Could it be that some of the fruits we eat can also be consumed by our pet turtles? While some are perfectly safe and sometimes healthy for out turtles, some are not. Where about bananas? Having been interested in this topic, I decided to conduct some research which I would like to present to you here today.
So, can turtles eat bananas? Turtles can eat bananas. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to the health of your turtle; including Potassium, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium. However, bananas should be given to turtles in moderation, and should never constitute more than 5-10% of their overall diet. This is because of the high sugar and starch content and their general need for pellets, insects, feeder fish, and vegetables.
Even though the banana can serve as a wholesome treat, you do not need to watch how much you feed your turtle. With any fruit, due to their high naturally occurring sugars you need to limit their intake.
This article will include everything you need to know about feeding your turtle bananas.
Should You Feed Turtle Bananas?
While giving banana to your turtle can be perfectly safe, does it mean that you should?
The short answer to this is, well it depends.
The health of your turtle is of course the utmost priority and its your obligation as the owner to ensure it is as good as it can be. However, there is also the argument that you should reward and treat your turtlefrom time to time, and fruit can be a nice way to do this.
In fact, there are reports of turtle owners that are quite amazed with their pet turtles love and desire for bananas. Some even become notoriously fussy and picky with their food in the hope for more banana as they would rather this treat than their other feed.
If you are not sure whether to feed your turtle banana, or any other fruit for that matter, consider the following:
Firstly, you are going to want to consider if you can monitor how much fruit you are feeding your turtle and ensure that you are not overfeeding them with it. It is easy to overfeed your turtle sugar if you are providing them with a variety of fruits within their diet.
It also depends if the turtle shows any desire to consume banana. This will of course require some small feedings and to see how they respond and react.
Finally, you’ll want to monitor how your turtle responds to the banana. Is it positive or negative? Are there changes in behavior patterns, energy, hunger or bowel movements?
Why Feed Bananas to Turtles In Moderation
We’ve already touched on this point briefly, but it is very important to moderate how much banana a turtle consumes. Here are the main two reasons why:
Sugar: Bananas have a lot of sugar in them. While this is naturally occurring and can provide energy, it will be an issue in excess. Your turtle will not only struggle to process it (causing digestive problems) but it can also promote weight gain. Since turtles already have a large amount of weight they need to carry around through their shell, keeping their weight down is always beneficial.
Fiber: Poses another risk. Too much of this can be a real problem for turtles in excess. Too much can lead to chronic bowel problems and may even cause constipation.
It is also recommended to refrain from giving the banana peel to your turtles. Commercial banana skins typically carry toxic chemicals that were used as pesticides and these can cause issues for turtles (and another animal for that matter if consumed). It is also a challenge to digest, can cause bowel issues and can clog up the tank and end up floating around. If you do decide to feed your turtle some banana, it is therefore advised to peel it first.
Perhaps one of the best things to do if you are still not sure it to speak with your Vet. Your vet will know what is best for your turtle and what they can and cannot eat safely. You may even get some insights into your own individual turtle and its specific needs.
How To Feed Your Turtle Banana
If you do decide to give your turtle banana, then you should be able to do this safely as a treat. Start slow, and be willing to observe how your turtle reacts over a period of several hours following its consumption. If you start to see negative signs and symptoms then you know it should be avoided going forward.
That being said, for the most part you can typically feed turtles bananas a couple of times a week in moderation. Other options of safe fruits that you can feed include Apples, Melon and Grapes.
Bananas, and the net overall consumption of fruit, should never be more than 20% of their overall diet.
A good way of ensuring that you do not exceed this amount is to provide your turtle with fruit every third or fourth feeding. Bananas can be swapped out with the other fruits interchangeably and as desired. Just be sure to monitor how your turtle responds to each one.
It is important to remember, that turtles are small creatures which a very sensitive constitution. They struggle to process sugar in the quantities that us humans can. It is therefore imperative that you do not offer a piece of banana any larger than an adult’s thumb at any one time.
What Turtles Should Eat
Keeping your turtle’s diet varied is advised to ensure that they obtain all of the essential vitamins and minerals they need.
It does depend if you have an aquatic or a land turtle. If you have an aquatic turtle the you are going to need to offer pelleted food (50%), feeder fish/insects (25%) and fresh fruits and vegetables (25%).
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- For Turtles over 6" 5/16" pellets
- 25% protein
For a land turtle, 80% of your turtles daily diet should consist of fresh vegetables. You can feed them Kale, Spinach and Mustard Greens – all of which they seem to be pretty fond of! Other veggies that turtles tend to do particularly well with include Peppers, Squashes and Sweet Potatoes.
Experts recommend that you should also provide a powdered calcium and vitamin D3 supplement to their diet. (This one on Amazon comes highly recommended by various turtle owners).
Calcium and D3 is hugely important for turtles and is essential to support their growth and strengthen their shell. You can do this by adding some of the powder their salads 2-3x per week.)
Tips To Remember When Feeding Your Turtle Bananas
This fruit can be a tasty treat for your turtle to consume occasionally. Here are some concluding tips that will ensure you turtle enjoys them and remains in good health:
- If you do decide to feed your turtle banana, introduce it slowly and small chunks over time.
- Wait until your turtle is at least 6-12 months old before you introduce potentially challenging foods
- Bananas, and other fruits, should not make up more than 5-10% of your turtles diet.
- Monitor how your turtle reacts to bananas and other fruits. If you do not see any issues, continue to feed them in moderation.
- Always stop feeding bananas if you see negative consequences by doing so (bowel movement, behavior changes)
- Bananas should be used as a treat, not as a full meal by themselves. Pellets, Vegetables, Insects should be included too.
- Do not introduce more than one type of fruit at a time.
Are you wondering what else turtles can and should eat? Check out my feeding guides below:
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.