Can Turtles Eat Bananas? The Full Guide

Bananas are nutrient-dense fruits rich in fiber and potassium that makes a healthy addition to our diet. So, would this also be a healthy addition to a turtle’s diet? Stick around to find out. 

So, can turtles eat bananas? Yes, turtles can eat bananas but you must first check with your vet to know if this is a good addition to your pet turtles diet. Most turtle species kept as pets can certainly eat bananas but remember to never feed the peel as well. The peels contain pesticides and can be difficult for them to digest.

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

Are bananas healthy for turtles?

Though bananas are not the most common diet additions for turtles, we must not negate the health benefits when fed to them as treats in moderation.  

The essence of introducing fruits to pets in place of processed food as a treat is because fruits are safer and healthier for pets. This begs the question, are bananas healthy for your pet turtles? To answer this properly, let’s review the nutritional composition of these fruits:

Banana Nutritional Facts

  • Carbohydrates: 22.85 g
  • Protein: 1.09 g
  • Calories:89 kcal
  • Manganese, Mn: 0.27 mg
  • Phosphorus, P: 22 mg
  • Sodium, Na: 1 mg
  • Magnesium, Mg: 27 mg
  • Copper, Cu: 0.077 mg
  • 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
  • Fat: 0.34 g
  • Sugar: 12.23 g
  • Potassium, K: 359 mg
  • Selenium, Se: 1 mcg
  • Zinc, Zn: 0.16 mg
  • Dietary fibers: 2.61 g

A closer look at the table above reveals how nutrient-dense bananas are and how beneficial they can be for humans. But this is about turtles. The nutritional requirement of turtles greatly differs from that of humans. So let’s see, which of the nutrients in the table would benefit your pet turtle the most? We’ll find out in a moment.

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:

Though turtles need a broad range of nutrients for healthy growth here are the most important nutrients necessary for survival. 

Role of Calcium 

Calcium plays a crucial role in the bone development and muscle functions of turtles. It also ensures the proper development and growth of the shell. It is recommended that at least 2% of calcium be part of a turtle’s daily nutrition. A calcium deficiency in turtles can lead to problems such as Metabolic Bone Disease.

Role of  Vitamin A

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:

Bananas are rich in Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for turtles. Some of the many functions of Vitamin A include:

  • It improves their skincare and vision.
  • It maintains respiratory health.
  • It is responsible for improved egg quality as well as reproductive health, especially in female turtles.

The abundance of Magnesium, pyridoxine, potassium, carbs, and healthy fats combined with calcium and Vitamin A, is what makes banana a super treat for your turtle.

The risks of feeding too many bananas to turtles

Bananas may be nutrient-dense but, feeding fruits to turtles does come with some downsides, which is why they must be fed to turtles in moderation.

High sugar content

Banana is extremely high in calories as revealed by the table above, meaning more sugar than fat. Sugar can give your turtles an energy boost. 

However, feeding excess sugar to turtles can lead to weight gain. Turtles already have to carry their carapace, so weight gain is a bad idea. 

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.

Bananas are high rich in Calcium and Phosphorus, but the Phosphorus content is extremely high, high enough to inhibit the absorption of Calcium. And this can lead to Metabolic Bone Disease down the line. Here are some symptoms of MBD in turtles:

  • Loss of appetite
  •  An awkward gait, difficulty in walking or swimming
  • The shell becomes robber or softer
  • Lump formation or swelling the head
  • Turtle shell pyramiding

Too much fiber

Too much fiber in a turtle’s diet can lead to chronic bowel problems and constipation. But in moderation, it can be beneficial to a turtle’s digestive functions in extreme cases.

Can turtles eat banana peels?

For a start, turtles are toothless, and banana peels are too tough for even humans to chew and digest. So it is not a good idea to try to feed them to turtles. 

Besides being tough for their digestive system, bananas grown in commercial quantities are sprayed with tons of pesticides or insecticides on their surface, which can be detrimental to your turtle’s health. Therefore, turtles should only be fed with peeled bananas to avoid problems down the line.

