Tortoises in the wild feed on what grows within their environment, including vegetables, flowers and leaves; occasionally even berries may provide sustenance.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of antioxidants and B vitamins, particularly Riboflavin which can assist your tortoise in breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins for energy production.
What type of tortoise is it?
Geochelone sulcata tortoises (Geochelone sulcata) are among the largest tortoise species worldwide, typically too large for indoor enclosures and necessitating large outdoor enclosures to thrive. Being grazers themselves, these tortoises like to graze grasses, flowers, leaves and vegetables for nourishment as well as sunlight to produce vitamin D for proper functioning of their immune systems.
Russian tortoises should primarily consume dark leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, kale and dandelion greens in their diet, though fruits or grated carrots should make up no more than 10%.
As an owner, it’s advisable to regularly weigh your tortoise. If they aren’t gaining weight this could be caused by environmental conditions, health issues or parasites. Also check their poop for consistency regularly – too much protein-rich food could lead to pyramiding syndrome in which individual shell plates become enlarged over time causing health issues in their tortoise.
Do they like mushrooms?
Most tortoises are strict herbivores, feeding on leaves, flowers, plants and fruits while others such as those living in moist forest habitats may consume animal matter as well. Fruit should only be given in moderation as too much can lead to dehydration and cause health risks for these creatures.
Mushrooms are safe for tortoises to consume in moderation and offer them numerous nutrients, including antioxidants that protect cells, slow ageing and boost the immune system as well as copper that supports blood cell production.
Mushrooms provide numerous nutritional benefits to tortoises, including riboflavin which assists in breaking down food to produce energy and niacin which improves skin and digestive tract conditions. Furthermore, mushrooms contain potassium which is great for lowering blood pressure. It is suggested to only provide mushrooms occasionally as too frequent use could cause mineral imbalance in their diet.
How often should I feed them?
While sulcata tortoises seem to enjoy mushrooms, it is important to remember that tortoises shouldn’t receive too much of one food at once as this could lead to nutritional deficiencies or potentially toxic amounts. Therefore, offering mushrooms in smaller portions or mixed with other types of food would be best.
Tortoises that feed on fruit, vegetables, grasses and flowers also consume fungi, seeds, berries and insects such as earthworms, mealworms, frogs and snails as food sources.
Every week it is wise to add three to four buttons of mushrooms to their salad. Mushrooms contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that provide valuable nutritional support to tortoises. When feeding mushrooms from store bought sources it is best to wash them first as wild-grown varieties may contain microorganisms that cause infections if fed unwashed.
What should I avoid?
Mushrooms may offer low calorie and fibre content, yet are difficult for all tortoises to digest. Sulcata tortoises in particular may experience stomach upset due to being unable to break down this food source; while other tortoises like Redfoot and Hingeback Tortoises have no difficulty digesting mushrooms as an excellent source of protein and antioxidants.
Tortoises in the wild are known to be omnivorous eaters and will consume leafy greens, seeds, fruit, vegetables, flowers, worms, snails, frogs insects and carrion as food sources. Furthermore, these tortoises have also been seen eating mushrooms and fungi found within their subtropical forests, swamps or plantations habitats with high humidity levels.
Avoid giving your tortoise food that is foreign to their diet such as strawberries and sweetcorn as these can lead to diarrhoea. Parsley contains oxalic acid which may have long-term detrimental effects including kidney damage.