Can Turtles Eat Bread?

Feeding and taking care of a turtle can often be a challenge because of how different these animals are to us.

While we’re mammals, turtles are reptiles, meaning they’re part of an entirely different order, making it a lot more difficult to guess what’s good or bad for them. Today, we’re going to explore whether turtles can eat bread.

Can Turtles Eat Bread?

Unfortunately, turtles can’t eat bread because they lack the proper enzymes to break it down.

This means that turtles essentially don’t get any of the nutrition from bread that we do, so it’s like you’re feeding your turtle something that doesn’t give them any of the nutrition that they need.

Yeast is the main factor that makes bread a bad treat for turtles, because turtles aren’t well-equipped to handle yeast, like humans are.

While we can subsist on bread as a staple of our diets, the same can’t be said for our scaly friends, who will slowly be deprived of the nutrients they need if they were wholly reliant on it.

If your turtle isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, then it may end up growing weaker and it can suffer from issues that human beings don’t necessarily need to worry about.

For example, if your turtle eats bread for an extended period of time, it may end up being deprived of calcium to properly develop its shell.

One of the major issues with a turtle eating bread is that bread essentially lacks everything that turtles need so that they can stay healthy.

Even if you decide to feed your turtle supplements alongside the bread, it will not be as healthy as it would have been if you had simply stuck to a proper diet.

Why Shouldn’t You Feed Bread to Turtles?

As we’ve already mentioned, the major reason why you’d want to avoid feeding bread to your turtle is because it contains yeast.

Since turtles don’t have the same enzymes that we have in our digestive systems, they aren’t able to get any of the crucial nutrients from the yeast in the bread.

One of the major issues with having yeast in the bread is that it can also cause your turtle indigestion due to this very lack of enzymes in your turtle’s system.

If your turtle is suffering from indigestion, there’s a good chance that it won’t want to eat after you feed it bread, further reducing the number of nutrients that it gets.

One of the worst things about feeding your turtle bread is that it will slowly learn to like the bread that you’re feeding it over time.

This means that your turtle will stop liking other foods that provide it with the proper nutrients, and this can end up sabotaging your turtle in the long run.

Since turtles don’t know that bread is bad for them, they won’t know any better and they’ll end up with a host of disorders and issues if they continue eating bread.

Since it can be difficult to wean your turtle off of bread once it gets started eating it, you’re better off avoiding serving it to them altogether.

What Should You Do if you Feed Bread to Your Turtle?

If you’ve been feeding bread to your turtle without knowing that it’s bad for it, there are a few things that you can do to smooth out the transition away from it.

The first thing that you should do is attempt to stop feeding your turtle bread altogether so you can see how it reacts to the change.

If your turtle is perfectly willing to eat other foods after you stopped serving it bread, then you shouldn’t have any troubles transitioning back to a healthy diet.

If your turtle refuses to eat anything other than bread, then you may have to get creative with how you start feeding it again.

One thing you can do is find a healthy alternative to bread that your turtle likes more than it and start mixing it in with your turtle’s staples to convince it to start eating.

Some healthy alternatives to bread include fruits, which are good for all turtle species that don’t come from Africa or the Mediterranean.

You can also see if your turtle is a fan of vegetables or even cooked meat, which tends to be healthy for them in smaller amounts.

All of these alternatives are better options than bread because they contain nutrients that your turtle can actually benefit from instead of being empty calories.

What Human Food Can Turtles Eat?

There are plenty of different kinds of food that we eat that also work well for turtles, so you don’t have to be wholly reliant on bread if you want to share a snack with your reptile friend. 

  • Fish

Fish is one of the most common types of human food that works well for turtles because of how they typically share their natural environment with fish.

This means that omnivore turtles will typically eat fish from time to time, and if you’re cooking up some fish, then there’s a good chance that your turtle will appreciate a piece of it.

Even if you’re eating sushi, your turtle likely won’t have a problem eating raw salmon or tuna.

As always, it’s a good idea to start off with a small chunk that your turtle won’t have any trouble eating due to its lack of teeth, and a smaller chunk will also allow you to see whether your turtle is a fan of fish.

  • Meat

Meat is another good option for turtles that have an omnivorous diet since it won’t cause them digestive problems and they’ll enjoy the flavor.

If you feed your turtle meat, try to make sure that it isn’t heavily fried, since grilled meat is often the best option for our reptilian pets.

You may be wondering what kind of meat your turtle will like most, and the truth is that you typically have no idea until you try experimenting with your turtle’s tastes.

Some turtles are huge fans of meat like pork and beef while other turtles will tend to prefer chicken.

  • Fruits

Fruits are typically a great thing to include in your turtle’s diet if your turtle doesn’t come from Africa or the Mediterranean.

You’ll want to avoid giving turtle species from those areas fruit since it typically isn’t a natural part of their diet, meaning that it will be harder for them to digest it.

One of the best things about fruit is that it tends to contain most of the nutrients that your turtle needs to keep growing strong.

Another great thing about fruit is that it contains plenty of fiber, meaning that fruits will be able to help your turtle digest its food much more easily, especially if its diet is high in veggies.

  • Vegetables

Veggies can also be a good part of your turtle’s diet. Some turtles have a diet that is entirely herbivorous, meaning that they rely entirely on fruits and veggies.

Of the two, vegetables should make up a larger part of your turtle’s diet, and leafy greens like kale tend to be an excellent choice for them.

Sources

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/turtle

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