Can baby turtles eat bananas?

Baby turtles have a very different diet from their adult counterparts. While it is realistic to tweak the adult diet once in a while but that is not the case with baby turtles. Doig this may be detrimental to their health.

The formative years of a turtle can determine the longevity of its life. 

To be on the safe side, it’s best to feed them with their feed, anything other than that can impair the formation of vital organs, ultimately leading t health problems in the future.

Feeding bananas to 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.

A common misconception is that most of the world’s turtle species are omnivores, but this is far from correct. They may begin life as omnivores, but some eventually turn into carnivores.

This is a clear indication that a turtle’s nutritional requirement will vary over time and bananas can be a healthy addition.

We’ve so far discussed bananas and whether they make good additions to a turtle’s diet, with great attention to their nutritional requirements but what about individual species, can we conclude they can all be fed bananas? we’ll discuss that in a moment.

Can Red-eared Sliders eat bananas?

Just like the species earlier examined, Red-eared Sliders also have a varied diet. While they relish bananas, you must do it moderately, and this because of the high sugar content in bananas which can cause bloating.

Can Musk Turtles eat bananas?

The Musk Turtles are carnivores, and so it does not make sense to introduce fruits or any plant-based matter of any sort to their diet, including bananas. 

Can Box Turtles eat bananas?

The Box Turtle is a diverse eater, with only 10% of its diet consisting of fruits. Bananas may be beneficial, nutrient-dense, and a Box Turtle favorite, but you must feed bananas to them in moderation and occasionally. Bananas for Box Turtles should be considered a treat.

Can Bog Turtles eat bananas?

Bog Turtles are water and land dwellers, but most of what they eat (fish, insects, and vegetation) comes from the water. Since bananas are not a part of the aquatic vegetation, it makes no sense to try to feed them fruits.

Can Map Turtles eat bananas?

These Turtles are originally omnivores that have adapted to the carnivore style of eating. Captivity or not, their diet should be 80% meat. 

Fruits and vegetables can take up the remaining 20%, but a meat-based diet is safer for them because their digestive function is not optimized for sugar. So the high sugar content found in bananas can be detrimental to their health.

Can Yellow-bellied Sliders eat bananas?

Yellow-bellied Sliders may relish an insect-based diet in their former years, they slowly move to a plant-based diet once they reach adulthood. Therefore, it is safe to feed bananas to adults in moderation.

Can Wood Turtles eat bananas?

These omnivores are diverse eaters, they can eat both plants and insects. While insects appeal to the more than plants, they relish different kinds of grass in the wild. Captivity or not, feeding bananas to them in moderation is perfectly fine.

Can Painted Turtles eat bananas?

Painted Turtles are strictly insect-based in their formative years. So we do not recommend bananas at this stage. When they are much older bananas can be introduced as part of a healthy diet so long as you do it in moderation.

Bananas for turtles: Important Notes 

Now you are confident about how beneficial bananas can be to your pet turtle. However, beyond moderation, there are still things you need to keep in mind if you plan to introduce fruit to their diet:

  • Whenever you are not sure of the effect a particular may have on your pet, you must feed them slowly. You can slice the bananas into smaller chunks and feed some to them. By so doing, you will be able to detect any negative effects early enough.
  • If the response is positive, we recommend you feed them bananas twice a week. For best results, you can mix up treats. Melons, apples, and grapes are all excellent and safe choices. Ensure that you keep their overall fruit consumption at 20% and they’ll be fine.
  • If weight gain is observed, stop right away. Turtles already carry so much weight so you must avoid feeding them anything that adds to that.

 

Final Thoughts: Can turtles eat bananas?

Depending on the species of your turtle, bananas can or may not be beneficial. However, if you follow our guide you can see it’s all about moderation. 

See Also Can Turtles Eat Apples? The Full Guide