What Human Foods Can Turtles Eat? [Food Chart]

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

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Many people who own turtles are constantly on the lookout for different meals to offer their pets. It’s exciting to feed your turtle things that humans eat. However, the issue remains: What kinds of human food are safe for turtles to eat? Do turtles need special diets, or can they eat anything people eat?

It’s possible to feed turtles a wide variety of human meals. As omnivores, turtles may consume a variety of food, such as cooked ground beef and eggs, fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood. Yet, there are a few that should only be given in small amounts.

While turtles are omnivores, certain foods may be harmful if consumed in high amounts, including those containing plant materials or meat.

For this reason, I will elaborate on some of the most popular food categories humans consume, discussing if they benefit the turtle and which ones should be resisted.

Here is a table with the list of human foods that you can feed your turtle-

Types of FoodFood Items
MeatCooked and chopped chicken, beef, turkey, pork.
FishBluegills, Bass, Crappies, Guppies, Killifish, Platies.
FruitsApples, pears, bananas, mango, blueberry, apricot, cantaloupe, peaches, guava, kiwis, strawberries, and melons
VegetableDark leafy greens such as parsley, romaine lettuce, carrot tops, collard greens, mustard greens, endive, kale, green beans, dandelion greens, turnip greens.
EggEggs from any species including chicken and duck
InsectCrickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms

Can Turtles Eat Meat?

Certainly, it is healthy for turtles to consume meat, and everybody who has a turtle knows that their pets really like eating meat. 

On the other hand, they must be provided in the appropriate quantity. Otherwise, your turtle’s gastrointestinal tract will not function properly.

Meats are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for the growth of a robust shell in turtles. 

In addition, because a turtle’s body is unable to retain protein, consuming sufficient amounts of this component on a regular basis is essential for the animal’s health.

Is Meat Safe For Turtles?

Both uncooked and prepared meat is acceptable for your turtle’s consumption. But if the meat hasn’t been frozen, it might have germs that can make your turtle sick to its guts. 

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This will increase the likelihood of your turtle becoming sick. Therefore, it is best to avoid giving him an excessive amount of raw meat.

Your turtle will have an easier time chewing on the meat once it has been boiled since this will eliminate any germs that may be present and loosen the hardness of the flesh.

Cooking with an excessive amount of oil can harm your turtle’s health. Because of this, I believe that boiling the meat is preferable to pan-frying it.

When the meat has been boiled, it should be sliced into tiny chunks and, if at all feasible, shredded. Because of this, the process of digestion is facilitated, and the meal is broken down more easily.

What Happens If A Turtle Consumes Too Much Meat?

Your turtle runs the risk of developing pyramiding illness if it consumes an excessive amount of meat, in which an excessive amount of protein accumulates on the scutes of its shell, creating lumps. 

On the other hand, there is little data to suggest that turtles’ pyramiding behavior poses any threat to their health.

In spite of this, research has shown that pyramiding makes it difficult for male turtles to mount the backs of female turtles when mating season rolls around.

Can Turtles Eat Fish? 

In the wild, turtles will consume almost everything, although fish is one of their primary sources of nutrition. 

Since sea turtles prefer fish to other types of meat, you can give them whatever kind of fish you choose, and they will happily consume it.

Fish, on the other hand, have a lower total quantity of fat but a higher total amount of protein than beef.

In addition, as I said previously, if you feed an excessive amount of protein, your turtle shell will develop pyramiding.

How Should You Give Your Turtle  A Fish To Eat?

As is the case with meat, you shouldn’t feed your turtle an excessive amount of uncooked fish. If it is a bigger variety of fish, you should boil it first and then remove the bones. 

Since turtles like to consume their meal as a whole, the pointed bones of larger fish might potentially cause damage to the turtle’s digestive tract.

Because of this, it is recommended that the bones be separated from the fish before feeding it to your turtle. Also, cooking the fish makes it delicate and simple to consume.

Which Kind Of Fish Should You Feed Your Turtle?

Every kind of fish is OK for your turtle to eat. Nonetheless, I strongly suggest that you feed him feeder fish. They have a low cost per offspring and a high percentage of reproductive success.

That’s great news since it means you can raise a new supply in a different container just for your turtle’s diet. Feeder fish include a wide variety of species, including Gar, Oscars, and Rays, among others.

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The list that follows consists of fishes that are suitable for consumption by your turtle:

  • Bluegills \ Bass
  • Crappies
  • Guppies
  • Killifish \Platies

The fish should be small enough for your turtle to capture and consume readily.

Which Fish Should Your Turtle Avoid?

You should not give your turtle certain varieties of fish, including goldfish and wild feeder fish, as they are toxic to turtles. 

