Can Turtles Eat Oranges?

Can Turtles Eat Oranges

Turtles are one of the most charming creatures on our planet. They look so adorable and cuddly. One of the most frequently asked questions about turtles is this: Are turtles able to eat oranges or other citrus fruits? But how can you answer that question when even your pet turtle won’t tell you?

So, can turtles eat oranges? Turtles love eating citrus fruits like oranges. Though the orange rinds can be bad for their intestinal tract, you can easily take that part away, leaving behind the juicy pulp and vitamin C packed fruit!

It depends on the species of turtle you have as pets. Most of the omnivorous, fruit-eating turtle species can safely eat oranges in moderation. However, when you’re preparing oranges for them, remove both their peel and seeds carefully, offering them only the inner, juicy flesh.

Also, if your turtles are still growing, adding oranges, or any other fruit, to their diet would not be a wise idea. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about feeding oranges to turtles, including their nutritional value, health benefits, species that can eat them safely, and more.

Why feed oranges to turtles?

Oranges are citrus fruits, which means they are an excellent source of vitamin C. However, unlike us, turtles can synthesize vitamin C and are not dependent on external sources for it. So, what other health benefits can these fruits offer to your turtles?

Before we talk about it, let’s take a look at the table below that contains the nutritional breakdown of these fruits:

Vitamin A225 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.114 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.052 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)0.369 mg
Vitamin B4 (Choline)11 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.328 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.079 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folates)39 mcg
Vitamin C69.7 mg
Vitamin E0.24 mg
Iron, Fe0.1 mg
Calcium, Ca40 mg
Phosphorus, P21 mg
Sodium, Na0 mg
Potassium, K169 mg
Copper, Cu39 mcg
Magnesium, Mg10 mg
Zinc, Zn0.08 mg
Manganese, Mn0.024 mg
Carbohydrates11.8 g
Protein1.23 g
Dietary fibers3.1 g
Sugar12.25 g
Fat0.16 g
Calories62 kcal

Serving size: 100 grams 

As you can see above, oranges happen to be a great source of vitamin A, which is a vitamin your pets cannot synthesize in their body and can benefit from.

Moreover, oranges contain calcium in abundance and happen to have an ideal Ca:P ratio (2:1) that can reduce the risk of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) in your pets.

Lastly, these fruits are also rich in macronutrients like carbs, protein, and fibers, making them a healthy choice for treating your pets.


Why should you feed oranges to your turtles in moderation?

As you might already know, while some turtle species can digest small amounts of sugar safely, too much sugar can be detrimental to their health. That’s why it is often recommended to feed them fruits like oranges in moderation.

If you’re not careful about limiting the number of oranges in your pet’s diet, the following are the health problems they can struggle with:

Too much sugar

According to the table above, about 12% of oranges are made up of natural sugar. While it might seem a big deal for humans, it can be too much for your little pets. Turtles already have a hard time digesting sugar as it is.

On top of that, if you’re feeding them more oranges than they should eat, it could put a strain on their digestive tracts. Moreover, all the extra sugar that wouldn’t be able to digest will be stored in their body and convert into fat over time.

And excess weight is the last thing your turtles need, with their heavy carapace already restricting their movement. If the fat gets deposited around their neck or limbs, they might have to struggle to fit into their carapace.


A high fiber content 

Like most birds and animals, turtles, too, need fibers in their diet to regulate their bowel movements and improve digestive processes. However, they require only a moderate amount of fiber for their digestive well-being.

The fiber content of oranges is much more than what your pets need. Therefore, if they’re being fed too many oranges, it could easily lead to constipation.

In fact, feeding turtles oranges frequently can also cause chronic bowel problems in the long run.


Oranges for different turtle species

Most people seem to think that all turtle species are omnivores, which is certainly not the truth. Some turtle species are carnivores, and other need a carnivorous diet at the early stages of their life. Therefore, before you go on feeding oranges to your pet reptiles, it is essential to check whether it is okay to do so. 


Can yellow-bellied sliders eat oranges?

Yellow-bellied turtles are semi-aquatic turtles that belong to the subspecies of pond sliders. These turtles are primarily insectivores in their formative years but prefer a plant-based diet as adults. Fruits like oranges are safe for their consumption when fed in moderation.


Can painted turtles eat oranges? 

Painted turtles are known for being the most widespread turtle species in entire North America. These turtles have a similar diet as yellow-bellied sliders and can enjoy oranges as an occasional treat in their adulthood.


Can box turtles eat oranges? 

