Can Turtles Eat Pineapple? Are Pineapple Leaves Poisonous To Turtles?

Jun 3, 2021

can turtles eat pineapple

Do you know a pineapple is neither a pine nor an apple? Actually, it is a group of berries fused and grown together. This popular tropical fruit is loaded with nutrients and enzymes that fight disease and inflammation. But can turtles eat pineapple? Is it just as good for pet reptiles? 

Let’s find out. 

Can turtles eat pineapple? Yes, turtles can eat pineapple once in a while in tiny amounts. It contains vitamin A and the ideal calcium: phosphorus ratio turtles need. However, turtles can’t handle the high levels of sugar and acids present in pineapple. Thus, only give pineapples as treats sparingly. 

diced pineapple
diced pineapple

Can Turtles Eat Pineapple Leaves? 

It’s best to avoid giving pineapple leaves to turtles. They contain traces of an enzyme called bromelain, known to cause swelling and tenderness in and around the mouth. Plus, pineapple leaves sport sharp, uncurved spines on the edges that might cut your pet’s tongue. 

Pineapple leaves do contain fiber that’s beneficial for turtles. However, the cons clearly outweigh the pros. So, always make sure to safely remove the leaves before serving. 

Can Turtles Eat Pineapple Peels?

No. Turtles cannot eat pineapple peels as they come with a laundry list of potential side effects. The peels contain bits of bromelain enzyme that can cause swelling in the mouth area, indigestion, and intestinal discomfort. 

And since turtles don’t have teeth or produce saliva, there’s simply no point in giving hard, jagged peels they can’t comfortably swallow. Lastly, we don’t know what kind of pesticides and chemicals the pineapple skin has come in contact with. 

So, once again, ensure the pineapples are safely peeled before feeding. 

Can Turtles Eat Canned Pineapple?

No, you can’t give canned pineapple to your turtle. Although canned pineapple has low bromelain content, it swims in sugar-saturated water. On top of that, canned fruits contain different artificial flavors and preservatives harmful to your pet. 

And also, steer clear from giving stale pineapple. Although overripe doesn’t always equate to rotten, there’s a good chance it’ll make your pet sick. 

Now that you know the answers to can turtles eat pineapple, and its various parts, let’s move on to the correct size and frequency of serving. It’s just as important to know! 

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How Much Pineapple Can You Feed A Turtle?

Fruits shouldn’t make up more than 10-15% of your pet turtle’s diet. You can give pineapple once a month in moderate amounts. In my opinion, a small piece or two, the size of the space between their eyes, should be fine once a month. 

Some owners say they offer it every week, but that’s not advisable due to its high acidic and sugary content. 

If you’re introducing pineapple for the first time, begin with minimal amounts. And if he doesn’t like it, don’t try to force it. Honestly, there are a lot better and relatively safer fruits available. 


Here’s a video of a box turtle trying pineapple! Looks like she’s not a big fan!

How To Feed Pineapples To Turtles?

Always make sure to buy organic pineapple. Once you peel the skin and remove the core, cut the fruit into small chunks. Next, you can give him a solitary treat on a sunny day or mix it with other fruits or veggies he usually eats. 

Don’t forget to remove the core, as it can cause a choking hazard. 

When given sparingly, pineapple does impart some health benefits to reptiles. But are these perks worth it? What are the possible risks? Let’s dissect them.

 

Nutrition Facts For Pineapple

Pineapple is jam-packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and valuable enzymes that contribute to good health. While it’s an excellent vitamin C and manganese source, pineapple also contains vitamin A and calcium. 

As a result, this tropical fruit has been linked to many health benefits like boosted immunity, reduced inflammation, eased digestion, and so on. 

But is it high on nutrients crucial to turtles like vitamin A, D, and calcium? 

Nutrition Table For Pineapple

Nutrient Amount
Calories50
Carbohydrate 13 grams
Sugar 9.9 grams
Protein0,5 grams
Fiber1.4 grams
Vitamin A 1.2%
Vitamin C 80%
Calcium 13 milligrams 
Phosphorus 8 milligrams 
Magnesium 12 milligrams 

Note: The percent values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. 

2 Important Health Benefits Of Pineapples For Turtles 

As evident from the table above, pineapples do contain some vital nutrients turtles need. This fruit has the correct calcium: phosphorus ratio, a decent amount of fiber, and vitamin A and protein traces.

Keep reading to know why they’re essential. 

Vitamin A Boosts Eye And Respiratory Health 

Vitamin A is one of the two most essential nutrients a turtle needs. It’s critical to keep their eyes and lungs healthy, as both are quite prone to infections. Likewise, it also helps in the development of skin, mucous membrane, and ducts of organs.

Lack of this vitamin can cause hypervitaminosis A that affects the eyes, ducts, and lungs. In the worst cases, it can also disturb liver and kidney functions. 

