Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Turtles > Can Turtles Eat Corn? Facts & Safety Guide

Can Turtles Eat Corn? Facts & Safety Guide

Can Turtles Eat Corn

There are more than 300 species of Turtle in the world, and they can have very different diets, primarily according to what is available where they tend to live. Generally, though, aquatic turtles are omnivores, which means they eat a combination of animal- and plant-based foods. This means that most turtles eat fish and vegetation, although some may eat small crustaceans and other small animals.

Pet turtles are usually fed a diet of commercial Turtle pellets because these are formulated to provide all the required vitamins and minerals your Turtle needs. These can be supplemented with treats like mealworms or vegetables, while some owners prefer to formulate a diet for their aquatic turtles themselves, feeding a combination of meat and plant-based foods.

One food that is considered safe for turtles, albeit only in moderation and fed occasionally, is corn.


Can Turtles Eat Corn?

Corn is generally considered safe for turtles to eat, although it is high in sugar and potassium, which means that it should not be fed as a regular part of your pet’s diet and it should be given as an occasional treat, instead.

The biggest concern with feeding too much corn is that it is high in natural sugars. These sugars can gather in the Turtle’s gut and may eventually ferment. This fermentation of sugar leads to a condition called acidosis and it can, in severe cases, lead to death. This is very unlikely when feeding small amounts occasionally, however, so it is considered a safe treat to feed.

Corn is high in fiber, which turtles need to help maintain a healthy gut and digestive system. It also contains carbohydrates, sodium, and protein, all of which are burned slowly and act as natural fuel for the Turtle’s body.

composition with fresh corn cobs on table
Image by: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

How To Prepare It

You should avoid giving pet turtles processed food. Processed foods are even higher in sugar and they may also contain large amounts of salt, both of which are dangerous for animals when fed in large amounts. Feed fresh corn, remove it from the cob, and discard the husk, or you can feed frozen corn as long as you make sure it is defrosted before being served.

You may be able to offer corn tortillas, but you do need to ensure that it is a plain tortilla with no added ingredients, and you can feed canned corn, but again make sure there are no other ingredients and avoid corn that is stored in brine or salt water unless you wash it thoroughly before feeding. The corn can be fed raw, or it can be boiled to cook it.

How Often to Give Corn to Turtles

Corn should be fed in the same way as you would feed fruit to your turtles, which means that it is an occasional treat and not a regular addition to the animal’s diet. Feed a small amount once or twice a month, but no more than this.divider-turtle

The 5 Foods Turtles Can Eat

Turtles can be fed a commercial pellet diet. These pellets usually contain both animal and plant ingredients and they are formulated to meet the dietary and nutritional requirements of your pet. Alternatively, you can feed some pellets and supplement with fresh ingredients, or you can create a diet from scratch using ingredients that are safe and nutritious, including the following:

1. Fish

Turtle eats fish from hands
Image Credit: Sharomka, Shutterstock

Many species of Turtle would live on a diet consisting heavily of fish, in the wild. As such, it is perfectly safe to feed a pet Turtle fish. Fish is packed with healthy protein as well as calcium and phosphorus, fatty acids, and a host of vitamins and minerals. If you have an aquatic turtle, you can even put the fish in the water so that your Turtle gets some exercise hunting the fish for its dinner. Alternatively, you can feed plain cooked fish, which is beneficial if you have any left after making your meal.

2. Chicken

Raw chicken fillet chunks isolated on white
Image Credit: Anton Starikov, Shutterstock

Turtles will like most other types of meat, ranging from ground beef to shredded chicken. You should cook the meat first, to get rid of any bacteria that might potentially be found, and do not feed any processed meat meals or meat dishes. Turtles have strong jaw muscles and hard beaks and can use these to crush up their food, so while you can feed chicken shredded in small pieces, your Turtle will do a good job of devouring slightly larger pieces, too.

3. Apple

Turtle Eating Apple
Image Credit: Edoardo Costantini, Shutterstock

You can feed some vegetables to turtles every day, but you should feed fruit much more sparingly. Fruit is not as nutritionally beneficial, and it contains high levels of sugar and other compounds that should not be given in large quantities. If you do want to feed fruit, apples are a good choice. Cut the apples up into small pieces, or shred them, and remember that treats should not account for more than 5% of your Turtle’s diet. Feed a few small pieces once or twice a month. Remove the seeds as it contains cyanide and it can be a choking hazard.

4. Watermelon

sliced watermelon in plate
Image Credit: Piqsels

Watermelon has a very high water content, hence its name. Similar to apples, it also has a high sugar content so this is another fruit that should be considered a treat and should make up part of the 5% treat element of your turtle’s diet.

5. Boiled Egg

hard boiled eggs
Image Credit: Piqsels

You may have noticed that eggs and boiled eggs are found in a lot of commercial pet foods, especially cat and dog foods. This is because eggs are a very good source of protein. Boil the egg, make sure you remove all of the shell before serving, and chop the egg up into small pieces to make it easier to consume.



Turtles are omnivores and they eat a combination of animal and plant ingredients, however this depends on the species of your turtle. Even if you give your turtles a diet of commercial Turtle food pellets, you can supplement this with vegetables. You can also feed up to 5% of a Turtle’s diet as treats, although you still need to ensure that the treats are not too unhealthy and that they don’t contain anything that may cause illness or other health problems.

Corn is considered a treat because it does have high sugar content, and too much sugar is considered bad for your Turtle. Avoid giving processed foods containing corn but you can feed raw or boiled corn. Feed once a month and avoid giving too much of this sugary treat at a time.

Featured Image Credit: tookapic, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets