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Can Turtles Eat Bread? What You Need to Know

Turtles Eat Bread_Melinda Michener_Shutterstock

Turtles will eat nearly anything you put in front of them. But not everything is good for them to eat—especially not as an everyday snack. For example, can turtles safely eat bread? And if so, are there any real benefits?

The answer is—bread is non-toxic to turtles, but it has no valuable content whatsoever. So, your turtles shouldn’t eat bread. However, if they nabbed a small section, they will be okay. Let’s learn more, along with some turtle-friendly meal tips.

divider-turtleBread Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1 slice of whole wheat bread

  • Calories: 69
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Sugar: 1.6g
  • Protein: 3.6g
  • Sodium: 112 mg
  • Potassium: 69 mg
  • Iron: 3%
  • Vitamin B6: 5%
  • Magnesium: 5%
  • Calcium: 3%
sliced white bread
Image Credit: Gamzova Olga, Shutterstock

Turtles Shouldn’t Eat Bread

You might not realize that bread has a variety of indigestible ingredients for turtles. This is probably because we are so used to considering bread a healthy grain item that falls into the bottom portion of our food pyramid.

However, bread also contains dairy and a high quantity of sugar, not to mention artificial preservatives. Lots of ingredients that go into commercial bread slices are unhealthy and even potentially harmful for your turtle.

The Natural Turtle Diet

Turtles can be omnivorous or carnivorous, depending on the species. All turtles should have a commercial pellet-based diet that is breed-specific. It would help if you encouraged omnivorous turtles to eat a fresh variety of fruits and veggies.

Processed foods, such as bread, have no nutritional value for turtles that they can’t get in other areas of their diet. Even though a small taste here and there won’t hurt them, it also won’t help. When possible, you should stick with other turtle-safe snacks that offer an array of nutritional content for your reptile friends.

Turtle eating from a bowl
Image Credit: ivabalik, Pixabay

Turtles Can’t Digest Bread

Since turtles eat animal and plant-based matter, you might not think about dairy being such a bad choice. However, dairy products contain lactose, which your turtles cannot break down in their system, as their bodies do not have the correct enzymes to make that happen.

If your turtle doesn’t have an interest in the bread pieces you placed in their enclosure, it can quickly muddy up the water, leaving behind debris the clouds up the tank. This can make your turtle’s enclosure unhygienic.

Different Types of Bread

If you give your turtle a small taste of this baked good, steer clear of bleached pieces of bread, aiming for a more natural loaf, such as whole grain.

We must emphasize that even whole-grain bread isn’t ideal for feeding your turtle. The only time your turtle should ever consume bread is if it was by mistake, and you learn from it. Continuously feeding your turtle non-species-appropriate food items could result in malnutrition and other digestive health problems.

grain bread
Image Credit: Manfred Richter, Pixabay

Will Turtles Eat Bread?

If you toss a few pieces of bread into your turtle’s enclosure, they might not hesitate to gobble it up. Don’t let this lead you to believe that it’s good for them. It is not.

However, if they only consumed a few small pieces of bread, it won’t have any real dire consequences for their systems. Some turtles might avoid the substance altogether.

Alternative Turtle-Safe Snacks

If you’re digging through your cabinets to find safe turtle snacks to feed your big guy, we have a few items to consider.

Meat-Based Items
  • Unseasoned meat
  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Krill
  • Dried shrimp
Plant-Based Items

divider-turtleFinal Thoughts

So, now you know that turtles shouldn’t eat bread, especially if they have other suitable snacks. However, one small section of bread won’t kill your turtle. If you feed turtles bread regularly, it can cause serious side effects such as malnutrition.

Turtles don’t have the enzymes necessary to break down processed foods such as this. Try to give your turtle a wide variety of fresh fruits and veggies and animal-based products, depending on the type of diet the species requires.

Featured Image Credit by Melinda Michener, Shutterstock

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