions in a tortoise’s body to carry DNA components, repair cells, support renal health, and produce energy for daily activities.
These minerals also control the acid and base levels and heartbeats in the tortoise’s body, among other things. Iron absorption and muscle growth are both regulated by calcium.
Since they are herbivores, tortoises require fiber in their diet, and bananas provide a rich source of it. There are 2.5 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of bananas. In addition to aiding in digestion, fibers can give tortoises energy. The optimal percentage of fiber in your tortoise diet should be around 30%.
Effects of Overfeeding Your Tortoise With Bananas
With all the nutritional benefits of bananas stated above, you’ll agree with me that bananas are good for your tortoise pet. But even if it’s good food for your tortoise, you should not always overfeed them with the fruit. Here’s why:
The main effect of excessive banana intake by your pet is diarrhea and digestive complications. Banana has a very high amount of sugar. Studies have shown that in every 100 grams of sugar, there are about 12 grams of sugar. This is a big problem because tortoises have difficulty digesting sugars. Another concern of excessive banana intake in tortoises is the imbalance of minerals. Minerals like calcium and phosphorus are not well balanced. This means that if your pets eat bananas in excess, they may suffer from the lack or buildup of
one or both minerals. Therefore, if you choose to feed your tortoise some bananas, take into consideration the quantity you’re giving to avoid complications as a result of excessive banana intake.
Species of Tortoise That Can Digest Bananas
There are numerous species of tortoises in the world, but not every one of them has developed to be able to digest a specific kind of food. While some fair well in digesting bananas, others don't. The types of tortoises that can and cannot eat bananas are discussed below:
Some of the species of tortoise that can eat bananas are the Red footed tortoise, Sulcata tortoise (largest mainland tortoise) and Russian tortoise. Bananas should moderately contain only 10-20% of their diet or a couple of slices each month.
An example of a specie of tortoise that should not eat bananas is the Hermann's tortoise. Hermann’s tortoise don’t eat bananas because fruits and vegetables are not part of their natural diet. They eat most leafy greens, squash, carrots, peppers, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, etc. Hermann’s tortoise are abundant in Southern Europe.
How To Properly Feed Bananas To Your Pet Tortoise
Feeding your tortoise bananas is not a difficult job but it is sensitive. Below are some of the things to look out for when feeding your tortoise.
- Make sure to buy organic bananas for your tortoise to avoid ingestion of harmful chemicals.
- Buy fresh bananas. Stale bananas can cause your tortoise harm.
- Slice or mash the banana before giving it your tortoise.
- Banana peels contain a high amount of fiber, give your pet some of it once in a while.
Banana is a very healthy fruit that has many nutritional benefits like fiber, vitamins, minerals, starch, etc. The starch when allowed to ripen, develops into the sugars glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Although not harmful to humans, these sugars can be unhealthy for your tortoise if they consume them in excess. The advantages and nutrients of bananas are only utilized when you provide your tortoise a few slices per month, ideally two or three.