If you have recently homed a pet tortoise, you will have a lot of questions about their diet. What can they safely consume and what is most beneficial for them? I decided to research the various species of tortoises, and their needs, to see whether pineapple is a fruit an owner can look to offer.
So, can tortoises eat pineapple? Most species of tortoises cannot safely consume pineapple. While they enjoy the sweetness, their digestive systems cannot cope with the high level of naturally occurring sugars and the acidity. Pineapple should therefore not be fed to Mediterranean, Horsfields, and the African species of tortoise. However, there are some species of tortoise that can safely consume pineapple. This includes tropical species such as Red-foot and Yellow-foot tortoises. Pineapple can be fed in moderation to these species who can tolerate fruit and digest it much easier. It can make up a small part of a tropical tortoises diet.
There are many different species of tortoises who do best on different diets. Each species has their own nutritional requirements and are able to process the same foods differently. While this can make it a little bit more complicated, most land-based tortoises are herbivores whom do best on a combination of grasses, weeds, leafy greens and flowers.
Let us now explore some of the main questions that you may now have. We will take a look at some of the main considerations to take into account and help you decide if, when and how pineapple should or should not be fed.
Should Tortoises Eat Pineapple?
Whether or not a tortoise should eat pineapple will depend primarily on the species. Its important to remember that not all species of tortoises can, or should eat the same thing.
This is because tortoises reside and have evolved to live in a variety of different natural habitats and environments.
For example, tropical rain forest species have fruit widely available to them, whereas other species that inhabit dry and or/desert environments do not come across fruit.
So, different species of tortoises can react and respond very differently to the same foods; it depends if they have developed a digestive system equipped for specific foods.
If certain species of tortoises are fed larger amounts of fruit; they will likely suffer with digestive upset, diarrhea and can even develop digestive tract parasites.
However, for tropical rain forest species, they simply require fruits in order to meet their nutritional requirements and needs; and to obtain the vitamins and minerals that they provide.
As a tortoise owner, its very important that you identify the species you own, and provide a diet accordingly. For tortoises, the foods they eat should not be out of preference, but out of necessity. Otherwise, your tortoise can develop health complications that can unfold over the course of years.
So, it is safe to assume that for most tortoise species that are kept as pets, fruits are not an ideal food and should not look to be offered in the diet.
Let us now take a closer look at the species of tortoise that can and cannot eat pineapple:
Tortoise Species That Can Eat Pineapple
The following species of tortoise do best with minimal to no fruit in the diet. While a small amount may be given, it is generally recommended by experts and veterinarians that other foods are favored instead:
- Leopard Tortoises
- Sulcata Tortoises
- Mediterranean Tortoises
- Horsfield Tortoises
- African Tortoises
- Russian Tortoises
Tortoise Species That Can Eat Pineapple
The following species of tortoise do best with a variety of fruits, including pineapple, in the diet:
How Much Pineapple Can You Feed A Tortoise
So, we now know that much pineapple you can feed a tortoise depends entirely on the species.
For most species of tortoise kept as pets, pineapple along with other fruits are best avoided altogether.
Some owners do report that they have been able to offer a small amount, infrequently, as a treat to their pets. These owners have reported that a very small serving once per week can be done.
However, this is not recommended by most tortoise experts and veterinarians. In fact, it can be dangerous to do so – as potential symptoms and issues can arise much later in the life of a tortoise which can then be hard to resolve.
If you own a tropical species, like a Redfoot or a Yellowfoot; you can look to introduce pineapple to their diet if you have not done so already.
Always start slow, and offer very small amounts to begin with.This way you can see how they respond to the new food and ensure they do not suffer with any digestive upset. You’ll also want to cut up the pineapple into very small chunks to enable your tropical tortoise to eat it safely.
That being said, fruit makes up a significant portion of the diet of tropical species in the wild (up to 70% of the total intake during the wet season and approximately 40% during the dry season), so you can look to offer pineapple among other fruits, flowers and leaves daily.
Some of the best fruits to offer tropical tortoises, along with pineapple include: berries, melons, papaya, plums and peaches.
Below, you will find the nutritional information for pineapple and why you would want to include it in the diet of your tropical tortoises diet
Nutritional Information of Pineapple
Here’s a table with the Nutrition Facts for 100 grams of fresh pineapple chunks according to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
|Vitamin C||47.8 mg|
|Vitamin A||58 IU|
As you can see, pineapple has a favorable Calcium to Phosphorous ratio, and a variety of other vitamins and minerals to support the health of your tropical tortoise.
How To Feed Pineapple To Tropical Tortoise Species
If you want to feed some pineapple to your tropical tortoise (Yellow-Foot or Red-Foot), then be sure to offer it in a very ripe state.
You can either purchase it very ripe at the store or let it ripen at home before you cut up and offer it.
Be sure to cut up the pineapple and remove the outer skin (shell). You want to serve the yellow flesh only. It is best to avoid the core.
Cut the yellow flesh of the pineapple into small, manageable size chunks. From there you can either:
- Offer a small chunk by hand.
- Place the fruit in a bowl,
- Mix it in with other foods.
Each of the options above have their own benefits. For example, offering the pineapple by hand enables you to bond with your pet.
Placing the fruit in the bowl lets you tortoise eat the fruit as and when they want to and as they like.
Mixing it in with other fruits can help your tropical tortoise boost, and improve the vitamin and mineral diversity in the diet.
Either way, begin by offering a small amount of pineapple and work your way up by observing the feedback of your tropical tortoise.
Some tortoises can eat pineapple, along with other fruits including apples. However, whether your tortoise can depends on the species.
Its important that as an owner you become familiar with the species of your tortoise. Usually this information will be provided as you get them, but if not you can always speak to your veterinarian who will be able to provide such informaiton.
As a tortoise owner, one of the best things you can do and one of your responsibilities is to learn about the needs of your species, try to understand why they have such needs (thinking about their natural habitat and environment) and then think about how you can best meet those specific needs.
Where pineapple falls, being a safe and healthy food or one that can cause health issues, will ultimately depend on the answers to those questions.
Can Tortoises Eat Pineapple Leaves? All species of tortoise can eat a small serving of pineapple leaves. However, it is best to cut the tips off as they can be sharp and injure the mouth of your tortoise. Equally, leaves should not be fed in too large a quantity because they naturally contain an enzyme called bromelain which can cause swelling, tenderness in the mouth and digestive upset in some species of tortoise.
Can Tortoises Eat Pineapple Skin? Pineapple skin is very rich in the enzyme bromelain which can can cause swelling, tenderness in the mouth and digestive upset in some species of tortoise. It is best avoided.
Can Tortoises Eat Dried Pineapple? Only some species of tortoise should be consuming fruit. For these species, namely the tropical tortoise species (Red-Foot and Yellow-Foot), dried fruit can be offered in small quantities. However, you need to ensure they do not contain and additives and preservatives (such as Sulpher). You need to be careful of serving sizes as they are generally more calorie and sugar dense – they can be easily overfed. Fresh fruits are much more preferable.
Can Tortoises Eat Frozen Pineapple? Frozen fruit can be provided to tropical species of tortoise so long as it has been thawed first. It is not advisable to offer a tropical tortoise fruit in its frozen state as it contains a considerable amount of water. Fresh fruits are optimal.
Can Tortoises Eat Canned Pineapple? Canned pineapple can be offered to tropical species of tortoise so long as it has been drained from its juice first. Canned fruit typically does not contain as much nutrition, vitamins and minerals, so fresh is better to offer if possible.