Can Turtles Eat Cucumbers?

can turtles eat cucumbers

Yes, turtles can eat cucumbers. Turtles are mostly omnivores and herbivores. They enjoy eating this vegetable along with a host of other meat-based and plant-based diets. Cucumbers contain a lot of water and are an excellent way for your pet to stay hydrated on warmer days. 

Are Cucumbers Edible for Turtles?

There are around 250 species of turtles. They belong to the Testudines in the taxonomic classification. 

They are categorized into three types: aquatic turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. 

Aquatic turtles require water to live. Tortoises dwell on the land. Terrapin turtles spend their time both in water and on the ground. 

Out of these three categories, terrapin turtles are most commonly kept as pets. Most turtles are omnivores, to begin with. Some of them are carnivores. However, as they grow up, some of the aquatic switch to an herbivorous diet. 

A good example of a turtle species is the Mud turtle, omnivorous by nature, they enjoy cucumbers as part of their diet. Alongside aquatic invertebrates and small fish, cucumbers provide a vegetable component.

Because most turtles are either omnivores or herbivores, they are open to a wide range of plant-based food, including cucumbers.

What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Cucumber? 

This vegetable is water-based, they have high water content and they are made up of about 96 percent of water.  

This food contains specific vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for the overall good health of your pet. Some of the nutrients available in cucumber are:  

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium  

They also contain very little fat and calories. This prevents the risk of obesity in them. It is, therefore, a relatively safer vegetable to offer your pet. 

Cucumbers are also high in fiber. Good fiber in the diet ensures that your pet will not suffer from constipation. 

Precautions to Take While Feeding Your Turtle 

Despite containing specific vitamins and minerals, cucumbers are not nutrient-rich vegetables. Most of the nutrients that these reptiles require come from a wide variety of food that contains protein and other vital nutrients. 

  • Do not offer a large quantity of cucumbers to your pet. If they load too much on cucumber, they may fill up on this vegetable and then not eat other nutrient-rich food. 
  • It is important to chop this vegetable into small bite-sized pieces. These reptiles can choke on larger slices of cucumber
  • There is also a risk of getting diarrhea and indigestion if too much cucumber is consumed by your pet. 
  • The cucumber should be washed thoroughly under running water to remove pesticides or chemicals. Since these reptiles have weaker kidneys, harsh chemicals can damage their sensitive organs, like kidneys. 
  • You should also avoid preserved, canned, and pickled cucumbers. They contain a lot of preservatives and do not have much nutritional value. Canned and pickled cucumbers are also slightly acidic. The preservatives and acidic agents can cause health problems in your pet and are best avoided. 

The best option is to provide your pet with organically grown, freshly cut cucumber.

How Frequently Can You Give Cucumbers to Your Turtle?  

You can offer this vegetable to your pet two to three times a week. 

Since it is not rich in nutrients, it should not be given as a substitute for an entire meal. Instead, it can be given as a snack or a treat. 

If it is given in the meal, then make sure you include a wide variety of protein-rich diet and other nutrition-rich vegetables. 

The nutritional value of cucumber per 100 g or 3.5 oz.

ComponentNutritional Value
Energy15 kcal
Water95.23 g
Total lipids0.11 g
Carbohydrates3.63 g
Fiber0.5 g
Sugars1.67 g

Minerals per 100 g or 3.5 oz

MineralNutritional Value
Calcium16 mg
Phosphorus24 mg
Potassium147 mg
Iron0.28 mg
Magnesium13 mg
Sodium2 mg
Zinc0.20 mg

Vitamins per 100 g or 3.5 oz

VitaminNutritional Value
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid2.8 mg
Vitamin B60.040 mg
Vitamin K16.4 micrograms

You need to take into account the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio in cucumbers. Most vegetables contain some amounts of calcium and phosphorus. 

Calcium is beneficial for turtles, but phosphorus is not. Calcium strengthens the bones and their shells. Hence, it is essential. 

But, too much phosphorus in the body can make your pet’s shell softer. A lower calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in a vegetable is desirable for these reptiles. Cucumber has a 0.7:1 calcium-to-phosphorus ratio. 

Accordingly, offering moderate quantities of cucumber at intermediate frequencies is recommended. 

How Should You Serve the Cucumber?

  • The cucumber should be fresh in chunks, slices, or grated form. 
  • To retain the fiber content of cucumber, it is best to serve it unpeeled. 
  • Make sure you thoroughly wash the cucumber with clean water before serving it. 

What Other Fruits and Veggies Can They Eat? 

A high-protein diet is essential for your pet’s development. So it is crucial to restrict the amount of cucumber served to juvenile turtles. It is best to offer a combination of a high-protein meat-based diet and leafy vegetables and vegetables like cucumber to young turtles. 

Adults, however, have lesser protein requirements, for adults more vegetables and leafy greens are advisable. 

Some of the vegetables which are dense in nutrition and should be given to your pet include zucchini, carrots, dandelion, parsley, squash, romaine lettuce, green lettuce, red lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, endive, turnip greens, clever, Swiss chard, and kale.

Icebergs or head lettuce should be avoided as they contain much water and few nutrients.  

Along with these vegetables, you can offer them live aquatic plants like duckweed, water lily, and water hyacinth. 

Fruits contain high-sugar levels and should be used sparingly and only as treats. Fruits like grapes, apples, melons, and strawberries can be offered. Along with vegetables and fruits, adding some nutritional supplements to your pet’s diet is essential.  

Key Takeaway

So, the answer to the question, can turtles eat cucumbers? The answer is yes but in moderation. Too much will cause them to avoid other food items, depleting vital nutrients. 


Do They Like Cucumbers?

Eating cucumbers can depend from species to species of the turtle you have. While most turtles like to chew on this vegetable because of the cooling attribute, some may not like them, especially young turtles. It is best to offer them cucumber and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables when they are young. 

This is the best way to get them to eat cucumbers early on. If your turtle does not like eating cucumber, you can cover cucumber slices with freshwater algae. These reptiles like algae a lot and will eat an algae-covered cucumber. Even if covering the cucumber slices or chunks with algae does not work, you can consult a vet for further advice. 

What Should I Do After Feeding My Turtle?

After feeding or handling these reptiles, it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly. Like most reptiles, turtles can transmit salmonella or other infectious diseases. All turtles should be assumed to have salmonella in their intestines. Though not born with it, they acquire it through environmental factors. Salmonella in humans can cause severe nervous system diseases, spine, and joints. 

How Often Should Water From Enclosure Be Cleaned or Changed?

If a filtration system is established in the pet enclosure, a complete water change is required only once a week or twice every month. If there is no filtration system in the enclosure, then a daily change of water is necessary to provide liveable conditions for your turtle.

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