If you are not a native of India, South Asia, and subtropical regions of Africa and the Americas you are likely not to be familiar with bitter melon.
Bitter melon resembling cucumber has a warty body and edible skin.
When harvested early, bitter melon skin is green, as it matures, the skin becomes brighter and bitterness increases.
It contains high iron minerals and twice as much beta-carotene, calcium, and potassium as broccoli, spinach, and banana respectively.
People use bitter melon to lower blood sugar levels, and for other health uses. Despite the adoption of bitter melon for these purposes, its safety for use in consumption hasn’t been confirmed.
In recent years, there are reports that the juice of bitter melon (not the flesh or skin) can be poisonous.
For the above reason, it is advisable to consume bitter melon in powdery form after the juice has been squeezed out and dried.
Can horsefield tortoises eat bitter melon as part of their diet?
Because of the juice contained in bitter melon, its consumption isn’t completely safe for humans. We recommend not feeding your horsefield tortoises with it.
If you should feed it to your horsefield tortoises, ensure that it is soaked, cooked, and dried to reduce the juice content and it is fed in very small amounts only on occasions.
Can Horsefield Tortoises Eat Bitter Melon?
The answer to this is in two parts.
If you intend to feed horsefield tortoises without processing, and/or as part of a regular diet, then, they should NOT be fed with it.
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But if you intend to feed horsefield tortoises bitter melon occasionally in very small quantities after it has been soaked, cooked, and dried, then, they can be fed with it.
Alternatives To Bitter Melon
Other fruits and plants rich in calcium that can be used in place of bitter melon are:
Bok choy, broccoli, spinach, kale, turnip, and collard greens.