Rich in potassium and fibers, bananas are among the healthiest all-season fruits that we can include in our diet. But can these fruits be a part of your pet turtle’s diet as well? That’s what we are going to talk about in this article.
So, can turtles eat bananas? While most turtle species that are kept as pets can safely eat bananas in moderation, it would still be safer to check it with your vet. If your turtles can eat bananas, you must never feed them along with their peels, for they are difficult to digest and can have pesticides sprayed on them.
Below, we are going to discuss the health benefits of bananas for your turtles and the risks involved with overfeeding them these. Moreover, we will also talk about which species can safely eat bananas and which cannot, and give you a couple of pointers about feeding bananas to your pets.
Are bananas healthy for turtles?
While any fruit, including bananas, cannot be added to a turtle’s daily diet, they can work efficiently as a treat for them. But just because they are consumed as treats doesn’t mean they cannot benefit your pet’s health simultaneously.
In fact, the whole point of using fruits and not any other store-bought processed food as treat is to ensure that they’re safer and add to their health in some way.
So, are bananas healthy for your pet turtles? Before we answer that, let’s give you a quick glance at the nutritional composition of these fruits:
|Vitamin A||64 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.032 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.072 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.666 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.333 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.366 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||20 mcg|
|Vitamin C||8.8 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.11 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.5 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||5 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.25 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||27 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.077 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||0.27 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||22 mg|
|Sodium, Na||1 mg|
|Potassium, K||359 mg|
|Selenium, Se||1 mcg|
|Zinc, Zn||0.16 mg|
|Dietary fibers||2.61 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
As it is evident in the table above, bananas have a lot of nutrients and would be healthy for any human being to eat. But the diet of turtles is apparently very different from us. Which of the aforementioned nutrients can help these little guys? Let’s find out.
Although turtles need a variety of nutrients as a part of their healthy lifestyle, the following are the ones that are vital for their survival:
Calcium is vital not only for the turtles’ bone health but also for their muscular functions. But most importantly, it ensures the proper growth and development of the shell. Calcium should ideally make up about 2% of all turtles’ daily diet. Its deficiency in their body can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease. Bananas are rich in calcium.
Bananas are also rich in Vitamin A, which is one of the two most essential vitamins for turtles. Vitamin A has many functions in their body:
- It improves their vision and skin health.
- It maintains their respiratory health.
- It boosts their reproductive health and is more important for the females, as it is also responsible for their eggs’ quality.
The presence of these two nutrients, along with magnesium, pyridoxine, potassium, carbs, and healthy fats, in bananas is what makes these fruits a healthy snack for your shelled pets.
The risks of feeding too many bananas to turtles
While bananas have several health benefits for turtles, there are also some downsides to feeding them these fruits, which is why they should only be fed to them in moderation.
High sugar content
You might have noticed in the table given in the last section that the calorie-count of bananas is rather high. This has more to do with sugar than fat. Bananas are rich in sugar that can provide your turtles with energy.
But when fed in excess, it can increase the weight of your turtles. And since turtles already need to carry around the weight of their carapace, weight gain is never a good idea for them.
Improper Ca:P ratio
Another noticeable thing in the table is the quantity of Calcium and Phosphorus in bananas. While it contains a moderate amount of calcium, the Phosphorus content is significantly higher.
This means that Phosphorus will bind Calcium, preventing its absorption, and ultimately lead to Metabolic Bone Disease in the turtles. Some of the common MBD symptoms you should watch out for are:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in walking or swimming, or an awkward gait
- The shell growing softer and rubbery
- Swelling or lump formation on the head
- Turtle shell pyramiding
Too much fiber
Banana is also a high-fiber fruit. And while moderate amounts of fiber can enhance your turtle’s digestive functions, too much of it can cause constipation and even lead to chronic bowel problems in some severe cases.
Can turtles eat banana peels?
No, it is never a good idea to feed the banana peels to turtles for multiple reasons. First and foremost, these peels are far too tough for even humans to chew and digest, so you can’t expect your little, toothless friends to eat them easily.
