Can Turtles Eat Grapes? Are They Healthy?

Sep 17, 2021

Can Turtles Eat Grapes?

Grapes are not exactly exotic fruits. They are pretty readily available any time of the year. So, the thought of feeding your turtles this refreshing fruit must have crossed your mind at least once.

But, you may also have read up how fruits are not the suitable diet choice for your turtles. The thing is, with fruits, you have to be mindful about how often and how much you feed them.

So, here is detailed information on whether you can feed your turtles grapes or not.

Can Turtles Eat Grapes?

Yes, turtles do eat grapes, but it isn’t something they consume in the wild. Grapes are rich in sugar and fructose, which build up gases in a turtle’s body. You can give your turtles grapes occasionally as a treat, but do not include it in their daily diet regime. 

Although grapes aren’t available to turtles in the wild, they will readily consume them in captivity. As a matter of fact, these omnivores will try to devour anything that looks remotely edible. In most cases, they are anything but fussy when it comes to food.

So, not just grapes, turtles will eat most kinds of fruits.

Are Grapes Healthy For Turtles?

Yes, grapes are healthy for turtles as they are rich in vitamin K, which contributes to healthy growth, blood clotting, and calcification of shells in turtles. But, make sure to limit it as an occasional treat strictly.

Here is a quick look into nutrient content in one cup (151 gram) of green or red grapes:

  • 104 kilocalories
  • 1.09 g of protein
  • 0.24 g of fat
  • 27.33 g of carbohydrate
  • 1.4 g of fiber
  • 288 mg of potassium
  • 15 mg of calcium
  • 0.54 mg of iron
  • 11 mg of magnesium
  • 30 mg of phosphorus
  • 3 mg of sodium
  • 0.11 mg of zinc
  • 4.8 mg of vitamin C
  • 22 micrograms of vitamin K
  • 3 mcg of folate

Benefits Of Grapes For Turtles

As long as you feed in moderation, grapes can be a healthy and refreshing choice of treat for your turtles. It is particularly rich in vitamin K that helps with the regeneration of tissues in turtles. In addition, fructose present in grapes also acts as an instant energizer.

Vitamin K Helps With Bodily Regeneration And Maintenance.

Although overshadowed by vitamin D and A, vitamin K has a fair share of benefits for turtles – and luckily, grapes are super-rich in it.

Vitamin K is mainly responsible for regenerating and maintenance of tissues in your turtle’s body.

It also keeps your turtle’s skin healthy and eyesight sharp. But, unfortunately, I’ve heard of cases where turtles developed poor eyesight from vitamin K deficiency.

Some other sources of vitamin K are veggies and plants like broccoli and dandelions.

Fructose Energizes Turtles.

Grapes have fructose, a sugar naturally found in fruits. A controlled amount of fructose provides energy to your turtle. They especially need it for long swimming sessions.

But, too much fructose can backfire. I have discussed the reason below.

What Happens If You Give Too Many Grapes To Your Turtle?

Overconsumption of grapes can lead to several complications in your turtles. Gas build-up, pyramiding, and obesity are some possible effects.

Here, I have briefed them in detail: 

Fructose Can Cause Gas Build-up.

Grapes contain a high amount of fructose – a simple form of sugar found in fruits. And, when fructose is consumed in excess, it leads to gas build-up. These gases, in return, will cause bloating.

And, once a turtle ends up with a bloated stomach, it will lose its appetite and will constantly release gases from its cloaca. Usually, they will fart right after eating fruits.

Releasing gas is expected in turtles, but other complications due to gas build-up can alter their feeding habits. For example, when there’s too much gas in your turtle’s body, it will deter food.

Even more, a gassy body can disrupt a turtle’s buoyancy and cause him to float all the time. He will then be unable to dive in deep, searching for food – adding more to his woes.

Wrong Calcium And Phosphorus Ratio Could Mean Trouble.

As you can see in the above-mentioned nutrient content table, the amount of calcium is half the phosphorus. A turtle’s body requires calcium and phosphorus in the 2:1 ratio, whereas, in grapes, the calcium to phosphorus ratio is 1:2.

Calcium helps in the development of bones in your turtle. So, it is advised to feed calcium-enriched food.

