Broccoli belongs to the cabbage family. It is edible to both humans and animals. It is an edible green plant whose large flowering head, stalk, and small associated leaves are eaten as a vegetable. Tortoises are known to consume almost any plant, flower, vegetable, or fruit that humans can consume. Because tortoises can eat almost anything you give them, you should be careful what you give them. Is broccoli part of the vegetables you should avoid in its diet? In this article, we'll find out if broccoli is good food for your tortoises and its health benefits.
Can Tortoises Eat Broccoli?
Yes, tortoises can eat broccoli. Broccoli is a good vegetable for tortoises, although, it should be given to them in small quantities. This is because broccoli contains goitrogens that harm the thyroid gland, liver, and kidney of your tortoises.
Why Should Broccoli Be Taken In Moderation?
Some pet owners believe that because broccoli is good for humans, then it should be for tortoises. This is not totally true because broccoli contains some minerals that can end up harming your tortoise and damage its organs. Therefore, it should not be given in large quantities and it should not form their main meal. Broccoli should be given to tortoises in small quantities and in moderation because of the following;
Broccoli contains goitrogens
Broccoli contains a substance called goitrogens. These compounds inhibit the tortoise’s thyroid activity and iodine uptake. A lack of iodine in your tortoise can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism.
The oxalic acid content in Broccolis
Broccoli also contains a substance called oxalate or oxalic acid, which can be harmful to tortoises because it inhibits calcium absorption. Inhibition of calcium in your tortoise especially if they're still growing, can be very harmful. Calcium is essential and it helps to strengthen a tortoise’s bones and keeps its shell healthy. A lack of calcium in these animals can cause bone and shell deformation in baby tortoises.
Broccoli contains purines
Broccoli is high in purines. Purines, an organic compound breaks down into uric acid in your tortoises. This uric acid then puts a strain on their kidneys and can lead to complications if not looked into.
Health Benefits Of Broccoli To Tortoises
Although broccoli has harmful effects on tortoises if not taken in moderation, it doesn't change the fact that there are a couple of benefits of giving them to your tortoises. The nutritional content of broccoli includes; 89.30g or 90% of water, dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, and Phosphorus.
Broccoli, when served raw is a vegetable with enough water content (90%) to boost the metabolism of your pet tortoise. Hydration is important in your tortoise to help flush out all the nitrogenous waste like phosphates and oxalates.
This vegetable is rich in fiber and it will help your tortoise with its daily requirement for fiber. Fiber helps the tortoise to digest food and ease out its bowel movement. Though the component helps the tortoise, it should be fed in moderation as the extra fiber will hamper the intake of carbohydrates and stop minerals from getting absorbed. Animal experts recommend a diet of 12% broccoli roughly, and excess broccoli in the diet of a tortoise will surpass these numbers. Hence, feed broccoli in moderation.
Broccoli Contains Vitamins
Broccoli provides vitamins A, C, and K to the tortoise. Vitamin A helps with swelling and inflammation of the eyes and also skin development and immune boost. Vitamin A in broccoli also helps to fight off swelling in the limbs of your tortoise and strengthens the functioning of the liver.
Broccoli also offers a good amount of vitamins C and K. Your tortoises need a good dose of food packed with vitamins C and K because sometimes, the intestine and the kidneys may not produce enough quantities of them. This might result in a condition called Stomatitis or poor wound healing because of blood clotting problems.
A lack of these vitamins in your tortoise's diet could be fatal. Therefore, you can make sure your pet doesn't lack these nutrients by giving a broccoli diet.
Broccoli contains minerals
Broccoli contains minerals but on a small scale. It is not a rich source of minerals. It contains calcium but in very little quantity. Broccolis, however, can not fulfill its daily requirement of calcium. Therefore, it should be served with other calcium-rich vegetables to support its shell and bone structure, nerve transmission, muscle growth, and contraction.
Should Tortoises Eat Raw Broccoli?
Unlike humans, tortoises (some species) are herbivores or vegetarians, so they would prefer to eat Vegetables raw than when cooked. So yes, raw broccoli is preferred to cooked broccoli. Of course, it is also how tortoises would eat it in the wild with no one to cook for them. However, the most important reason why you shouldn't cook broccoli for your pet tortoise is that cooking this vegetable destroys some of the nutrients found in broccoli. A nutrient-deficient meal if taken over time can lead to malnourishment and can get serious if your tortoise is still growing. Tortoises would actually prefer raw broccoli to a cooked one so don't bother cooking.
Many pet owners ask for the best way to feed tortoises broccoli, we'll look into that.
To feed tortoises broccoli,
- The first safety step is to ensure that you purchase organic broccoli vegetables and not bio-engineered ones.
- Then, wash it thoroughly to remove all the pesticides and sprays that might have deposited on them that could cause problems.
- After that, you can choose to either chop it into fine pieces for easy munching or, if your tortoise is an adult, you can offer a whole chunk.
- Then serve with other veggies like carrots, cucumber, cabbage, kale, pumpkin, and butternut squash, deficient in goitrogen and rich in minerals for a balanced diet.
Tip: Serve broccolis to tortoise in moderation, not more than 2-3 times per week.
Broccoli is a good vegetable for tortoises and they can eat it. Although, it should be given to them in small quantities.