Can Box Turtles Eat Tomatoes? [Full Guide]

Published Categorized as Turtles
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Box Turtles can eat just about anything from different fruits and vegetables to live food. They’re not picky eaters but have their favorites.

Tomatoes are a fruit, but do turtles eat them?

In this article, we’ll answer the question of whether Box Turtles eat tomatoes or not. We’ll also discuss how tomatoes are healthy for turtles and how they can be toxic. 

Finally, we’ll discuss which tomatoes are safe for Box Turtles to consume, how often you should give them this fruit, and how much of this fruit they should eat.

Can Box Turtles Eat Tomatoes?

Do Box Turtles eat tomatoes? Yes, they do, and they enjoy this fruit as a tasty snack. So no matter what kind of Box Turtle you have at home as a pet, you can feed them tomatoes in moderation.

For example, here are the types of Box Turtles that enjoy tomatoes:

  • Northern Spotted Box Turtles
  • Southern Spotted Box Turtles
  • Western Box Turtles
  • Aquatic Box Turtles
  • Ornate Box Turtles
  • Desert Box Turtles
  • Eastern Box Turtles
  • Florida Box Turtles
  • Gulf Coast Box Turtles
  • Three Toed Box Turtles
  • Mexican Box Turtles
  • Yucatan Box Turtles

However, there are pros and cons to feeding tomatoes to your Box Turtles. So, they’ll enjoy a ripe, red tomato, but it should only be given to them as a snack.

Also, you should never provide them with green tomatoes, leaves, or stems since these parts are toxic to them. 

Box Turtle
Box Turtle

Can Baby Box Turtles Eat Tomatoes?

Baby Box Turtles are still growing and developing, so they’ll need a diet that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and all the nutrients they need to grow. Of course, a snack once in a while isn’t a bad idea to give them, but tomatoes might not be it.

For example, tomatoes are fruit. Therefore they contain a lot of sugar. It might be difficult for your baby Box Turtle to digest all the sugar, even if given only a little. So, it’s best to stay away from this fruit until they’re older.

Read our full guide to what baby Box Turtles can eat here.

Can Box Turtles Eat Grape Tomatoes?

Yes, Box Turtles can eat grape tomatoes. In fact, these kinds of tomatoes contain less sugar content, so it’s somewhat healthier for your turtle.

However, as with all other tomatoes, this should only be fed to your Box Turtle in moderation.

Can Box Turtles Eat Cherry Tomatoes?

The short answer is yes. Box Turtles can also eat cherry tomatoes. You want to feed them cherry tomatoes in moderation, especially since these tomatoes do contain a lot of sugar.

Also, like with regular tomatoes, you only want to provide your turtle with ripe, red cherry tomatoes. 

Are Tomatoes Good For Box Turtles?

Yes, tomatoes are good for Box Turtles. They are rich in nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamins A, C1, and K
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Low in calories
  • Low in fat
  • High water content

Box Turtles need a diet rich in vitamin A and calcium to help them grow and develop. The calcium aids the growth of their shell, bones, and nails.

Luckily, tomatoes are rich in both vitamin A and calcium. 

Are Tomatoes Toxic For Box Turtles?

Unfortunately, yes. Tomatoes can also be toxic to turtles. For instance, this fruit is part of the nightshade family of plants, which means it produces solanine, which makes the fruit toxic.

In other words, tomatoes are toxic to humans as well. However, we don’t eat enough to ingest a toxic amount. For a much smaller Box Turtle, though, it’s easy for them to overeat, thus eating a toxic amount, which can make them sick and unfortunately have fatal consequences.

Can Box Turtles Eat Tomato Leaves?

No, the leaves on tomatoes are one of the more toxic areas of this fruit. The leaves contain high amounts of solanine, which can cause your turtle to become seriously ill and possibly die if not treated immediately.

Can Box Turtles Eat The Tomato Stem?

No, Box Turtles cannot eat the tomato’s stem. The stem has no nutritional value for your turtle, and it’s too hard for them to Chew. If your turtle manages to ingest a little bit of the stem, it could be difficult for them to pass, thus causing a blockage and other digestion issues. 

Can Box Turtles Digest Tomatoes?

Luckily, tomatoes are not high in fiber and have digestible skin. So, you can be sure that your Box Turtle will be able to digest a tomato and gain all the nutrients within it. As long as it’s fresh, red tomato, that is.

How To Prepare Tomatoes For Your Box Turtles

First, make sure you have bright red, ripe tomatoes on hand to share with your turtle. Then, wash the tomatoes thoroughly to ensure they’re clean and free of dirt and pesticides.

After, remove the leaves and stem and chop up the tomato into small pieces. This will make it easier for them to pick up and eat since they don’t have teeth to chew with. Tomatoes are a soft fruit, though, which is good.

Also, Box Turtles are attracted to bright colors, so tomatoes should be an enticing snack for them. 

How Often Can Box Turtles Eat Tomatoes?

When first giving tomato to your Box Turtle, begin with a quarter or half tomato (depending on how big it is). Then, make sure they’re eating their other food and going to the bathroom regularly.

If the fruit agrees with them, then you can give more.

Of course, tomatoes are high in sugar and may cause bloating and obesity. So, you’ll want to feed no more than one tomato to your Box Turtle per week.

Remember, tomatoes should be a snack and not part of their staple diet.

What Happens If I Feed My Box Turtle Too Many Tomatoes?

If you give your Box Turtles too many red, ripe tomatoes, then they could get sick. For instance, tomatoes are high in sugar and cause bloating and obesity, which may lead to diabetes and other diseases. 

In addition, now we know that tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. Too much can be toxic to your turtles, resulting in death.

Call your vet immediately if you think your turtle has eaten too many tomatoes (or ate parts of the tomato that they shouldn’t have).

On a lesser note, Box Turtles aren’t necessarily picky eaters. However, they may favor one food over another. So, if they enjoy tomatoes and you give them to them often, they may reject their other food by only eating the tomatoes.

If this happens, they won’t get the other necessary nutrients they need to grow. So, you’ll want to chop up a little tomato with other veggies and mix it all, so your turtle gets the taste of other food once more. 

Conclusion

Overall, Box Turtles can eat tomatoes. However, it should only be given to them in small amounts and moderation. Also, make sure the tomato is ripe and bright red without the leaves and stem.

Your Box Turtle will surely enjoy this tasty snack mixed in with their meal.

Learn more about turtles here or click here to learn if box turtles can eat grapes and here for whether they need (and like) water.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.