Here’s our pick for your turtle – calcium and vitamin D-filled Nutri Sticks:

Phosphorus also helps with the shell’s development. However, incorrect calcium: phosphorus ratio can cause pyramiding.

Sugar Can Cause Obesity.

There is a high amount of fructose present in grapes. So, overconsumption of grapes can cause insulin resistance in your turtle’s body. In addition, if your turtle has a taste for sugary food, he is at a high risk of obesity.

So, sugary food shouldn’t be included in your turtle’s daily diet. Instead, only feed them occasionally to balance the rise in sugar level over the weekend.

Related Article:

Can Turtles Feel Their Shell? Do Turtles Shell Have Nerves?

Do Turtles Make Noise? What Sound Does A Turtle Make?

Can Turtles Live In Tap Water?

What Type of Grapes Can You Feed Your Turtle?

You can feed any grapes to your turtle as long as you give them in moderation. Some easily available options are Sultana, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Crimson Seedless, etc. 

Muscat Grapes

Can You Feed Grapes To A Baby Turtle?

Yes, you can feed grapes occasionally to a baby turtle. However, do not mistake it for staple food. Before feeding, wash them thoroughly, as they might have been exposed to pesticides.

How To Feed Grapes To Your Turtle?

Just wash the fruit beforehand and give them whole. Small baby turtles will nibble on them, whereas the larger ones will swallow whole.

Grapes are seedless fruits and small enough to fit perfectly inside a turtle’s mouth. Also, you don’t have to go through the trouble of peeling the skin.

Baby turtles might not be able to swallow grapes that are bigger than their head. So, you need to chop the fruit into halves.

Can Turtles Drink Grape Juice?

Grape juice contains higher concentrations of fructose and acids – both of which are harmful when overfed. So, stick to occasionally giving a few pieces here and there – not the juice.

Mashing grapes will increase its fructose level, making it even sweeter – and resulting in insulin resistance.

How Often Should You Feed Grapes To Your Turtle?

You can feed your turtles grapes occasionally. Once a week is healthy enough for adult turtles. On the other hand, baby turtles rely primarily on protein – so, feeding grapes too often is not a good idea.

However, as they grow old, adult turtles lean towards an herbivore diet- so you can increase the frequency.

Turtles Species And Grapes

Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Grapes?

Grapes can fit right inside your red-eared slider turtle’s mouth without trouble. Also, fructose lends its sweet flavor – leaving your turtle wanting more.

But remember, they can do more harm than good to your sliders if fed excessively.

Can Snapping Turtles Eat Grapes?

Yes, snapping turtles will eat grapes, but you should feed them in moderate amounts. Grapes have vitamin K, which keeps your turtle’s skin healthy and eyesight keen.

Also, make sure you are feeding them from a safe distance, as their predatory instinct can leave you with an injured finger.

Can Box Turtles Eat Grapes?

Box turtles aren’t picky with their diet – so, they will devour grapes given a chance. But, unlike aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles, they do not have to dive into the water to swallow food.

Do not give too many grapes to your box turtles. Grapes are rich in sugar and can cause insulin resistance and obesity.

Can Yellow-Bellied Turtles Eat Grapes?

Yellow-bellied turtles will greedily eat grapes and ask for more. However, feeding too much and too often can cause bloating. Once a week is a healthy regime you can follow.

However, if you are already treating them with other fruits, you can cut down on grapes. Almost all fruits have fructose (sugar) so, it is wise to feed only one type of fruit per week.

Final Words On Can Turtles Eat Grapes

Turtles aren’t picky when it comes to food. They will consume any fruits or foods that you give them. So, grapes are no exception to that.

However, you should know the vices and virtues. A moderate amount fares well and even boosts their wellness, whereas an excessive amount can prove fatal.

As a responsible turtle owner, you have to be mindful of what goes inside their system. Cleaning grapes thoroughly is necessary because they are often laden with pesticides to elongate their shelf life.

A little treat once in a while will not harm your turtle. So, you can feed grapes once a week.

Relevant Articles:

Can Turtles Eat Bread?

Can A Snake Eat A Turtle? Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Do Turtles Need Water To Swallow? Will They Choke?

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.