Can Turtles Eat Bread? What Can You Feed Your Turtles?

Can Turtles Eat Bread?
Can turtles eat bread? Sure! Turtles can eat bread, but the question is whether it is right to feed a turtle bread, be it your pet turtle or turtle in the wild? If you are here on this page, then you are contemplating the idea of feeding your pet turtle or tortoise with your leftover bread or some turtles/tortoise you often come across while visiting a nearby pond or a park or a zoo. Of course, turtles appreciate your gesture of you bringing them some food. Thus, they readily accept any food you provide them, regardless of the food type.
Bread is a staple food for human beings; although turtles eat different varieties of food in the wild, we must ask ourselves whether it’s the right food for our pets. But, at times, when you run out of your grocery stock, you might think of feeding them bread, do you? Well, giving them a small amount of any food, including bread, will not do much harm to them. But does that mean you should feed your pet turtle in the wild as their main diet?
In this article, let’s address the question, can turtles eat bread? and explore your pet turtles’ and tortoises’ nutritional requirements.

Can turtles eat bread?

Sure, turtles can eat bread; turtles tend to eat whatever you offer them with a smiling face, unlike us! However, not all the food your turtles can eat is safe and nutritious for them.
Bread should be your last option to feed them; bread contains gluten and yeast. A turtle’s metabolic rate is slow and will not digest heavy gluten-based food. In addition, the presence of yeast makes it doubly harder for the turtles to digest as the digestive system in turtles doesn’t contain the enzymes necessary to digest yeast or grain-based food.
A hungry turtle will barely say no to you about any food. But the reality is that not all food items are suitable for them. And bread is not a safe food to feed them with.
Hence, occasionally, feeding a small piece of bread would not do any harm when you run out of food; however, making it a habit to feed them regularly can seriously affect their health and the overall development of their shells and internal organs.

Can pond turtles eat bread? 

Well, one of the most common species of turtles is pond turtles. So, whenever you see pond turtles in your neighborhood or favorite zoo, you will often find people offering them bread as food. Thus, it’s obvious you, too, would be thinking of feeding the turtles with some bread to make contact with the immortal beings.

Although they welcome your feeding them, it’s recommended not to feed pond turtles bread pieces or even, for that matter, tortoises. Giving them bread often can impact their health; it can lead to serious health issues in your pet or even the one in your neighborhood park or zoo.

In ponds, most of the time, turtles do not get much access to food as fish, and other species can give stiff competition to your docile turtles. Thus, when people provide them with bread, they eat it more than they should. Unfortunately, this eating behavior of turtles also makes them gulp some harmful, non-food materials littered in the pond.

Loaves of bread usually fill their belly without any essential nutritional elements required by turtles’ bodies. It also leads to the development of deformed or crooked shells in turtles.


What happens when a turtle or a tortoise eats bread?

Can turtles eat bread? Yes, they can eat; however, is it a good food choice for your pet? What happens when a turtle or a tortoise eats bread? As long as the piece of bread is not choking them, your turtle will not die immediately from eating it; however, this food will harm their health in the long run.  

When a turtle keeps eating bread continuously, it takes up a lot of space in its stomach. The pieces of bread make them feel so crammed that it prevents them from having any other food item of high nutritional value. As a result, it makes the turtle grow into a poorly nourished creature. Also, when they do not consume a nutrition-rich diet for a long time, their shell begins to deform. 

The minute amounts of calcium in bread do not meet the nutritional needs of your turtle or tortoise, consequently making them frail and weaker. Calcium is a vital food nutrient that a turtle or a tortoise must have every day. Due to the lack of calcium, some parts of their shell get tighter in contrast to the other parts that are slack, making them crooked, impeding the turtle from hiding inside their armor for enhanced protection, thus keeping them alarmed and agitated, which eventually leads to serious health issues in turtles.

Hence, the lack of nutritional food knocks them down doubly; firstly, malnourishment makes them weak and deformed body armor; further, the impaired armor keeps them anxious as they cannot protect themselves adequately within their shell; thus, waning their immune system. Consequently, it promotes ailments and diseases.


What can turtles eat?

