Is It Dangerous For Turtles To Eat Bread?

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Time to read: 7 min.

We’ve all been there when clearing out the cupboards at home only to find leftover food that getting past its sell-by date “but” even then some of us have a hard time letting food go to waste so what is it we do? We feed it to our pets right? or in this case our pet turtle.

There are a lot of myths about what turtles can and cannot eat. One myth is that turtles should not be fed bread. Turtles will love to munch on bread just as much as humans do.

Turtles will eat anything you give them, including bread, however, it is very important to check what foods they can or cannot eat, and if your reading this article you want to know can turtles eat bread?

The short answer is No! Unfortunately turtles lack the enzymes needed to break down certain foods like bread, because of this they are unable to absorb the vitamins and nutrients needed to survive.

Turtles are omnivores which means they will eat a wide variety of insects, arthropods, worms, fish, plants, and vegetation. They need this type of food in their diet so they can absorb the correct nutrients to help with growth and development.

Can Wild Turtles Eat Bread?

Naturally, turtles in the wild don’t have access to bread, however, if they stumble across some they would definitely eat it. Although bread is not healthy, turtles will eat anything including bread.

Wild turtles usually live in areas that have freshwater lakes, ponds, or swamps. This is the ideal habitat where the turtle can drink, mate, and find their food.

Take the Red-Eared Sliders, for example, they will spend most of their life in freshwater and will eat things like small fish, tadpoles, or any planets that they can find at the bottom of the stream.

“But” if the food supply is low then they will turn towards vegetation, however, with that said hatchings will naturally eat foods that are high in protein to boost their development.

Then there are wild box turtles, now, they will eat fruit, berries, wild mushrooms, flowers, and weeds anything they stumble across they are basically an eating machine.

So does this mean they can eat bread?

No! not as a main meal, as before, no matter what species of turtle it is they still lack the enzymes needed to break down foods like bread. Not only that, “but” bread is very dry so there is that chance they could chock trying to eat it.

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Can Turtles Eat Bread As A Snack?

Although there are some people that would feed their turtle bread as a snack this is not recommended for the reasons mentioned above. Because they can’t absorb any of the vitamins and nutrients it just wouldn’t benefit them in any way.

Instead, it’s recommended to feed them fruits and vegetation that can actually be a benefit to their diet. Bread is just too unhealthy for the turtle to eat even as a snack, but again, if you give it to them “they will eat it”

Now, this is not to say feeding them small amounts of bread can be harmful, however, if the turtle is eating it over long periods of time this can cause some issues.

You see, turtles eat things like worms, snails, insects, leaves, plants, flowers, and fruits, unfortunately, their digestion is not designed for eating dairy products like bread which could lead to problems later on.

If you do have any bread that’s about to reach its sell-by date “but” you don’t want to waste it feed it to the birds this will be far more beneficial than feeding it your pet reptile.

In the end, the best way to keep your beloved turtle healthy is by feeding them food that is packed with all the better their body requires, especially if you have a young turtle that requires more proteins for its development.

What Are The Dangers Of Feeding Turtles Bread?

You have been told to feed your pet turtles bread and It is a common misconception that the protein in the bread will help them grow. However, this is false! “Bread has no nutritional value for turtles and can actually be very dangerous.”

As mentioned, not only can feeding your pet turtle bread can cause some serious digestive issues “but” at the same time you are also depriving them of all the essential vitamins they need.

If you have a baby turtle they need proteins to help with their development and feeding them bread at a young age can be fatal. So let’s dive deeper into what the dangers are when feeding your turtle bread.

Dangers Of Feed Turtles Bread…

  • Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Irregular Shell Growth
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Choking

Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease can happen if you’re not feeding your turtle the correct foods over long periods of time which can have serious long-term effects on the turtle’s health.

Irregular Shell Growth

Now, Irregular Shell Growth happens to baby turtles that are still growing. When they are young especially hatchling turtles they require more proteins in their diet to help with their development. If the turtle doesn’t get the correct nutrients and minerals this is where they can develop an irregular shell.