And even if they manage to eat them somehow, digesting these peels can be a real struggle for the poor turtles and can also result in bowel issues.
Moreover, bananas that are commercially grown and sold in the markets often have toxic chemicals like pesticides or insecticides on their surface. Therefore, you must always feed your turtles peeled bananas.
Is it safe for baby turtles to eat bananas?
The diet of baby turtles is quite different than that of adult turtles. And while you can afford to make a couple of changes in the adult’s diet without consequences, doing it to the baby turtles can be lethal.
The formative years of a turtle’s life are most essential for its growth and development. These years also decide the longevity of their life. Thus, it is best to abstain from feeding them any kind of treat and sticking only to their feed.
Bananas and different turtle species
Many people believe that all turtle species in the world are omnivores. However, that’s not true. While most of them start their lives as an omnivore, they eventually turn either into carnivores or herbivores.
This proves the fact that all turtle species have their own nutritional requirement, and bananas can’t be expected to fit all of them.
Below, we will talk about the diet of some of the common turtle species and check whether or not can they be fed bananas:
Can Box Turtles eat bananas?
Although Box Turtles have a diverse diet, only 10% of it is reserved for fruits. Although bananas are one of their favorite fruits, you should only feed these to them occasionally.
Can Musk Turtles eat bananas?
The Musk Turtles are a carnivore turtle species. That’s why their diet should not consist of any plant-based matter, including fruits like bananas.
Can Bog Turtles eat bananas?
Although Bog Turtles can live both on land as well as water, everything they eat: fish, insects, and vegetation: comes from the water. And since bananas are not a part of aquatic vegetation, it wouldn’t be ideal for them to eat these fruits.
Can Red-eared Sliders eat bananas?
Just like the Box Turtles, the Red-eared Sliders also have quite a varied diet, and also like eating bananas. However, you must feed them bananas in moderation since their sugar content can cause them to bloat.
Can Map Turtles eat bananas?
Map Turtles are one of those turtles that are omnivores but live like carnivores in the wild. Even in captivity, about 80% of their daily diet should ideally consist of meat.
The remaining 20% can be fruits and vegetables, but the latter is a safer alternative for them because their stomachs are not used to digesting sugar. Under such circumstances, bananas with their high sugar content can be harm their health.
Can Yellow-bellied Sliders eat bananas?
While the Yellow-bellied Sliders prefer eating insects in their former years, once they are adults, their diet becomes more plant-based. Thus, bananas can safely be fed to adults in moderation.
Can Wood Turtles eat bananas?
Being omnivores, the Wood Turtles can eat both plants and insects. And while they prefer insects over plants, they also love eating different kinds of grass in the wild. In captivity, feeding them fruits, including bananas, once in a while is completely safe.
Can Painted Turtles eat bananas?
Painted Turtles follow a primarily insect-based diet when they are young, so feeding them bananas at this stage would be unwise. However, when they grow older, they prefer a plant-based diet and can safely eat bananas in moderation.
Bananas for turtles: Things to remember
If you’ve made sure that bananas are safe to feed your pet turtle in moderation, here are a couple of things that you should remember while feeding them this fruit:
- In the beginning, you must start slow by feeding them only a couple of slices. You should also observe them for a couple of hours after they’ve eaten it, to check for any negative impact of it on their behavior.
- If they’re responding positively to it, you can feed them bananas twice a week. However, it is best to keep mixing up their treats. Apples, grapes, and melons are some of the other fruits that are safe for them. In their overall fruit consumption, bananas should only make 20% of the whole.
- If you notice your pet putting on some weight, you must stop feeding them bananas immediately.
Conclusion: Can turtles eat bananas?
To wrap it, let’s quickly revisit everything we have learned above. Bananas are nutrient-rich fruits that can be healthy for turtles (depending on the species) when fed in moderation, as they add vital nutrients to their diet. However, they have a high sugar content, which can be lethal for your pets in the long run. Thus, you must follow a strict moderation while feeding them bananas, or any other fruits with a high sugar content for that matter.