Can Turtles Eat Bread?

Is bread a healthy snack for a turtle? Or is it toxic and killing the little pet? 

These questions are the ones I hear the most when talking to pet owners that have seen or heard about humans feeding turtles little pieces of bread. 

For those who want a short answer, here it is. Yes, turtles can eat bread. However, this product is slowly killing them and, to be honest, it is not nearly the best snack you can give your little friend. 

Now, if you want to find out more about bread and turtles, read the article below. There you’ll find the answers to all the questions you might have. Enjoy!

What is Bread Made Of?

a man working on the dough

Before we get to other questions, it is very important to know what is bread made of and what ingredients are killing our little pets. 

Here is a list of the most popular ingredients that can be used to make a loaf of bread. You’ll get a small description and you’ll understand why is bread bad for turtles. 


All we know is that, in order for the bread to be nice and tasty, bakers often add a diary. As a consequence of that, bread is filled with lactose. 

Now, what does lactose have to do with turtles? The thing is that turtles do not have the necessary enzymes to break down the lactose. Therefore, they are getting constantly sick and have to be on a diet for 2 to 3 weeks to get back on track. 

Moreover, because of the lactose, if your turtle doesn’t want to eat the bread pieces, they will quickly muddy up the water, making your water tank unhygienic for your turtle to live in. 


Another not-so-great product for your turtle’s stomach is different types of preservatives that are commonly used in our era. You won’t find a bakery that isn’t using some kind of preservatives to keep their bread fresh for a longer period of time. 

The thing is, a small number of such chemicals can have a huge impact on your turtle’s health, especially if they do not have the best immune and digestive system. Of course, if it is a one-time deal, no problem. 

However, if you are constantly giving your turtle bread and other bakery products, its life will be considerably shorter than it could’ve been hadn’t you given it bread.  

Leavening agent 

Leavening agents are, in small amounts, not harmful to any form of existence. However, even for humans, in large quantities, leavening agents can be very harmful. Therefore, you don’t have to give your turtle bread that is baked with a leavening agent. 

Can Turtles Digest Bread?

No, turtles cannot digest any type of bread. Like I said in the paragraphs above, all types of bread contain dairy products, a very harmful and undigestible ingredient for a pet turtle. Moreover, turtles cannot digest a wide variety of food. Especially processed human food that isn’t even in the range of their regular diet.

The fact is that turtles eat animal and plant-based matter, not processed food. Therefore, if you want to take care of turtles in your aquarium, provide them with a well-balanced diet with plenty of healthy nutrients to get. Also, if you can, give them varied diets, that will ensure healthy growth. 

What Amount of Bread is Dangerous for Turtles?

There is no specific amount of bread that would be dangerous for a turtle. To be honest, even the smallest piece of dough can hurt your pet turtle. Therefore, you should be very careful with such treats. 

What Happens if a Turtle Eats Bread?

Of course, your turtle won’t die as soon as it puts a piece of bread in its mouth. It is a long process with lots of different factors to take into the calculation. 

However, there are some things that will happen no matter what. First of all, your turtle’s digestive tract won’t be as healthy as it could’ve been. That will happen because many ingredients in bread can’t be digested by its enzymes. 

Another thing that will definitely happen is malnutrition. Bread isn’t particularly the best source of nutrients for a turtle. It isn’t meeting your turtle’s nutritional requirements and can have some negative effects on its shell and skin. This nutrient deficiency can cause a list of other problems that could’ve been avoided by just feeding your turtle with an assortment of vegetables. 

Related Articles:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most popular questions asked and the most eloquent answer we could’ve found. 

Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Bread?

The short answer is no, Red-Eared Sliders cannot eat bread, like other turtle species. However, let’s talk about it a little bit more. Many owners of different species of turtles, especially Red-Eared Sliders, because it is the most popular pet turtle, say that their turtles are eating bread easily. 

First of all, it is a natural instinct of any animal to eat something. In the absence of normal food and fresh vegetables, of course, the turtle will eat anything, it won’t starve to death. That doesn’t mean it is beneficial for its body.

Bread is bad for Red-Eared Sliders and any other type of turtle because it has lactose, artificial preservatives, and is a kind of processed food. There are no essential nutrients, its content of nutrients does not meet the needs of a turtle and it is simply killing your pet, that’s it. 

Can I Feed Bread to Wild Turtles?

Yes, you can feed bread to wild turtles. That is not because they have some other, more advanced digestive systems or can easily eat anything. You will feed them bread once, maybe twice, and that’s it. Whereas their daily diet is balanced and well designed. 

Also, the feeding of bread can save their lives. Yes, you heard me right. In the wilderness, there isn’t always plenty of food and vegetables to eat for the turtles. Their natural diet isn’t calibrated by a human being. They mostly eat what they found or hunt. There are days when they don’t find anything to eat. Therefore, you can keep them from starvation and death by giving them a piece of bread. 

Nevertheless, it is best if you bring some leafy greens or another such food item because it is better for them to eat something healthy. And wild turtles will be happier with some vegetables than with bread, believe me. 

Can I Give My Turtle Bread as a Snack?

No, you can’t give your turtle bread as a snack. Bread isn’t made for turtles, bread is made for human beings and other, more advanced organisms. Turtles cannot eat bread in any form, neither basic diet nor snacks.

The best snacks you can give your turtle are vegetables, fruits(small quantities), and protein-rich foods. Snacks should be easy to digest and healthy. A diet for turtles should be well-balanced and the snacks must be a big part of it. Don’t neglect the diet in order to give your turtle a snack. Make the snack a part of the diet. 


Now you know that a turtle mustn’t be fed with bread. It is toxic and doesn’t have anything to do with a turtle’s diet. It is solely food for humans and nothing more. 

Dorothy Razo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *