While owning a turtle doesn’t require as much work as many other pets, you must be careful about what you feed them. It’s perfectly fine if you want to feed your turtle blueberries, as long as you do it in moderation.
In fact, you should keep fruits in general to a minimum. Stick with healthier options like vegetables and food that they’d find in the wild. We break down everything else that you need to know about blueberries and your turtle’s overall diet here.
Can Turtles Eat Blueberries?
In short, turtles can absolutely eat blueberries, but you need to be careful of how much you feed them. While blueberries are fine, they do contain a large amount of sugar, and too much sugar can throw off your turtle’s digestion.
When feeding your turtle fruit, you should also vary the fruit as much as impossible instead of giving them a bunch of the same fruit. Mix blueberries with other berries, bananas, apples, cantaloupe, etc.
The Ideal Turtle Diet
Turtles are omnivores, so if you’re looking to match the diet that they’d have in the wild as much as possible to keep them healthy, you’ll need to provide them with a variety of foods.
Adolescent turtles need more protein sources than older ones, but once they hit the 10-year mark, you can start to give them a diet with more veggies.
While we can’t give you the exact percentage of how much of each source your pet turtle needs because it varies by species, we can highlight a few top foods from each group.
Wild Animal Foods
Turtles have access to a wild array of different fish and live animals to eat in the wild. In captivity, they don’t have these same options. Therefore, you should feed them sardines, turtle pellets, crickets, shrimp, feeder fish, krill, worms, or cooked meats.
Just be sure that their food is free of salt and other preservatives, as this can disrupt your turtle’s health. If you’re feeding them live animals, always own them yourself or purchase them from a reputable pet store, so you don’t have to worry about diseases.
When picking out vegetables for your turtle, try to find as many dark green leafy vegetables as possible. Good choices include collards, mustard greens, and kale.
However, avoid options like parsley, spinach, and chives, as these contain too many oxalates. Also, lighter green vegetables don’t provide the nutrients that your turtle needs.
While your turtle will love fruit, you need to be careful of how much you give them because fruit is high in sugar. For most turtle species, you want to keep the overall fruit in their diet to less than 10%.
Fruits make great treats but too much can lead to problems.
Other Ideas for Turtle Treats
Any of the mentioned foods can make excellent turtle treats, especially if your turtle isn’t getting them regularly. For instance, if you normally feed crickets and sardines to your pet turtle, a bit of plain cooked chicken makes a great treat.
In the same way, if you rarely give your turtle bananas but give them other fruits, a banana is a viable treat. There’s almost no reason to purchase a commercial turtle treat product, as you can treat your turtle with foods that you can find at the grocery store.
Not only are these treats better for your turtle, but chances are that your turtle will also like them more!
Foods to Avoid Feeding Turtles
Be sure to stick to foods that fall under a turtle’s natural diet. Skip human foods like bread and rice. However, even if you stick to fruits, veggies, and meats, there are a few foods that you should still watch out for.
Iceberg lettuce has a ton of water and will make your turtle feel full but has hardly any nutrients for your turtle. While iceberg lettuce is cheap and isn’t bad for your turtle, it won’t provide them with anything that they need either.
Celery lacks nutrition in the same way as iceberg lettuce. In fact, any light green produce is similar. Even lettuce heads with dark green outer leaves and lighter inner leaves are only partially nutritious. Ideally, you should only feed your turtle the darker leaves on those products.
Celery isn’t bad for your turtle, but it doesn’t do anything for them either.
You should avoid giving any food that’s high in fat to your pet turtle. While you can feed them fully cooked ground beef, you should give them a cut with as little fat content as possible.
You should avoid bacon entirely, along with other meats with excess fat. Fatty foods aren’t great for humans either, but you’ll see the ramifications far quicker in a turtle.
Giving turtles too much fat can lead to obesity, which can be a fatal condition for turtles. They can’t leave their shells, and their shells won’t grow with them if they get too fat.
While it’s fun to watch your pet turtle chow down on different things, it’s important to do your homework and only give them foods that they can handle. While blueberries are safe, the next food you’re considering might not be, so always take the extra time to see what you can and can’t feed your turtle!
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Featured Image Credit: SusanneEdele, Pixabay