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Can Your Turtles, Tortoises, And Terrapins Eat Watermelon? What’s The Best Fruit To Feed Your Pet Turtle?

By Kerry
Updated on

Watermelon is a very popular fruit in the summertime and can be found at most grocery stores. It’s packed with important nutrients and plenty of vitamins.

The high water content of watermelon means that it’s not just refreshing but also hydrating. This is ideal in the summer months.

Terrapins eat watermelon

Most fruit is a natural part of a turtle’s diet but can your pet reptile also eat watermelon?

We find out if turtles, tortoises, and terrapins can also be fed watermelon. We also discuss what other fruit you can give your pet to ensure it gets a balanced diet.

Can Turtles And Terrapins Eat Watermelon?

Turtles, terrapins, and tortoises can eat watermelons. 

Watermelons are rich in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, and other nutrients. They also contain lycopene, which has antioxidant properties.

Although there are discussions by pet owners around this, as watermelon isn’t part of the natural diet of a turtle, turtles can eat small pieces of watermelon.

Should Pet Turtles Eat Fruit?

Reptile experts recommend that pet turtles should be fed fruit as part of a good diet. However, as a pet owner, you shouldn’t give them too much fruit.

Fruit should only make up a maximum of 20% of a turtle’s diet. This is because some fruits have high levels of sugar that may cause diarrhea or constipation if eaten too often.

A large amount of sugar could also lead to diabetes.

It’s also a good idea to feed your pet turtle, tortoise, or terrapin a variety of fruit so your animal gets a greater range of nutrients.

However, it’s important not to feed your pet any seeds that may be contained in fruit, such as apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, grapes, strawberries, etc.

These are choking hazards, so you must remove the seeds before you feed the fruit to your turtle.

If you’re worried about your pet eating something harmful, then make sure that you check with your vet.

What Is The Best Food For A Turtle?

There is not just one food that is best for turtles. Turtles and other reptiles need a good variety of many different types of foods, including fish, vegetables, and fruits.

What you should feed your turtle depends on the species and its age.

Best Turtle Diet

The majority of pet turtles are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. On the other hand, tortoises often prefer only vegetables and fruit.

The diet of a turtle, terrapin, and tortoise should consist of a variety of foods.

Here are three of the most important foods your pet should get regularly.

Insects And Feeder Fish

Feeding insects and feeder fish to your pet is an excellent way to provide it with nutrition.

You can buy live insects at pet stores. These include crickets, mealworms, wax worms, silkworms, locusts, grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles, ants, termites, dragonflies, butterflies, moths, and bees.

When feeding these insects to your pet, remember to avoid giving them too much. As live insects contain a lot of protein and fat, they may become overweight.

Fish are another great source of nutrition for your turtle. They are easy to keep and require little space.

The great part of feeding live insects and feeder fish to your turtle is that you can watch them hunt.


Pellets are made from ground-up food, and they are designed to contain everything your pet needs, so they are very nutritious. 

Pellets are the standard turtle pet food. However, your turtle may not recognize it as such, so it might need some training for your turtle to accept it as food.

Pellets should make up a maximum of a quarter of your turtle’s diet.

Vegetables And Fruit

Turtles and other reptiles do well on a varied diet. This means that you should always offer your pet fresh vegetables and fruit.

Fresh fruit is a good choice because it contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It’s also easier to digest than dried fruit.

Fruits like watermelons, cantaloupes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, bananas, apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, grapes, and strawberries are all safe to give your pet.

Make sure that you cut off the rinds first, and don’t let your pet chew on them. You should also remove all seeds so your turtle isn’t choking on them.

It’s best to feed your turtle 80% vegetables and only 20% fruit. The veggies are much easier for a turtle to digest, and they don’t contain as much sugar as fruit.

If you want to add flavor, you can mix in baby carrots or cucumbers.

Turtles eating watermelon

What Foods Should You Not Feed To Your Turtle?

There are also several foods your turtle shouldn’t eat because they would make your pet sick or provide little nutrients.

Here are some of the most important things to avoid feeding your turtle.

Raw Meat

Raw meat can be dangerous for your pet because it can contain bacteria. If your turtle eats raw meat, it could develop bacteria-related illnesses.

Avoid giving your pet raw meat. If you want to feed your turtle meat, you should ensure that it’s properly cooked.

When cooking the meat, make sure that you don’t add any salt or additional seasoning, as this can cause stomach upsets to your turtle.

Canned Food

Canned food is full of preservatives and additives that aren’t healthy for your pet. Also, processed food, like dog or cat food, doesn’t have enough nutrients to sustain your turtle.

Don’t feed your turtle anything that has been in contact with metal. Metal can leach into canned food and affect your turtle.

Iceberg Lettuce

Although iceberg lettuce is a vegetable and it doesn’t cause any harm, it also doesn’t give them enough nutrients a turtle needs.

You can use romaine lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce. Romaine lettuce is more nutrient-dense than iceberg lettuce.


Your turtle should not have any dairy products, such as cheese or chocolate. A turtle’s digestive system isn’t made for processing dairy, so this can lead to stomach upsets and blockages.

Commercial Pet Food

Pet food companies often include fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives in their food. These ingredients aren’t necessary, and they can be harmful to your pet.

They’re also expensive, so you’d probably save money by buying turtle-friendly food.

Other Bad Things For Turtles

Some other things that you should avoid feeding your pet include:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Coffee

Frequently Asked Questions

What Foods Are Poisonous To Turtles?

Several different plants are poisonous to turtles and other pets. These include amaryllis, asparagus fern, and rhododendron.

Can Tortoises Eat Chicken?

Tortoises are omnivores, which means that they eat almost anything. They get protein from eating chicken but won’t thrive if they consume too many chicken bones.

You can feed your turtle chicken in small amounts. But you need to ensure that you remove any bone as this could be a choking hazard for your turtle.


Watermelon is one of the most popular fruits among pet owners when feeding their turtles.

Although watermelon is safe, there are certain foods that you should never feed your pet. This includes raw meat, canned food, ice cream, caffeinated drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and chocolate.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to keep your pet happy and 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.