Can turtles eat basil?

Turtles are cute. We are sure that you agree with us! So it is no surprise that their likeness is increasing with time. What makes people adore turtles so much?  It might be because of how calm and peaceful they seem, or maybe people assume that turtles are easier to take care of. Even though they seem like less work than other conventional pets such as dogs, cats, or even birds, what many people do not realize is that turtles require more carefulness and time than what some people may perceive. Just like many other basic requirements, it is important to make sure that you feed the turtle the right amount of the right food. So we wonder, what to feed turtles, how much, and how often? And while we are on the subject, can turtle eat basil? 

What do turtles usually eat?

What turtles feed on depends upon their species. It is important to know about your turtle so that you may take care of it in the right, appropriate manner. Generally, there are two kinds of turtles and, respectively, two kinds of feed. Some turtles only feed on plant-based sources that include fruits and vegetables. These are herbivorous turtles. Another kind of turtle is the ones that feed on both plant-based and animal-based sources and rely on them for acquiring basic nutrients. These are classified as omnivorous turtles.  All kinds of nutrients are required by a turtle, which means all food elements like proteins, good fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Their preference for a particular nutrient differs at different ages. For example, a protein-rich diet is considered good for turtles, especially baby turtles, as they need it to grow and develop their body. Well, underfeeding in the sense that your turtles are not receiving all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. 

Tortoise trying some basil - YouTube

Can turtles eat basil?

The short answer is yes! As most of the pet turtles can consume vegetation and plant-based diets, basil is a great choice! There are a few acceptable edible vegetables that should represent a high percentage of the diet, and basil, being a safe and nutritious option with its added calcium-rich benefits, is one of them. 

It is important to remember that any vegetation that appears to be dark green and leafy should make up a significant part of the turtle diet.  Basil is one of the most commonly grown vegetation, so it makes it easier to consider a usual part of the turtle diet. Fresh vegetative options should always be offered, regardless if the turtle shows interest in them. The right combination of vegetables can offer a balance of calcium and vitamins that are needed by the turtles.

Basil and associated health benefits

Why should one consider adding basil to the diet? Even if it is established that it is safe (which it is!), is adding basil to the diet a healthy decision? Let’s review the nutritional aspect of basil.  

It is important to keep in mind here that one of the most needed minerals by a turtle is calcium. This is because of the additional requirements by the bones in the shell of a turtle. These bones are 60 in number, which means a good amount of calcium is needed. What is a turtle without its shell? And what is a diet without calcium? Luckily, basil offers just the right quantity of this mineral!  100 grams of basil has about 180 mg of calcium. An important mineral that is often needed by all kinds of animals. Apart from obtaining calcium from basil, calcium powder can be sprinkled onto their meals as a supplement, or calcium-rich diets can be purchased as well.

Basil contains a good composition of other vitamins and minerals as well.  Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It’s also an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these nutrients and vitamins are important for your pet turtle’s health!

Serving style matters!

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It is so healthy that basil should be offered to a turtle even if it shows reluctance towards it. The health benefits associated with the basil leaves will be good for the animal. Basil should be chopped into fine, small pieces. It is a good idea to check if they are mixed with different other vegetative plants and mixed to make sure that a wide variety of food is being given to the turtle. They can be cooked or given in the raw form, but it is better if they are given in raw form so that the turtle is not deprived of any nutrients that may be reduced during the cooking process.  Important consideration? Basil should be thoroughly washed to remove any dirt or contamination. You don’t want your baby turtle to be falling sick, do we?

What to do if things go south?

If you feed too much basil to your pet, you can expect things to go south. And in an unfortunate event of this nature, please, oh please, do not play the vet. Instead, do the wisest thing that you can. And do you know what that is? Taking your turtle to a vet! 


One of the good things about technological advances in the food sector is that there are so many different varieties and kinds of food options available for pets that one needs to just go to a local grocery store and make an informed purchase about the feed that is to be given to their turtle!. If one is opting for commercially processed food, there are many options available. Preferably, one should buy pellets that are specifically prepared for pet turtles.  When we think about all the aforementioned facts about basil and the turtle diet in general, the answer is quite simple. Basil seems to be a comparatively plain, effortless meal that can be served to your turtle.  Healthy, nutritious yet manageable, the magical basil has it all! Indeed, basil is a great option for your pet to feast on!

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