Can Turtles Eat Spinach

Turtles have a reputation for devouring whatever you put in front of them. This is often a good thing because they will eat whatever you feed them. However, this might be problematic since kids may eat fruits or vegetables that are unhealthy for them. 

Is spinach, however, one of them?

The short answer is, yes, they can. But, it’s best only to give them small amounts of spinach once and a while. Or, you could opt to take it out of their diet entirely.

Can turtles Eat Spinach? 

Yes, turtles can consume spinach, it is not recommended since it contains high levels of oxalic acid, which hinders calcium absorption. As a result, turtles should avoid overeating spinach. However, a little spinach now and again should be OK.

Here is video of turtle eating spinach. 

Just take note: even if a decent amount of calcium is provided, a turtle fed spinach daily can become calcium deficient.

Calcium and phosphorus are found in almost all veggies. As a result, they have a calcium to phosphorus ratio in the majority of them. Let’s look at what calcium and phosphorus do for musk turtles and what a suitable calcium to phosphorus ratio is.

Do Turtles Need Calcium?

Calcium is required by every animal with bones on the planet. Because a turtle’s shell is made up of bones, calcium is much more vital for turtles than other animals. Because vegetables are one of the primary sources of calcium for musk turtles, making sure you give them calcium-rich veggies is critical.

Now here are the typical ratios of calcium to phosphorus in veggies:

  • 1:1 Ratio – This ratio indicates that the amount of calcium in the body is equal to, or nearly equivalent to, phosphorus in the body. So, while a vegetable with this ratio isn’t ideal for turtles, it’s also not dangerous. However, such a vegetable should be avoided if at all feasible.
  • 1:2 Ratio – This calcium to phosphorus ratio is relatively low; however, there aren’t many plants with this ratio, so don’t be concerned. Just bear in mind that if a vegetable contains more potassium than calcium, you shouldn’t feed it to your turtle.
  • 2:1 Ratio – This ratio is excellent, and that is what you should strive for; if it climbs higher, that is fine, but this is the ratio you should aim for.

And you’ll be surprised to know that spinach falls in the 2:1 ratio category. Yet, it is because of the oxalic acid levels which make spinach a problem for turtles.

Spinach Alternatives for Turtles

Aquatic plants of all kinds are good greens to feed aquatic turtles, but they can be pricey if you have many of them. Therefore it is a good idea to try to substitute land plants. 

Dandelions are the ideal land plant since they are inexpensive and frequently available. You should feed your turtle the leaves, which are pretty nutritious. 

Yet, bear in mind, many additional land plants have anti-nutrient properties that prevent minerals from being absorbed, just like spinach. Therefore, always try to do a little research on what plants you plan to feed your pet turtle.

Although eating spinach once a month does not appear detrimental, why feed these dangerous inhibitors to your turtle when there are plenty of other options? Overall, dietary variety is beneficial, and you should do the same with other plant-based foods. 

Warning: Because they include a variety of anti-nutrient chemicals, beans, peas, and cabbage, should also be avoided.

Feed Your Turtle Treats

Turtles are more sensitive to boring diets than other pets. So it’s always good to offer them some variation for this reason.

If you give your turtle the same bland food every day, they will become bored with feeding time. And it’s unfortunate that since turtles are such uncommon pets, most pet food stores will only have a limited supply of your standard everyday, low-cost, nutritious turtle food. 

This food should account for the majority of your pet’s daily calories. Yet, you can then supplement that base of food with various nutritional turtle treats to provide your turtle with the varied diet they need.

Some examples include:

  • Small scraps of meat
  • Dried shrimps
  • Small pieces of cut-up fruit or vegetables
  • Freeze-dried bugs
  • Live food (since they are predatory animals)

Add some of these various little treats into your turtle’s routine, and they’ll be all the happier.


So the natural conclusion here is, spinach isn’t the ideal choice for your turtle. However, spinach is just one of the hundreds of veggies you can include in your turtle’s diet.

Like we just mentioned, treating your turtle to various other snacks will keep them interested in their food. And just make sure to do a little research before introducing anything new into their diets.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck! 


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