Nutrient Deficiency

when feeding your turtles foods that don’t have the correct nutrients required then they can suffer from nutrient deficiency. Not only can it cause Metabolic bone disease and Irregular Shell Growth mentioned above “but” it can also make the turtle very weak and can suffer serious digestive issues.


As we know, bread can be very dry, and feeding the turtle bread even if it’s a small amount can cause them to choke when eating it, especially, if it’s the crust or if the bread is slightly stale.

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Turtles Eating Bread

Understanding The Species

Understanding the species of the turtle is also an important factor. This is because certain species require different nutrients and knowing this will determine what diet they require.

Unfortunately, many people have no idea what they’re getting into when they buy their first turtle. There is a lot of information out there, but it’s often scattered and hard to find.

The care of turtles is a big responsibility. They are very sensitive to temperature changes and if they don’t have the right environment, it can hurt their health.

One of the most important aspects of caring for turtles is their diet. Turtles have specific dietary needs depending on what type of turtle they are and where they come from.

Some species eat mostly plants while others will eat mostly meat or fish if given the opportunity with no preference to which animal it comes from.

Knowing this information makes feeding them much easier and making sure your turtle eats the correct foods is very important that can avoid all the dangers mentioned above.

They are many species of turtles some can be herbivores that eat only plants or they can be carnivores that are meat eaters only or omnivores that eat both plants and meat.

Depending on the species of turtle most pet stores offer a wide range of turtle food that provides all the appropriate vitamins and minerals giving them a healthy balanced diet.

There’s plenty of healthy foods you can feed to your turtle “but” the trick is not to feed them vegetables that have high amounts of oxalates.

You see, when you feed them certain vegetables you may think that they are eating healthy and absorbing the nutrients, when in fact, certain foods that contain “oxalates” can actually stop your reptile from absorbing calcium.

This is where you need to feed your turtle a mixture of different fruits and vegetables so they can absorb all the victims and nutrients they need. Simply feeding them just one type of food is not enough.

Types Of Foods Turtles Can Eat

Fresh VegetablesFruitsLive Insects
Chinese cabbageBlackberriesSnails
Dandelion greensRaspberriesBeetles
Dark leafy greensWatermelonCrickets
Mustard greensStrawberriesRed worms
Collard greensWatermelonCaterpillars

Foods They Should Avoid

Turtles are always looking for a nice, easy meal. Unfortunately, not all foods that they try to eat are good for them, and below you will see some of the foods that your turtle should avoid and why they’re bad for them.

When picking food for your turtle you should try and avoid vegetables that have high amounts of oxalates which basically stops the turtle from absorbing calcium.

This won’t necessarily harm your turtle straight away “but” if you keep feeding them over the long run then this can cause problems in the development.

You should also avoid feeding your turtle any dairy products this is because turtles don’t possess any enzymes necessary to break down and digest dairy foods

Foods that are very salty or very acidic you should also avoid however, that’s not to say you can’t feed them small amounts, because as we know apples are healthy “but” slightly acidic yet they can still eat them in small amounts. Oranges you should definitely avoid.

You should also avoid feeding them things like chocolate, processed sugar, corn syrup, or any other foods that are rich and contains a lot of sugar.


So as you have just read feeding your turtles bread is not a good idea and can cause them problems over time. If you don’t like the idea of wasting or throwing away your bread then as before feeding to the birds is your best option.

Also, as before remember when feeding your turtle vegetables make sure they don’t contain oxalates that can stop your turtle from absorbing the calcium which can result in nutrient deficiency.

If you have baby turtles they tend to be much more carnivorous than adult turtles meaning they require live foods to give them that boost in protein to help with their development.

If this is your first time caring or raising a turtle and you are unsure what to feed them check with your local pet shop as they can instruct you on what to feed them.

You can also order food for your turtle online one pet shop we do recommend and is very popular is there you will find a wide range of foods for your turtle or even equipment like food bowls, tanks, lighting, and heating for your pet reptile.

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