9 Human Foods You Can Safely Feed to Turtles
Owning a pet turtle can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience. Unlike cats and dogs, turtles are extremely low-maintenance pets. They don’t need you to take them on walks or constantly pay attention to them. Additionally, turtles have an exceedingly long lifespan which means that they will be around to keep you company for many years. So if you’re considering owning a turtle, or already have one, then you may be wondering what they can eat. As far as their diet goes, there are actually a number of human foods that you can safely feed to turtles.
Most turtle species that are kept as pets are omnivores, meaning that they eat a diet that consists of both plants and animals. However, it is incredibly important to look up your pet turtle’s species to ensure that you are feeding them the correct diet. So if you’re curious about the kinds of foods that you can share with your reptilian pal, then keep reading on. We’ll go over the foods that are safe to share with your turtle so that you can bond even more with your wonderful pet.
However, it is important to keep in mind, that this is a list of human foods that are safe for you to feed your turtle. This doesn’t mean that any of these foods should become staples in their diet or interfere with their main source of food. Additionally, the specific species of your pet turtle should be taken into account when deciding what food is best for them.
9 Human Foods You Can Safely Feed to Turtles
#1. Leafy Greens
When it comes to human foods that you can safely feed your turtle, leafy greens are definitely at the top of the list. Generally speaking, turtles can eat almost all of the same leafy greens that we humans eat. Still, there are some exceptions to that rule. The best kind of leafy greens to offer your turtle will be dark leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, carrot tops, dandelion greens, clover, and green beans. However, there are some greens that you should avoid feeding your turtle. Some of these include onions, garlic, shallots, iceberg lettuce, spinach, and chives. Many of these greens contain high levels of oxalate and are not healthy for your turtle to consume.
In addition to leafy greens, turtles are also able to snack on fruits — just like us! While leafy greens should make up a large portion of your pet turtle’s diet, they can also have fruits as snacks. It is important to remember, however, that fruits have a high sugar content and should only be fed to your turtle in small portions. Some fruits that turtles can snack on include figs, bananas, strawberries, grapes, apples, pears, mangoes, dates, and cantaloupe. Figs are one of the best fruits that you can feed them since they are so high in calcium. Turtles need calcium in their diets as it helps keep their shell and bones strong. Remember, feeding your turtle fruit should be seen as a treat and not necessarily a main part of their diet.
3. Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Another food option that you can safely feed your pet turtle is canned fruits and vegetables. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t always have the option of having fresh fruits and vegetables around. There are times when certain foods aren’t in season or when we just haven’t had enough time to head out to the grocery store. In this case, you can feed your turtle fruits and veggies from a can. However, there is a stipulation with this option. For starters, while this is a good choice if you’re low on other foods, it shouldn’t become a staple in their diet. Additionally, you want to make sure to avoid any fruits or veggies that are sitting in oil or have additional salts or sugars added to them. These added ingredients will not be beneficial to your turtle. Also, make sure to avoid feeding them any foods that are pickled.
4. Fresh Fish
Freshly cooked fish is another suitable type of food that you can feed your turtle. Small amounts of cooked fish can be a great source of protein for them. However, make sure to not feed them any raw fish as this can be harmful to them. There can be various bacteria and parasites inside of raw fish that can hurt them.
5. Cooked Chicken
Another source of protein that turtles can eat is cooked chicken. Although they don’t eat this in the wild, they have adapted to be able to have some if you would like to feed it to them. It is important to not cook it with any additional salt, spices, or condiments. Your turtle should ideally only have a small bite of chicken on rare, special occasions. Also, always make sure that the chicken is cooked well. Salmonella has been known to be carried by turtles. This means that you don’t want to transfer the bacteria to them as it can make it unsafe for you to interact with them.
6. Cooked Ground Beef
You may again be surprised to find out that your pet turtle can actually have a bit of cooked ground beef. While it isn’t a main food source for them, they are able to enjoy one or two small bites. Once again, as we mentioned above with chicken, you need to make sure that it is fully cooked. Also, you want to ensure that there is no excess oil on the meat. While raw beef isn’t as dangerous for turtles, it is still safer and healthier for the meat to be fully cooked before serving it to them.
7. Cooked Turkey
At this point, you may or may not be surprised to find out that you can also feed your turtle some cooked turkey. As always, it is important that the meat is fully cooked. There should also be no spices or excess oil in it. This can be a fun protein snack for them if you are already planning on eating some turkey yourself.
Next time you order a shrimp cocktail, make sure you get enough for you and your turtle! Feeding your turtle some shrimp is another fun way to add a delicious and nutritional treat to their diet. Cooked shrimp are a great source of protein and vitamins. They can be a great supplement to your turtle’s diet. When offering the shrimp to your turtle, make sure they are cooked and that you feed it to them in small amounts.
While you personally may not eat insects, there are many other cultures around the globe that do consider them a delicacy. Especially in many parts of Asia, certain insects are sold at various street food markets. Eating insects is both a tasty treat and a beneficial one for your pet turtle. Some insects that you can offer them include grasshoppers, mealworms, crickets, earthworms, and beetles.
Summary of Safe Human Foods for Your Turtle
|Safe Human Foods for Turtles||Precautions|
|Leafy Greens||Avoid greens that contain high levels of oxalate.|
|Fruits||Should be given as a snack only, as it is high in sugar.|
|Canned Fruits and Vegetables||Avoid canned fruits and vegetables that are high in sodium or sugars.|
|Fresh Fish||Fish should be properly cooked and not served raw.|
|Cooked Chicken||Avoid adding any salts or seasoning and only serve cooked.|
|Cooked Ground Beef||Serve fully cooked and avoid adding salts or seasoning. Ensure to drain all excess oil.|
|Cooked Turkey||Serve fully cooked without seasoning and in small portions.|
|Shrimp||Should be fully cooked and unseasoned.|
|Insects||These are meant to be fed as a treat.|