As we are talking about whether or not turtles can eat bread, you want to know what turtles can eat? What is the healthy feed for your turtles?
Turtles need to consume a balanced diet to maintain good health like everyone else.
These creatures usually require highly nutrient-charged food that supplies vital energy and nutrition. In addition, a healthy diet is crucial to maintain the health of their shell, which is the foundation of their body.
The central part of a turtle’s diet should contain proteinaceous foods, calcium-enriched food items, and dark green vegetables. Turtles that have access to all three of these food elements live a healthy and happy life.
To supply an adequate amount of protein to your immortal pet, you can feed them with special turtle food pellets, which is a good option for them. These pellets contain all the protein requirements for your turtle’s good shell health.
You can also feed your turtles with insects, slugs, worms, crickets, etc. Feeder fish such as guppies, platies, bass, killifish, goldfish, white cloud minnows, tetras, zebrafish, etc. Most of these species are easy to breed; moreover, this fish diet is not just a supply of protein; they supply all your turtle’s calcium needs as well. You would not want to overfeed them with protein as their diet must have a healthy balance of all nutrients.

Vegetables and Fruits

Thus, green vegetables serve as another ideal food produce for turtles, supplying many essential minerals and vitamins. Veggies like cabbage, kale, water hyacinth, endive, turnips, clover, lettuce, green beans, mustard green, parsley, carrots, collard greens, and dandelion greens are simply some of the delightful feeds for turtles. 

However, while feeding your pet with these vegetables, you would want to make sure to cut them in small pieces so that your turtles can take smaller bites, which will be easy to chew and gulp. It also prevents them from choking with their food.

You can also give your turtles occasional treats with fruits such as watermelon, apple, grapes, etc. You will see they will love your sweet treats. 

You don’t want to make a habit of feeding them with fruit treat as their digestive systems are not packed with enough digestive enzymes to break down the sugar content of the fruits; however, fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin A, and the turtle body needs Vitamin A to develop healthy mucous membrane, ducts, and skin.


Related Readings:

Can Turtles Eat Grapes? General Guidelines In Feeding Your Turtle!

Do Turtles Eat Jellyfish? How Do They Eat Jellyfish Without Getting Stung?

Calcium Supply

As said before, calcium is the most vital nutrient for turtles. As a matter of fact, you can supply Turtles with extra calcium-based supplements to maintain a high calcium content in their bodies. In addition, adding cuttlebones to their tank with the rigid backing being cut off ensures that they do not get choked.

Besides, you can also give them some calcium tablets, which quickly dissolve in the water. The skin of your turtle will absorb the dissolved calcium from the water as they swim.

Well, the lack of calcium can be highly concerning for turtles. So, you would want to make sure that you are always serving an appropriate amount of calcium to have healthy bones and good shell health.


What food kills turtles?

Besides bread, what other food do you need to avoid giving to your turtle? Well, not all food items are suitable for turtles. Inappropriate food can endanger their lives and probably result in the death of your pet. 

Thus, take care to exclude certain foods from your turtle’s diet. Here, I have enlisted a few of them; have a look!

Sweet: Turtles cannot easily digest sweets. Especially foods like chocolate, processed sugar, etc., are highly harmful to turtles. 

Dairy products: It is an absolute no to your turtle. These creatures do not have the necessary enzymes in their digestive system to break down dairy products. So, giving them dairy foods will cause indigestion.

Salty foods: Salty foods must be strictly avoided from the diet of your turtle. A little bit of salt is fine, but too much of it can be harmful to these tiny animals. 


What human food can turtles eat?

Turtles are typically omnivorous animals, which means they will readily accept a wide range of food items. Hence, you can feed them with the most human food with certain exceptions. First, however, you need to make sure that the human food you are offering has all the essential nutrients and not refined industrial produce.

So, here are a few human foods to name that you can easily feed to your turtles.


Giving fish to your turtles is the best option to charge them up with protein. Fishes are the primary source of essential high-quality protein that your turtle will love to have in their diet. 

