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Can Turtles Eat Watermelon? What You Need to Know!

turtle eating watermelom

There are few things as adorable as watching your pet turtle chow down on various treats. But before you feed them anything, you need to ensure that it’s safe for them.

The good news is that watermelon is completely safe for your pet turtle and offers various health benefits. Of course, the key to everything is moderation.

That’s why we broke down everything that you need to know about watermelon here, along with other tasty treats, and highlighted a few foods that you need to avoid.


Is Watermelon Okay for Turtles?

Absolutely! While there’s debate about whether you should give them watermelon at all since it’s not a part of a wild turtle’s diet, there’s little doubt that they can eat it.

Image Credit: Pixabay

In fact, most experts recommend adding fruits like watermelon to your turtle’s diet. But you still should only give them fruits in moderation. For turtles, this means fresh fruit shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their diet, and for tortoises, it shouldn’t make up more than 20% of their diet.

You should also feed them various fruits, so they get different nutrients and don’t get too used to a single fruit.

Are Fruits Bad for Turtles?

No! Fresh fruits are a natural and healthy part of a turtle’s diet. But while fresh fruits in the right amounts are excellent for your turtle, you can overdo it.

Fruits are high in sugar, and too much sugar will create an imbalance in your turtle’s digestive system. Also, if you give your turtles too many fruits, they can get selective about what they eat, which means they might not get the nutrients that they need from other foods.

turtle eating strawberry
Image Credit:13Monik69, Pixabay

What Foods Should You Not Feed Turtles?

While there are plenty of foods that you can feed your turtle, not everything is fair game. Here, we highlighted four foods that you should avoid feeding your turtle, and some of them might surprise you.

  • Dairy: Since turtles aren’t mammals, they don’t possess the necessary enzymes to break down dairy products. This means if you give your turtle any dairy, it will cause severe gastrointestinal distress at a minimum. Too much dairy can lead to even more severe problems, so your turtle should avoid any and all dairy products.
  • Raw Meat: While your turtle would likely love raw meat, you shouldn’t give them any meat that you haven’t thoroughly cooked. Raw meats can contain parasites, and the meat can spoil at any time. That said, your turtle can get all the nutrients that they need if you simply cook the meat before feeding it to them. Just ensure that you don’t add any additional seasonings, as these can be dangerous for your turtle.
  • Avocado: While avocado might be a fruit, it’s not one that you want to feed your turtle. Every part of the avocado is toxic for turtles. From the flesh to the pit, if your turtle gets a hold of it, they’re in trouble. So, keep guacamole and avocados to yourself.
  • Iceberg Lettuce: While iceberg lettuce might not be bad for your turtle, it doesn’t provide them with any necessary nutrients. This is a big problem because while they’ll feel full, they won’t get what they need to stay active and healthy. Instead, opt for dark green leafy vegetables that come jam-packed with the necessary nutrients for your turtle to thrive.

Related Topic: Can Turtles Eat Bananas?

Florida red-bellied cooter basking
Image Credit: M.E. Parker, Shutterstock

The Ideal Turtle Diet

If you own a pet turtle, you must give them a healthy diet. The good news is that getting the right foods for your turtles is easier than you think. We highlighted the three most important ingredients that should make up your turtle’s diet here.

  • Pellets: Like most exotic pets out there, turtles have a commercialized pellet food that contains all the nutrients that they need. However, you might need to train your turtle that this is food. Pellets should account for about ¼ of their diet.
  • Feeder Fish and Insects: While tortoises can live off nothing but fruits and veggies, turtles need live prey mixed into their diet. You can choose either feeder fish, insects, or both, but overall, these should make up about a quarter of their diet. The fun part of having feeder fish is that you get to watch your turtle in their natural habitat going after lightning-fast fish. While they’re not as quick with insects, they’re still fast enough to get the job done.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: The rest of your turtle’s diet should consist of fresh fruit and veggies. Try to keep the fruit and veggie mixture to 80% veggies and 20% fruit. Dark green leafy vegetables are perfect, and you should add in shredded carrots, squash, zucchini, and other similar vegetables.
Turtle Eating Fruit
Image Credit: Maya Shustov, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Don’t overthink your turtle’s diet. Give them tons of veggies, the occasional fruit, and plenty of live prey and pellets. Variety should come in the veggies and fruits, but it’s always a good idea to do a quick Google search to ensure that something is safe before adding it to their diet. Of course, give each fruit and veggie a good wash before feeding it to them.

Finally, while turtles have a rather varied diet, they’ll undoubtedly enjoy chowing down on watermelon. Not only do they love it, but in moderation, it’s also extremely good for them. Just be sure not to give them too much, no matter how cute they look!

Featured Image Credit by Fotografie – Schmidt, Shutterstock

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