can russian tortoises eat tomatoes

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?

Written by: Josiah Shobayo
Last updated on:

Are you looking to get a Russian tortoise as a pet and you have been wondering what their food diet should contain? The eating palette of tortoises is dependent on the type of breed they fall under.

Russian tortoises for instance are Mediterranean species and unlike fruit-eating tortoises and rainforest tortoises, their eating diet should be put together differently. The question now is can Russian tortoises eat tomatoes?

Can Russian Tortoises Eat Tomatoes?

The simple answer is yes but they have to be fed in little quantities. Feeding Russian tortoise tomatoes has to be very minimal. This is because tomatoes contain certain acids that if taken in excess by a Russian tortoise, can lead to several health issues.

However, this does not mean that Russian tortoises cannot be fed tomatoes, they just have to be fed sparingly. Also, the vines and leaves of tomatoes cannot be eaten by tortoises because they are very toxic for them. One thing to bear in mind is that tortoises are not meant to be fed tomatoes excessively.
According to Feliz Pets, unripe tomatoes are also a no for tortoises and Russian tortoises as well. This is because the tomatoes themselves, their leaves, and vines are still very much toxic for tortoises. Also, whether ripe or unripe, tomatoes contain a high acid concentration. From citric acid to malic acid and sugar, tomatoes, if fed in excess to Russian tortoises, will lead to health issues because of the difference in the digestive system of grazing and Mediterranean tortoises that Russian tortoises fall under.

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How Safe Are Tomatoes For Tortoises?

Fruit-eating and rainforest tortoises are the best candidates for eating tomatoes. However, for other classes of tortoises like the Mediterranean tortoises which Russian tortoises fall under, tomatoes may not be safe for them, if fed to them in excess.

This does not mean you cannot feed Russian tortoises tomatoes, it only means that feeding them tomatoes or fruits and vegetables, in general, should be done moderately in other to avoid health issues.

How To Feed Tomatoes To Russian Tortoises?

According to Moffitoh, to feed your Russian tortoise tomatoes, you need to feed them organically grown ones, free of any fertilizing chemicals. It is very advisable to feed them tomatoes directly from your garden. Therefore, to feed your tortoises tomatoes, there are ways to do it and things to do. These include:

  • Make sure to clean the tomatoes to be fed to your Russian tortoise thoroughly.
  • For large-sized or medium-sized tomatoes, cut them into two for big Russian tortoises, and into smaller bits for younger Russian tortoises. 
  • Do not place the tomatoes to be fed to your tortoise on the ground, They may pick up dirt and sand while eating.
  • Always place your tortoises’ food on a slab.
  • Make sure to remove any uneaten vegetables or fruits at the end of the day to prevent contamination.

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What Are The Health Risk Of Overfeeding Your Russian Tortoises With Tomatoes?

Tomatoes, like any other fruit, are high in sugar. Therefore, feeding too many to your Russian tortoises will result in weight gain and other health issues. Also, excessive weight gain in tortoises can lead to various health issues that may shorten their life span. 

Therefore, feeding your Russian tortoise tomatoes which are high in sugar can lead to excessive fat because they do not get to exercise. This excessive sugar will later convert into fats which is adversely bad for tortoises.

Also, excess fat in Russian tortoises will lead to diarrhea. As earlier established that tomatoes are very high in sugar content, however, the sugar in tomatoes, if fed excessively to tortoises can be very harmful to their beaks.

This means that excess sugar can cause harm to a Russian tortoise’s beak. This happens when a Russian tortoise is fed tomatoes in excess and it eventually leads to the decaying of the beak due to the bacteria deposited from the excess sugar.


Tomatoes are amazing additions to Russian tortoises’ diet, but they have to be given in very minimal quantities to avoid health issues. However, if you have to feed your Russian tortoise tomatoes, make sure to clean and cut them for easier consumption.

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