Picking the right food to serve a turtle can often be a pain because of how different they are to us.
Foods that are perfectly fine for us could potentially kill a turtle, so it’s always a good idea to do your research on what you’re feeding your pet.
Today, we’re going to explore whether it’s okay to feed a turtle broccoli.
Can Turtles Eat Broccoli?
While turtles can eat broccoli, they can’t necessarily do so without any side effects, so carefully consider how often you feed your turtle broccoli. Since turtles tend to love vegetables and leafy greens, they won’t think twice about gobbling up some broccoli that you place in front of them.
While you can certainly feed your turtle some broccoli from time to time, you’ll want to avoid making it a staple of your turtle’s diet.
This is because broccoli contains many nutrients that aren’t necessarily healthy for your turtle since they can potentially damage your turtle’s system.
Can Turtles Eat Broccoli Leaves
While broccoli leaves may seem like the kind of leafy green that’s perfect for turtles, you’ll have to consider some of the additional nutrients they contain.
For example, you’ll find purines in broccoli leaves that will create more uric acid in your turtle’s system, making it harder on your turtle’s kidneys.
Another issue is that broccoli leaves contain oxalic acid, which is a compound that makes it harder for a turtle’s system to absorb calcium.
This is an issue because calcium is one of the most important nutrients for a turtle to consume, contributing to healthy bone and shell development and staving off disorders.
This is a shame because broccoli also contains a lot of the nutrients that turtles tend to need in their diets.
For example, broccoli leaves are a good source of vitamin A, which is often a crucial nutrient for turtles. They also contain plenty of fiber that will make it easier for your turtle to digest a herbivorous diet.
Can Turtles Eat Broccoli Stems
If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, broccoli stems actually contain even worse compounds for turtles in addition to many of the anti-vitamins that are contained in the leaves.
Broccoli stems tend to contain goitrogens, which are compounds that interfere with the function of the thyroid gland.
This makes it harder for turtles to uptake iodine which can lead to plenty of issues with their organs, including their livers and their kidneys.
Another issue with broccoli stems is that they may be harder for turtles to consume because of how hard they are and due to the fact that turtles don’t have teeth.
Do Turtles Like Broccoli?
The thing about turtles is that they’re the opposite of picky eaters, since many of them are naturally omnivores, meaning that they’ll eat anything that comes their way.
Turtles also have benefited from millions of years of evolution that have led to them eating whenever they get the chance to.
Domestication has been such a small part of turtles’ history that they still retain many of their eating habits from when they were out in the wild.
In the wild, a turtle never knew when it was going to find its next meal so it would eat anything at its disposal so that it wouldn’t starve, and you’ll see that reflected in how they act in captivity.
This translates to turtles eating nearly anything and stuffing themselves with whatever food they can find, and this can include broccoli.
Since broccoli is a lot like the other meals that turtles tend to love, namely leafy greens, you may even find that turtles are huge fans of it as a treat, despite it being unhealthy for them.
Of course, you have to remember that a turtle in captivity is not the same thing as a turtle in the wild, and you’ll want to make sure that you can give your turtle as varied of a diet as possible.
Variety in a turtle’s diet ensures that it’s getting all of the nutrients that it needs and that it will grow to be as healthy as possible.
What Kind of Turtles Can Eat Broccoli?
Since there are so many different turtle species, it can be difficult to make a blanket statement about how well each of them will take to eating broccoli.
In this part of the guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular turtle species and we’ll explore whether or not feeding them broccoli is a good idea one by one.
Can Yellow-Bellied Turtles Eat Broccoli?
Yellow-bellied turtles may seem like a safe species to feed broccoli because the majority of their diet is herbivorous, but remember the key issues with broccoli and limit your turtle’s consumption of it.
If you overfeed your yellow-bellied turtle broccoli, it may end up having kidney issues in the long run.
Can Aquatic Turtles Eat Broccoli?
Aquatic turtles are one of the most consistently ocean-dwelling turtle species and they have a pretty varied diet consisting of both ocean creatures and sea flora.
Broccoli is not a good fit for aquatic turtles since they’re not used to land-based vegetables and because of the inherently harmful nature of broccoli.
Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Broccoli?
Red eared sliders typically don’t eat leafy greens like broccoli when they’re living out in the wild, and giving them some may end up causing them more harm than good.
When a turtle species typically doesn’t eat something in its natural environment, it’s almost never a good idea to feed it to them.
Can Green Turtles Eat Broccoli?
Green turtles are very similar to aquatic turtles in that they spend the majority of their lives beneath the waves, eating whatever the seas have to offer to them.
The main difference between the two species is that green turtles are mainly herbivores, but you still won’t want to feed them broccoli.
Can Desert Turtles Eat Broccoli?
Desert turtles mainly eat grass instead of vegetables, so you’ll want to avoid introducing broccoli into their diets because of how infrequently they may come across it in the wild.
These turtles tend to have extremely long lifespans, and feeding them broccoli may play a part in cutting that lifespan down.
Can Box Turtles Eat Broccoli?
Box turtles are popular terrestrial turtles that are kept as pets due to how common they are.
The thing about box turtles is that they have an extremely varied diet which means that you can sneak some broccoli in there from time to time, but you’ll want to avoid feeding it to them frequently enough to harm them.
Can Baby Turtles Eat Broccoli?
You should avoid feeding broccoli to baby turtles at all costs because they’re early in their developmental cycle and the anti-nutrients in broccoli can severely damage their systems.
Even worse, the goitrogens in broccoli make it harder for your turtle to grow properly, potentially resulting in developmental disorders linked to their thyroid.
While older turtles may be able to eat a bit of broccoli without it causing major issues, you’re dramatically increasing the chance of running into problems when you feed broccoli to a turtle that is at a crucial stage in its development.