Do Turtles Eat Cockroaches?

If you have a turtle, then you know they’ll eat just about anything they can get their beaks on.

This is something that most turtle owners are painfully aware of.

Many turtles are even known to eat their own poop (or even other animal’s poop) if they can’t find anything else to eat. 

What about cockroaches, though? 

The answer is yes; turtles will most definitely eat a cockroach if one walks across their path! Turtles actually really enjoy eating large insects and beetles, and it’s a staple of their diet in the wild. Before you go feeding your pet turtle every stray roach you find in your house, though, make sure you give this post a read. 

Below, we’ll discuss some of the health implications of feeding roaches to your turtle, some alternative options to satisfy your turtle’s craving, and how insects can be a good part of a balanced diet for your pet. 

Do Turtles Like Cockroaches?

You may be thinking,

Roaches?! Seriously? Surely, the line has to be drawn somewhere, right?

As it turns out, turtles have very few (if any) lines when it comes to what they will and won’t eat.

Some turtles will even go so far as to eat your leather boots if you let them.

A roach is like a tasty delicacy to your turtle.

They’re crunchy, full of protein, and covered in whatever flavorful seasonings they picked up crawling around your kitchen floor. 

All jokes aside, though, turtles go wild for roaches and will eat pretty much any large insect that you feed them.

In addition to providing them with a reliable source of protein, roaches and other live insects can also give them some good exercise as they’ll have to chase it down before they’re rewarded with a meal. 

Are Cockroaches Healthy For Turtles To Eat? 

Before you start giving your turtle roaches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though, there’s one more very important consideration to keep in mind – the health aspect of it. 

While a wild roach may be healthy for your turtle to eat, the roaches around your house may not be the healthy snack they’re made out to be. This is due to several reasons, including:

  • Roaches are often covered in harmful bacteria picked up from trash or the floor. 
  • Roaches may carry fecal matter or urine traces from crawling through the bathroom. 
  • Roaches can carry and spread disease
  • Roaches may be coated in toxic pest control chemicals that they picked up while coming into your home. 

Many roaches are carrying all of these less-than-savory “seasonings.” This is why we generally advise against feeding stray cockroaches to your turtles. That being said, if you happen to find some clean, fresh roaches for sale at your local pet store, then these should be fairly safe to give to your pet turtle. You mainly just want to avoid feeding them contaminated bugs that have been in contact with filth and disease. 

What’s The Best Alternative Bug For Turtles To Eat? 

While your turtle may love roaches, many of their human parents can’t say the same. For some people, the mere thought of picking up a roach in their hand is enough to send chills down the spine. 

Thankfully, turtles aren’t super picky. This means that almost any crunchy bug will do. One of the best alternatives to feeding your turtle cockroaches is to give them crickets instead. You can usually purchase a large cup of live crickets for a few dollars at your local pet store. 

To feed your turtle the crickets, just drop a few into their tank or habitat. You can also put a cricket on the ground and let your turtle chase it or sneak up on it. 

Conclusion

Although turtles are relatively hardy animals, they are just as susceptible to illness as any other reptile. This means that you should always do your best to ensure that they’re eating healthy foods. Avoid giving your pet bugs that you pick up around the house that could be contaminated with bacteria, harmful chemicals, or diseases. If you want to satisfy their cravings for some bugs, make sure that you only give them bugs purchased from a store. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/03/science/cockroach-diseases.html

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