Feeding them fish has plenty of benefits. It is an excellent source of 3 types of fatty acids, phosphorus, and calcium. Fishes also serve turtles with the other essential minerals appropriately, which helps them have sufficient energy and maintain good health. You can easily give them fish like bass, goldfish, bluegills, minnows, crappies, guppies, killifish, platies, etc.

Although some turtle keepers feed them with feeders fish, it’s a good practice to feed cooked fish than raw unless you are sure of the source. If you are cultivating the feeder fish, by all means, you can feed them raw; however, if you are purchasing your feeder fish, it is better to cook it without salt before serving them.


Fruits are a great source of nutrients for turtles. Giving them fruits can improve their immunity and reduce the risk of contracting various diseases and infections. 

Fruits offer vital vitamins and minerals to your turtles. Also, it serves high-quality fibers to them, which can boost their immune system. So, give them properly washed fruits, cut into small pieces, which they can quickly gulp. 

However, fruits also contain a high amount of sugar which is detrimental to their digestive system; so, while serving the fruits to your turtle or tortoise, moderate the quantity and frequency—supplying them twice a week fruits like berries, watermelons, etc. Even though grapes are a great source of vitamin A, which is one of the essentials for your turtle, supply them with a measure as grape contains a high amount of sugar.




Turtles can consume various vegetables; they love munching on crunchy vegetables such as kale, collard green, turnip greens, mustard greens, green beans, bell peppers, different squash, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chards, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, parsley, carrot tops, etc. 

They also love to munch on submerged plants such as water hyacinth, water lettuce, duckweed, anacharis, frog-bit, etc. 

Sometimes they can even snack on sweet potatoes though they cannot eat them in a large quantity.

The greens are rich in anti-oxidants, and therefore we recommend feeding your turtles daily with greens.

Eat turtle species different types of greens like painted turtles and red eared love anacharis whereas, the mud turtle leave them alone. Hence, before deciding the diet of your pet, you would want to confirm the species from your vet or an expert.

However, some greens are either poisonous or will make your turtle sick such as tomato leaves, vines, holly oleander, rhubarb leaves, avocado leaves, as well as seeds, etc. And also all the plants from the nightshade family.




As turtles are omnivores, they not only need different vegetables but also would benefit from meat. However, it is not necessary to feed them with meat every day; it can be a once-a-week treat.

As turtles have very little chance to eat raw meat in the wild, we recommend that you cook the meat before serving your turtle.

Meat serves to be an excellent source of protein that young turtles can benefit from growing faster and healthier. In addition, a regular serving of meat to your turtle can keep their shells from folding, pyramiding, or forming crooked.


What can I feed pond turtles?

Well, pond turtles are usually the long-lived ones. So, when they are fed a good amount of nutritious foods, they tend to have a healthier, happier, and longer life. 

So, special turtle pellets are one of the best options for feeding your pond turtles. However, you must not limit their diet to only one food source. Instead, add a wide variety to their foods to serve them all essential nutrients. 

Worms: You can feed them various types of worms like earthworms, waxworms, bloodworms, mealworms, etc., which they love to have as their daily meal. 

Aquatic plants: You can also consider adding some aquatic plants to the pond, which can become an excellent food source for them. Water lettuce, anacharis, and water hyacinth are some of the best food sources for them.

Veggies: While feeding your pond turtles, give them some green veggies by cutting them into tiny pieces. Vegetables like kale, bok choy, mustard greens, collard greens, etc., are excellent nutrient sources.

Fruits: You can also feed them some fruits like strawberries, blueberries, melons, pears, star-fruits, guava, peaches, kiwis, mangoes, apples from time to time as a treat to your pond-dwelling pets; even you can feed grapes and bananas to your pond turtles.

You treat them with moderation just like you would treat your children with Ice-creams and pastries.


Wrap up: Can Turtles Eat Bread?

Be it your pet turtle or tortoise or turtles in your pond or neighborhood parks, you do not want to feed your leftover loaves of bread.

For both your pet turtles and tortoise, as well as turtles in your neighborhood, you can safely feed veggies and some roots. For your pet turtle, you would want to provide them with some meat and fish from time to time as they don’t have access to crickets, worms, etc., as the turtles in the wild do. 


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