Can Turtles Eat Cilantro? [Dos and Don’ts]

Pet owners are often prone to giving treats and searching for alternative foods for their pets. It is normal, every person wants their dog, cat, or turtle to eat qualitative and nutritious foods every day. Thus, more and more turtle owners try to experiment with exotic leafy greens and veggies. So, can turtles eat cilantro? 

The short answer is yes, turtles can and should be eating cilantro. Cilantro is a very nutritious leafy green with lots of vitamins and minerals to provide your turtle with. However, cilantro is not the best leafy green for everyday feeding. Want to know why? Read the article below and find out all there is to know about cilantro and turtles. 

So, Can Your Turtle Eat Cilantro?

coriander leaves

Talking about turtles, their diet varies from species to species. Therefore, it is impossible to strongly affirm that all turtles can eat cilantro. Yes, turtles eat cilantro. However, there are species that can eat it every day and there are species that can consume it only as an occasional treat. 

Can Tortoises Eat Cilantro?

Yes, tortoises can definitely eat cilantro. Moreover, tortoises are completely herbivorous animals. This means that their diet consists only of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. Thus, cilantro can be used as an everyday dish as well as other types of lettuce. 

Furthermore, cilantro is extremely beneficial for turtles. Due to its high content of minerals and vitamins, tortoises that eat cilantro are stronger and healthier than tortoises that try to find some alternatives for it. This happens because the concentration of beneficial nutrients in 100 grams of cilantro is higher than in other leafy greens and vegetables. Thus, tortoises can eat less cilantro and still get more vitamins and minerals than ever. 

Can Sulcata Eat Cilantro?

Like other tortoises, Sulcata is also a herbivorous animal. Therefore, cilantro is a good product for their diet. Furthermore, cilantro can work as a good source of beneficial nutrients for your turtle. Especially if by mistake, you fed your turtle with iceberg lettuce, a type of lettuce that has no nutrients, and know you have to quickly feed your turtle a lot of nutrients, cilantro is your choice. 

Also, cilantro is a good product for turtles that recover from some illnesses or traumas. That is because, being ill, turtles have no power to eat a lot of food or appetite to eat it. Cilantro is both tasty and nutritious. Therefore, even small amounts of this plant can have a beneficial impact on your little pet. 

Can Painted Turtles Eat Cilantro?

Yes, painted turtles can eat cilantro. In fact, it is very beneficial for them. As you might know, painted turtles are omnivores. This means that, besides fruits and veggies, they eat meat and other animal products. In order to compensate for the minerals and vitamins that painted turtles don’t receive from animal products, it is important to have nutritious veggies and fruits in their diet. 

Cilantro is the best candidate for this job. Not only does it have a lot of vitamins and minerals for your turtle to eat but also it is very tasty and lots of turtles absolutely love this little plant. Therefore, it would be a great idea for you to feed your painted turtle some cilantro from time to time. It can be a steady part of the diet or just a little, healthy snack. Either way, your turtle will get an immunity and health boost. 

Can Russian Turtles Eat Coriander?

Yes, Russian turtles can eat coriander. Moreover, Russian turtles absolutely love to eat coriander, it is tasty and very nutritious. However, remember to combine it with some other fruits and veggies in order for your turtle to get all the nutrients it needs for a long and healthy life. 

Can Box Turtles Eat Coriander?

Box turtles need to eat a high amount of veggies and fruits. Especially adult box turtles. Once this type of turtle reaches a point in its life, they tend to eat a lot more veggies and fruits than animal products. Yes, box turtles are omnivorous. However, only little box turtles tend to eat a lot of insects and meat. 

Therefore, if you have an adult box turtle, it would be better for it to make a diet that consists mainly of vegetables and fruits. Meat and other animal products can be used as healthy and nutritious treats, nothing more. Nevertheless, cilantro is probably the best leafy green to include in their diet. 

Cilantro Benefits for Turtles and Tortoises

Cilantro plant

As I said earlier, cilantro is probably the best veggies you can give to your turtle or tortoise. These are the main reasons why 


Cilantro is literally packed with different beneficial vitamins that enhance your turtle’s growth. From vitamin A to vitamin C, it has lots of beneficial nutrients that your turtle will definitely use, especially if it is a little baby turtle. 

Vitamin A is the best vitamin a turtle can be fed with. Vitamin A is essential for practically all systems in a turtle’s organism. However, the most important vitamin A is doing for a turtle is fortifying the immune system. Turtles, particularly captive ones, have weak immune systems. Therefore, vitamins that strengthen it are crucial. 

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. 

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. 

Calcium Phosphorus Ratio 

The thing with turtles is, that they cannot have more phosphorus than calcium in their system. Of course, both these minerals are essential for their growth and health. However, the turtle needs more calcium than phosphorus. 

It is because turtles are covered with a shell. It needs lots of calcium to remain strong and hard. The good news is that cilantro not only meets these parameters but also has a lot of both calcium and phosphorus. Thus, your turtle will no longer need to worry about where to get the precious grams of calcium and other important minerals. 

How to Feed Cilantro to your Turtle

Cilantro, like other leafy greens, doesn’t need much preparation before giving to the turtle. However, there are some steps you need to follow in order to get the best of this vegetable. 

First of all, you need to thoroughly wash all the leaves and stems. This way, you’ll get all the dirt and unwanted particles out of the future salad. Also, you can let the cilantro in the water for 2 or 3 hours before giving it to your turtle. It will get rid of all the unwanted chemicals. 

After that, chop the cilantro into little pieces. Depending on the size of your turtle, make sure it won’t chock in these leaves. The steams should be chopped more thoroughly, they are harder to swallow. 

Better Alternatives to Cilantro for Turtles

Cilantro is probably the best leafy green there is for a turtle. However, there are also other leafy greens and veggies that can also bring some nutrients to the table. The problem with cilantro is the fact that it is very low on calories. Therefore, you cannot give solely cilantro to your turtle. 

In my opinion, Romain lettuce is better. It is also high in nutrients and vitamins but, more importantly, has some more calories than cilantro. Therefore, it can be used as a main dish for your turtle. 

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Now you know everything there is to about cilantro and turtles. It is a pretty nice plant to use in your turtle’s diet. However, you should be careful with it. Try to combine it with veggies that are higher in calories in order to compensate for it.

Dorothy Razo

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