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Home > Turtles > Can Tortoises Eat Green Beans? Facts & Safety Guide

Can Tortoises Eat Green Beans? Facts & Safety Guide

Can Tortoises Eat Green Beans

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Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

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It’s no secret that our tortoises love eating yummy vegetables. These reptiles, unlike their turtle cousins, are herbivores eating only plant materials. So, if you have a tortoise and want to broaden their food menu, you might wonder if they can eat green beans.

After all, you’ll likely have an overabundance after gardening season this year and want to share the wealth. We have good news. Yes! Your tortoises can eat green beans with no issue! Of course, you have to feed this food item in proper portions, so let’s get into the details.

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Contact Your Exotic Animal Vet

Before changing your tortoise’s diet, always check with your exotic animal vet. They can tell you exactly the nutritional profile needed to keep your tortoise healthy.

If you have any questions about a fruit or vegetable’s safety or nutritional value, consulting professionals is always the way to go! That’s what they’re there for. So before feeding your tortoise green beans, check with your vet to see what they recommend for your specific species.

a tortoise in a vet's clinic
Image Credit: thirawatana phaisalratana, Shutterstock

Tortoises Can Eat Green Beans on Occasion

Along with many other garden veggies, tortoises can certainly enjoy green beans. Many tortoise enthusiasts recommend giving your shelled buddy the leaves of the plant rather than the bean pods themselves.

However, others feed the actual beans, so we’ll look at the potential downfalls of eating green beans for tortoises later in the article. But most generally, green beans are entirely non-toxic for our tortoise buddies, and most of them enjoy this occasional snack.

Keep in mind that green beans are not a food item that your tortoise would find naturally in their environment. Some folks only prefer to feed their pets what they would encounter in the wild.

So we recommend them eating the leaf portions only and leaving the pods to the people.

Do Tortoises Like Green Beans?

The only real way to find out if your tortoise likes green beans is to give it a try. You can offer your tortoise some of this vine veggie to see if they bite the bait. Some tortoises might absolutely love green beans, while others would prefer other veggies instead.

Either way, it’s worth the try if you’ve got your mind set on offering a green bean. Keep in mind that some green beans are more concerning to a diet than others.

Sulcata Tortoise Walking Around eats vegetables with water spinach
Image Credit: candra ardhian, Shutterstock

Runner Green Beans Contain Too Much Protein

Many folks like the fact that green beans provide us with a natural protein source. However, our tortoise companions are herbivores that don’t require excess protein in their diet.

If you offer too many green beans, it can cause a disruption or imbalance in their system, which can cause problems for their shell. Too much protein can also have a negative impact on the kidneys, causing them to work harder and overload.

Over time, this can cause kidney stones and other issues with the organ itself.

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Health Benefits of Green Beans for Tortoises

There are several key nutrients in green beans. Let’s take a look.

Fiber

Fiber helps your tortoise stay regulated. It works in the gastrointestinal system to pass necessary waste and keep the appropriate amount of moisture in the body. Your tortoise needs a specific amount of fiber to keep their systems balanced. Too much or too little can affect their overall health, so be careful with portions. 

Folate

Folate is a B vitamin that is responsible for making DNA and genetic material. Your tortoise’s body needs folate for its cells to divide properly.

chopped green beans
Image: congerdesign, Pixabay

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is responsible for converting food into energy. So, it helps your tortoise’s metabolism. It also helps create new blood cells, skin cells, brain cells, and a multitude of other tissues in the body.

Vitamin C

The main function of vitamin C is to enhance and protect immunity. Your tortoise naturally makes vitamin C, but having a little added vitamin C in their foods will only strengthen their immune system.

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Downfalls of Green Beans for Tortoises

Ultimately, while many tortoise owners feed their tortoises green beans, it isn’t the best snack for them to have regularly. A piece of green bean now and then will likely not harm, but consistently adding it to the diet could have consequences.

Nutritional Lacking

Feeding your tortoise too many green beans and not enough of other key dietary items can cause a severe dietary imbalance. These imbalances can lead to bigger health problems as time progresses.

tortoise_Alexas Fotos_Pixabay
Image Credit: Alexas Fotos, Pixabay

How to Feed Tortoises Green Beans

As with introducing any new food item into the diet, your tortoise should have a very small sample to start. Slow introductions will allow your tortoise’s body to get used to the new food item without upsetting their gastrointestinal tract.

Before offering any green beans, it’s best to make sure that you thoroughly wash them first. This will rinse off any pesticides or contaminants on the surface that could upset your tortoise’s system.

Always ensure beans are washed, plain, and without additional seasonings. You can also offer fresh leaves of green bean plants as sustenance instead of the bean pods themselves.

If you plan on feeding any pods, these excess proteins can be broken down with heat. So if you lightly steam the green beans, they will naturally be absorbed in the system better. However, it will also destroy other valuable nutrients in the green beans themselves.

Natural Tortoise Diet

The natural diet for your tortoise will depend on the species that you have as a pet. For example, someone could have a Russian leopard or sulcata tortoise. Diet will differ slightly depending on which of these reptiles you own.

Always check with the specific guidelines for your tortoise and check with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding them correctly. However, tortoises are all herbivores and will thrive on a diet of plant matter, including leafy greens, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

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Final Thoughts

So now you know that these herbivorous creatures can occasionally eat green bean leaves and maybe even one green bean. But it isn’t the most nutritious choice for your tortoise and can have consequences if fed too often.

Always stick with the proper diet plan for your particular tortoise species. If you have any questions about new food items to introduce to their diet, consult your exotic animal veterinarian immediately.


Featured Image Credit: flockine, Pixabay

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