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Can Turtles Eat Oranges? [Is It Safe & Healthy For Them?]

Most turtle species are omnivorous which means that they can feed on both plant and animal sources. If you are trying to figure out what treats to give your turtle you may be wondering about specific fruits. What about Oranges?

So, can turtles Eat oranges? Turtles can eat oranges in small and limited quantities. While there are no conclusive studies to show if oranges or other citrus fruits are harmful, turtles do well on variety, wholesome foods and small pieces of fruit and vegetables in their diet.

Feeding your turtle oranges can have benefits but does carry some dangers. Becoming educated on how oranges can affect turtles can go a long way to keeping them safe and healthy.

Giving Your Turtle Orange

Turtles require a balanced diet and there is no harm in offering a small piece of an orange now and again. You should be sure do this infrequently, as a treat and in small quantities.

Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, and studies and experts have indicated that turtles can benefit from including it within the diet.

While some turtles will find it delicious and attempt to eat more, It’s also quite possible that your turtle may not like them and instead prefer other fruits and vegetables.

When feeding your turtle orange, or any other fruit for that matter, you need to consider the fruit sugar (fructose) that is present. Of course, turtles are significantly smaller than us, so a small piece of Orange goes a lot further and is a lot more potent to them then it would be for us.

If too much fruit and sugar is fed to a turtle, it can alter the pH of their digestive tract. If this happens too frequently or in large amounts, it may even kill off a large quantity of their natural gut bacteria that is needed for optimal gut health. In worst case scenarios it can even lead to toxic shock – which is potentially fatal.

Turtle Diet Requirements

The nutritional requirements of reptiles, including turtles of nutrients, is largely unknown. However, there is a lot of observational evidence about what turtles like to eat and thrive on (based on wild turtle eating behaviors).

Beyond this, it is important to be aware that different species of turtles have different feeding requirements.

While most turtles are omnivorous, others are herbivores (FYI: If you own a herbivore, they need more food than a similar- sized omnivore ), some prefer insects, others fish. Even more interestingly, some species may be carnivorous when they are young and shift to omnivorous or herbivorous feeding patterns as they age. This is something that you will need to monitor over time and you will likely see how they navigate their feed.

If you are wondering how often you should feed your turtle, then you will need to factor in their species, age, weight and also their activity levels.

When it comes to providing your turtle with pet food, you must ensure it provides a nutritionally complete balance of nutrition. It should be formulated for a turtle’s full life cycle and promote their natural feeding instincts.

Flukers Turtle Diet is a vitamin enriched formula that you can get in bulk for a great price over at Amazon. It will last you for months, comes widely recommended and provides a complete diet for freshwater Turtles that include Red-eared sliders, map Turtles, soft-shell Turtles, musk Turtles and mud Turtles.

What Is A Healthy Diet For Turtles?

When determining a correct and varied diet for your turtle, it should comprise of a few essential vitamins and minerals, with special attention to vitamin A, vitamin D, and a ratio of 2 (calcium): 1 (phosphorus).

You may want to introduce vitamin supplements into your turtles diet, however, this should be done no more than once a week and if you are feeding them a vitamin replete food like Flukers, it should not be required.

Fresh Fruit And Vegetables For Your Turtle

The following list of fruit and vegetables contain the appropriate calcium to phosphorus ratio and are an ideal part of your turtle’s diet.

In no particular order:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Green beans
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Papaya
  • Butternut squash

You can also feed them broccoli, cherries, cucumber, and watermelon and but these should be offered less frequently and should not make up the majority of their diet.

Insects That You Can Feed To Your Turtle

It is advisable to purchase insects because if you try to obtain them in the wild they more than likely contain pesticides, which are harmful to your turtle. The following are an excellent source of protein for your pet:

  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Meal-worms
  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Wax worms
  • Red worms

Again, Flukers provide a great turtle insect medley which you can get over at Amazon. This is a popular favorite with turtle owners and they regularly report how much their turtles enjoy and benefit from consuming it regularly.

Cooked meat, like chicken and beef heart can also be a great source of protein for omnivore turtles. However, if you do decide to feed your turtle meat, you need to make sure that it is fully cooked and never raw. Raw meat can carry bacteria which can be problematic to a turtle.

Foods To Avoid Giving Your Turtle

Turtles will eat virtually anything in moderation, however, some foods may not only be a bad choice for them but may even damage their health. To remain on the side of caution, keep poisonous plants away from your turtle like:

  • Poison ivy
  • Avocado, seeds, leaves and peel
  • Tomato vines and leaves
  • The leaves of potato, tobacco and rhubarb

Other foods to avoid include dairy – Reptiles are lactose intolerant, therefore, cheese, milk, yogurt, and other dairy produce are not the best choice of food to give your turtle. Processed foods, like deli meat, sausages, and canned foods are also not ideal as they are too high in salt, and other preservatives.

Refined sugars, that you would find in candy, cookies, and pastries should not be fed to your turtle. When it comes to eliminating certain foods, a good rule of thumb would be to avoid any foods not found in their natural habitat as they will not metabolize them well.

What To Do When Your Turtle Won’t Eat

It can be worrisome for a turtle owner when a pet refuses to eat any food. Enticing your turtle to eat can be a battle, so sometimes you will need to be creative. Try to look for the foods they enjoy most and be sure to mix foods together.

If your turtle still refuses to eat, generally, it will be due to a certain issue (like not being hungry or not in the mood to eat). However if your turtle does not eat all types of food it could be a sign of a serious illness.

First things first, check your turtle and environments temperature. Turtles are cold blooded and will not eat if its environment is too cold, so you will need to increase the temperature accordingly.

Turtles may refuse to eat if they are not given adequate lighting. For example box turtles need light for at least 12 hours a day.

If your turtle is getting less time with light then this, it may be the reason for its lack of appetite. You may need to get a good light accordingly.

If you have taken steps to improve your turtles environment and it still refuses to eat, chances are that your turtle is sick – this could be from a vitamin A deficiency, constipation, eye-infection, and sometimes can even be a sign of pregnancy. If your turtle is unwell it is always best to see a veterinarian.

Here are some signs and symptoms of illness to look for include:

  • Discoloration in the form of white patches on their shell
  • Trouble breathing, wheezing, sneezing and lacking energy
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in behavior and lethargy

Sometimes your turtle will only eat live food, so you may need to source out some live earthworms, crickets, and snails, etc.

Another good thing to try is offering brightly colored food for a bit of variety.

Additionally, try feeding your turtle in the morning when they have more energy.

If none of these changes are working – take your turtle to see the veterinarian.

Important Tips To Remember When Feeding Your Turtle

  • If you are wondering can turtles eat oranges? They can, in small and limited quantities. Feed in moderation.
  • Do some research on your turtle’s species and feed what is appropriate to their natural habitat.
  • They need a lot of vitamin A, Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus.
  • Turtles are generally omnivores but please be aware of the foods you should not give them in particular, poisonous plants.
  • If your turtle is sick it could be due to several factors relating to environmental and health reasons.

Are you wondering what else turtles can and should eat? Check out my feeding guides below: