Last Updated on September 3, 2023 by Samantha Harris
Most fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and nutritious for tortoises. However, some vegetables are unhealthy or even toxic. So, you may want to know if cucumbers are good for tortoises.
It’s safe to feed a tortoise sliced-up cucumber in small amounts. However, cucumber contains mostly water with little nutritional value. Tortoises like eating cucumber and its filling, so consuming too much can reduce their desire to eat healthier, more nutritious foods.
Feeding a tortoise cucumber keeps it hydrated and provides antioxidants. Also, cucumber is crunchy, allowing tortoises to wear down their beaks and prevent overgrowth.
Cucumbers are long, green garden plants that belong to the Cucurbitaceae family.
While cucumbers are widely regarded as vegetables, they’re fruits. That’s because they contain seeds and grow from the ovaries of flowering plants.
There are three main varieties of cucumbers, including:
This cultivar grows up to 12 inches in length and has smooth skin.
It’s primarily eaten fresh and is frequently used in salads. They have low levels of the compound cucurbitacin, which gives them a mild taste.
This variety is substantially smaller and is often used to make pickles. The fruits range from 3 to 7 inches long, covering their skin in bumps or spines.
Pickling cucumbers contain 96% percent water, making them ideal for detoxification and staving off dehydration. They’re rich in phytonutrients and vitamins C, K, and B1. Also, they’re a good source of pantothenic acid and molybdenum.
Other minerals and nutrients present in pickling cucumbers include:
Burpless cucumbers grow up to 2 feet long. It is easy to distinguish them from the others since they’re thinner and sweeter.
Moreover, their skin is delicate and almost seedless, meaning it’s easier to digest.
Cucumbers are low in calories, healthy, and safe for tortoises. They don’t contain any toxic compounds that could upset your tortoise’s digestion.
However, cucumber should only be offered in moderation because it mainly contains water and only small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Feeding a tortoise cucumber once or twice a week is a good way to keep it hydrated and provide it with the antioxidants its body needs to fight free radicals.
Since cucumbers are filling, they can reduce your tortoise’s appetite when consumed in large quantities.
This deprives them of the nutrition they should receive from eating other, healthier foods. Feeding your tortoise a regular cucumber diet will cause it to become malnourished.
Here’s a summary of the nutritional value of cucumbers:
|½ cup of Cucumber
Cucumber leaves may be more nutritious than cucumber, containing the same nutrients but less water.
Consider adding cucumber leaves to your tortoise’s regular diet every few days. Unfortunately, the leaves have a bitter taste that tortoises don’t enjoy.
Most nutrients found in cucumber are concentrated in the skin.
Cucumber skin contains insoluble fiber and antioxidants that promote bowel movements and healthy skin. However, cucumber skin is more bitter than other parts.
Tortoise Species That Can Eat Cucumbers
Certain species of Mediterranean, rainforest, and grazing tortoises shouldn’t be fed fruits because the high sugar content can upset their digestive tract and cause diarrhea.
Here’s a breakdown of tortoises that can and can’t eat cucumber:
|Tortoises That Can’t Eat Cucumbers
|Tortoises That Can’t Eat Cucumbers
|Indian star tortoise
|African Sulcata tortoise
Young tortoises can be fed cucumbers, but only as an occasional treat.
The bulk of a baby tortoise’s diet should consist of leafy greens, such as collards, kale, and lettuce. That can be paired with grasses, non-toxic flowers, and weeds, such as dandelions.
Cucumbers can be good for a tortoise’s health when consumed in moderation.
Here are the benefits of offering cucumber as an occasional snack:
Antioxidants combat free radicals in the body to prevent oxidative stress.
Cucumbers contain the following antioxidants:
According to the International Journal of Biomedical Science, oxidative stress has been linked to several health conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune illnesses.
As mentioned, cucumbers contain 96% water by weight percentage. This makes them a great source of hydration for tortoises that don’t drink much water.
Signs of A Dehydrated Tortoise
Keeping your tortoise well hydrated is crucial to ensuring it remains healthy. Dehydration can cause many health problems, including shell deformation, chemical imbalances, and bladder stones.
Signs of dehydration in tortoises include:
- Sunken or watery eyes.
- Dry feces.
- Lack of appetite.
- Weight loss.
According to Herpetological Monographs, tortoises have physiological and behavioral characteristics that help them maintain water balance through diet.
Wild tortoises living in environments with limited water sources meet their hydration needs by consuming plants and vegetables that have high water content.
Wears Down The Beak
Like human nails, tortoise beaks will continue to grow throughout their lives.
Unfortunately, an overgrown break makes it difficult for tortoises to feed or defend themselves from predators. In extreme cases, an overgrown beak can make it impossible for a tort to close its mouth.
Giving tortoises food with a crunchy texture, like cucumbers and squashes, is beneficial.
Wild tortoises subsist on grasses, vegetables, weeds, and flowers. So, offering your tortoise the same diet daily can become monotonous and boring.
You can add variety to your tortoise’s diet by including cucumbers every other day. The new flavor, color, and texture ensure your tortoise enjoys its meals.
Cucumbers are a good fiber source, promoting digestion and healthy bowel movement. So, adding some cucumber to your tortoise’s diet can prevent constipation.
You can safely feed tortoises sliced cucumber. In moderation, it’s a healthy dietary addition.