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Can Turtles Eat Popcorn? Are They Safe?

Can Turtles Eat Popcorn? Are They Safe?

Most of us think it is rude not to share popcorn with others while watching a movie. But if you think that applies to your pets, you first need to be sure whether popcorns are safe for them.

Are popcorns safe for turtles?

Let’s find out.

Can Turtles Eat Popcorn?

Corn is considered safe for turtles if given in moderate amounts. However, on the other hand, popcorn isn’t safe for them. An unpopped kernel could expand in your reptile’s digestive system and can cause fecal impaction. Also, it can choke your turtle.

Packaged popcorn comes with extra fat and seasoning. In addition, most come laced with preservatives to increase the shelf life, which is harmful to turtles. 

Corns have a high amount of cellulose. These are the insoluble fibers that are even hard for humans to digest. So you can only imagine what effect it has on your little friend’s system. 

Even if your turtle comes unscathed after eating popcorn, sooner or later, complications are to be expected. 

Nutrients Per Serving (3 cups of air-popped popcorn)

  • Calories: 93
  • Protein: 3 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 18.6 gm
  • Fiber: 3.6 gm
  • Sugar: 0.2 gm
  • Fat: 1.1 gm


  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Other Nutrients

  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin
  • Pantothenic acid

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Why Shouldn’t You Feed Popcorn To Your Turtles?

Turtles will try to gulp down anything they deem remotely edible, and popcorn will be no different. But digesting popcorn is difficult for a turtle’s system. And to make matters worse, it could choke turtles. 

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t feed popcorn to your turtles:

Can Cause Choking Hazard

Turtles do not chew or crunch their food like most animals. They directly swallow their food which puts the turtle at risk of choking. If the kernel pieces you gave to your turtles are large enough, it might result in just that. 

Choking will block the turtle’s airways, leaving it gasping for air. In a worst-case scenario, the turtle could die. 

Can Make Your Turtle Obese

A serving of 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has 93 calories. It consists of carbohydrates, fat, sodium, sugar, and protein. All these can make your turtle obese and increase the risk of heart disease. 

Are Hard To Digest

Corns have cellulose, an insoluble fiber, which is hard to digest, even for humans. And our little friend’s digestive system does not produce enzymes that can digest such fibers.

Also, other contents like sugar, potassium, and protein present in corn can cause acidosis in turtles. 

Can Make Your Turtles Discard Other Food

Corns are rich in fiber, leaving turtles full after consumption. A stuffed turtle will avoid eating regular food. This will decrease the intake of nutritious food, lowering the turtle’s immunity.

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What About Feeding Sweet Corn?

You can feed your turtle sweet corn on the cob. But make sure you provide it only once a month. Although corn is rich in vitamin A and has a high fiber content, it is also high in phosphorus. And too much phosphorus can cause metabolic bone disease. 

Before you give your turtle corn, you should first take the corn off the cob. Then, boil the kernels to make them soft to ease digestion. 

While cooking, do not use oil or dairy products as a flavor enhancer. First, turtles are lactose-intolerant, and secondly, what we perceive as healthy can be fatal to our little friends. 

If you like to know if turtles and baby turtles can eat corn, check out this article:

Can Turtles Eat Corn? How Safe Is It?

How To Feed Popcorn To Your Turtle?

If you are adamant about feeding popcorn to your turtle, it is recommended to have them crushed first. And before popping, make sure no additives or dairy products like butter are used. 

Honestly, it would be better to boil the corn instead of popping it. 

Can You Feed Corn On The Cob To Turtles?

Not all turtles have the bite force of a snapping turtle. Therefore, it will be hard for your turtles to eat the corn out of the cob. You need to remove the kernels out and boil them. It will be even better if you crush them. Only then can you serve your pet.

What Type Of Corns Can You Feed To Your Turtle?

You can feed your turtle any type of corn that you consume. For example, dent corn, sweet corn, popping corn, flint corn, pod corn, etc., can be fed. 

Final Words On Can Turtles Eat Popcorn

Corn may be a national breakfast for Americans in one form or another. But it needn’t be the same for our pet turtles. The sheer amount of cellulose present in corn is indigestible for them. Even humans cannot digest this, let alone our reptile friends. 

Remember that you shouldn’t feed popcorn to your turtles.

But, if you want to feed your turtles corn, boil it first. Then crush and churn it to avoid choking. This way, the corn will be soft enough for your turtles to swallow. 

Relevant Readings:

Can Turtles Eat Raspberries?

Can Turtles Eat Flies? Feed These Insects Instead!

Can Turtles Eat Peanuts? A Boon Or Bane For Turtles?