Can Red Footed Tortoises Eat Dandelions?

You know that your red footed tortoise’s diet needs to include a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and plants but can you give your red footed tortoise dandelions?

The short answer is yes, red footed tortoises can eat dandelions in moderation. As dandelions are safe for red footed tortoises, even a generous helping of these tiny flowers won’t hurt them. Dandelions may not seem like the most obvious plant to us, nevertheless, many red footed tortoises love to munch on it. As part of a balanced diet, some dandelions can be a great way to support a red footed tortoise’s overall health.

Health Benefits Of Giving Your Red Footed Tortoise Dandelions

For red footed tortoises, fresh dandelions are healthy. This common weed may seem like a pest when it starts growing in your front lawn, but it’s an excellent source of many nutrients that your pet tortoise needs in order to thrive. Whole dandelions are higher in iron than many of our favorite leafy greens and contain even more potassium than bananas, mangoes, and carrots. Dandelions contain large amounts of Vitamin C, D, E, with a handful of different B vitamins, magnesium, and even zinc.

We often think of Vitamin C as the cold-killing vitamin; that’s why people enjoy drinking so many orange beverages when they start to get the sniffles. It turns out that Vitamin C is just as good for our red footed tortoises as it is for us when it comes to immunity and overall wellness. Feeding your red footed tortoise foods that are rich in Vitamin C is always good for encouraging a healthy immune system.

Vitamin E is commonly used by tortoise owners as a natural antioxidant.

Vitamin D in dandelions is good for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Vitamin B is also helpful for a red footed tortoise’s immune, brain, and nervous system health. Even though vitamins are essential for keeping a tortoise healthy and happy in the long term, getting too much of a certain vitamin may undo any health benefits, so it’s important to check with your local veterinarian before drastically altering your red footed tortoise’s diet.

Dandelions are loaded with beta-carotene, too. Even though other orange vegetables like carrots are the most popular way to get your beta-carotene fix, dandelions have just as much of it, plus a fraction of the calories and sugar.

Like other plant foods, dandelions also have a lot of fibre, which red footed tortoises need lots of, for their digestive health.

Things To Keep In Mind

Remember to overfeed your red footed tortoise with too many dandelions as overfeeding them with dandelions will only undo any health benefits that dandelions provide!

When feeding dandelions to your red footed tortoise, the most important thing to keep in mind is this: the weeds growing in your neighbor’s front yard could potentially be covered in pesticides and herbicides. It’s not recommended to pick dandelions from your front yard to feed your pets, as the risk of contamination is just too great. Unless you’re absolutely certain that your yard is free of any weed killer or other toxic chemicals, avoid feeding these dandelions to your red footed tortoise.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, dandelions are an excellent food for red footed tortoises to eat, but in moderation—they’re high in fiber, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and minerals that will help to support a healthy immune system. Just make sure that the dandelions you give your pet tortoise haven’t been sprayed with anything!