If you are a novice to the world of pets, turtles are the ideal pets for you. These shelled creatures need very little to be happy and satisfied and can thrive even with little attention. When it comes to their diet, they’re pretty easy to please as well; they can eat most of the fruits and veggies safely in moderation. But what about broccoli?
Turtles can eat broccoli in moderation. They are not fond of eating the vegetable, though. Turtles like eating broccoli leaves, and it is absolutely safe to feed them occasionally. However, you must not feed them broccoli stems as they contain a large number of toxins known as goitrogens that can damage your pet’s kidney.
In small amounts, broccoli is good for your pet turtle but you have to remember not all the parts of the broccoli plant are edible. Turtles will eat most of the plant, but make sure they leave the stems behind.
Which species does your pet turtle belong to? Are you wondering whether their particular species can eat broccoli or not? Worry not, for in this article, you will find the answers to all your questions about feeding broccoli to turtles.
Do turtles like eating broccoli?
As far as pets go, turtles are one of the least picky eaters. And since most turtle species that are kept as pets are omnivores, they would eat anything you would serve them.
In fact, many turtle-owners have claimed that their pets can’t get enough of broccoli. So, if you’re worried about them liking broccoli, rest assured that they will.
Is broccoli healthy for turtles?
The more important question you should be asking yourself is: is broccoli a healthy addition to my pet’s diet? And to answer that question, let’s take a quick peek at the nutritional chart of these veggies:
|Vitamin A||131 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.071 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.117 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.639 mg|
|Vitamin B4 (Choline)||18.7 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.537 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.175 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||63 mcg|
|Vitamin C||89.2 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.78 mg|
|Vitamin K||101.6 mg|
Serving size: 100 grams
The chart drawn above is a clear indication that broccoli is a nutrient-dense vegetable. In fact, if you had to recommend it to a human, you would’ve done so without a second thought. However, since turtles are very different from humans, they have different nutritional requirements as well.
So, does broccoli fulfill its nutritional requirements? Let’s find out:
Turtles need only two vitamins for their healthy growth: Vitamins A and D. Luckily, one of them is present in broccoli in a moderate amount.
Vitamin A is essential for strengthening a turtle’s immune system and improves their eyesight, reproductive health, and overall body growth. The deficiency of this vitamin in their diet can lead to vision problems, aural abscesses, and Hypervitaminosis A.
As far as minerals are concerned, they need Calcium and Phosphorus, both of which are found in broccoli.
Therefore, it would be safe to assume that broccoli is indeed a healthy treat for your turtles.
The downsides of feeding broccoli to turtles
After looking at the health benefits of broccoli for turtles, don’t you want to include it in their daily diet? But hold on; everything has its pros and cons, and we’re yet to take a look at the cons of broccoli for turtles:
- Broccoli contains goitrogens that can interfere with your turtle’s intake of iodine and lead to kidney diseases.
- It is also high in anti-nutrients that can cause more harm to your pet’s health in the long run than it can benefit them.
- Oxalic acid is present in broccoli. It interrupts the absorption of calcium in the turtle’s body and can, thus, be detrimental to their health.
- Broccoli also contains purines that increase turic acid production in their body, in turn putting unnecessary stress on your pet’s kidneys.
While all of the cons listed above sound rather terrifying, as long as you feed broccoli to your turtles in moderation, none of these will happen to them.
Broccoli and different turtle species
There are over 300 different recognized species of turtles in the world, and all of them have their own individual diet. Some of these are even carnivores as adults, surviving strictly on meat. So, can broccoli be fed to all of them? Not really.
Below, we will mention some of the most common turtle species and see if they can eat broccoli:
Can Red-eared Sliders eat broccoli?
Although the Red-eared Sliders are omnivore, semi-aquatic turtles, everything they eat- from aquatic vegetation to fish- comes from the water. And since broccoli is not a part of their natural diet, feeding it to them is a bad idea.
Can Box Turtles eat broccoli?
Box Turtles are omnivores that mostly feed on various fruits and insects such as earthworms and crickets. Papayas and berries are among their favorite fruits, and in vegetables, they mostly prefer cabbages and butternut squash.
While broccoli is not on the list of vegetables they usually eat, you can feed them these occasionally. Steam-cooking them beforehand would work wonders.
Can Green Sea Turtles eat broccoli?
Although all the adult Green Sea Turtles are strictly herbivores, they are also aquatic, living exclusively in oceans. Since broccolis is not a part of the aquatic vegetation, introducing them to their diet doesn’t make sense.
Can Yellow-bellied Turtles eat broccoli?
Yellow-bellied Turtles are omnivores that need a lot of leafy greens in their diet. Including broccoli in these turtles’ diets is controversial, but as long as you can practice strict moderation, there would be no problems.
Can Desert Turtles eat broccoli?
Desert Turtles are pure herbivores with only 15% of their diet consisting of vegetables and the rest of it being grass. A wrong diet can impact their health adversely and reduce their lifespan. Therefore, feeding broccoli or any other member of the Brassica family to them is a bad idea.
What about broccoli leaves? Can turtles eat them?
So far, we’ve only discussed turtles eating broccolis. Is there any other part of these plants that these reptiles can eat? For instance, their leaves?
You would be surprised to know that not only can turtles eat broccoli leaves, but these leaves are safer and healthier for them. High in fibers and rich in Vitamin A, they are just the ideal leafy greens that you should add to your pet turtle’s diet. Therefore, you can certainly feed these leaves to turtles in moderation.
Is it safe to feed turtles broccoli stems?
While the broccoli leaves can definitely be fed to your pet as a treat, its stem cannot. Both the flower as well as the stem of broccoli contain goitrogens, substances that can interrupt your pet’s thyroid activity and damage their liver in the long run. The concentration of these goitrogens is higher in the stems than it is in flowers.
Can baby turtles eat broccoli?
No. You must never feed a baby turtle broccoli. In the early stage of their life, turtles have fragile health and need the right nutrients for healthy growth and development. Feeding them anything that can impact their health negatively at this stage, even in moderation, is dangerous and unacceptable.
We would recommend you to stick to their feed until they’re adults. But in case you want to feed any treat to these babies, go for lettuce or dandelion leaves, not broccoli.
Conclusion: Can turtles eat broccoli?
To wrap it up, we’ve learned that broccoli is not the healthiest treat option for a turtle. However, many turtles seem to love eating it. If these are being fed to them in moderation, they don’t pose any threat to their health.