Can Turtles Eat Chocolate? Why You Should Never Use It as A Treat

Isn’t it amazing to give your turtle a treat? Yes, treats are probably the most important thing you can do for a turtle. By giving your little pet something delicious to eat, you show them your love and care. Therefore, many owners try to give their pets treats as often as possible. And sometimes, they try to give their turtles treats that cannot be eaten by these little reptiles. So, can turtles eat chocolate? 

No, turtles can’t eat chocolate. It is highly toxic for them and even the most expensive dark chocolate can kill your turtle. Want to find out more about chocolate and turtles? Read the article below and discover all there is to know about treats and turtles. 

Why is Chocolate Bad for Turtles?

dark and white chocolate bars stacked on a plate

Yes, chocolate is dangerous for your turtle. But why? There are many factors that enhance the danger a piece of chocolate can bring you a turtle. Here are the most dangerous ones. 


Sugar is one of the most dangerous products you can give to your turtle. Not only does a turtle’s digestive tracts lack the enzymes that can digest high amounts of sugar but also the amount of energy that sugar brings isn’t the healthiest. 

You should know that 100 grams of chocolate can contain up to 24 grams of pure sugar. That is a lot! High sugar intake can cause cholesterol spikes and insulin resistance. That is not the best thing for a turtle. Also, in long term, your turtle can get obese and have serious health issues related to its heart and nerves. 

Artificial Ingredients

Let’s just be honest here, store-bought chocolate isn’t the purest chocolate you can find. It is loaded with artificial fragrances, different types of colorants and preservatives. It is obvious that these chemicals are bad not only for your turtle but also for you. 

Their effect isn’t spontaneous. You won’t see a turtle struggling from these chemicals after a bite or two of chocolate. However, in the long term, these chemicals will attack your turtle’s digestive system, muscles, and bones. They will be deposited in the fat and will be realized slowly after days and weeks from the intake. 

Dairy Indigestion in Turtles

Turtles aren’t able to digest dairy products. They simply don’t have the right pack of enzymes to do that. They don’t need the nutrients that are found in dairy products such as milk or cheese. Thus, their organism is simply not adapted to their intake as their wild ancestors didn’t have any contact with such products. 

Now, many chocolate bars have milk, butter, or other dairy products. While these ingredients are the least you need to worry about when we are talking about chocolate, you need to understand that besides all the things listed above, your turtle will get indigestion and bad digestive problems. 

Also read: Why can’t turtles eat bread?

Imbalanced Calcium Phosphorus Ratio 

Calcium deficiency is one of the most terrible health issues a turtle can have. It lowers the durability of the bones, makes the shell soft and spongy, and doesn’t let the muscles and nerves work as they should. It is truly terrible. Now, how do we get to the point when the calcium cannot be found in your turtle’s organism. 

By feeding your turtle foods that have a bad calcium-phosphorus ratio, you basically erase all the calcium from your turtle’s diet. Chocolate is very bad at this parameter. While good foods for turtles have a ratio of 2:1, chocolate’s ratio is 0.1:1. It is way out of line and should raise a lot of questions. 

What to Do if Your Turtle Accidentally Ate Chocolate?

dark and white chocolate on a table

It’s not a problem if your turtle accidentally ate a small piece of chocolate. It isn’t so toxic that a small piece will instantly kill your little pet. However, you should constantly watch your turtle and, if you see any changes in its behavior, you should ring the vet and ask for some qualified help. 

The dangerous part of chocolate is its constant feeding. If your turtle ate a piece of chocolate it’s nothing but if your turtle is constantly eating chocolate on a daily or even weekly basis, that is very bad. The toxins and chemicals that store-bought chocolate contains are stored in the fat and the sugar slowly increases insulin resistance. 

Also read: What Human Food Can Turtles Eat?

Healthy Chocolate Alternatives for Turtles

Chocolate is usually used as a treat. Turtles must receive healthy and natural treats daily. Therefore, you should understand that a treat is not an unhealthy deviation from the diet but is a natural part of it. Here is a list of some of the most healthy and delicious treats you can give to your turtle. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find the answers to the most popular and commonly asked questions regarding this topic. 

Is Chocolate Poisonous for Turtles?

Yes, chocolate is literally poisonous for turtles. Its high sugar content, different types of chemicals, and fragrances, all together, are slowly killing your turtle. However, a small amount of chocolate doesn’t hurt your turtle. 

Thus, if you accidentally dropped a piece of chocolate and your turtle ate it, just say that to your doctor and wait for some changes in your turtle’s behavior. If you haven’t noticed any changes, you are lucky. The most dangerous thing that can happen from a tiny bit of chocolate is indigestion. Turtles cannon digest lactose. Therefore, you should fear indigestion and digestive system problems in the first place. 

Will My Turtle Die if it Ate Chocolate?

No, your turtle won’t die from a tiny piece of chocolate. It isn’t as toxic as you might think. However, if you feed your turtle constantly with high amounts of chocolate, one day, your turtle might die due to different reasons. 

The most dangerous component in chocolate is sugar. It can increase blood pressure and can cause strokes and other heart problems. Chocolate is very dangerous for turtles. Don’t think it won’t kill your little pet, it will, and fast. 

Is Chocolate Poisonous to Tortoises?

Yes, chocolate is poisonous for tortoises. Although they are herbivores and should be able to eat chocolate as it contains a high amount of sugar, as do fruits, a big part of their diet, tortoises cannot tolerate dairy products and chemicals that are used. 

Also, high quantities of chocolate can lead to serious heart and nerve problems due to their high content of potassium and low content of calcium. Calcium, besides the fact that strengthens the bones and shell, is a vital mineral for nerves and muscles. As you may know, the heart is basically a muscle. So, don’t try to feed your tortoise chocolate. 


Now you know that chocolate is very dangerous for your turtle. It doesn’t even have the right amount of essential nutrients in order to justify why some turtle owners are giving turtles chocolate. Don’t give chocolate as a treat, it is neither healthy nor tasty from a turtle’s point of view. It would be better and healthier if you gave some protein-packed insects or seafood. Also, remember that turtles adore fruits and vegetables as little treats. 

Dorothy Razo

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