Can Tortoises Eat Cilantro?

Can Tortoises Eat Cilantro?

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Cilantro, commonly known as coriander, is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, celery, and parsley. Cilantro is used to add flavor to soups, salads, curries, and other meals. In some parts of the world, cilantro refers to the plant's leaves, whereas coriander refers to the seeds. Herbs and plants like cilantro, are often a healthy addition to tortoise diets since they are high in vitamins, minerals, and natural plant enzymes that give nutrients for their overall health.

In this article, we'll look at the health benefits of cilantro and if it's safe to feed to tortoises.

Can Tortoises Eat Cilantro?

Yes, tortoises can eat Cilantro. Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley or coriander, are good and nutritionally beneficial to tortoises. However, this herb contains small amounts of oxalic acid, which binds with calcium and prevents the body from absorbing it. Therefore, it should be given to tortoises as a part of a varied diet and not the main meal.

Other vegetables that should be included in the tortoise's diet, in addition to cilantro, are collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, broccoli, alfalfa hay, bok choy, kale, parsley, clover, cabbage, savory, green beans, and so on. Tortoises love cilantro, and it makes a fantastic combo, but it must be done with caution and moderation due to the oxalic acid level. You should not feed your tortoise cilantro in the same way that you feed them their regular pellet or fruits; it should be considered an addition to be fed in moderation. 


Health Benefits Of Cilantro For Tortoises

Apart from adding taste to a wide range of dishes and making a wonderful meal, cilantro in a tortoise's diet also helps: 

To fight pain and inflammation

Cilantro may be effective in treating pain and inflammation in tortoises and other animals. Scientists conducted a study on cilantro and discovered that extracts of cilantro seeds or coriander had a substantial analgesic effect. As a result, it was determined that cilantro aids in the reduction of pain in herbivores and omnivores through the opioid system.


To add nutrients to the tortoise's body

Cilantro is a highly nutritious herb that contains numerous nutrients that are useful to tortoises. A cup of cilantro (approximately 16 grams) provides:

  • 3.68 kilocalories
  • 0.083 g of fat
  • 0.587 g of carbohydrates
  • 0.341 g of protein

Cilantro also includes antioxidants such as vitamins C, A, and K, as well as trace levels of the following minerals and compounds:

  • folate
  • potassium
  • manganese
  • choline
  • beta-carotene
  • beta-cryptoxanthin

Vitamin K

Cilantro has a high vitamin K content. Tortoises, particularly growing ones, require vitamin K to produce the many proteins essential for blood clotting and bone growth. Cilantro may reduce the effects of warfarin by aiding in blood clotting.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that promotes eye and skin health. Vitamin A is also beneficial to your tortoise's immune system. A lack of this vitamin in your tortoise's diet could lead to health issues. Some symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency in your tortoise's diet include swollen eyes, swollen limbs, mouth infection, and weight loss. A lack of vitamin A is easily remedied by adding cilantro to the diet.


The seeds of the coriander plant, including cilantro, are among the best sources of potassium. According to a recent study, one serving of apricots may provide your tortoise with around a fourth of its daily nutritional needs. Tortoises need potassium in the form of an electrolyte for both its neurons and the muscles that contract them. They also need potassium for waste removal from cells and the delivery of nutrients into cells. Potassium also benefits heart health by preserving a steady heartbeat. 

Folic acid/ Folate

Cilantro is also a good source of folic acid, generally known as folate. Folates are good for tortoises' heart function since they boost cardiovascular health. It also contains adequate levels of vitamin B and iron, which help the immune system work correctly.


Cilantro and coriander seeds contain a lot of iron. Iron is crucial in tortoises because it increases hemoglobin levels in the blood and improves protein synthesis by cells, allowing them to create more red blood cells than normal.

To fight fungal infections

Researchers have studied the benefits of essential oil made from cilantro leaves. The oil from cilantro leaves has been seen to treat yeast infections. The researchers also concluded that the oil does in fact have antifungal qualities.

Demerits Of Feeding Cilantro To Tortoises

The main disadvantage of feeding cilantro to tortoises is that it contains oxalate or oxalic acid. Although cilantro contains little oxalic acid, it can be detrimental to tortoises if consumed in large quantities because it hinders calcium absorption. It may also decrease calcium absorption in your tortoise, especially if they are still growing, which can be quite hazardous. Calcium is necessary for tortoises because it strengthens their bones and keeps their shells healthy. In these animals, a shortage of calcium can result in bone and shell deformity in newborn tortoises. 


Can Tortoises Eat Cilantro Leaves?

Tortoises can consume cilantro leaves. Cilantro, often known as Chinese parsley or coriander, is healthy and nutritious for tortoises. However, this herb includes trace levels of oxalic acid, which binds to calcium and prevents it from being absorbed by the body. As a result, it should be fed to tortoises as part of a diverse diet rather than as the sole source of nutrition.

Collard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, cilantro, and parsley are examples of dark greens high in minerals and vitamins that can be used as a substitute or complement to grasses. 

Final Thoughts

Cilantro or coriander seeds are good vegetables for tortoises and they can safely eat them. Although, they should be given to them in small quantities. Serve cilantro to tortoise in moderation, not more than 2-3 times per week. Also, before giving your pets, wash it thoroughly to remove all the harmful pesticides and sprays that might have deposited on them. 

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