Named after the box-like structure of their carapace, box turtles belong to the Terrapene genus and are endemic to North America. These turtles are omnivores and happen to have a diverse diet.

However, due to their fructose content, fruits are not the healthiest food choice; they should ideally consist only 5-10% of their diet. Since oranges are rarely included in the list of fruits these turtles are fond of, it is best not to feed oranges to them.


Can red-eared sliders eat oranges?

Another member of the Terrapene genus, the red-eared sliders, are semi-aquatic turtles that are most commonly kept as pets in the United States. These are one of the fruit-eating turtle species, so you can feed them oranges safely, but in moderation.


Can musk turtles eat oranges?

The musk turtles are a North American turtle species that have been named after their ability to release a foul musk to drive their predators away. As far as their diet is concerned, musk turtles are carnivores and cannot digest plant matter. Therefore, you should not feed oranges to them.


Can bog turtles eat oranges?

Native to the eastern parts of the United States, bog turtles are the smallest turtle species in entire North America. These turtles are omnivores, but due to their primarily aquatic lifestyle, they prefer to eat both plant and animal matter that comes from the water. Oranges are, therefore, not a suitable choice for them.


Can map turtles eat oranges?

Named after the contour-like markings on their carapace, the map turtles are a North American aquatic turtle species.

Although these turtles are omnivores, they prefer to consume a primarily carnivorous diet, both in the wild and in captivity. Also, being aquatic, they feed on aquatic life and vegetation (rarely). Therefore, you cannot feed oranges to them.


Can wood turtles eat oranges?

Closely related to the bog turtles, wood turtles are an endangered turtle species that are endemic to North America. These turtles are omnivores and enjoy eating insects, plants, and grasses. In captivity, they seem to like eating fruits like oranges, bananas, and apples.


Is orange peel edible to turtles?

When we eat oranges, we usually discard their peels and eat only the inner, juicy flesh. However, this doesn’t mean that these peels are not edible to us.

While you might not find them palatable, they’re both edible and healthy for us, as they contain citrus oils, vitamin C, fibers, and other nutrients.

What about your pet turtles? Can orange peel be fed to them? Unfortunately, not. As we’ve already discussed above, turtles should eat foods that have a moderate amount of fiber. And since orange peels contain more fibers than the flesh inside, they are unsafe for your pet’s digestive health.

It would help if you also kept in mind the fact that your pet reptiles are toothless. This means that they will face a lot of trouble in chewing and swallowing orange peels. If a small piece of the peel gets lodged in their throat, it could also present a choking hazard for them.

Lastly, orange peels are also sprayed with toxic chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. While most of these chemicals can come off when you wash them, some might get absorbed within the peel. If any of these chemicals find a way inside your pet’s body, they can make them sick.


What about the seeds of oranges? Are they safe for turtles?

The inner flesh of oranges has several tiny, droplet-shaped seeds that are white. These seeds are quite tough and, therefore, difficult to break down.

Whenever you’re feeding oranges to your pet turtles, you must carefully remove all the seeds from these fruits beforehand. It is because these seeds can pose a choking hazard to your turtles.

And even if they find a way to their stomach without any issues, orange seeds can still lead to impaction in the turtles.


Can baby turtles eat oranges as well?

While oranges are okay for adult turtles in moderation, if your pet reptiles are younger, you should not be feeding them these fruits.

As many of you might already know, baby and adult turtles’ dietary and nutritional needs have significant differences.

When they’re growing up, turtles need a substantial amount of animal protein in their diet for their proper growth and development. Therefore, their diet consists of 80% animal matter and 20 % plant matter.

Moreover, these little turtles also have a more fragile digestive system that cannot handle sugar. That’s why I’d recommend you not to feed oranges, or any other fruits, to them until they reach maturity.


Frequently asked questions

Can I feed grapes to my turtle? If your turtle is an omnivore, fruit-eating species, then yes, you can feed them grapes. However, if you don’t want to upset their stomach, feed these treats to them sparingly.

Will turtles eat lettuce? Yes. Most of the omnivore turtle species are quite fond of eating crunchy green vegetables. But since lettuce has a low nutritional value, you should try to feed them these veggies mixed with broccoli, collard greens, or bok choy.


Conclusion: Can Turtles Eat Oranges?

Turtles CAN eat oranges, so the next time your turtle is in the mood for something sweet, this fresh fruit will delight your pet.

Thank you for reading this far, and we hope that we have managed to provide you with the information you were interested in. We also wish to thank you for investing your time and energy into reading this article, and we are extremely grateful for it.

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