Omnivore turtles will eat just about anything they can put inside their mouths. If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re guilty of giving them small bits of whatever you’re eating once in a while. But as it turns out, the food we perceive harmless can have a life-changing impact on turtles. So, can turtles eat eggs?
To be honest, eggs never really crossed my mind as potential food for turtles before. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I got to read several discussions on the topic in forums.
Keep on reading to know!
Can turtles eat eggs? Yes, turtles can eat hard-boiled eggs. Refrain from giving half-boiled or raw eggs since they can contain the salmonella virus. Even when giving hard-boiled eggs, you should channel caution since they’re high in protein. And excessive protein intake can cause pyramiding, among other health problems.
Watch this adorable video of shelly enjoying bites of hard-boiled eggs!
Can Turtles Eat Scrambled Eggs?
Turtles shouldn’t eat scrambled eggs. Since these eggs are often prepared with butter, milk, pepper, and other seasonings, they could irritate your pet’s digestive tract. If your pet accidentally consumed some, it shouldn’t be a problem.
But you should never give scrambled eggs purposefully.
Can Turtles Eat Raw Eggs?
No, turtles should definitely not eat raw eggs. Raw eggs can contain salmonella and several other pathogens. And it won’t just make your turtle sick. Most of these viruses can easily transmit to humans.
But the good news is that salmonella is sensitive to heat. Thus, always make sure the eggs are hard-boiled.
Can Turtles Eat Half-Boiled Eggs?
No, turtles can’t eat half-boiled eggs for the same reason they can’t eat raw eggs. When half-boiled, the risk of salmonella is obviously reduced, but we still cannot rule it out completely.
Better safe than sorry, right?
Can Turtles Eat Egg Shells?
It’s a common practice to crush eggshells and sprinkle them over turtle’s food as a calcium supplement. Chicken eggshells contain around 380 mg of calcium per gram. Thus, they make excellent calcium sources.
However, I take the help of slow-release calcium blocks like this one from Zoo Med.
In addition to providing essential calcium for turtles, it also conditions the water.
Can Turtles Eat Frog Eggs?
In the wild, aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles consume frog eggs, larvae, tadpoles, and even adult frogs. However, I have never come across any pet shop selling frog eggs or tadpoles as feed for turtles.
During my research, I did come across some owners who shared that they feel tadpoles to their turtles regularly without any harm. Reportedly, you can buy tadpoles at pond stores for $1 apiece or so.
However, there are a handful of poisonous frogs and toad species. Although I cannot say this with certainty, I do believe their eggs and tadpoles, too, could be harmful when consumed.
So, personally, I refrain from giving frog eggs to my turtles.
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How To Prepare Eggs For Turtles?
You can cut the hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and give them to your turtle. Egg yolk has a higher concentration of fat and protein. So, you can skip the yolk and just feed the white parts. But as long as you’re giving eggs in moderation, the yolks shouldn’t pose any problem.
And that takes us to our next question.
How Often Should You Give Eggs To Your Turtles?
Turtles shouldn’t eat eggs more than once or twice a month. They do contain nutrients essential to turtles. However, eggs are also very rich in protein and fat, leading to complications like pyramiding and obesity, respectively.
I usually give half an egg once a month alongside leafy vegetables.
If your turtle doesn’t like eggs, don’t try to force it. It’s entirely reasonable! My box turtle loves nibbling on eggs, but my sliders will only take a bite or two.
Now that you know the answer to can turtles eat eggs – cooked in different styles and their different parts – let’s look at their nutrition content.
Nutrition Facts For Eggs
One egg contains 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and other essential nutrients like iron, vitamins, carotenoids, and minerals. Thus, there’s no doubt that eggs are powerhouse food that offers a ton of health benefits.
Let’s look at the nutritional value of a single hard-boiled egg.
For a 1 hard-boiled egg (approximately 50 grams)
|Vitamin D||43.5 IU|
The percent values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
As you can see from the table above, eggs are loaded with essential nutrients. They’re, in fact, the holy grail food of most health-conscious people. But how much value do they hold for turtles?
Let’s find out.
Are Eggs Healthy For Turtles?
Yes, eggs are healthy for turtles. They are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium – three indispensable nutrients for turtles. A lack of any one of these nutrients can lead to severe health complications like infections and stunted growth.
Vitamin A For Turtles
In turtles, vitamin A plays a super indispensable role in keeping their eyes and lungs healthy. Vitamin A deficiency, coined hypervitaminosis, is quite common in turtles. Some of its symptoms are weight loss, drowsiness, scaly skin, and vomiting.
Vitamin A is also responsible for the healthy development of various organs’ mucous membranes, skin, and ducts.
That being said, you should not supplement your pet’s vitamin A needs with eggs. They should strictly be given within limits.
Besides feeding green, leafy veggies, you can take the help of supplements like this one from Nature Zone.
I always drop a few drops on veggies before serving.
Calcium For Turtles
Calcium is imperative to a turtle’s bone, shell, as well as muscular health. Captive turtles often suffer calcium deficiency despite eating the best of foods available. This study from the Journal of Zoo Animal Medicine revealed that calcium should make up at least 2% of a red-eared slider’s daily diet.
Calcium deficiency can cause deformities and stunted growth that will massively compromise a turtle’s living conditions.
Some symptoms are lack of appetite, clumsy walking/swimming, a rubbery shell, and pyramiding.
Vitamin D For Turtles
Turtles need vitamin D to permit calcium and phosphorus metabolism, which is critical to ensure normal development, healthy reproduction, normal blood biochemistry, and maintenance of the skeletal system.
So naturally, lack of this vitamin will invite a host of problems!
With all the health advantages eggs impart, it’s tempting to think they’re a superfood for turtles. However, if you overindulge them in eggs, they can backfire in unprecedented ways.
2 Things To Consider When Giving Eggs To Turtles
Eggs Are Very High In Protein
A single hard-boiled egg contains 6.3 grams of protein. And as imperative as protein is to turtles, its overdose will invite several complications. For instance, it could lead to shell pyramiding, a form of metabolic bone disease that causes scutes to deform and elevate.
High protein intake also often directly interferes with digestive and kidney functions.
Eggs Have High-Fat Content For Turtles
A single hard-boiled egg contains 5 grams of fat. While this may not seem much for a human, it can be pretty high when compared against a turtle’s body mass. Thus, frequent feeding of eggs can cause obesity. And obese turtles are more common than one might think!
When turtles suffer from obesity, they have difficulty supporting their body weight, walking/swimming, and retracting the head into the shell.
Make sure to check out this article where we’ve laid out effective tips to help obese turtles lose weight!
Can Box Turtles Eat Eggs?
Yes, box turtles can eat hard-boiled eggs once in a while. However, since eggs have high protein and fat content, make sure that you feed eggs sparingly.
Eggs are perfectly safe as long as given within limits.
Can Painted Turtles Eat Eggs?
Painted turtles can safely eat hard-boiled eggs when given occasionally. Refrain from giving raw eggs since they can contain the salmonella virus.
Final Words: Can Turtles Eat Eggs?
Here’s a quick summary of the topic.
So, can turtles eat eggs? Yes, definitely – as long as you are giving hard-boiled eggs in moderation. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin A, D, and calcium.
But that doesn’t mean you should give eggs more frequently. The high amount of protein and fat present in eggs aren’t always suitable for turtles.
Likewise, raw eggs can potentially contain the salmonella virus.