Can Turtles Eat Cabbage?

The most popular food for turtles is leafy greens. They are both nutritious and tasty. On top of that, most pet turtles absolutely love these crunchy leaves. But are all leafy greens beneficial for turtles? Cabbage, for example, isn’t as popular as other leafy greens. So, can turtles eat cabbage? 

Yes, turtles can eat cabbage. It is loaded with beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that will aid your turtle’s health and well-being. However, there are some particularities we have to talk about before you feed your turtle with some cabbage. 

If you want to know all there is to know about cabbage, read the information we displayed further in the article. Enjoy! 

Is Cabbage Good for Turtles?

buckets of cabbage leaves

Yes, cabbage is very good for turtles. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. While pet turtles can have numerous health issues, a well-balanced diet is able to prevent the majority of them. From the respiratory system to immunity and bones, cabbage will benefit all of them. Here are some of the most important nutrients cabbage can bring to the table. 

Vitamin A

Respiratory and eye health are some of the weakest points in the turtle’s health. Also, do not forget about the immune system. It is, by far, the weakest point. Especially if you have a turtle that was born in the wilderness. Now, how do we deal with those problems? If it is already a health issue, you should go to a veterinarian and medicate your little pet friend. 

However, if you haven’t encountered such problems yet, there is a great solution. Vitamin A keeps all these problems at bay with a 99% chance. Now, cabbage is one of the richest products that is filled with vitamin A. Thus, you can make a great thing by feeding your turtle some cabbage to keep the levels of vitamin A high. 

Also, the lack of vitamin A doesn’t only weaken your turtle’s body. It also brings its own health conditions. Squamous Metaplasia and Hypervitaminosis are some of the most dangerous ones. Therefore, try to keep the levels of vitamin A as high as possible. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. It is the best way to fight infections and prevent new ones from appearing. Keep in mind the fact that, in water, infections are spreading very fast. Therefore, a powerful antioxidant will keep your turtle healthy for as long as possible. 

Moreover, vitamin C is also very good for your turtle’s immune system. It will strengthen its ability to fight different types of bacteria and fungus. Believe it or not, fungus and bacteria are some of the most important factors of death among pet turtles. 

Now that we know the importance of vitamin C, let me state the fact that cabbage contains more vitamin C than lemons and oranges. Yes, that is a very well-known fact. Cabbage is so rich in vitamin C that 100 grams of cabbage cover 63% of a daily need for vitamin C for a 2000 calories diet. 


From the vast amount and variety of minerals there is, calcium is probably the most crucial one for turtles. If you haven’t yet observed, turtles are covered by a shell. Under this shell are so many little bones and cartilages that desperately need a huge amount of calcium in order to properly function. 

The lack of calcium in a turtle’s body can only mean death. Not an easy one also. If you don’t deliver the amount of calcium that is necessary for your turtle for a long period of time, its bones will get softer, its muscles won’t work properly and even the nerves won’t have the ability to work as they should be. 

Good news! Cabbage is very rich in all kinds of minerals, especially calcium. Besides it, cabbage has gotten potassium, magnesium, and iron. All these will ensure your turtle has a long and healthy life. 

Also read: Can Turtles Eat Cilantro?

Is Cabbage Toxic for Turtles?

With all its advantages, cabbage is not the ultimate veggie for your turtle. It has its disadvantages that I would like to talk about here. 

First of all, it has compounds called goitrogen. These components are interfering with the function of the thyroid gland. It can lead to a heavy disbalance in the work of this organ. Thus, disbalances in the hormones and all other internal organs. It doesn’t sound very healthy to me. 

The second problems are pesticides and other harmful chemicals that are being used to grow more and more cabbage. While it isn’t a very serious problem considering the fact that they can be washed, you need to be very careful with them. In order to give your turtle some cabbage wash it first and soak it in some freshwater afterward. 

How Much Cabbage is Too Much?

Cabbage, with all its nutritional value, vitamins, and minerals, cannot be used as a daily product. It is too much risk to give your turtle cabbage, it can lead to serious hormonal issues and problems with the digestive system. Therefore, the best way to use all these beneficial nutrients and not harm your turtle is by giving cabbage as an occasional treat. 

How to Feed Cabbage to Turtles?

First of all, you need to make sure the cabbage is safe for your turtle. In order to do that, wash it thoroughly. By doing that, you’ll eliminate all the possible chemicals on its leaves and stalks. After that, soak it in freshwater or leave it in the fridge for a day or two. Remove all the dark and yellow leaves and that’s it, you’re set. 

After you do all I said earlier, chop the cabbage into small pieces. While it is relatively easy to eat, it is better for your turtle to eat the small pieces. It is both easier and better for your turtle to eat chopped cabbage. It will be easier to digest and swallow and you’ll avoid an unwanted choking hazard. 

Last but not least, remember to get all the dirt and big objects from the cabbage. Turtles aren’t as smart as they seem, they will eat all you give them. Therefore, a piece of dirt or a rock can really mess things up for your little pet friend. 

Can Turtles Eat Green Cabbage?

Yes, turtles can and will eat green cabbage. In fact, green cabbage is a lot more nutritious and tastier than red cabbage. Turtles adore this kind of cabbage. 

However, there is a problem with green cabbage. Remember to wash it thoroughly as both the farmers and sellers tend to cover green cabbage with chemicals and other harmful products in order for their product to look better and tastier. 

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Now you know that turtles can eat cabbage. Moreover, they should eat it, as cabbage has some beneficial nutrients that are rarely found in other types of food. It is the best source of calcium and vitamin C you can find among vegetables. It is also very tasty so your turtle will love it. 

However, remember to not give it to your turtle too much. It is hardly the best product in large quantities. An occasional treat, no more than that. 

Dorothy Razo

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