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Can Turtles, Tortoises And Terrapins Eat Cheese? What You Need To Know

By Kerry
Updated on

Turtles, tortoises, and other reptiles love lots of food, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. This is because these creatures are omnivores.

Turtle eating food

This means that they can eat both plants and animals. In general, they prefer meat to plant food.

This can make it difficult to know what they can and can’t eat. For example, you might be wondering whether these animals are able to consume cheese.

While this may seem like a strange question, it is important to feed your pets the right foods. If you do not give them the proper nutrition, they will suffer from health problems.

They could even die if their diet is too low in protein or vitamins.

Can These Creatures Eat Cheese?

The answer is no; you should not feed turtles, tortoises, or terrapins cheese. But why? Well, there are several reasons. First, cheese contains dairy, which is not good for reptiles.

Dairy products include cheese, milk, and yogurts. When these animals eat dairy, they can become ill. This is because they are incapable of digesting this food group.

Second, cheese has a high-fat content which is also not good for these animals.

High-fat diets can cause obesity in reptiles. Obesity in reptiles can lead to other health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure.

As a result, it is recommended that you avoid feeding your reptile any dairy products, such as cheese.

This includes different types of cheese, such as cheddar. Instead, try giving them a more balanced diet with plenty of greens, veggies, and fruit.

What About Other Foods?

While cheese is not a good choice for reptiles, many other foods are okay. In fact, some of the best things you can give your pet are actually fruits and vegetables.

Tortoise eating cucumber


Some examples include apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Though fruits are nutritious and high in vitamins, you should be wary of feeding them fruits too often. Too much fruit can cause diarrhea in reptiles.

This is because they are high in natural sugar. Moreover, they can have a highly acidic content. Therefore, we advise giving your pet turtle, tortoise, or terrapin fruit as occasional treats.

When giving your pet fruits, be sure to remove peel and pips. This is because they can be harmful when consumed, especially in large quantities.

We advise feeding your turtle once a week or once a month. For example, bananas have high proportions of phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential mineral for growing bones and teeth.

However, too much phosphorus can have a negative impact on your tortoise. So, be careful about how much you feed your pet. If your turtle has a negative reaction to any fruits, stop providing them.


Other than fruits and vegetables, you can also feed your pet fish, chicken, beef, and turkey.

However, these meats contain cholesterol and fats. So, you need to limit how much of these foods you give your pet.


These turtle species also enjoy eating insects. You can even feed them live insects. Just remember that they need to chew on them before swallowing them.

Otherwise, they will choke on them. Some of the insects that these reptiles can eat include crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, roaches, and wax worms.

You can purchase insect feeders online or in pet stores. The latter option is usually cheaper, though online stores are often more convenient.

These insects are rich in protein, so they are perfect for reptiles.


Vegetables should also make up a large portion of your pet’s diet. Examples include lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, beans, corn, potatoes, and squash.

As mentioned above, these foods are nutritious and healthy. Leafy green vegetables are the optimal choice.

This is because they are high in fiber and potassium. You should aim to give your reptile vegetables roughly 4 times a week.

Diet Tips

However, you must be careful about overfeeding your pet. It is easy to accidentally overfeed your pet.

This is because they love to eat so much. Also, omnivores tend to gobble down everything you put in front of them. So you have to make sure that the food is safe for them first.

Otherwise, they will eat it regardless.

So, while cheese is not a great option for reptiles, other foods are fine. Remember to keep an eye out for signs of illness when feeding your pet.

If you notice any changes in behavior, then contact your veterinarian immediately. There may be some foods that your pet turtle is unable to consume.

You can also purchase commercial turtle feeders if you desire. These are typically made from plastic and metal. They come in various designs.

You can choose one based on what type of food you want to provide.

How Much Should I Feed My Pet Turtle, Tortoise, Or Terrapin?

It depends on the size of your pet. Generally speaking, smaller turtles tend to eat less than larger ones.

On average, a small turtle eats approximately half a cup of food per day. However, this is normally spread across two separate meals.

A medium-sized one eats around one full cup each day. Meanwhile, a large turtle frequently consumes more than this in the span of a day.

Kid feeding tortoise food

The amount of food you provide your pet depends on its age. For example, young turtles require more food than older ones.

Elderly turtles tend to be less active than more youthful ones, meaning that they require less food. In addition, adult turtles also need more food than baby turtles.

For a baby turtle, it is advised that you feed them twice a day.

Meanwhile, adult turtles usually only need to be fed once a day. Some will eat less regularly, only needing to be fed once every two days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Turtles Have Milk?

No, turtles should not ingest milk. They cannot digest lactose, which is the sugar found in dairy products. If they have consumed dairy, your turtle can become ill.

What Is The Best Food For Baby Turtles?

Baby turtles should be fed with specially formulated baby turtle food.

This is because it has been designed especially for the needs of baby turtles. It contains vitamins and minerals that are essential for their growth.

Moreover, it does not contain any ingredients that could harm them. Aside from that, baby turtles have similar diets to adult ones, namely consuming insects and fish.

Be sure to cut them into small portions for your turtle so that they don’t choke.

Is It Safe To Give My Pet Turtle Raw Meat?

Raw meat is not recommended for your pet. While it is good for them, there is a risk that they could get sick if they eat too much.

In fact, raw meats contain harmful parasites. These parasites can cause serious health problems. Therefore, it is better to cook the meat before giving it to your pet.

Are Reptiles Good Pets?

Reptiles are very friendly animals. They are generally calm and peaceful creatures that require less maintenance and attention than other pets.

As such, they are perfect for people who want a low-maintenance pet. If you are looking for a perfect pet, we suggest getting either a turtle, tortoise, or terrapin.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article answers all your questions regarding what to feed your pet turtle, tortoise, and terrapin. We wish you luck in raising your pet!

While these omnivorous reptiles can consume most foods, you should not offer them cheese or any other dairy products. They cannot digest milk properly.

Instead, you should follow our dietary advice if you wish to ensure that your pet is healthy.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.