Is It Okay For Turtles, Tortoises And Terrapins To Eat Bananas?

The importance of eating healthily has been ingrained to us now for decades as we are quickly coming to grips with food’s effect on our bodies and minds.

turtle eating banana

This importance should not be underestimated and needs to be translated over into our pets’ lives.

Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins are becoming increasingly more popular as pets and as such, need to be treated with respect and fed with the best and most healthy diet.

Part of a healthy diet as we understand it are fruits and vegetables due to their nutritional benefits, and there’s some truth to this – but we often forget that many fruits are very high in sugar and can sometimes be calorific!

So, the short answer to this question is yes. Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins can eat bananas but whether they should eat bananas is a different thing entirely.

This guide will examine all the areas around these majestic creatures and the household favorite fruit, and hopefully, answer some of your biggest questions.

So, let’s jump into it!

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Tip: Check our full guide “What Do Turtles Eat?”

Turtles And Bananas

We’ll kick off this guide by looking at turtles and whether they can eat bananas. The answer is yes, they can indeed eat bananas.

Bananas do have plenty of nutritional benefits to them such as essential minerals, vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium – all of which are essential and crucial to a turtle’s normal bodily functionality.

The problem is that bananas, while they do have some nutritional positives, contain a very high sugar content and are rich in calories.

Too many bananas can be dangerous for a turtle as it can disrupt their normal digestive systems, and cause diarrhea and bloating.

This is normally down to two reasons – the first being that bananas are high in sugar and the second that bananas are rich in fiber.

Too much sugar can cause health problems and lead to things like weight gain, which has its own problems.

Too much fiber on the other hand can cause either a rapid or incredibly slowed digestion, which in any case will alter the turtle’s normal bowel habits and be uncomfortable.

What Should Turtles Eat?

Turtles are omnivores, but their primary source for their diet should be vegetables.

The best rule of thumb is to employ a 20% to 80% rule, with 80% being the number of vegetables a turtle should be eating.

Two turtle in the tank

Turtles will almost always prefer to eat fruits, but this does not mean that they should!

Much like humans, they would prefer to eat tastier, unhealthy foods rather than vegetables, despite being bad for them in the long run.

It’s a good idea if your turtle is refusing to focus on their vegetables, to mix up their vegetables with small amounts of fruits like bananas, so that they get the nutritional benefits from the things they need to be eating.

How To Feed Your Turtle Bananas

If you want to give your turtle a banana, you should only be doing so as a kind of treat that they can eat on occasion, the same as we might enjoy a chocolate bar or cake.

While a turtle has the capabilities to eat all the parts of a banana, including the skin, it’s recommended that you peel the banana before you feed them.

This is because some banana skins might still have harmful toxic pesticides which can make your turtle ill, or even worse.

Give your turtle small, manageable chunks of banana so that they do not choke or overeat causing digestive problems.

As we said previously, if they are eating around their vegetables, try to mix them up with bananas, so they find it impossible to avoid the crucial vegetables.

What To Remember When Feeding A Turtle Bananas

There are several things you should remember before you feed your turtle bananas.

These include:

  • Waiting at least one year before introducing bananas to their diet – they’re unlikely to find them in their natural diet
  • Speak with a vet before introducing new fruits to their diet
  • Continue to watch over your turtle for hours and then the coming days after they’ve eaten bananas
  • Don’t mix and match bananas with other fruits
  • Always reserve bananas as a treat
  • Stop feeding your turtle bananas if they exhibit negative effects like diarrhea or vomiting

Tortoises And Bananas

Tortoises are generally herbivores and require mostly vegetables in their diet, but they can also eat fruit.

Fruit should be the minority of their diet, so much like turtles, try to consider fruit as 20% of their overall diet.

Tortoise eating banana

Tortoises can indeed have bananas, but it needs to be strictly a treat and never as a primary staple of their diet.

Too many bananas can cause digestive problems and even cause immobility if the tortoise overindulges on these fibrous fruits.

Mediterranean tortoises should not eat fruit at all, but red and yellow-footed tortoises are quite happy to eat the occasional banana.

Can Tortoises Eat Other Fruits?

Rain forest species of tortoises have the capability to enjoy many fruits, but all of them must be strictly monitored and always as the smallest part of their diet.

The other fruits that tortoises can enjoy include:

  • Cherries (without the stone)
  • Melon
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Mango (but because of how sticky they are, they might attract wasps which can cause tortoises harm)
  • Strawberries

You should always avoid giving these species of turtle any citric fruits like lemons or oranges though as these can cause issues to tortoises.

Tortoises absolutely love strawberries, and they will seek out strawberries if they’re growing in your yard.

They can only have a few them though before they cause digestive issues – so be sure you’re watching over your tortoise outdoors!

Terrapins And Bananas

Terrapins are omnivores and need a well-rounded and balanced diet which is primarily fish, meats, vegetables, and plants.

The fish that terrapins normally eat as possibly the largest part of their diet contains essential oils like omega 3 and promotes healthy organ function.

While they can eat cooked meats, they’d prefer to eat raw meats, and even then – they should be as low in fat as possible. Consider buying your terrapin things like fat-free beef or reduced-fat chicken.

When it comes to bananas and other fruits, while they can enjoy bananas as part of a healthy, balanced diet – much like turtles and tortoises, bananas should be the smallest part of it.

Terrapins will eat mostly anything if they get hungry enough, so it’s best to try and psychologically push them into a standard, healthy and balanced diet that they will get used to.

Unlike tortoises, terrapins have a much larger range of foods that they will eat and maintain their health and fitness – which essentially allows terrapin owners a bit more freedom when it comes to choosing their lunch!

Can Terrapins Eat More Bananas Than Tortoises?

There’s no definitive study on the number of bananas that each of these can consume. As a general rule, keep bananas as a treat for all, despite terrapins having a much broader range in their diet.

The Bottom Line

Tortoises, terrapins, and turtles can all eat bananas, but they need to be part of a balanced and healthy diet and are considered an occasional treat due to their high sugar and fiber content.

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.

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