Can Turtles Eat Apples? The Full Guide

Apples are a great source of Vitamins A and C, including antioxidants like quercetin, which can provide relief for allergies and improve gut health. The skin is also rich in nutrients, so do not throw it away.

So, would apples be a healthy addition to a turtle’s diet? Stick around to find out. 

Can turtles eat apples? Yes, turtles can eat apples, but only as a treat. A turtle’s diet should consist of a wide variety of foods that are certified beneficial to their health. Apples are high in acid and sugar content, which can be tough on their digestive system. 

The topic of turtles eating apples is highly subjective, depending on the species in question. Take the Terrapin snapping turtles. These turtles can eat apples while their counterparts, the red-eared sliders must not be fed apples.

In great depth, we examine the pros and cons of feeding apples to turtles, including associated risks of overfeeding. Also, it is imperative to learn about what species can and cannot eat apples. 

Do turtles like eating apples?

All turtle species in the wild are opportunistic eaters ready to feed on just about anything. They are among the least picky when it comes to feeding. However, this is not very good for them as they tend to make poor decisions with food choices.

Captivity or not, turtles tend to behave alike. They will have a go at whatever you throw at them, including apples. Turtles relish sweet treats.

Health Benefits of Apples for Turtles

It is refreshing to know your pet turtle can eat apples in moderation. It would be more helpful if you could match the nutritional requirements of your turtle with those contained in apples?

The list below details the nutritional composition of apples to guide us further:

Apples: Nutritional Facts

  • Carbohydrates: 13.81 g
  • Protein: 0.26g
  • Calories:52 kcal
  • Manganese, Mn: 5 mg
  • Phosphorus, P: 11 mg
  • Sodium, Na: 1 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg: 5 mg
  • 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 mg
  • Vitamin E: 0.18 mg
  • Vitamin K: 2.2 mcg
  • Calcium, Ca: 6 mg
  • Iron, Fe: 0.12 mg
  • Fat: 0.17 g
  • Sugar: 12.23 g
  • Potassium, K: 107 mg
  • Zinc, Zn: 0.04 mg
  • Dietary fibers: 2.40 g

From the list above, it is evident that apples are dense in vitamins and minerals. But how do they stack in favor of your pet turtle? Let’s examine that:

  • Turtles depend on Calcium for the healthy development of their shells. Calcium deficiency can lead to MBD or Metabolic Bone Disease, which causes a weakening of the skeletal structure, carapace, and plastron of turtles. In severe cases, it can lead to weakness, bone fractures, and tremors.
  • Apples are abundant in Vitamin A, a core mineral required for good health in turtles. It is primarily responsible for the development of the respiratory and reproductive health of turtles. It is also crucial in the development of good eyesight and overall health. Some conditions linked with Vitamin A deficiency include Hypervitaminosis A, Squamous Metaplasia, and a host of vision and respiratory problems.
  • From a tender age, turtles need protein for their growth and development. In addition to growth and development, proteins also maintain proper pH and fluid balance in their body.
  • Apples are rich in antioxidants, compounds responsible for preserving their immune cells against homeostatic disturbances caused by oxidative stress.

The nutrition facts listed above are clear indications that apples make valuable additions to their diet so long as it is considered a treat.

Can turtles eat apple skin and is it safe for them?

You may be thinking to yourself, can I feed my turtle apple skin or peel? The answer is yes and no. While they can easily eat and digest the skin, they may be filled with pesticides which can be detrimental to the health of your shelly. 

Most fruits are sprayed with pesticides to keep them safe from insect pests. These chemicals may have little to no effect on humans but can have undesirable effects on a turtle’s health.

Can turtles eat apple seeds? 

You risk cyanide poisoning if you feed your turtle even a single apple seed. This is because apple seeds contain a compound commonly known as amygdalin which is eventually broken down to cyanide. So you must exercise extreme caution when feeding them apples, be sure to avoid feeding them the seeds.

Can baby turtles eat apples?

No, you should not feed apples to baby turtles. The reason is that baby turtles need a diet rich in animal-based proteins for the healthy development of their brain. Because they are in their formative stage with a fragile digestive system, feeding them any sort of fruit will do no good. 

Another reason is the high sugar content in apples. While adult turtles can handle it in moderation, the baby turtles cannot and it may lead to bloating.

Feeding guide: apples and Turtle Species

A diverse range of turtle species resides in the home of pet enthusiasts all around the world. It is reckless to assume that all turtle species can be fed the same way. In great depth, we examine several turtle species to educate you on whether apples should be fed to them or not:

Can Box Turtles eat apples?

Box Turtles are omnivores. In the wild, their diet majorly consists of worms, snails, slugs, insects, grubs, crustaceans, eggs, carrion, mushrooms, flowers, fruit, and a host of other plants. Since their diet is 60% meat 40 percent should consist of vegetables while 10% fruits. 

Box Turtles can eat apples but they relish citrus fruits more. If you must feed them apples, ensure to chop them into tiny pieces so they can have it easy chewing. Also, remember to remove the seeds and skin before feeding them some. 

Can Map Turtles eat apples?

Though omnivores, the Map Turtle prefers to live like a carnivore. Their diet should be 80% animal-based, while vegetables and fruits can serve as a treat. Keep in mind, vegetables are safer for them than fruits.

While the Map Turtle can eat apples, you must exercise extreme caution. Bloating is a major side effect of feeding them too much sugar. If you’re unsure what we mean by moderation here, that would be once in a week ideally. 

Can Spotted Turtles eat apples?

At the formative stage, the Spotted Turtle should be fed an insect-based diet since their brain depends on protein for development. But as they grow into adulthood, their diet should be more of a vegetarian diet. In captivity, a combination of vegetables, fruits, and insects is best for them. In conclusion, apples can be a valuable addition to their diet so long as they are fed in moderation.

Can Musk Turtles eat apples?

Musk Turtles are carnivores, so it makes no sense to feed them like omnivores. Feeding them apples will pose a threat to their digestive system since they may have trouble digesting the sugar in natural fruits. 

Can Yellow-bellied Sliders eat apples?

Yellow-bellied Sliders relish plant-based diets. As they age apples can be introduced to their diet as a treat. Remember just like the Box Turtle and Map Turtle moderation is the key here as well. 

Can Painted Turtles eat apples?

At their formative stage, the Painted Turtles require a diet rich in protein. Some examples are earthworms, tadpoles, snails, and more. As they grow into adulthood their diet tends to lean towards a vegetarian diet. Therefore, their diet consists majorly of vegetables but it is alright to feed them apples occasionally.

Can Red-eared Sliders eat apples?

Red-eared Sliders are omnivores. They feed on insects and plants, while their diet is varied, feeding them apples is a terrible idea. Apples can cause them to bloat since their digestive system is incapable of digesting natural fruit sugar.

Can Bog Turtles eat apples?

These turtles are semi-aquatic omnivores, and since the aquatic vegetation does not include fruits, it makes no sense to feed them apples. If you wanna give them a treat, you can try berries. 

Can Wood Turtles eat apples?

The main diet of the Wood Turtles is insects and plants. While they relish insects, they also enjoy some grasses and leaves. In the wild, their diet is largely made up of berries. However, feeding them apples in captivity is not such a bad idea, so long as you do it in moderation.

Final Thoughts: Can Turtles Eat Apples?

At the end of it all. Moderation is the key, while some turtle species can eat apples, most others cannot. If you decide to give your turtle an apple treat just remember to remove the skin and seeds. 

See Also 

Can Turtles Eat Bananas? The Full Guide