However, in pineapples, vitamin A is only found in small amounts. Thus, you should regularly give green, leafy veggies and yellow and orange vegetables. 

To guarantee my turtles have enough vitamin A in their diets, I take the help of over-the-counter supplements like this one by Nature Zone

I usually drop a few drops on their food before serving. 

Correct Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio For Turtles 

Both calcium and phosphorus are vital for turtles, with the former being a bit higher on the list. Also, the ideal calcium: phosphorus ratio for turtles is 2:1. And with 100grams of pineapples containing 13mg of calcium and 8mg of phosphorus, that ratio is almost met. 

Both minerals are known to boost skeletal health in turtles by strengthening their shell and bones. However, if the intake ratio is incorrect, it will lead to pyramiding – a condition characterized by deformed and elevated scutes. 

Honorary Mentions:

Fiber

Fiber helps in digestion and boosts cardiovascular health. Turtles also require a high-fiber diet when preparing for hibernation. 

Protein

Protein is quite necessary for turtles as it directly contributes to their overall growth and development. Baby and juvenile turtles need a high-protein diet to develop the shells properly – but refrain from giving them pineapple or any other fruit. 

Unfortunately, pineapples don’t contain vitamin D at all. It’s one of the two super essential vitamins a reptile needs. 

As you can see, while pineapple does have some value in regards to a turtle’s wellbeing, it isn’t exactly an indispensable fruit. So, always make sure to give it in moderation. 

3 Things To Consider When Giving Pineapples To Turtles 

There are a number of caveats that come complimentary with pineapples for turtles. For starters, it can contain traces of toxic pesticides and chemicals. Likewise, this fruit contains high amounts of sugar and acid, both very capable of devastating impacts. 

Pineapples
Pineapples

It Can Contain Toxic Pesticides 

Pineapples reportedly need 20kgs of pesticides per hectare during each cycle. And besides the apparent harms, these toxic chemicals can stay in your pet’s system for years to come. Thus, always make sure to buy organically grown, traceable pineapple for turtles and yourself.

However, there’s a silver lining. The chemicals have a hard time penetrating the thick, inedible skin and reaching the fruit. Don’t forget to get rid of the peels and the leaves safely before serving. 

It Is High In Sugar 

100 grams of pineapple contains 9.9 grams of sugar. That’s quite high. On top of that, owing to a high glycemic index, pineapple can quickly increase blood glucose levels. Feeding sugary food to your turtle can cause insulin resistance and spike blood levels. 

Other long-term effects include obesity, diabetes, and ‘picky eater syndrome.’ If a turtle gets to eat sweet and tangy fruits like pineapple often, he will, of course, deter from plain veggies. As a result, he can be obese and diabetic. 

The first symptoms of diabetes in turtles are dilated pupils, voracious appetite, frequent urination, and lethargy. 

It Is Highly Acidic 

Pineapples are highly acidic fruits, scoring between a 3 and 4 on the pH level. And goes without saying, a turtle can’t digest acids like these that can turn the pH levels of his gut upside down. 

As a result, your turtle can suffer from acidic reflux, bowel irritation, and digestive tract inflammation. 

In more severe cases, acidic foods like pineapple can completely wipe out good bacteria colonies. This will then create a clear pathway for toxins to enter the bloodstream, which can be downright lethal. 

Can Box Turtles Eat Pineapple?

Yes, pineapple is safe for box turtles when given within limits. Ideally, fruit shouldn’t make up more than 15-20% of their diet.

And although pineapple is not something a box turtle would consume in the wild, a small piece won’t do any harm once in a while. 

As for can box turtles eat fresh ripened pineapple, the answer is the same! Make sure the pineapple isn’t overripe. 

Can Painted Turtles Eat Pineapple? 

A painted turtle’s diet in the wild includes fish, critters, and plants. Fruits like pineapple are nowhere near the sight. But it should be fine as long as you are channelling moderation – one or two small pieces once in a blue moon. 

However, as a semi-aquatic species, your painted turtle might not acquire a taste for this tropical fruit. If that’s the case, don’t force it. 

Conclusion: Can Turtles Eat Pineapple 

Here’s a summary of the main points. 

Yes, turtles can definitely eat pineapples. But it would be best if you always channeled full caution when giving this tangy fruit. 

When given in moderation, it can be a refreshing change and healthy for your pet turtle. But if you get carried away and overindulge your pet, a host of negative impacts will soon follow. 

We advise you to give very small amounts of pineapple, cut into small pieces, once a month. 

Keep Reading!

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Can Turtles Eat Strawberries? Strawberry Pudding Recipe For Pet Turtles

Can Turtles Eat Bananas? Safe Banana Pudding Recipe For Turtles

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.