Can Tortoises Eat Blueberries? (Why Fruits Are Not Ideal)

Generally speaking, yes, tortoises can eat blueberries. Some species are more accustomed to eating fruits than others, but blueberries are not toxic or harmful to tortoises. It’s not advisable you feed the leaves or the stalks of the plants though.

Can Tortoises Eat Blueberries

Can You Feed a Tortoise Blueberries?

When feeding tortoises, the general rule of thumb is to try and feed your tortoise a diet as similar to what they’d eat in the wild as possible.

There are a lot of different species of tortoise that are commonly kept as pets. Generally speaking, however, you can split tortoises into two groups in terms of diet;

Tortoises eat mostly plants, weeds, flowers, etc, and those that would eat some fruit as part of their diet in the wild.

Some of the species of tortoise that would eat fruits in their native environment, such as tortoises that are native to rainforests include:

  • Yellow-Footed tortoise 
  • Red-Footed tortoise
  • Elongated tortoises

It would be fine to feed these species blueberries and other fruits. Although, you still need to provide a balanced diet with plenty of fresh greens, too.

On the other hand, many species of tortoise are native to dry grassland savannahs and desert environments and may never come across any fruits.

On the other hand, many species of tortoise are native to dry grassland savannahs and desert environments and may never come across any fruits.

Some species of tortoise that eat almost entirely plant matter includes:

  • African Sulcata
  • Spur Thighed
  • Hermann’s tortoise
  • Horsfield’s (Russian) tortoise
  • Indian Star tortoise
  • Marginated Tortoise
  • Leopard tortoise

You can certainly offer blueberries to tortoises that are not accustomed to eating fruits but don’t be surprised if they don’t eat them.

You should only offer them a very small amount on occasion, too, as if it may give them a little stomach upset.

Can Tortoises Eat Blueberry Plant Leaves?

If you’re growing your own blueberry plants or buying them on the vine, personally I would avoid giving the leaves to your tortoise.

I’ve read various accounts that the leaves contain tannins that may be harmful to tortoises. I’ve not actually been able to confirm this with what I would call a reliable source, but either way, it’s no hardship to avoid giving them to your tortoise.

So, I have to say the answer to whether or not you should feed your tortoise blueberry plant leaves is, no. Just to err on the side of caution.

Are Blueberries Good for Tortoises?

Blueberries are a superfood and they are one of the most nutritionally dense fruits on the planet – and certainly a favorite in our household.

While most of these health benefits relate to us, tortoises will also benefit from the wide range of vitamins and minerals found in blueberries.

As I explained above, the only stipulation is that you should only feed blueberries to tortoises that eat fruits.

What Do Tortoises Eat?

Keeping in mind that some tortoises diets will almost entirely be plant matter, and some will eat fruits, here are some of the best foods to feed tortoises:

Fruits That Tortoises Can Eat

There is a long list of fruits that are safe for tortoises. Just keep in mind that some are high in sugar, and fruits spoil quickly.

Some of the fruits I’ve been able to confirm are safe for tortoises, and most of which I fed my tortoise over the years are:

  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Kiwi
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Banana
  • Figs
  • Papaya

Plants That Tortoises Can Eat

Plants make a huge part of the tortoise’s diet in the wild. Tortoises are known to be grazers and will travel pretty far (at a nice slow pace, of course) munching on literally hundreds of different plants if available.

Here are some of the plants you might be able to get a hold of that is listed as safe for tortoises to eat:

  • Forget-me-nots
  • MulberryChicory
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Hibiscus
  • Dandelions
  • Plantain
  • Dock leaves
  • Aloe vera
  • Brambles (remove thorns!)
  • Mustard leaves
  • Evening primrose

Vegetables That Tortoises Can Eat

Although most tortoises will not encounter vegetables in the wild, no vegetables are packed with good nutrition and make for nice additions to their diets.

Here are some of the vegetables you can try out that are safe for tortoises:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Pumpkin
  • Squashes
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Red cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Parsnip

Important Note: Moderation is important when feeding tortoises. The more varied a diet you can offer, the better.

Things to Avoid Feeding Your Tortoise

Tortoise can eat most of the plants and foods that grow naturally and are commonly available, but there are some that you need to be aware of if you’re going to let your tortoise out to graze.

Here are some of the fruits, vegetables, and plants that are on the banned list as they may be toxic or harmful in some way:

Fruits, Vegetables, and Foods to Avoid

  • Citrus fruits
  • Parts of nightshade plants
  • Rhubarb
  • Bread
  • Chili Peppers
  • Avocado
  • Yogurt
  • Beans

Plants to Avoid

  • Tiger Lily
  • Hydrangea
  • Azalea
  • Buttercups
  • Daisies
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Yew
  • Ivy/Poison Ivy
  • Mistletoe
  • Rhododendron
  • Holly
  • Morning glories
  • Hemlock
  • Foxglove

Summary

The main thing to be aware of when keeping and feeding tortoises is what species you have, and what they would eat naturally in the wild.

If you can replicate their diets as closely as possible, you’re going to have a happy and healthy tortoise on your hands that is going to live for an incredibly long time.

You now know which species are fruit eaters, that blueberries are safe for tortoises, and some of the other foods you should or should not feed the tortoise.

Good luck!

Resources

Image credits – Canva

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