Because of the various foods that can be included in a tortoise’s diet, tortoises may be the easiest animals to please when it comes to food. Tortoises can consume almost any plant, flower, vegetable, or fruit that humans can consume. Most of what they eat can be found in nature, in your garden, or at your local market. However, a few plants and vegetables have made it onto the ‘no-feed’ list for tortoises, and broccoli stalks, surprisingly, is one of them.
This article will answer the question, “Can tortoises eat broccoli stalks?” If you’ve ever wondered about this, keep reading to find out more.
Broccoli, like kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips, is a cruciferous vegetable. Broccoli has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which can aid in the prevention of a variety of conditions in humans. It also aids digestion, prevents constipation, keeps blood sugar levels low, and prevents overeating. However, this is not the case for tortoises.
Can Tortoises Eat Broccoli Stalks?
While tortoises can eat small portions of broccoli stalks, it is not something that you should feed your tortoise regularly.
To start things off, I will explain why tortoises shouldn’t eat a lot of broccoli stalks:
- Broccoli stalks and flowers contain a substance known as goitrogens. These compounds inhibit the tortoise’s thyroid activity and iodine uptake. If your tortoise doesn’t get enough iodine, it can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism.
- Broccoli is high in purines which can lead to an increase in uric acid production, putting a strain on the kidneys of a tortoise.
- Broccoli contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to tortoises because it inhibits calcium absorption. If you have done research on a tortoise’s diet, you probably saw that calcium is essential. This is because it helps strengthen a tortoise’s bones and keeps their shell healthy.
Is broccoli healthy for tortoises?
Broccoli is seen as a superfood by many tortoise owners – because it is in humans – but this is far from the truth. Unfortunately, broccoli contains some minerals that can end up harming your tortoise and damage its organs. It should not constitute the majority of your tortoise’s diet. However, there are a couple benefits of feeding a tortoise a small portion of broccoli stalks, and especially a small portion of the leaves (or flowers).
Broccoli leaves are dark, leafy, and green, which fits the description of the majority of the best vegetables to feed your tortoise. The leaves are also high in fiber, low in protein, and high in vitamin A. While all of this is good for a tortoise, it does not change the fact that broccoli – all parts of it, head, stalk, and leaves – contain anti-nutrients that will harm your tortoise in the long run.
Regardless of how nutritious broccoli appears, when you weigh the benefits and drawbacks, doesn’t it seem easier to leave broccoli out of your tortoise’s diet entirely?
In my opinion, I’d rather stay on the safe side.
Do tortoises like broccoli?
Many owners have reported their tortoises obsessing over the leaves and happily munching on them. However, I wouldn’t say tortoises are picky eaters. Since most tortoises are omnivores and will eat whatever looks interesting and available, it should be no surprise that broccoli is a favorite food. This is why many people decide to still feed their tortoise broccoli.
While your tortoise might like the taste of broccoli, there are many other types of vegetables. For example, brussel sprouts are great for tortoises.
Let’s be honest: broccoli is cheap. It’s frequently leftover from our meals, especially if you have children in the house, so it’s an easy vegetable to collect and feed to your tortoise. It is also widely available in many markets and is one of the vegetables that are easy to grow.
However, this is where your responsibility as a pet owner comes into play. Because your tortoise is not living in the wild, it is your responsibility to provide a variety of food to meet their nutritional needs and understand which foods can be safe or poisonous. In this case, the consensus is to avoid feeding your tortoise broccoli, but doing so occasionally will not harm them. If you’re determined to feed your tortoise broccoli, you can feed it to them as a treat once a week.
I hope this article answered your question about whether broccoli is safe for tortoises. In conclusion, tortoises shouldn’t eat broccoli stalks on a regular basis.