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Can Turtles Eat Corn? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Sulcata turtle eating corn

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Turtles require a variety of different foods to stay happy and healthy throughout their life. As a turtle owner, you are responsible for providing a balanced diet. After all, you can’t expect your pet to fend for themselves! So, you might wonder whether your turtle can eat a certain food as you prepare meals for them.

One question that most turtle owners ask is whether their companion can eat corn. Is corn safe for turtles to eat? The short answer is yes! However, the long answer is that corn shouldn’t be a big part of their diet. Here’s what you should know.

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Corn Can Be a Healthy Part of Your Turtle’s Diet

If your turtle is like most, they want to enjoy a varied diet and will lose interest in meals that seem to be on the menu more often than not. For this reason, you should provide your pet with many types of fruits, vegetables, and insects along with the commercial food that you give them. Corn is not a food that a turtle would find in the wild, so while it’s not an unhealthy choice, it is also not designed to meet all your turtle’s dietary needs. A bit of corn can go a long way, so it should be treated as an occasional treat rather than a daily ration.

Mediterranean turtle eating corn in the sun
Image Credit: Joellloret, Shutterstock

Corn’s Nutrition Facts

Here’s a breakdown of the most notable nutrients found in corn and how many of these can be found in a cup of solid corn kernels (or the equivalent).

Nutrition Elements Amount per Serving
Protein 4.3 g
Carbohydrates 30.49 g
Fiber 3.28 g
Sugar 5.74 g
Calcium 8.2 g
Iron 1.41 g
Magnesium 32.8 g

Source: University of Rochester

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here is a list of commonly asked questions and their answers, so you can ensure that you are providing your pet turtle with the right nutrition as time goes on.

What Should a Turtle’s Main Diet Be?

We recommend feeding your turtle a commercial food that is specially designed to meet all their nutritional needs. However, this is not enough to keep your turtle happy and healthy. You must include a variety of fruits and vegetables at mealtimes too. Corn can be one of those foods, as long as it’s not offered daily.

Tortoises are eating corn
Image Credit: kittirat roekburi, Shutterstock

What Kind of Corn Should a Turtle Be Offered?

Fresh, raw corn on or off the cob can make an excellent treat for your turtle. You can also feed them frozen corn that has been thawed. There is no need to cook corn for your turtle, and in fact, doing so will destroy some beneficial nutrients. Don’t feed your turtle any corn that has butter, salt, or other ingredients added to it.

Can Turtles Eat the Cob?

If your turtle tries to eat the cob after cleaning the corn off it, it’s a good idea to take it away, as it can be a choking hazard. It also provides no significant nutrients for turtles and could even create digestive problems. It’s best to keep cobs away from your turtle altogether if you can’t be there to supervise their mealtimes.

African spurred tortoise in front of white background eating corn
Image Credit: cynoclub, Shutterstock

What Other Kinds of Vegetables Can a Turtle Be Fed?

Turtles can eat a wide variety of produce. Most love indulging in squash, sprouts, cucumbers, watercress, kale, cabbage, cilantro, and bell peppers. Spinach and beet greens can be offered sparingly, but keep in mind that these foods are high in oxalates, which can bind to calcium and other minerals so they cannot be absorbed by the body.


Turtles can safely eat corn, but while it’s not unhealthy for them, it won’t meet all their dietary needs. Corn should be an occasional treat rather than part of their regular meals.

Featured Image Credit: SK168, Shutterstock

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