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Can Turtles Eat Grapes? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove

Turtles are low-maintenance pets who’ll eat pretty much anything you give them. So, if you’re wondering whether you can feed turtles grapes, the answer is yes.

Grapes are both good and bad for turtles since they have valuable minerals and vitamins that are important for their growth. But, on the other hand, in excess, they can harm the turtle.

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Nutritional Value of Grapes

Just like you need to eat everything in moderation, the same applies to turtles. Grapes don’t affect turtles if they have only a small portion of them. You can feed your turtle any grape if it is seedless. Grapes with seeds can be hard to digest and can also be a choking hazard for your pet.

Most turtle breeds, such as the box turtle, can eat grapes, although they may not enjoy it. The red-eared turtle particularly likes the fruit, so be careful not to overfeed them. Grapes have various minerals and vitamins that are helpful as follows.

grapes
Image Credit: Pixabay
  • Vitamin A: You can find vitamin A in abundance in grapes, which helps improve the turtle’s eyesight. This vitamin also helps with strengthening the immune system and reproductive health. It also contributes to the growth of their bodies.
  • Vitamin D: It is useful for the growth and development of the turtle’s shell. The vitamin also helps improve the overall structure of the body and the bones and joints of the turtle.
  • Calcium and Phosphorus: These are the two main minerals found in grapes, and they are essential in the development of the turtle’s bones. The minerals also strengthen the shell while improving the movement of joints.

Effects of Feeding Your Turtles Too Many Grapes

Too many grapes in your turtle’s diet are bound to cause a stomach upset, leading to vomiting. The content of calcium and phosphorus in the grapes is also not the best for your turtle. The ratio that turtles need is 2:1, but grapes have it as 1:2, which poses a problem.

In about 100 grams of the fruit, you will find 20 milligrams of phosphorus and half the amount of calcium. This is dangerous since it causes bone complications in the turtle, so you should limit their consumption of grapes.

Grapes also contain an unhealthy amount of sugar which can cause stomach complications. For instance, 100 grams of grapes has 15% sugar which is too much for turtles and could potentially kill the beneficial bacteria in their stomach. In addition, the turtle’s stomach can only digest a small amount of sugar which is why in excess, it could be fatal.

The desert box turtle
Image Credit: Creeping Things, Shutterstock

How Often Can Turtles Eat Grapes?

Due to the improper ratio of calcium and phosphorus and high quantity of sugar, you shouldn’t feed your turtle grapes too often. Just like most pets, fruit and vegetables should only take up 10% of their diet. Therefore, you should restrict the consumption of grapes to 10% or less of the turtle’s diet.

Due to the slow digestion of sugar in your turtle’s stomach, you should aim to feed it grapes in small meals. If you want to give your turtle 20 grams of grapes, try to break it up into different meals. For example, feed it 10 grams for breakfast and the other 10 grams for dinner.

Turtle Eating Fruit
Image Credit: Maya Shustov, Shutterstock

How to Feed Grapes to Turtles Safely

Seedless grapes (the green variety) are the best for your turtle. Many people with turtles prefer to remove the peels of the grapes to make them easier to digest, but there is no need. The turtle can easily digest the peels without leading to stomach upset.

Some owners of turtles prefer juicing the fruit and feeding it instead of giving the whole fruit. This doesn’t have any effect on the sugar content that the turtle takes. However, when you mix several fruits in the juice, it can spike the sugar intake, making it difficult for digestion.

person carrying grapes
Image Credit: Pixabay

The best way to feed grapes to your turtle is by chopping them up into small pieces after measuring them so as not to overfeed the turtle. It is better to give your pet one fruit at a time since this is easier to control the amount of sugar in the meal. Remember that it should only be a once-in-while treat, not an everyday meal, to avoid stomach complications.

Note: Avoid feeding grape seeds to turtles. They can’t digest seeds and you want to avoid even the slightest choking hazard.

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Final Thoughts

Both adult and baby turtles have the same digestive system, so you can feed them grapes safely. Measure the fruit carefully, especially when giving young ones the fruit. Ensure any fruit you source is organically grown to avoid feeding your pet fruit with many chemicals that may affect them.


Featured Image Credit: IanRedding_Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.