It is important to steer clear of other types of fish as well, including rosy red minnows, carp, gizzard shad, and feathered minnows.

The following species of feeder fishes should be avoided at all costs:

  • Goldfish
  • Rosy Red minnows
  • Carp
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Feathered minnows, etc.

Are Fruits Safe For Turtles To Eat?

Fruits provide many health benefits for turtles, yet you should only give them a very limited amount at a time.

It is not recommended that a turtle consume more than 10 percent of its diet in the form of fruits. 

The reason for this is that fruits do not contain a calcium-to-potassium ratio that is ideal for turtles. Nonetheless, despite this drawback, fruits have many other advantages for turtles.

With a few notable exceptions, turtles can consume almost every variety of fruit that humans can.

Citrus fruits are the only kind of fruit you need to steer clear of. 

Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, mandarins, limes, pomelo, and any other types of citrus, can cause vomiting and other gastrointestinal distress in turtles because of the citric acid they carry.

Are Vegetables Safe For Turtles To Eat?

While most of the same veggies that are beneficial for people are also good for turtles, a handful really harm turtles.

As a first non-typical example, iceberg lettuce lacks the nutritious benefits of most salads. Thus, eating iceberg salad serves no purpose for a turtle other than to satisfy its appetite.

Vegetables with a high oxalate content are the other notable deviance. Substances known as oxalates prevent the bones from absorbing calcium.

In a reptile as skeletally constructed as a turtle, you wouldn’t want to interfere with its calcium intake in any way.

Several examples of high-oxalate veggies are Spinach, Chard, Beetroot, Rhubarb, Potatoes, and Endive.

Can Turtles Consume Bakery Goods Like Bread?

If you offer turtle bread or any other food from a bakery, it will consume it, despite the fact that it is harmful to its health. 

Bakery items provide them little nourishment, and in certain cases, they might even create stomach issues. 

Bakery items provide them little nourishment, and in certain cases, they might even create stomach issues.  So, they are able to consume them, but they should not at all.

Can Turtles Consume Pasta?

As is the case with bread items, turtles are able to consume them, but consuming any form of pasta is detrimental to their overall health. So, you shouldn’t provide pasta to your turtle.

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Can Turtles Eat Sugary Foods?

Sweet foods of any type should, under no circumstances, be consumed by turtles. They are particularly harmful to turtles and may create a wide variety of health issues for the animals.

You should steer clear of storing any form of sweets in close proximity to your turtle since they will attempt to consume them, but you mustn’t allow them.

Can Turtles Consume Snacks?

Under the category of snacks, I include anything from potato chips and biscuits to popcorn and other foods like that.

These should not be consumed by turtles under any circumstances. They contain a great deal of salt or sugar, in addition to plenty of substances that are toxic to turtles.

Your turtle will likely want to eat every food that it comes into contact with, even sugary ones, but you should discourage this behavior since many common treats are harmful to turtles.

Are Nuts Safe For Turtles To Eat?

Like many vegetables, nuts contain high levels of the mineral oxalate, which prevents the body from absorbing calcium. Thus, turtles should not consume nuts.

Are Dairy Products Safe For Turtles To Eat?

Since turtles cannot digest dairy products, feeding them to turtles is not recommended. Turtles will develop health issues if they continue to consume dairy products.

Nonetheless, just as with any other form of food, turtles will attempt to consume dairy products. It is thus your job to take precautions so that you do not provide your turtle the opportunity to consume them in any way.

Are Eggs Safe For Turtles To Eat?

It does not matter to turtles what species the eggs originate from as long as they remain fresh when they consume them. 

When it comes to eggs, I always advise boiling them first and then peeling them. If you want to avoid a situation like this, you should break the egg into smaller portions or hold it as the turtle eats.

Can Turtles Eat Insects?

I am aware that the vast majority of people do not eat insects, yet in some regions of the globe, particularly in Asia, insects may be fairly popular when sold as street food. Hence, they are included on the list.

Consuming insects is both possible and beneficial for turtles. In the wild, they consume them on a consistent basis. Feeding your turtle dry crickets is highly recommended.

You may also give your turtle live insects to eat. However, these insects have a high tendency for movement, and if you are not cautious, they may escape from their enclosure and roam freely around your home.

Before You Go 

Many turtle keepers wonder what kinds of human foods are safe for their reptiles. Without question, turtles should be fed the finest diet available so that they may acquire all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.

You may include human food in your turtle’s usual diet as long as you don’t overdo it. Remember that not everything we eat is suitable for turtles. All of the meals we’ve discussed above are suitable for humans, so you may choose one, knowing it won’t harm your turtle. 

Moreover, have a look at Can Turtles Eat Lettuce? [Precautions for Owners]

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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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