Can Turtles Eat Bread? [Both Benefits and Harms Discussed]

Can turtles eat bread? The answer can be both yes and no. There are many debates about whether or not turtles can eat bread. 

Some say that they can, while others argue that it is not good for them because it will kill the turtle in the long run. 

This article discusses can turtles eat bread, can baby turtles eat bread, can box turtles eat bread, can red-eared slider turtles eat bread, can softshell turtles eat bread, and more!

In case you are in hurry and don’t have enough time to read the article. We have an on-point answer for you. 

Can turtles eat bread? Turtles can eat bread. It is safer for them if you use homemade bread made of real ingredients. This means the turtle gets the natural vitamins and minerals it needs instead of harmful chemicals found in store-bought pieces of bread.

Can Turtles Eat Bread?

YES and also NO, there are some guidelines to follow. Bread is known as a staple food but is not good for turtles.

Bread is one of the most common foods that are easily accessible which makes it favored by turtles. Although bread is a good source of carbohydrates at the same time, they are also very high in simple sugars and can lead to diabetes.

Yes, turtles may eat bread but not as a staple diet because it’s not nutritionally complete for them, you must feed with turtle pellets.

Can Baby Turtles Eat Bread? 

Baby turtles cannot eat bread, though they can have it as part of their regular daily food.

These young turtles don’t prefer bread because it does not provide them with the necessary nutrients that their young bodies need.

For baby turtles, bread is not suitable as an exclusive source of food, though they can eat it once in a while.

As soon as baby turtles start to molt (shed their skin), you can offer them small pieces of bread that are not too soft.

Can Box Turtles Eat Bread? 

Yes, if you feed your pet box turtles bread, it can be harmful to their health. 

This is because bread contains very little protein and many box turtles are carnivores. 

It’s important for box turtles to get protein in their diets, so they can grow strong muscles and bones.

Can Red-eared Slider Turtles Eat Bread?

Red Eared Sliders can eat bread, but only occasionally. 

The problem with feeding this type of turtle bread is that it is full of refined carbohydrates, which will spike your turtle’s blood sugar and potentially lead to insulinoma.

It should be noted that when bread is offered to your turtle, it should be in small pieces or slices. 

A diet of nothing but bread can lead to obesity, malnutrition, and a number of other health problems.

Can Softshell Turtles Eat Bread? 

Softshell turtles can eat bread, but only if it’s finely chopped and/or soaked in water before feeding. 

Bread should never be a staple in your softshell turtle’s diet since they are carnivores by nature.

Can Turtles Eat White Bread?

White bread is not good for turtles because it lacks the necessary nutrients that are needed for their healthy growth.

White bread lacks calcium and has zero percentage of Vitamin A, D, and E.

Even though turtles can eat white bread occasionally, we recommend you feed them with a portion of more nutritious food so they can grow up strong and healthy.

Benefits Of Eating Bread For Turtles

Now let us discuss the benefits of eating bread for turtles. There are several benefits of feeding bread to turtles. 

Bread can be given as a treat to turtles that are sick or may have lost their appetite. 

It can also be given to growing hatchlings that are still eating their yolk sacs. 

Thus, bread gives them the nutrients they need for development, albeit in smaller quantities than what other foods contain.

Why Bread Is Considered Harmful For Turtles? 

The benefits of eating bread for turtles are limited. 

First, it has no nutritional value or any health benefits for them. Bread can only provide carbohydrates to the turtle’s diet – which is not enough. 

Give them too much bread and there’s a chance that your turtle may end up with malnutrition. 

A healthy adult turtle can get enough nutrients from eating a few earthworms, some insects, or even some small fish.

Second, bread can contain preservatives and other chemicals that are bad for the turtle’s health if eaten in large quantities.  

This is why feeding turtles any type of food from human consumption is not advised as it can be harmful to them.  

Other foods with high levels of preservatives and chemicals are hot dogs, candy, and chips.  

These may contain ingredients that can be toxic to turtles so never feed your turtle these types of food!

Third, bread can expand in the stomach of a turtle and cause bloating.  

Bloating can lead to the death of your turtle because it causes them to stop eating and interferes with their ability to breathe because of excessive gas in the stomach.

Fourth, bread can cause constipation because it does not have much fiber or water content.  

Turtles need fiber and water so they will be able to pass food through their digestive tract. Constipation in turtles can cause them to stop eating, which can lead to death.

Fifth, bread does not have any nutritional value so it will not be beneficial for your turtle’s health.

How To Feed Bread To Turtles? 

Bread isn’t considered an ideal staple in turtle diets. 

Turtles are carnivores and need meat to survive. 

