Can Turtles Eat Eggs? [5 Eggscellent Nutrition Tips!]

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Turtles, especially pet turtles, need eggs in their diet as a good source of protein, fat, and calcium. As someone who’s a proud owner of three red-eared sliders and five adorable painted turtles, hard-boiled eggs are a lifesaver, both for quick snacks and proper gourmet meals.

Fresh chicken eggs are best for pet turtles, although they can also have quail, duck, and goose eggs. Chicken and quail egg yolks contain more protein and vitamins, while duck and goose eggs are richer in fatty acids and minerals.

So, if you’ve been wondering whether turtles can eat eggs, this is the perfect article to clarify the situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Eggs can help with protein and vitamin D3 deficiency in pet turtles.
  • Raw eggs and eggshells can make turtles sick.
  • Boiled eggs can eliminate the possibility of a salmonella infection in pet turtles.
  • A regular diet of fresh chicken eggs can boost a turtle’s immunity system and strengthen its carapaces.
  • Most turtles can’t digest spices; hence, there’s no need to season the boiled eggs with salt or pepper.
  • It’s important to clean up the leftovers immediately, as rotten egg yolks can make the turtle tanks smell bad.
  • While eggs are great sources of proteins and minerals for turtles, they must primarily eat a plant—or meat-based diet.

Can All Types Of Turtles Eat Eggs?

There are 3600+ turtle species in the world, and only a handful of them are kept as household pets. Of the 3600+ species, only about 461 species inhabit the earth currently.

Land tortoises are mostly herbivores, while marine turtles are mostly omnivores. For instance – Hawksbill sea turtles live on a diet of sea crustaceans like shrimps, mollusks, jellyfish, fluorescent ocean plants, etc. Again, green sea turtles are primarily herbivores living on algae & seagrasses.

However, household pets such as box turtles or red-eared sliders need a protein-filled diet to boost their immune systems. From eggs to meat to vegetables, they need it all!

So, the best way to know if a specific turtle can eat eggs is to do proper research on their feeding habits. As a long-time turtle owner, I’d highly recommend doing this research beforehand to ensure a balanced diet right from the start.

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In addition to researching the food habits, here are a few other things you should cover before bringing a turtle home –

  • mating habits
  • required tank capacity
  • pooping frequency
  • basking requirements
  • friendliness with other species (so that you, unlike me, won’t have to suffer the demise of your favorite goldfish after getting bit by a hyper-aggressive red-eared slider.)

List Of Common Omnivore Turtles

Here’s a brief overview of the turtles that’ll love eggs in their diet! I also included some info from my personal experience and research so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes –

Turtle SpeciesEggs – Yay Or Nay?
Red-Eared SlidersWill eat whatever they can get their hands on. Follow a meat diet mostly and use boiled eggs as treats for ’em.
Yellow-Bellied TurtlesGive ’em little slices of boiled eggs when they’re basking.
Pond TurtlesThe primary diet should include insects and crayfish. Don’t give them eggs regularly to avoid a gassy stomach.
Musk TurtlesLike pond turtles, musk turtles shouldn’t get eggs as often, either, as they have a slow metabolism rate. (Also, they’re stinky enough as it is!)
Box TurtlesBox turtles love to munch on eggs, but make sure to cut the boiled egg into smaller pieces to avoid potential choking.
Wood TurtlesWood turtles get most of their protein from earthworms, mollusks, and other insects. They can have eggs as treats.
Painted TurtlesAs painted turtles mostly feed under the water, they use eggs as treats when they come up to bask in the sun. Otherwise, the tank water will get murky from the egg yolk and smell.
Pet Turtle Diet Feeding Chart infographic

Is It Safe For Turtles To Eat Eggs?

For most household pet turtles, eggs are not only safe for consumption but also an excellent source of protein and fat. Consuming freshly boiled eggs on a regular basis can grant your pet turtles the following benefits –

1. High Protein Intake

Growing turtles can use the extra protein to boost their metabolic rate. One chicken egg can provide around 6-7 grams of protein, while quail eggs can offer only 1-1.5 grams.

2. Enhanced Immune System

The calcium in eggshells can strengthen a turtle’s bone and carapace in the growing stage. So, if your pet turtle looks a bit weak, it’ll benefit from the extra calcium.

3. Alternative Supplement Of Vitamin D

Turtle diets must consist of vitamin D supplements as it’s one of the most essential vitamins for them. Painted turtles or box turtles bask in the sun during the day to get their Vitamin D.

Adding vitamin D supplements to their food allows them to synthesize the vitamin D and UV rays from the sun faster. Plus, it can make up for nutrient deficiencies when direct sunlight isn’t available for a couple of days or weeks.

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Goose eggs offer the most vitamin D3, but chicken eggs are better overall for a balanced diet. They’re also the most affordable option for avant-garde turtle owners.

[The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio in turtles is 4:1. Hence, goose eggs can prove to be detrimental for growing turtles as they contain a large amount of phosphorus.]

Do Turtles Eat Eggs In The Wild?

Turtles are known to eat fish eggs and tadpoles in the wild. Large land turtles can sometimes stomp over the eggs of other turtles and reptiles, but they’ll hardly feed on them.

