SAFE/NOT? Can Horsefield Tortoises Eat Bonsai?

Bonsai, unlike most other plants, does not describe a “single” plant. It is instead a range of potted plants (and of different species) which have been cultivated to mimic the shape and scale (but not the size of trees). Or, put simply, bonsai refers to trees in a pot.  

Bonsai originates from Japan and has been practiced for several years. Bonsai requires special care and attention to maintain, and the parts of bonsai trees can be highly nutritious. 

When finding mixes of tortoises’ diet, you may want to ask- can horsefield tortoises safely eat bonsai?

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The safety of bonsai consumption depends on the bonsai plant species. You must ask the bonsai owner to confirm if it is a toxic species.

Regardless of the bonsai plants given, it is also important to note that bonsai should only be fed in small quantities and on occasions (usually every 6-8 weeks).

Doing this guarantees maximum diet safety. 

Can Horsefield Tortoises Eat Bonsai

So, Can Horsefield Tortoises Eat Bonsai? 

YES, and NO. Since, as we’ve already seen, bonsai is made from a wide variety of species, it may/may not be toxic, depending on which plant your bonsai is made from. 

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Juniper, for example, a common bonsai plant, is very toxic — containing methanol, dichloromethane, and highly diuretic substances. 

Other plants may contain dangerous oxalates and toxic tree sap, which can lead to skin irritation, vomiting, dermatitis, and other serious conditions. 

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On the other hand, however, the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), which is another common bonsai, grows thick, luscious leaves that are nutritious for your tortoise, being rich in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, which are important for the growth and metabolism of horsefield tortoises. 

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The key here is observation and carefulness: if you choose to feed your horsefield tortoise bonsai, MAKE SURE you KNOW what kind of plants you’re feeding it. 

You may need to consult with the owner of the bonsai store and find out what species of plants are present in your bonsai, before introducing it to your torts. 

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