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Can Your Pet Turtle Eat Bread? Things To Know

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Depending on the type of turtle you have, your pet turtle may eat only plants, or it might also need a meat-based diet.

The majority of turtles are omnivorous animals. This means they eat both meat and vegetables.

Turtle eating bread

Although these turtles are often seen to eat everything you give them, not every food is safe for them to digest.

We find out why you shouldn’t give your turtle bread and what you can feed him instead.

Can A Turtle Eat Bread?

No, turtles should not eat bread. Bread is designed for humans with human digestive systems, and if you feed your turtle bread, it is likely to get sick.

Here are some main reasons you shouldn’t feed your turtle bread.

Turtles Can Get Sick From Eating Bread

Turtles can get sick from eating too much of anything, including bread. If you give your turtle bread, it will end up in their small stomach, which could cause problems like diarrhea or even worse.

The best way to prevent this is by feeding your turtle only what they need.

Turtles Are Omnivores

Most turtles are omnivores, which means they eat both vegetables and meat.

The problem with giving turtles bread is that it doesn’t contain any protein. In other words, it contains no meat.

Some people think that bread is healthy food for reptiles because it contains carbohydrates. But it does not contain enough protein to be considered an important part of their diet.

Turtles Have Different Digestive Systems Than Humans Do

Turtles have different digestive systems than humans do. For example, they don’t produce stomach acids as we do.

So even though bread may seem harmless to us, it could cause problems in turtles.

Turtles Have Other Food Sources

There are plenty of other things that turtles can eat, and these will give them a lot more nutrients and vitamins.

Turtles eat insects, fish, crustaceans, vegetables, and fresh fruit. A balanced diet is important to keep your pet turtle happy and healthy.

Turtles Don’t Like Bread

Chances are that if you try to give your turtle bread, it probably won’t like it very much.

Even though turtles could eat bread, they would get sick, and it’s not part of their natural diet. It tastes funny to them, and they usually have trouble digesting it.

What Should I Do When My Turtle Ate Bread?

If your turtle ate bread, then there isn’t much you can do about it. Move the bread immediately away from the turtle, and watch your pet carefully.

Your turtle likely won’t choke on the bread because it has been softened by water.

You can help your turtle by flushing out the harmful bread by providing plenty of fresh water.

Depending on how much he ate, you may not notice any difference. But if you spot that your pet behaves differently in the hours after it eats bread, then it’s best to contact your vet.


What Does A Turtle Eat?

Turtle eating an apple

This depends on whether your pet turtle is an omnivore or a herbivore. An omnivore eats both plant and animal matter. Herbivores eat plants only.

Diet For Herbivore Turtles

Herbivore turtles eat mostly fruits and vegetables. Some examples of foods include:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Melon
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach

Diet For Omnivore Turtles

Omnivorous turtles eat both what herbivores eat and animal matter. You will notice that your omnivore turtle will prefer meat to plants.
However, he should be given both to ensure a balanced turtle diet.

They also eat bugs, worms, snails, crickets, grasshoppers, fish, shellfish, shrimp, and crabs.

Snacks For Turtles

If you want to give your turtle a treat, then don’t feed it bread. There are plenty of turtle-friendly alternatives for snacks.

You should consider giving your turtle:

  • Earthworms
  • Crickets
  • Dried shrimp
  • Leafy greens
  • Aquatic lettuce
  • Krill
  • Unseasoned meat

Which Foods Do You Need To Avoid For Your Pet Turtle?

Turtles need a lot of food items to stay healthy. They require a variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and other nutrients.

It’s always important to look out for foods that should be avoided when feeding your pet turtle. These foods are not safe for your pet turtle, and they could make him ill or worse.

For example, you shouldn’t feed your pet turtle:

  • Bread
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Peanuts
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit juice
  • Grapes
  • Milk and any dairy products, such as chocolate or cheese
  • Yeast
  • Raisins
  • Raw eggs and raw meat

Can Pond Turtles Eat Bread?

No, pond turtles should not eat bread. Although they won’t choke on the bread because it gets soft in the water, the bread is not nutritious enough for a pond turtle.

Feeding a pond turtle bread won’t cause any harm immediately, but if a zoo turtle or any turtle eats too much of it without a balanced diet, then this could impact their overall health.

While it looks like turtles enjoy eating everything because they try everything you give them, this is not the case.

They won’t be able to digest the bread properly and can develop serious health problems over time.

How Can I Prevent My Turtle From Eating Bread?

Turtle in a pond eating bread

There are many ways to prevent your turtle from eating bread. The first step is to keep your pet away from the bread.

Keep the bread far away from your pet so that he doesn’t accidentally bite into it.

Another way to prevent your turtle from nibbling on the bread is by covering it up. This way, your pet won’t be tempted to eat the bread.

Another thing you can do is to put the bread inside a plastic bag. Place the bread inside the bag, tie it up tightly, and place it somewhere where your pet cannot reach it.

What Human Foods Can Turtles Eat?

As loving and caring pet parents, we want to ensure that our companions are well cared for, and sometimes we consider what’s good for us must also be good for our pet.

However, this is not always the case. Particularly reptiles and amphibians need a very different diet.

Although some human foods, which are organic and unprocessed, are fine to give to your turtle, there are plenty of things you shouldn’t feed your pet because they aren’t safe.

You can feed your pet human foods such as meat, fruit, vegetables, and fish.

It’s important to check that these foods don’t contain any chemicals. Your turtle can be affected by bacteria and parasites in human foods, so it’s essential to avoid these.

Most people recommend not to feed the standard fish, raw meat, and chicken from supermarkets because they don’t contain enough of the nutrients your turtle needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Turtles Eat Anything?

Turtles have been known to eat almost anything, including plants, insects, worms, grass, leaves, fruits, seeds, nuts, bones, shells, wood, soil, sand, gravel, rocks, other animals, and even other turtles!

However, not all of these foods contain the essential vitamins and minerals a turtle needs for a healthy diet.

Can You Feed Your Turtle Dog Or Cat Food?

No, you should never feed your pet turtle, cat, or dog food. These are specifically manufactured for larger pets with very different digestive systems.

Your turtle would not be able to digest these processed foods well, which could lead to digestion issues, including diarrhea and vomiting.

How Long Can Turtles Go Without Food?

A turtle can go without food for several days, but it depends on how old the animal is and its size.

The average lifespan of a freshwater turtle is around 30 years, although some species live longer than others.

If your turtle has access to water, it will survive for much longer periods without food.

However, if your turtle isn’t getting fed regularly, it may become malnourished and weak. It may also lose weight, grow slowly, and suffer from poor skin conditions.


Feeding your pet turtle is an enjoyable experience, but you must know what you’re doing when feeding them.

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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.