This is why most turtles hide their eggs during the breeding season so that they can hatch safely. Marine turtles swim to the beach in a congregation to lay eggs and cover them in the sand to protect them from predators.

Nature’s cruel sense of survival-of-the-fittest kicks in after they hatch since not all younglings get to make it to the ocean with their siblings.

Did You Know?

Leatherback sea turtles live on a diet of jellyfish, and mature turtles need almost thrice the amount of jellyfish compared to hatchlings for adequate energy intake.

Source – jstor.org

5 Eggscellent Nutrition Tips For Your Turtles!

Thinking of feeding eggs to your pet turtles? Don’t forget to follow these 5 Eggscellent nutrition tips!

1. Boil The Eggs Before Feeding

Raw eggs can contain parasites, and most household turtles aren’t equipped to recover from intestinal infections. Again, raw chicken eggs can induce a salmonella infection, which can prove deadly for both baby and adult turtles.

So, always give your turtles full-boiled eggs to ensure maximum nutrition and minimum detrimental effects.

2. Feed Your Turtles Fresh Eggs!

Like humans, turtles can’t digest rotten eggs either. Hence, if you’ve been thinking of pawning off the rotten ones in the fridge to them, DON’T. Always boil fresh eggs for the adorable swimmers, and never let them feed on bad eggs.

3. Refrain From Adding Spices!

Pets, in general, can’t digest spicy food. Completely bland food is best for them, as it helps with digestion and absorption. So, if you want to see the younglings grow up to be strong and healthy turtles, avoid putting salt, pepper, etc. in their food.

4. Ensure A Balanced Diet

Make sure the turtles are getting the same nutrients as they’d get in the wild. For instance – pond turtles rely on a heavy diet of algae, moss, small fish, and aquatic insects.

Hence, while eggs are good sources of protein, don’t replace the normal diet with eggs entirely.

Provide them with an ample portion of aquatic protein and veggies, and give eggs as treats or further supplements to boost their metabolism.

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5. Don’t Feed Your Turtles Eggs Too Often!

Although eggs are great sources of protein and fat for turtles, you shouldn’t overdo it with eggs. If their diet contains too much protein and unsaturated fat, they can suffer from a condition called Pyramiding.

In growing turtles, pyramiding is a harmful condition as their shells can permanently deform & reduce their lifespan significantly. It also affects their ability to move around freely, both in water and land.

Hence, if their diet already consists of meat, worms, insects, etc., don’t add more than a slice or two of egg to it. You can also cut it up into cubes to use as treats now and then.

Can I Include Eggshells In A Turtle’s Diet?

It’s typically not recommended to keep the shells intact while feeding eggs to a turtle. And here’s why –

  • Small turtles can choke on the little pieces.
  • Soft undershell turtles can hurt themselves if they walk over the considerably hard eggshells.
  • Hard shells can also scratch their mouth and throat, which can induce further infection in these areas.
  • Most household turtles can’t digest the eggshells directly, thus interrupting their metabolism rate.

However, eggshells are incredibly rich in protein and vitamins, especially quail and duck eggs. Hence, it’s not a bad idea to want to include the shells in a turtle’s diet.

Make sure to follow these precautions before feeding eggshells to your turtles without harming them –

  • Before boiling the eggs, clean the eggshells with water to get rid of the dirt and the innards of the chicken, duck, etc.
  • Remove the eggshells gently after boiling and let them dry.
  • Once the eggshells are dry enough, grind or blend them into a fine powder and store them in a container.
  • Sprinkle the powder onto the turtle’s meal before serving it to ensure the extra protein in the diet.

This way, the eggshells won’t go to waste. You can use the fine powder as a seasoning (or a protein powder, as health junkies call it) to boost the health benefits of your pet turtles.

Can you feed turtles boiled eggs?

Yes, turtles can eat boiled eggs, but they should be given in moderation. Boiled eggs are not a natural part of a turtle’s diet, but they can be a source of protein. Ensure the egg is fully cooked and chopped into small pieces suitable for the turtle’s size.

Can turtles eat scrambled eggs?

While turtles can consume scrambled eggs, it’s not recommended as a regular part of their diet. If you choose to feed them scrambled eggs, ensure they are plain without any added salt, butter, or seasonings.

Can turtles eat quail eggs?

Turtles can eat quail eggs, either boiled or raw. However, like other types of eggs, they should be given sparingly and not as a primary food source.

Can turtles have eggs in water?

Turtles can eat eggs in water. However, to keep their main habitat clean, it’s best to feed them in a separate container.

Can turtles eat eggs every day?

No, turtles should not eat eggs every day. While eggs can be a good source of protein, they should be a treat and not a staple in their diet. Overfeeding can lead to health issues.

can turtles eat egg yolk?

Yes, turtles can eat egg yolk. If you’re feeding them a boiled egg, they can consume both the white and the yolk. However, remember to offer it in moderation.

Before You Go…

Eggs are a great way to include some much-needed protein in your pet turtle’s diet. However, make sure to properly boil and peel the eggs first before feeding them to your turtles.

And if you’re further worried about their calorie intake, do give How Much Food Should I Feed My Turtle? a read.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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