Can Turtles Eat Oranges?

Turtles can be fed with practically every fruit and vegetable you can find. They will not only eat but will also enjoy the food you gave them. However, there are some foods that should be fed to your turtle. 

So, can turtles eat oranges? 

The short answer is yes, turtles can eat oranges. Nevertheless, oranges are high in sugar and other substances, so, it will be a great idea if you’ll find out more about this fruit before giving it to your turtle. Here are some of the most important things you should know about oranges. Enjoy!

Are Oranges and Other Citrus Fruits Toxic for Turtles?

Oranges themselves aren’t harmful to your turtle. However, if you overfeed them, oranges can cause very serious health issues. Here are some of the most important and dangerous conditions. 

High fructose content

Oranges are very sugary. The content of sugar is so high it can cause cholesterol spikes and insulin resistance. However, these are long-term conditions that are caused by the regular feeding of oranges for a long period of time. 

In short term, high sugar content causes serious digestive tract problems. It can lead to loss of appetite, constipation, and an upset stomach. Your turtle’s digestive system is just unable to process so much sugar at once. 

Citric acid 

Citric acid is a very powerful acid that, besides upsetting your turtle’s stomach, can cause some over, more serious problems. First of all, citric acid can change the digestive tract’s pH levels. This way, entire colonies of beneficial bacteria will be wiped out and toxins will cross the gut wall and enter the bloodstream with no problem. 

After the toxins enter the bloodstream, turtles often suffer from Toxic Shock Syndrome. It can be lethal. 


Pesticides are some of the most harmful and dangerous chemicals there is to found in both fruits and vegetables. Oranges aren’t an exception. Oranges and, in particular, orange peels, have a very high level of pesticides. Therefore, it is a very bad idea to feed your turtle orange peels. It can cause some long-term problems that are often incurable. 

Are Oranges Healthy for Turtles?

a closeup image of three oranges, one of which is peeled

Yes, in small quantities, oranges are very healthy for your turtle. Here are some of the most interesting and beneficial components there are to find in an orange. 

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, orange is one of the richest products that is filled with vitamin A. Thus, you can make a great thing by feeding your turtle some oranges 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

The immune system is a very important institution in everyone’s organism. Turtles are no exception. Their immune system is very weak, especially if you have a wild turtle that isn’t adapted to the captive life. The only vitamin that can strengthen considerably its immune system is vitamin C and, as we all know, oranges and citrics, in general, are equal to vitamin C.

Now, there are also other factors with which vitamin C can help. Water is often filled with bacteria and fungus. It can lead to some serious infections that can kill your turtle or make it seriously ill. Foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges, can help fight the infection and not spread it through the body. 

Also read: What can turtles eat from human food?

How to Feed Oranges to Your Turtle

While other veggies and fruits can be eaten entirely by the turtle, oranges are a little bit different. They cannot be eaten entirely because some components are very toxic and should be used in your pet friend’s diet. Here are some of them. 


orange peel

Peel, by itself, doesn’t contain any toxic components. However, all the pesticides and harmful chemicals that farmers are using are directly falling on the orange peel. Therefore, the concentration of them in the peel is at its highest. 

While adult human beings may not feel the chemicals, the little turtles will sure do. The negative impact of these chemicals is often irreversible. Thus, if you are not sure if the orange is completely organic, just don’t feed your turtle the peel. 


The seed of the oranges can contain traces of cyanide. While the effect on turtles hasn’t been studied, there is no need to risk your turtle’s life by letting it eat the seeds.

 Moreover, if the seed is big enough, it can cause some choking. Therefore, it is better for you and your turtle to remove all the seeds before giving your turtle some delicious orange. 

Can Turtles and Tortoises Eat Orange Peels?

Yes, turtles and tortoises can eat orange peels. However, due to the high concentration of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, peels are better to be removed and not fed to your little pets. 

However, if you are sure that the oranges that you bought are completely organic, you can try to feed them some. Orange peels are a bit bitter and not all the turtles and tortoises will like the taste of it. Nevertheless, if you are sure they don’t have harmful chemicals, orange peels are very nutritious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. 

But, even if there are no pesticides, orange peels are more acidic than pulp. Thus, it is better to not feed your turtle orange peels at all. 

Can Turtles Have Mandarin Oranges?

Yes, turtles can eat mandarin oranges. However, the procedure is the same as for oranges. You have to remove the peel and the seeds. After that, cut the pulp into small pieces and give them to your turtle. 

Mandarin oranges are as acidic as simple oranges. Therefore, you should keep the quantity of these delicious fruits as low as possible in your turtle’s diet. Just make sure you overfeed your turtle with neither mandarin oranges nor simple oranges. 

Can Turtles Drink Orange Juice?

No, turtles cannot drink orange juice. It contains high amounts of sugar and citric acid. It will completely mess up your turtle’s digestive tract, cause insulin and cholesterol spikes, and will simply destroy its health. 

Moreover, if the orange juice is store-bought, it contains artificial flavors, preservatives, and other chemicals. These are simply unacceptable for a pet. 


Now you know that, while oranges can bring a lot of different, beneficial nutrients into your turtle’s life, it is not the best product to be fed every day. However, it is very nutritious and, as an occasional treat, will bring only health and well-being into your turtle’s life. Also, oranges are great if you want to diversify your turtle’s diet. 

Dorothy Razo

Leave a Comment

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