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.

Can Turtles Eat Oranges? What You Need to Know


Most turtle species are considered omnivorous, which means that they can and do eat anything. Those species that are omnivorous can indeed eat oranges, along with other fruits, but these should be more sparingly than vegetables because they tend to be higher in sugars and more fattening. You will also need to ensure that there are no pips and that you have removed the peel before feeding. This leaves the fleshy inside of the orange. The same goes for other citrus fruits. You will need to check your specific species of turtle, but most omnivorous species are indeed allowed to eat oranges and citrus.divider-turtle

What’s Good About Citrus Fruits?

As humans, we are encouraged to eat citrus fruits because of the amount of vitamin C that they provide, and while turtles also need vitamin C, they can naturally synthesize it so do not strictly need to get it from their diet at all. Vitamin A is also a necessary vitamin for this type of animal and it is found in large quantities in oranges. Turtles cannot synthesize this themselves, so oranges are potentially a good source of this essential vitamin. They also contain a lot of calcium, and with the ideal ratio to phosphorous of 2:1. Finally, oranges are also packed with macronutrients.

Typical Turtle Diet

Turtle Eating Celery
Image Credit: dodo71, Pixabay

The exact diet of a turtle depends on its species and where it comes from. Some are omnivores and some are herbivores. You will need to determine the species of turtle you have to decide what is its ideal diet.

Generally speaking, however, most species are omnivores which means that they eat a combination of fruit, vegetables, and meat. The amount of meat to vegetables they require depends on their age, with juveniles requiring the higher levels of protein that are afforded by a carnivorous diet and older turtles needing less protein so turning more towards vegetation and foliage as their primary food source.

There is a risk of overfeeding turtles because they are opportunistic. This simply means that they will eat whenever the opportunity presents itself. In the wild, opportunistic feeders may eat a lot in one sitting when the food is available and then go without any more meals for some time afterward. In captivity, where there is no need to hunt food, it can mean that they gorge themselves and eat too much. Therefore, it is down to you to ensure that you feed the right amount of the right foods.

Are Oranges Good For Box Turtles?

Box Turtles
Image Credit: allyartist, Pixabay

Although they should only be fed to your Box Turtle in moderation, oranges are considered a beneficial food source. Some turtles may be tempted by the sweetness of the fruit, but many will be put off because of the sour citrus. If yours is willing to eat the fruit, you can remove the peel and pips and feed a small amount.

Can Turtles Eat Orange Peels?

When feeding oranges and other citrus fruits, it is important that you remove the rind or peel. This is especially important if the fruit is not organic because it could be covered in pesticides and other chemicals. It is also important because the pith and rind can cause intestinal upset. Fortunately, it is easy to remove the peel. Try feeding your Box Turtle a segment or two next time you have an orange.

What Fruits Can Turtles Eat?

Turtles can eat a decent variety of different fruits. They will usually enjoy melon, different berries, and a small amount of sweet apple. Slice the apple or other fruit to make it easier to fit in the mouth and more palatable, and if you are in any doubt whether it should be eating a particular fruit, give it a miss.

One fruit that some animals are not supposed to eat but is considered fine for turtles is the grape. These handy little fruits already come in bite-sized chunks but you can cut them in half if you want to make life even easier.

turtle eating strawberry
Image Credit: 13Monik69 from Pixabay

What Should You Not Feed Turtles?

Turtles are unable to digest dairy so you should not give them milk, cheese, or any other dairy products. It will cause illness. Although omnivores do need meat protein, you should only offer an adult turtle a protein source roughly every two or three days and you should not be feeding raw meat because it can spoil before your shelled pet gets the opportunity to eat it.divider-turtle

Can Turtles Eat Oranges?

Most turtles are omnivores, which means that they eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat. As well as eating leafy greens, your turtle may enjoy a slice or two of orange, but you should remove the peel and any pips before feeding because these can cause illness.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit by S. Hermann & F. Richter, 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