A staple food for humans, could bread be the wonder food for turtles, too?
They say bread can help baby turtles grow faster. But is it true? Or is it another urban myth?
If you are pondering about the same, this is a must-read article for you.
Can Turtles Eat Bread?
Bread isn’t natural food that your turtles find in the wild. Ingredients like yeast and sugar aren’t healthy for your turtles. They do not produce enzymes that can break down bread and convert them into necessary nutrients. Instead, your turtle will have digestive disorders and can become unhealthy when fed bread often.
What Happens When You Feed Bread To Turtles?
The ingredients that make bread aren’t nutritious for your turtles. Instead, products like yeast and sugar have adverse effects on them.
Moderate bread consumption will not harm your turtle, but too frequent or too much bread will do more harm than good.
A turtle’s digestive system doesn’t work like ours. Instead, their pancreas only secretes enzymes that break down the food they would find in the wild and commercial food that mimic their natural diet.
And as you know, bread does not make it in the list of digestible. So, digestive complications may arise if you feed bread to your turtles.
Another important factor is that bread does not bear any nutrients that are required for your turtle. For example, bread does not contain calcium, nor do they have any energy-bearing calories to help turtles grow or remain active.
Could Your Turtle Choke On Bread?
Turtles eat most of their food in water, so there’s less chance of your turtle choking on bread. But if you have been giving bread to your turtles as a treat, make sure the bread is cut into small chunks so it will be easier for them to swallow.
You need to soak the bread before offering it. Although soaking will dissolve some nutrients, it will be easier for your turtles to ingest.
Nutrition Content In A Bread
- Service Size: 1 Slice (25 grams)
- Calories: 67
- Total Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
Why Shouldn’t You Give Bread To Your Turtles?
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t give bread to your turtles. Lack of nutrients that turtles need, hard to digest, and presence of anti-nutrients are few reasons you shouldn’t include bread in their diet.
Low In Essential Nutrients
Compared to foods like pellets and veggies that your turtle needs to eat daily, bread has lesser essential nutrients to fulfill a turtle’s demanding diet.
Although bread is high in calories, it is low in protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Food that is rich in proteins helps in developing muscles and carapace in baby turtles. And bread lacks the aforementioned dietary necessities.
Another essential nutrient turtle needs, and bread lacks, is calcium – which develops healthy bones and skeletal system.
Turtles need to consume a fibrous diet. Fiber helps in keeping your turtle’s appetite full. But the lack of fiber in bread will not satiate your turtle.
Hard To Digest (Gluten content)
Bread contains gluten, which is one of the ingredients that helps the dough rise and keeps it moist. It is what gives bread the elastic composition.
But the thing with gluten is that your turtles will have a hard time digesting it. So consumption of gluten-infilled bread can cause bloating and results in indigestion problems.
In severe cases, your turtle will find it hard to dive underwater as bloating disrupts its buoyancy and will leave your turtle floating on the surface.
So if you are feeding commercial food to your turtles, you need to offer them a gluten-free food.
Bread Is High In Carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate is necessary as it provides glucose, which is the energy source for cells. This is necessary, especially for turtles in the wild, because they struggle and compete for food.
But in the case of captive turtles, you shouldn’t provide food rich in carbs, as this can cause obesity in turtles.
A high-carb diet is essential for baby turtles as they are most active during this stage. Just make sure you aren’t fulfilling their carb needs with bread.
Bread Contains Anti-nutrients.
Grain has anti-nutrients – compounds that can restrict a turtle’s body from taking in necessary nutrients.
For example, highly processed white bread has more anti-nutrients than brown bread made of bran only.
So, if your turtle isn’t getting overall healthy nutrients and minerals from other food, eating bread will only contribute to further nutritional deficiencies.
You can reduce anti-nutrients in bread by soaking them first.
Can I Live Little Bread Crumbs As A Treat To My Turtles?
Yes, you can give little bread crumbs as a treat occasionally, but do not make it a regime diet. As turtles aren’t equipped with the necessary enzymes to break down bread, you might be putting their digestive system in danger.
Can Wild Turtles Eat Bread?
Just because they nibble on anything and everything doesn’t mean that bread is healthy for wild turtles. Turtles aren’t endowed with the system to digest processed food and dairy products. So, giving bread to wild turtles does more harm than good.
What Should Your Turtle Eat?
Feed your turtle food that is rich in nutrients, proteins, vitamins, and calcium. It is best to replicate what these turtles eat in the wild.
Invest in protein sources like small insects, snails, bloodworms, earthworms, and feeder fish. Especially, a protein-rich diet is required for smaller turtles who need to grow muscles and a more robust skeletal system.
As for adult turtles, they tend to incline towards a vegetarian diet. So, vegetables like carrots, cucumber, zucchini, squash, along with aquatic plants like a weed, water hyacinth, duckweed, etc., are healthy for your turtles.
Food to Avoid For Turtles
There are several foods that can do more harm than good to your turtles. Avoid dairy products and processed food. Frequent feeding of fruits is also bad for turtles as they will have a hard time digesting them.
Some turtles, such as box turtles, are known to consume fruits in the wild. However, most turtles cannot digest fruits.
Giving raw meat to your turtle is another bad idea. Raw meat has parasites and bacteria, which can make your turtle ill.
Final Words On Can Turtles Eat Bread
We all try our best to mimic the natural habitat for our turtles. But what we all miss along the way is that it is equally essential to mimic their natural diet.
Feeding bread to turtles isn’t a natural thing to do. Gluttony bread is hard for your turtles to digest. Once they aren’t able to digest, it often leads to severe malfunctioning of their digestive system.