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Can Turtles Eat Grapes? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Genevieve Dugal

By Genevieve Dugal

Grapes

As turtle owners seek to diversify their shelled companions’ meals, one question arises: Can turtles eat grapes? In a word, yes. But do these fruits offer any nutritional benefits to pet turtles, or should they only be offered sparingly?

This is what we explore in this article. We look at the nutritional characteristics of grapes and the benefits and risks of feeding them to these small reptiles. Let’s dive in!

Nutrition Facts of Grapes

Grapes, like almost all fruits, are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. They are a good source of:1

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

A ½ cup serving of grapes contains:

  • Calories: 52
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Protein: 1g

But for reference, ½ cup of strawberries contains only 24 calories and 3.7 g of sugar, almost three times less than grapes!

grapes
Image Credit: Josep Monter Martinez, Pixabay

Potential Health Benefits of Feeding Grapes to Turtles

Turtles need vitamin A to thrive, and they’ll find plenty of it in these delicious fruits. Indeed, vitamin A deficiency is common in these pets,2 especially box turtles. Grapes are also high in calcium, which is great because like most reptiles, turtles often need extra dietary calcium.3

Adding grapes to a turtle’s diet can provide them with different flavors and textures that can help stimulate their appetite and provide mental enrichment. Also, most species of turtles particularly enjoy them!

Potential Risks of Feeding Grapes to Turtles

Grapes can be toxic to certain pets—like dogs, cats, and rabbits—due to the risk of kidney failure. There’s not enough scientific evidence to draw any solid conclusions regarding reptiles, but it at least doesn’t seem to affect turtles in this way.

Nevertheless, grapes should be fed in moderation, as their high sugar content can contribute to obesity and other health problems in turtles. Turtles simply can’t handle large amounts of fruit, and too many grapes can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea.

Also, the versions with seeds can pose a choking hazard. If you do want to give grapes to your turtle, you have two options: Buy the seedless variety (usually the green ones), or take the time to remove the seed from each one.

Additionally, it is best to avoid feeding your turtle any grapes that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, though you should always wash them beforehand, anyway.

washing fresh grapes
Image credit: giedre vaitekune, Shutterstock

What’s the Best Way to Introduce Grapes Into Your Turtle’s Diet?

Wash, chop, mix!

  • Wash the grapes thoroughly to remove all traces of pesticides and other debris.
  • Chop them into small pieces, depending on the size of your turtle’s mouth.
  • Mix them with vegetables.

The key here is moderation! Although grapes do provide nutritional benefits, they should not be a staple in a turtle’s diet. In fact, grapes, like all fruits, should be part of a broader selection of food that you give your pet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Often Can Turtles Eat Grapes?

Grapes should be offered as occasional treats, not as a daily staple. Feeding them to your turtle once or twice a week is more than enough.

Can Turtles Eat Grape Leaves?

Yes, many turtles enjoy eating grape leaves. These are safe and can be offered as part of a varied diet.

turtle eating grapes leaves
Image Credit: Super8-Shutterstock

How Many Grapes Can I Feed My Turtle?

The number of grapes should be adjusted according to the size and species of your turtle. As a general rule, fruits should not constitute more than 10% of their daily food intake. So, if you’ve already given them apple and strawberry chunks for lunch, it’s best to skip the grapes for dinner.

What Other Fruits Can Turtles Eat Besides Grapes?

There are other delicious and nutritious fruit options that can benefit your turtle (such as calcium-rich figs), but since all fruit contains sugar, the same 10% rule applies to all!

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
A turtle eating a banana
Image Credit: Noah Currey, Shutterstock

What About Vegetables?

The list of safe veggies that you can offer your turtle is much longer than the one for fruit. Here are common examples:

  • Beet
  • Beet leaves
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Carrot leaves
  • Cauliflower
  • Cress
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Pepper
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnip greens
  • Zucchini
turtle eating vegetables
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators, Shutterstock

Can Turtles Develop an Aversion to Other Foods If They Are Fed Grapes Too Often?

Yes, but this can happen with any fruit, hence the importance of mixing them with vegetables before offering them to your shelled companion. This will make it harder for your picky turtle to dismiss what they don’t like.

Should I Consult a Veterinarian Before Feeding Grapes to My Turtle?

It’s always best to consult with a vet who specializes in reptiles for specific dietary recommendations for your turtle species.

Final Thoughts

Most turtles will eat anything that they find in their path, hence the importance of carefully researching the dietary needs of the species that you have at home. For most pet turtles, a well-rounded diet consisting of various plants, leafy greens, animal-based materials, and suitable commercial pellets is perfect to ensure that all necessary nutrients are met.

Fruits, such as grapes, can be offered sparingly, but they should never be relied upon as the sole or primary source of nutrition for turtles.

See Also: 


Featured Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

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