What Can Turtles Eat From Human Food?

Yes, turtles can eat human foods without any problems. As long as they have the needed nutrients for your little pet friend and aren’t toxic, it is ok to give your turtle some human food. However, you may or may not know what foods are toxic and what foods are beneficial for your turtle. 

In this article, you’ll find out about the human foods that are beneficial for your turtle and human foods that kill your little pet. So, what can turtles eat from human food? Here is the list of the most popular and beneficial foods that your turtle will absolutely love. 


a piece of meat

Meat is one of the most popular and beloved human foods that turtles can and are eating. As long as the meat is fresh, it is the best source of protein that you can provide for your little pet. 

Meat, for example, chicken, has a lot of proteins. While it is a good thing in a well-balanced diet, too much protein can cause some serious health problems I recommend you avoid. Yes, I am talking about pyramiding. 

Pyramiding is a condition that accelerates the growth of the shell. Your turtle’s shell has a growth speed limit and, if the speed is too high, all the proteins cannot be used to grow the shell in length. Then, the remaining proteins will form pyramid-like shapes on the scutes of the shell. The worst thing about pyramiding is the fact that it is irreversible. Once your turtle’s shell formed some pyramides, it is for life. However, it can be easily stopped. Just change the diet, feed fewer proteins, and more veggies and fruits. 

A lot of fat in the meat can also be a problem for the turtle. In order to feed your turtle some meat, you should choose the less fatty pieces. Too much fat can cause problems with the cardiovascular system, heart, and weight. An obese turtle will die a lot sooner than a healthy turtle. 

Lastly, it is very important to feed your turtle some cooked meat. Not because they like it that way but because of the bacteria. Meat can contain lots of bacteria that will have a negative impact on your turtle’s health. In order to avoid such problems, the best way is to just cook the meat. 


a fish fillet

Fish is practically a natural source of protein for turtles. While meat cannot be found in their natural habitats, fish is living side by side with most turtles. Therefore, they will eat fish with a lot more passion and joy. 

Now, let’s talk about fish a little bit more in detail. The first thing you should know is that you must avoid fat types of fish. Just like with meat, fat fish will ensure some serious health problems, some of them even can be untreatable. 

Secondly, beware of wild fish. While your turtle has already adapted to the unnatural habit you created, a piece of wild fish has some bacteria that your turtle hasn’t encountered. They may be from the same wild habitat but your turtle isn’t adapted to the bacteria the fish brings and you won’t know how the organism of your turtle will fight the bacteria. 

Also, remember that fish, in general, has a lot of bones. Fishes that are bony should be avoided. Turtles can’t take out the bones and they won’t do that, so, after they eat a fish with bones, there is a risk of puncturing the stomach with them. Avoid bony fishes. 

If you want to feed your turtle some fish, the best way to do that is by giving them the fish an employee at the pet shop has recommended. Just ask them what fish is the best for your turtle right after you bought it. They will know what fish is the best. Just make sure it is small enough that your turtle will catch and eat them easily. 

Fruits and veggies 

a bunch of fruits

Fruits and vegetables are a big part of a turtle diet. They have all the nutrients a turtle needs for its healthy and disease-free life. Now, there are some exceptions here I would like to talk about. 

First of all, fruits mustn’t consist more than 10% of your turtle’s diet. Besides all the nutrients like potassium, calcium, and vitamins, they have a lot of sugar. High-sugar content can secure a list of health issues, some of them untreatable. Also, remember about the calcium-potassium ratio. The fruit mustn’t contain more potassium than calcium. It will lead to a severe lack of calcium, not healthy for the shell. 

Also, avoid fruits like lemons and oranges. Due to the high content of citric acid, it will irritate the stomach and bring some serious digestive tract issues. It is no good for little pet turtles. 

The thing with veggies is a little bit different. First of all, avoid veggies that contain oxalates. These are the substances that block the absorption of calcium by your turtle’s organism. The most popular and known veggie that contains a lot of oxalates is spinach. You can read more about spinach here

Also, avoid veggies that are basically water. These won’t bring any nutritional value, just health problems like malnutrition. The most popular vegetable that has no nutritional value is iceberg lettuce. It will just fill the stomach of your turtle but won’t bring any vitamins, minerals, or other important nutrients to the table. The best veggies for your turtle are carrots and some types of lettuce.  



Yes, I know it is strange for you to see this paragraph here. However, there are many peoples, especially in Asia, that are regularly eating insects. Turtles can and should eat insects. In the wild, insects are the best way to obtain the needed amount of protein for them. 

Insects are usually packed with proteins. They are, for sure, a better protein source than meat and fish. Therefore, if you don’t find any fatless meat or fish, it is also a good thought to feed your turtle some insects. The best of them are dried crickets. No fat at all and a lot of beneficial, full proteins. Isn’t it a dream for every turtle?

You can feed your turtle both alive and dried insects. It is a lot funnier for your turtle to eat live insects. It will cause your turtle to move around a bit, to make some exercise. It is also a good way to awaken a lazy turtle. However, be careful with live insects if you are scared of them. They tend to move fast and escape quickly. 

What Food Kills Turtles

While some kinds of human food can benefit your little pet, there are some human foods that will literally kill your turtle if you’ll give them enough time to do so. Here is the list of foods that must, under no circumstances, be fed to little or adult turtles. 


sliced bread

Bread is very toxic for your turtle. While it doesn’t have nutritional value for your little pet, it can cause digestion problems, obesity, and respiratory problems. 

Also, remember the fact that bakery products contain dairy products. All turtles aren’t able to digest lactose. That is because their stomachs don’t contain the right enzymes to decompose lactose. Therefore, if you’ll give them some of that, their digestive tract and system won’t be very happy. It can lead to indigestion, loss of appetite, and even disbalance in the bacterial content of the digestive system. 

Also read: Can turtles eat bread?


a bawl with m&ms and chocolates

Sweets must, under no circumstances, be fed to your turtle. They are unhealthy even for adult human beings, what will the little and weak organism of a turtle do with a candy bar or chocolate. It contains too much sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals, they are very toxic for turtles and should be kept away. 

If you want to give your turtle a sweet treat, just give them a piece of banana or other fruits. It will lead to a much more healthy life, will bring some beneficial nutrients for your turtle, and won’t hurt in any way. Just make sure you don’t overfeed your turtle with fruits, in big quantities, they too are unhealthy.

Snacks and nuts 

 a pack of pretzels

Snacks like potato chips, popcorn, and biscuits are not the best option for your turtle. Your turtle’s snacks are different types of nutritious veggies, fruits, and protein-packed products like shrimp or insects. Our snacks are literally toxic for a turtle. They contain too much sugar, oil, and preservatives and will slowly but surely kill your turtle. 

Nuts are way better but, there is a slight problem with them. They too contain so many oxalates that your turtle won’t be able to absorb any amount of calcium. This will lead to some serious health conditions that will surely kill your little pet friend. 


Now you know some of the most important human foods that can and should be fed to your turtles. I haven’t included any prepared food because it, by no means, should be used in a turtle’s diet. I think everybody knows that. 

Dorothy Razo

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