You must’ve heard the common proverb: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Based on the nutritional richness of these fruits, it would only be fair to call it appropriate. But are these fruits equally healthy for our pets? What about turtles?
Can turtles eat apples? A turtle’s diet should always consist of more than one variety of food. Yes, a turtle can eat apples, but only as a special treat. Apples are high in sugar and acid content making them hard for the digestion system of turtles to process.
The answer to the question of whether turtles can eat apples is not straightforward. It depends on what type of turtle you have. Terrapin snapping turtles, for instance, can eat apples, but red-eared sliders should not be given apples.
If you keep reading this article, you will learn everything you need to know about feeding apples to your turtles.
Do turtles like eating apples?
If there’s one thing that you should know about the turtles, they are the least picky eaters among all the world’s pets. All the turtle species are opportunistic feeders in the wild that would eat anything they can find. The downside is that they have a poor sense of judgment about what is and isn’t good for their health.
Even in captivity, their attitude towards food is the same. They would rarely say no to anything you serve them, especially not apples, since these little guys are crazy about sweet treats.
Apples for Turtles: Health Benefits
Now that you know your pet would gladly eat apples, what would be your next thought? To find out whether these fruits are healthy for them.
The key to learning about any fruit or vegetable’s health benefits for turtles is to go through their nutritional composition.
Below, we have provided you with a table of the nutritional composition of apples:
|Vitamin A||54 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.017 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.026 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.091 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.061 mg|
|Vitamin B6(Pyridoxine)||0.041 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||3 mcg|
|Vitamin C||4.6 g|
|Vitamin E||0.18 g|
|Vitamin K||2.2 mcg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Potassium, K||107 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||6 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.12 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||5 mg|
|Phosphorous, P||11 mg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.04 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.40 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
As the table indicates, apples are rich in a large number of vitamins and minerals. But how do these nutrients help turtles? Let’s find out:
- Apples contain Vitamin A in abundance, and this vitamin is one of the only two vitamins that turtles need for their good health (the other one being Vitamin D3). Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining the reproductive as well as respiratory health of the turtles. Moreover, it also improves their vision and boosts their overall health. Vitamin A deficiency in these reptiles can cause some serious health problems like Hypervitaminosis A, Squamous Metaplasia, and several respiratory and vision problems.
- Turtles also need a fair amount of Calcium in their diet, for it is the core mineral responsible for their healthy shell. The lack of Calcium in these creatures can easily be noticed by their shells getting thinner, its top layer withering away slowly. Apples contain enough Calcium to fulfill their requirement.
- Protein is another important nutrient that turtles can get from apples. This nutrient is vital in their healthy overall growth. The lack of it can lead to several growth and development problems from a young age.
- Moreover, apples also have antioxidants that strengthen the turtles’ immune system, aiding them in fighting against all kinds of infections and diseases.
Keeping all these health benefits in mind, it would be fair to say that apples are indeed healthy treats for your shelled pets.
Is the skin of apples safe for Turtles to eat?
Are you curious whether you should feed your turtles apples with or without their outer skin?
If you want to feed them apples safely, you should always cut off the outer skin. This is because while the skin itself is completely harmless to your turtles, it might have some pesticides on its surface.
It is common among the fruit-sellers to spray their fruits with pesticides and insecticides to keep them safe from all kinds of insects. And although these pesticides cannot harm humans severely, to the turtles, they can be life-threatening.
What about apple seeds? Can they be fed to turtles?
It would help if you never fed the turtles apple seeds since they contain amygdalin, a compound that turns into cyanide when it’s broken down. Even a single seed can cause cyanide poisoning in your turtles. Therefore, you should be extra careful about the seeds while feeding them apples.
Can baby turtles eat apples?
It is not a good idea to feed apples to baby turtles for two reasons.
First, these turtles need a diet that primarily consists of animal-based protein to develop their brain’s healthy development. At this stage, feeding them any fruit will not do them any good.
The second reason is the high sugar and acidic content of apples. While an adult turtle might digest small amounts of these without much trouble, their babies have a fragile digestive system and can suffer from severe bloating after eating apples.
Apples and Turtle species
Many turtle species are kept as pets by turtle enthusiasts around the world. It would be unwise to presume that apples can fit in the diet of all these turtles.
This is why we talk about the diet of some common pet turtle species below, stating whether or not should apples be fed to them:
Can Box Turtles eat apples?
Box Turtles are omnivores and have a surprisingly varied diet, 60% of it is meat. From the remaining 40%, 30% should ideally consist of vegetables, and the rest 10% can be reserved for fruits.
While the Box Turtles can eat apples, they don’t enjoy them as much as they do other, especially citrus fruits. If you’re serving them apples, chop them into tiny, bite-sized pieces after removing the skin and seeds.
Can Map Turtles eat apples?
Although Map Turtles are omnivores, they act like carnivores. Therefore, animal-based protein should make up a major portion of their diet (80%), with fruits and vegetables being used as an occasional treat for them. Between fruits and vegetables, the latter is safer for them.
While these turtles can eat apples, you should feed them in extreme moderation (once in a couple of weeks). Any more than that can be detrimental to their health, for too much sugar can cause their stomach to bloat.
Can Spotted Turtles eat apples?
When the Spotted Turtles are young, they need a more insect-based diet since protein is essential for developing their brain. However, as they age, their diet bends more towards a vegetarian diet. It is best to feed them a mixed diet of insects, fruits, and vegetables in captivity.
Among the fruits, apples are a good choice for these turtles. However, avoid overfeeding them these treats.
Can Musk Turtles eat apples?
Musk Turtles are a carnivore turtle species. Therefore, feeding them apples can be bad since their digestive system will have trouble digesting the natural sugar in these fruits.
Can Yellow-bellied Sliders eat apples?
The Yellow-bellied Sliders are omnivores that prefer a primarily plant-based diet when they’re adults. Apples can safely be fed to these turtles as a sweet treat.
Can Painted Turtles eat apples?
While the young Painted Turtles need a protein-rich diet consisting of snails, tadpoles, earthworms, etc., as they grow older, they prefer eating vegetation. Even then, vegetables make up a large part of their diet, and you should only feed fruits like apples occasionally.
Can Red-eared Sliders eat apples?
The Red-eared Sliders are omnivores, feeding on both plants and insects. While these turtles eat different kinds of fruits, feeding them apples is a bad idea. It is because apple’s high sugar and acidic content is not easily broken down in their digestive system and might cause them to bloat.
Can Bog Turtles eat apples?
Bog Turtles are semi-aquatic omnivores that have a mixed diet of insects and aquatic vegetation. Other than the aquatic plants like duckweed, you can occasionally feed them a couple of berries. Feeding them apples, however, is not a good idea.
Can Wood Turtles eat apples?
The Wood Turtles are known for eating a large variety of plants and insects. While they do prefer insects over plant matters, they are fond of many grass and leaves among plants. In the wild, they mostly feed on different kinds of berries. However, in captivity, apple is considered to be safe to feed them in moderation.
Conclusion: Can Turtles Eat Apples?
Phew, that was a lot of work trying to answer the question of whether or not turtles can eat apples. Boiled down, turtles can eat apples but not the whole thing or every kind of apple. In fact, most kinds of turtles cannot eat apples and if they do, it’s not going to be those big red ones you buy at the grocery store.
Let’s summarize everything we’ve learned above: although apples are rich in many vitamins and minerals, they also have a high sugar content and acidic in nature. Thus, you should only feed these to your turtles in moderation, for their stomachs are not designed to digest sugar.