Cherries taste sweet and are a great snack for your turtle. However, you should feed them in moderation. This guide will explain the health effects of cherries and why you should feed them sparingly to your pet turtle!
Can Turtles Eat Cherries
Yes, Turtles love eating cherries! They have a moderate amount of calcium and Vitamins – which are essential nutrients to a turtle’s health. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you should give them cherries for every meal. Cherries have a high sugar content and have malic acid. Because of this, you should feed your turtles cherries once in a while.
How Often Can I Feed My Turtle Cherries?
Feed your turtles cherries once a month. This reduces the amount of acidic content in their bodies. Some owners feed their turtles cherries frequently, but we prefer to stay on the safe side. Turtles become picky when exposed to excessive sweets, so use cherries as a rare snack for them.
How To Feed Cherries To Turtles?
Since cherries should take up 10-15% of your turtle’s diet, you’ll want to check their quality beforehand. Give your turtle organic cherries and remove the pit before feeding them.
To remove the pit, place the fruit in between your fingers. Place the thin chopstick end in the stem hole. Then, place the chopstick firmly on the pit and slowly push it out.
After removing the pits, you can either give the turtle the entire cherry or split it into halves. We suggest chopping the cherries into smaller pieces before feeding your turtle. That way, your turtle can eat it easily without getting bloated.
Can Turtles Eat Cherry Leaves?
You should avoid feeding your turtles cherry leaves. The twigs and leaves tend to contain cyanide (prussic acid). Even though there are no studies on its effect on turtles, it can be fatal.
If your turtle eats cherry leaves by accident, monitor its behavior for any subtle changes.
Take your turtle to the vets if you notice anything different.
Can Turtles Eat Cherry Pit?
Avoid feeding the cherry pits to your turtles.
Like cherry leaves, the cherry pit has cyanide chemicals, which are detrimental to your turtle’s health. Throw away the pits before giving cherries to your turtle.
When cherry pits are consumed, they release amygdalin.
The body notices this chemical and converts it to cyanide. On average, cherry pits contain 3.9 mg of amygdalin for each fruit (g).
This is higher than black cherries, which have 2.7 mg of amygdalin. In fact, the Morello cherry pit contains a whopping 65 mg amygdalin for each gram of fruit.
Because of this, we suggest you remove cherry pits when feeding your turtle.
Can Turtles Eat Dried Cherries?
Dried cherries have dense sugar content. Dried cherries, even at ⅓ cup, contain over 30 g of sugar.
As a result, there’s a high probability that dried cherries will harm your turtle.
An excessive amount of sugar will cause intestinal problems, parasite problems, and diarrhea.
Always know the good and bad, and that is why you can’t have too much fruit in your turtle’s diet.
Besides sugar, citrus is dangerous for turtles.
If you give them cherries, remove the seed to prevent choking.
Can Turtles Eat Canned Cherries?
Again, steer clear from canned cherries because they contain juice and high sugars.
Approximately a cup of canned cherries contains 15 tsp of sugar!
Due to cherries’ high sugar content, your turtle can have digestive and respiratory issues if it consumes canned cherries. Instead, chop two cherries into smaller pieces and feed them to your turtle. That way, your turtle won’t become bloated and maintain its health.
Nutrition Facts For Cherries
Here are some of the primary ingredients found in cherries.
- Calories: 5.2
- Calcium: 1%
- Fiber: 0.2 grams
- Sugar: 1.1g
- Vitamin C: 1%
- Vitamin A: 0.1%
- Carbohydrates: 1.3 grams
- Iron: 0.2%
In addition to the nutrients listed above, cherries contain manganese, Vitamin K, phosphorus, and Vitamin B. Despite their small size, cherries are filled with nutrients. But are they a great option for turtles? We’ll explain further in the next section.
Benefits of cherries for turtles
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for your turtle’s respiratory and eye health. Also, it is good for improving the skin, organ ducts, and mucous membrane. However, cherries contain a small amount of this vitamin. Give your turtle leafy green vitamins to ensure they’re getting their daily Vitamin A intake.
