The rose belongs to the family Rosaceae, under the genus Rosales. It shares the family with more than 2,500 species of flowers. Also, the rose family contains edible fruits, such as apples, pears, and cherries.
Known as the queen of flowers, roses are found in nearly every color but are best known for their bright red hues. They have various uses in human cuisine, so it’s not surprising that tortoises eat roses.
Whether it’s the leaves or petals, tortoises like eating roses. The flowers offer flavor, texture, and color.
According to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, tortoises are mostly attracted to bright colors, like red and yellow, because this enables them to determine which foods are healthiest.
All parts of the rose are safe for tortoises, including the leaves, hips, petals, and stems. Although the thorns may be off-putting for some tortoises, they aren’t immediately harmful.
The leaves aren’t as nutritious as the petals, but they’re still safe for tortoises to consume.
Do Tortoises Like Rose Petals?
Rose cultivars have created white, yellow, amber, pink, and red flowers.
Blue roses were originally created using dyes, but a blue rose was developed in Japan in 2004. This means your tortoise will have countless varieties and colors of rose petals to sample.
Most tortoises love the flavor of rose petals. The soft texture, gentle taste, and bright colors encourage a tortoise to keep eating. Given that they contain zero calories, tortoises won’t gain weight.
The same applies to whole roses, with the stems intact. Despite the presence of thorns, tortoises seem to enjoy their meal based on their eagerness to consume them.
Some tortoises like eating roses more than others. If your pet tortoise doesn’t warm up to this food, you can tear up the pedals and sprinkle them onto the tortoise’s regular food for dietary diversity.
Are Rose Petals Safe for Tortoises?
Rose petals don’t contain toxins or compounds harmful to tortoises.
The only exception is when the plants are sprayed with insecticides. Unfortunately, nearly all commercially available roses, like those sold in markets and flower shops, will have insecticide exposure.
Simply washing the flowers won’t be enough to remove the insecticides. Flowers absorb insecticides and can still be harmful even when washed.
So, you must grow roses or source them from specialist animal-safe vendors.
Can Hermann’s Tortoises Eat Rose Petals?
Hermann’s tortoises should eat a diet that’s low in protein but high in fiber and calcium. This can rule out certain herbs and flowers, but roses are a good meal for this species.
Rose petals are low in protein, high in calcium, and low in calories. Also, roses contain the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
This makes them a nutritious snack with no dietary hazards for a hungry Hermann’s tortoise.
Can Sulcata Tortoises Eat Rose Petals?
Sulcata tortoises are true grazers, meaning that the bulk of their diet should consist of grasses.
So, roses shouldn’t be a staple part of their meals, nor a regular snack. Instead, rose petals serve as a healthy treat to diversify their meals and provide a vitamin and mineral boost.
Are Rose Petals Good For Tortoises?
Roses have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
In the kitchen, they can be found in Indian and Chinese cuisines. Rose tea is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and rose water can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
In the modern day, we often use rose petals to decorate food. Rose petals are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which yield the following benefits:
Lower Risk of Chronic Diseases
Free radicals are naturally occurring compounds in the body that perform vital functions. However, when there are too many free radicals, they cause oxidative stress. This is linked to chronic diseases, such as:
However, antioxidants can help fight the build-up of oxidative stress. Roses contain antioxidants like:
- Phenolic acid
Antioxidants are found in all parts of the plant, so this snack can reduce a tortoise’s susceptibility to disease and increase its chances of reaching its life expectancy.
Resilient Immune System
Rose hips are a part of the flower that contains the seeds; they can be bulb-shaped within the open petals. Rose hips are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that boosts the immune system.
Furthermore, vitamin C is crucial in:
- Growing and repairing body tissue
- Absorbing iron
- Developing bones and cartilage
- Forming collagen to keep the skin healthy
Feeding your tortoise rose hips can make it stronger and more resilient against illnesses.
Rose petals, especially when made into tea, have been used to treat stomach problems for centuries.
They encourage the liver to produce more bile, which aids digestion, prevents constipation, and helps the body absorb essential nutrients.
Because tortoises have a slow-paced digestive system, this can ensure they stay regular and glean more vitamins from each meal.
Rose petals have antimicrobial properties. According to the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, this antimicrobial activity fights against 8 bacterial and 2 yeast strains.
A tortoise is less likely to contract an infection; if it does, it’ll likely recover sooner.
Freeze Dried vs. Fresh Rose Petals
Both fresh and freeze-dried flowers contain the same amount of nutrients. The freezing process locks in the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are present in the fresh rose.
In some cases, frozen varieties are even healthier, as the nutrients won’t diminish as the flower ages during commercial transportation.
Homemade Dried Rose Petals
You can dry roses at home so that they’re clean and nutrient-rich for your tortoise. Dried flowers can stay edible for up to 2 years when stored in a dry, dark place.
It’s best to use whole roses with stems instead of petals alone. Follow these steps:
- Remove leaves from the lower half of the flowers.
- Cut the stems to at least 6 inches long.
- Tie the stems together, tying a few inches underneath the last rosebud with rubber bands or twine.
- Find a well-ventilated area to hang the roses, such as a sunny window.
- Hang the roses upside down.
- Leave the roses for 2-3 weeks. You’ll know they’ve dried when the colors are darker and duller, and the flowers are crisp.
Freeze Dried Flowers
Unlike other drying methods, chemicals aren’t used during the freeze-drying process. Instead, it uses low temperatures, lowering pressure, and sublimation.
Ensure your frozen rose petals are marketed specifically for pets, like chinchillas, guinea pigs, and rabbits. This ensures that no pesticides or additives (like sugar, salt, or preservatives) are on them.