It’s best to feed them meat-based foods like insects, worms, fish, or small rodents (like mice), since if they digest too much bread or dough it can cause their digestive tract to get clogged up. 

Even though turtles may eat some leftover bits of bread dropped into their habitat, it’s not recommended that you feed them entire pieces of bread or other dough-based foods. 

There is also the concern that if they are fed too much on an ongoing basis, it can cause them to become overweight and suffer from health problems as a result.

How Often To Feed Bread To Turtles?

If your pet turtle is one that especially enjoys eating bread, you should limit the amount you feed it to once or twice a week. 

Other food items, like fruits and vegetables, are better for them than bread is. 

If you wish to give your turtle some pieces of bread or other dough products as an occasional treat, just be sure that you do not give it too much.

A turtle that is fed exclusively on bread products can become malnourished, and will probably die if this trend continues for a long time.

The best thing to do is provide your pet turtle with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and other items from the natural world.

Can Bread Kill Turtles?

Bread can be really unappealing to turtles since it can harden in their belly causing damage. If the amount is great enough, it could even kill them. 

Bread has absolutely no nutritional value for turtles and should not be included as part of their diets or feedings.

Vegetables To Feed Turtles 

Vegetables benefit turtles as they provide turtles with the many nutrients and minerals that their bodies need.

Turtles are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plant and animal matter. Some of the vegetables you can feed your turtle include:

  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Squash (including zucchini)
  • Green (cooked or raw) beans
  • Bok choy
  • Lettuce (iceberg, romaine, green leaf)
  • Collard greens etc. 

The above vegetables can be considered as a staple feed for turtles.

Fruits To Feed Turtles

Fruits are also the best source of nutrition for turtles. They have high nutritious value and low fat.

Here is a list of fruits you must feed your turtles with:

  • Watermelons
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches

Note: No need to remove the seeds from fruits as they contain dietary fibers which are good for turtle’s health.

What Can Turtles Eat From Human Food?

When talking about human food, turtles can eat only a few of them. 

There are some types of food that can’t be fed to your turtle, so it is better if you will do some research before you feed your turtle with something new.

Just like other pets, turtles love treats and they don’t mind if it’s a fruit or a small treat leftover from the dinner

But you shouldn’t overfeed your turtle, because it can make them sick.

Iceberg lettuce is fine to feed turtles, but it doesn’t have any nutritional value that’s why you shouldn’t use this type of food as the main diet for your pet.

Green vegetables are an excellent source of proteins and calcium, which are necessary for your turtle’s growth. 

You can feed your turtle with cucumber, carrots, and mustard greens.

Turtles love meat, so if you want to give them a treat, small cubes of beef or chicken are perfect for that. 

Just remember not to overfeed your turtles with this type of food because it contains a high level of proteins which can cause dehydration.

We will be not discussing the whole human food that you can feed your turtle. For that, we have written a detailed article mentioned below.

What Food To Never Feed Turtles?

Till now we have discussed what to feed your pet turtles. But there is also some food you need to ignore. I will illustrate some of these.

Raw Meat

It is one of the most common causes of severe bacterial infection in turtles. The problem is mostly with Salmonella bacteria, which causes serious health problems in both humans and reptilian pets.

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones are hard to digest and can result in internal damage to the turtle.

Onions and Garlic

All members of the onion family can cause GI upset in turtles and, depending on their size, could be lethal.

Saltwater Fish

These types of food make it harder for your pet to absorb minerals such as calcium from his/her food. Moreover, they contain thiaminase that can destroy vitamin B1 and cause serious problems for your pets.

Dairy Products

Turtles are lactose intolerant, which means they can’t break down the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Feeding your pet any form of dairies such as cheese or yogurt can lead to GI upset and diarrhea.

Read the below-mentioned article to get the complete list of foods you shouldn’t feed your turtles. 


Bread is a type of food that can be eaten by people and turtles alike. 

However, for turtles, bread is not considered nutritionally complete because it lacks important minerals and vitamins that are necessary for the healthy development of your turtle. 

Turtles should only eat bread as a treat or an occasional supplement to their diet. Never feed your turtle with bread on a regular basis.

Bread can lead to obesity and other health problems if fed to your turtle on a regular basis. 

Bread can also lead to malnutrition when not combined with vitamins and minerals that are essential for turtles, but lacking from bread.

Do not feed your turtle only with bread, even though this is beneficial in case you live in an area where there are no plants or leaves available for turtles to feed on.

If you want your turtle to develop healthily, make sure they are provided with a healthy diet that includes green leafy vegetables, fruits, protein-rich worms and insects, aquatic plants, high-quality commercial food available in the market for turtles, etc.

Let us know do you feed bread to your turtles?  Do they like it? Comment your thoughts below!

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