Calcium is needed for the development and health of the turtle’s skeletal system. A lack of calcium can lead to stunted and deformed shells and bones. In severe cases, low calcium will lead to metabolic bone disease.
And while cherries contain calcium, it’s a limited amount. Let’s be honest. It’s not a good idea to rely on fruit to supplement your turtle’s calcium needs.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C improves the turtle’s immune system, and it helps the turtle fight against diseases. In addition, it helps reduce heart disease risk. Give them around 100 mg of Vitamin C to prevent heart disease risks such as triglyceride levels and blood cholesterol.
Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. The antioxidant is used to control stress and works for premature aging. Based on research, they contain polyphenol, which is used to help fight cell damage.
Things To Consider When Feeding Cherries To Turtles
If you don’t monitor your turtle’s diet, an excessive amount of cherries can lead to severe health problems. Cherries are acidic and have high sugar content, leading to gut problems and further compilations. Also, the pesticides found in cherries can negatively impact your turtle’s health if you’re not careful.
- High Sugar Content
Turtles are not equipped to handle an excessive amount of sugar. For instance, their gut cannot handle glucose, sucrose, and fructose that’s presented in cherries. Too much sugar can lead to increased blood levels and insulin resistance.
In the long term, too much sugar will lead to diabetes and obesity. While this might seem extraordinary, you’d be surprised that both conditions are common in turtles.
- Acidic Content
Cherries are high in acidic content and have an average pH range of 3.2-4.0. Malic acid is the most dominant form of acid found in cherries. Also, cherries have citric, phosphoric, and quinic acids. However, your turtle’s digestive system is not able to safely digest these acids.
Too many cherries will lead to diarrhea, acid reflux, and bowel irritation. If your turtle ate multiple cherries in one sitting, this could damage their entire gut and the bacteria colony within it. This will lead to harmful toxins entering your turtle’s body and cause severe complications.
- Pesticide Traces
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) discovered that cherries have the residue of 2-3 pesticides. On average, pesticides can live in a turtle’s body until death. Thus, it’s important to buy traceable and organic cherries. Also, make sure to remove the leaves and stems, as they are the main sources of these chemicals.
Can Red-Eared Turtles Eat Cherries?
Red-eared turtles eat cherries as long as they have a balanced diet. Cherries and fruits should take 10-15% of their diet. On days where you feed them cherries, avoid giving them other fruit.
Can Painted Turtles Have Cherries?
Cherries are not harmful to painted turtles. However, I would not recommend you make a habit out of feeding them cherries. Balance their diet with leafy greens and proteins to keep them healthy.
What Fruits Can Turtles Eat?
An average turtle’s diet should consist of calcium and minerals. Feed them food that’s low in fats and phosphorus. Here are some recommend foods in the following types:
Only feed turtles berries you know about. There are safe berries that your turtle can consume. Here are some of them:
Fruits have a high glucose level, and you should give them in a moderate amount. Oranges and other citrus fruits are highly dangerous. You can give your turtle small amounts of the following fruits:
What Foods Should Turtles Avoid?
There are a few vegetables and fruit that can be dangerous to your turtle’s health. Some of them are:
- Mushrooms – Most mushrooms have toxic proteins that lead to liver failure and even death.
- Avocado – Don’t give your turtle avocado as they have Persin. Consuming Persin will lead to organ failure.
- Dairy food – Turtles don’t have the enzymes in their body to break down lactose. When consumed, it will lead to indigestion.
- Chinaberry – Chinaberry is a poisonous plant that contains oxalate salts. It leads to organ damage or mild irritation. Speak to your vet immediately if they come in contact with this fruit.
- Castor Beans – Castor beans contain a toxic protein and can lead to death if consumed.
- Juniper Berries – Have a myriad of irritants that can damage the turtle’s heart.
To conclude, pet owners need to be vigilant about their turtle’s health. While cherries are a great source of nutrients and minerals, they should not be a priority. If your turtle is less active than usual or shows symptoms of overfeeding, take them to the vet immediately.
However, to protect your turtle’s health, there are multiple food options to feed your turtle. By monitoring their cherry intake, you’ll ensure that your turtle remains healthy and strong!