Celery is a marsh land plant that has been grown purposefully by mankind for millennia. It’s good for people, but is it OK for turtles to eat it?
Some people might call celery a filler food because it primarily fills your stomach with raw roughage but it doesn’t have much in the way of calories or nutrients. Turtles can eat celery and be perfectly fine as long as it’s cut up into small pieces so it does not provide a choking hazard. However, just like with people, it doesn’t provide them with any healthy nutrients nor much in the way of calories.
Sometimes humans like to use celery in weight loss diets. Being that celery is extremely low calorie, mainly consisting of bulk fiber, it can make an excellent food to fill the stomach without adding to someones weight.
Turtles, however, generally eat whatever their owner decides to feed them. They are highly opportunistic eaters and will eat something that their owner gave to them even if it’s ultimately bad for their health.
Fortunately, celery is a food that’s perfect fine for turtles. But it will never provide turtles with their necessary calcium and macro-nutrient needs.
If a turtle needs to go on a diet all their owner has to do is feed them less. So while turtles can eat celery and be just fine, it’s kinda pointless for them as they don’t need to eat to diet like people sometimes do.
Celery will not give them the calcium they need, nor the calories nor the macro-nutrients such as protein.
You would be much better off giving your turtle some nice dark leafy greens such as kale or red romaine lettuce. Both of these choices are chock full of vital nutrients and calcium. They will do a turtles body very good. And of course their shell as well.
Here are some reasons why you should avoid giving celery to your turtle if you can and the best alternatives that will leave your turtle happy and healthy.
Celery Can be a Choking Hazard
Celery stalks can be quite large when they’re uncut. Turtles are voracious opportunistic eaters. They’ll eat whatever they can get their hands on, or claws.
In the wild they just don’t know when or where their next meal might come from. If they pass up on an opportunity to eat then it might be some time before they get the same chance again.
So turtles will pretty much just gulp down whatever you their keeper gives them. This means they’ll eat something potentially very bad for them never thinking of the consequences just trusting you their keeper and trying to satisfy their gut.
Celery stalks can be quite large and very pokey depending upon where and how their cut. If you don’t cut the celery up into small bite-sized pieces or soften through cooking, then your turtle might just choke on the piece of celery.
They could easily just follow their instincts and gobble without thinking on a much too large and hard piece and then the next thing you know their choking.
So if you have to feed your turtle celery make sure that its cut into nice small munchkin sized bites, with probably at least some cooking to soften up the thick fibers of the plant. The bites should be cut small enough that it should be no bigger than half the size of the turtles head. Anything bigger than that and theirs a strong risk of choking.
No Calcium In Celery
Celery contains little to no calcium. This is bad luck for turtles, because turtles need calcium and a lot of it. The beauty and health of their shell as well as that of their bones all depend upon it. Humans need calcium, but i thinks it safe to say that relative to their size turtles need more.
People like you and me may have an extensive skeletal structure that needs to be maintained but we don’t have an external shell we need to take care of.
Where with turtles their shell can back up a quarter to a third of their body weight. So turtle shells need a lot of calcium to keep them healthy and strong.
Celery may not be a good source of calcium for turtles but dark leafy greens are. Instead of feeding your turtle celery give them some nice kale instead or some yummy dark romaine lettuce. These will be super healthy for your turtle as well as helping them to meet their calcium requirements.
Calcium is such an essential nutrient for turtles that its also necessary to give them extra calcium supplements along with their normal diet. Just to make sure they get enough calcium.
Their are calcium tablets that you can get where you just drop them in the water where the tablet dissolves. The turtles skin can then absorb that calcium through the water which will give your pet turtle a nice health boost.
You can also through some cuttlebone into your turtles tank. Cuttlebone is a white chalky substance that’s filled with calcium. Make sure to cut off the hard backing so your turtle doesn’t choke and then you should be good to go.
Your turtle will happily munch on the cuttlebone throughout the day as they feel the need.
What Should You be Feeding Your Turtle Instead of Celery?
Your turtles dietary needs can be broken up into three primary segments. Protein, vegetables and extra forms of calcium. A young turtle supplied with these three things should grow up healthy and strong. They will be a very happy turtle and they’ll have you their owner to thank.
For protein you cant go wrong with some good trusty commercial turtle pellets. These will give your little guy or gal all the protein they need as well as many other vital nutrients. If your feeling more creative you can also feed your turtle various feeder fish and insects to help provide variety.
Eating just turtle pellets all the time can get might boring fast.
The next thing your turtle needs plenty of are vegetables. When their young they will be more carnivorous and will definitely prefer their protein to greens. But as they grow older they will learn to love the greens a lot more.
Like many things in life though its best to start young when building the habit, it just makes everything easier down the road.
Some of the vegetables that are good to feed your turtle are the following:
- Water lettuce
- Mustard Greens
- dark romaine lettuce
In addition to their turtle pellets for protein and their non-celery veggies, .you also need to supplement them with some extra calcium just to be safe. Without enough calcium your turtle can develop a terrible disease called metabolic bone disease which will cause their shell to be weak and malformed. It’s very painful and sad for the turtles affected with this disease.
So make sure to boost your turtles calcium supply with some cuttlebone for your turtle to chew on. Or some water dissolvable calcium tablets, to make their bones extra strong.
How Much Food to Give Your Turtle
It’s very important to know how much food to give your turtle. Overfed turtles are not at all healthy turtles and it can be quite easy to overfeed them.
They just love eating and will generally not self regulate their diet at all. If they’re getting fat they will not willingly put themselves on a diet. So it’s completely up to their beloved owner to take responsibility and make sure that their not feeding them too much.
You should feed your turtle no more than the amount of food that would fit inside their heads. With very young turtles under 2 years old they should be fed every day. Between the ages of 2 to 5 you can start to slow this down to every other day or so.
For older fully mature turtles, those over 5 years old then feeding them can then take place about every two days or so.
Feeding celery to your turtles will not in of itself cause them any harm. It provides little nutrients or nourishment so its merely are garnish to turtles. If you do feed it to them make sure its cooked to soften its texture and cut it into pieces that are no bigger than half the size of the turtles head. Other it can be a choking hazard.
So if you really really want to feed celery to turtles then you can but never as a staple and there are many other vegetables that are much better options like kale and dark romaine lettuce.