Can Turtles Eat Spinach?

Leafy greens are the most common and advantageous product to introduce into your turtle’s diet. They are both nutritious and healthy in high quantities. However, before feeding your turtle a new type of leafy green, you should find out whether it’s toxic or not. So, can turtles eat spinach?

Yes, in very small quantities. Spinach, in large quantities, is very toxic for any type of turtle. Due to the risks it carries, it must be replaced with other leafy greens. Fortunately, there are so many alternatives for spinach, you cannot even count them. 

Nevertheless, how is spinach so toxic for turtles? You can find more answers in the article below. Enjoy! 

Why You Should Avoid Feeding Spinach To Your Turtle?

As you may already know, spinach is not the best product to feed your pet turtles. There are several reasons why you shouldn’t do that. We will focus on one of the most prominent and important causes. Due to these two factors, your turtle can simply die of horrible health issues. Therefore, you should read them carefully. 

The calcium problem 

Calcium is a very important mineral for your turtle’s health. It is essential for building and maintaining bone strength. Also, nerves, muscles, and the heart require calcium for proper functioning. Do not forget about the fact that turtles have a shell that is partially made of composed of bone, making calcium a mineral that can make your turtle either thrive or die. 

Now, let’s get to the spinach. In its componence, you will definitely find oxalic acid. You are already aware of the importance of calcium for a turtle. Therefore, you should know that this oxalic acid is able, in large quantities, to bind to the intestines and completely block the absorption of calcium. Thus, while being full of calcium, spinach actually blocks its absorption.

With no calcium to maintain and build bones, your turtle’s shell will slowly grow softer and weaker. Also, do not forget about the muscles, heart, and nerves. They too are in need of constant feeding with calcium and, in its absence, they won’t work properly. Your turtle will be weaker with each day until it won’t be able to move or eat anymore.

Moreover, the constant feeding of spinach will only increase the effect until the calcium reserves of the turtle will be gone and it will slowly begin to die. Of course, a small amount of spinach won’t have such a destroying effect. However, it’s better not to try your luck with it. 

What About Baby Spinach?

As for baby spinach, it is as unhealthy for turtles as the spinach itself. The amount of oxalic acid, even if it’s a little lower than for the spinach, is still far too high to even consider baby spinach as a good product for constant feeding of your turtle. 

What Are Better Alternatives To Spinach?

Spinach isn’t the best option for a proper, well-balanced diet. However, there are a lot of leafy greens and vegetables that can and will give the same amount of nutrients with no oxalic acid to kill your little friend. Here is a list of the most popular and healthy products you can find. 


Carrots are probably the best vegetables to feed your turtle. They are both healthy and incredibly tasty for your little pet. Packed with vitamins and minerals, carrots are a bomb of different nutrients like vitamin A and C, potassium, and calcium.

They can be fed both cooked and raw, your turtle will absolutely love them. However, make sure you don’t overfeed your turtles with carrots, they have a high sugar content after all. Also, keep in mind that carrots can be used in different types of salads and dishes for your turtle. 

Read more: Can turtles eat carrots?


Lettuce is probably the most popular turtle food, and there is a very good reason for that. First of all, it’s completely safe for your turtle to eat and, some kinds of it, like romain and radicchio, are packed with nutrients and vitamins.

However, if the lettuce itself isn’t harmful to your turtle, you might need to look at what’s on it. This type of leafy green is one of the most popular not only for turtles but also for human beings. Therefore, farmers try to harvest as much lettuce as they can. Thus, they can be covered with pesticides and other chemicals that could get your turtle sick. 

Be aware of the chemicals and wash the leaves before feeding them to your turtle. The best way to get the chemicals out is to put the leaves in the fridge for some time or in simple freshwater. This will get some of the chemicals out for sure. 

Also read: Can Turtles Eat Lettuce?


Bananas are, for sure, the most nutritious fruits you can give to your turtle. It is literally loaded with vitamins, minerals, and beneficial nutrients. You name it, the chances are that the banana contains it. From vitamin A to potassium and magnesium, all your turtle really needs to not only survive but thrive. 

However, there are some underwater stones you must know about. With all these beneficial nutrients, banana has very high sugar content. While humans do not feel the sugar, turtles have some problems with such a great amount of it. Therefore, if you want to use bananas in your turtle’s diet, it needs to be no more than a tasty snack. 

Further reading: Can Turtles Eat Bananas?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most popular questions on this topic and the most detailed answers we could’ve given. 

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Spinach?

Yes, in small quantities, Red-Eared Sliders can eat spinach. However, I don’t think they would like it after all. Red-Eared Sliders are omnivores, which means they can eat both vegetables and meat. Therefore they will probably prefer lettuce or some kind of fruit. 

Also, due to their high-protein diet, they need fiber-containing vegetables in large quantities. Thus, you cannot use spinach because, in high quantities, it kills the turtle. 

Can Tortoises Eat Spinach?

Yes, tortoises eat spinach. Being herbivores, tortoises love all kinds of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. However, while they love it, you should understand that spinach is slowly killing it. Therefore, you can either reduce the amount of spinach to the minimum(if your turtle loves it) or just exclude it from its diet. 

One way or another, it is paramount to not let your turtle eat great amounts of spinach on a daily basis for a long period of time. 

Can Box Turtles Eat Spinach?

Yes, box turtles eat spinach. However, as for other species of turtles and tortoises, spinach is toxic in big amounts. Therefore, you mustn’t build their diet around this product. Don’t forget about it the next time you feed your turtle with some vegetables and leafy greens. 

Also read: Can Turtles Eat Cilantro?


Now you know that, even if the turtle is eating the spinach and it likes the taste of it, it literally blocks the absorption of calcium, a very important mineral. Therefore you shouldn’t even think of giving your turtle spinach.

Moreover, there are so many tasty and nutritious alternatives to choose from, there is no need to seek spinach as the ultimate leafy green for your turtle because it is not even close to being a healthy product. 

Dorothy Razo

Leave a Comment

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