Pets are great companions. They are adorable and love you unconditionally. However, they are also extremely dependent on you and are a huge responsibility to take on, and being a pet parent is hard work. So what about people who want to commit to owning a pet without having to put in too much effort? Opt to get a turtle!
These adorable reptiles are great low maintenance pets to have.
Turtles can live up to thirty to forty years on average and aren’t demanding creatures. However, having said all of that, there is one thing you need to pay special attention to, and that is their diet.
While turtles don’t require too much out of you and are lifelong companions, they need a healthy and well-balanced diet. Knowing what your turtle eats and what they shouldn’t eat is of utmost importance, as it would be with any other pet.
One common question that revolves around feeding turtles is if it is okay to feed them celery. A common vegetable found in most of our fridges and known for its health benefits, celery seems like a safe option to feed our turtles, but is it? Read on to find out.
What do turtles eat?
Herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores, what category do you think turtles fit into? Well, you’ll be surprised to know that turtles are a diverse species of animals. To be more specific, there are well over 300 kinds of turtles, and each species has its pallet and preferred diet!
Some turtles follow a strict vegetarian diet, while others are pure carnivores. However, for most of the part, turtles are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. This, however, depends on their species, and to be more specific, it depends on the structure of their jaw. The structure of their jaw indicates their ability to chew. Other factors include where the turtle lives and what food sources they have available around them.
To know exactly what diet you should be feeding your turtle, you’ll need to know what kind of turtle you have found a friend in.
For most of the part, turtles need the following as a part of their diet:
- Commercial turtle pellets: it is always a good idea to buy food designed especially for turtles. The pellets will float and will not fall apart. It won’t disintegrate into mush either. Plus, it has all the required health benefits. Pellets usually make up 25% of a turtle’s diet.
- Feeder fish/insects: Feeder fish and/or insects such as the comet goldfish also make up 25% of your turtle’s diet, and for a good reason too. They are a great protein source for your turtle and have an ideal balance of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium and vitamins such as vitamin A.
- Fruits and vegetables: These usually constitute fillers and should be fed fresh to your turtle. As far as vegetables are concerned, the best kind is dark leafy greens which are chopped up. These include kale, mustard green as well as lettuce. Other veggies to offer include carrots, zucchini, and squash. Acceptable fruits include shredded or chopped apples, berries, and melon.
Turtles and Celery:
Celery is a common vegetable found in most of our houses. This crunchy vegetable is loaded with health benefits. To start with, it is low calorie, thus making it the perfect diet food. Moreover, it is laden with antioxidants that are important in protecting organs, cells, and blood vessels from oxidative damage. It is also known to reduce inflammation and health issues related to inflammation, such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Celery is mostly water and is also made up of soluble and insoluble fiber, and both of these things do wonders for our digestive systems.
So we have established that celery is a great healthy choice for humans, at least; we also know, however, that the standard we hold for ourselves doesn’t necessarily match that we should hold for our pet turtles. Humans and turtles are vastly different species and naturally, our dietary requirements vary as much. If celery is a safe food for us, that doesn’t mean the same applies to our turtles.
The good news is that there are not a lot of “prohibited” vegetables for our turtles. Celery doesn’t fall into the prohibited category. However, there are certain things you need to be aware of before feeding your turtle this specific food.
While celery most certainly is not toxic for your turtle, it isn’t beneficial for them either. Celery is off very little value nutrition-wise, making sense since the vegetable is 95% just water. Thus you can’t count on celery to be a staple food in your turtle’s diet; rather, it can only be used as a filler treat or as part of a combination of vegetables to give when you have nothing else to offer.
Another factor to take into consideration is that celery needs to be very finely chopped or cut up. The foolproof way to measure what a safe serving size would be roughly around half the size of your turtle’s head. Anything bigger in size can cause them to choke and die.
A problem related to this filler food is that it doesn’t serve as a useful filler. The chances are that your turtle won’t take too much time to start feeling hungry again after feeding them celery. So, in essence, it’s just empty feeding.
So while arguably it is safe to feed our turtle celery, there isn’t much of a point in giving it to them since it doesn’t benefit them. If you want your pet turtle to live a long healthy life, opt to feed them foods that will benefit them. Turtles don’t require much from their owners other than a well-balanced meal, and if you’ve taken the responsibility, then the least you can do is take care of their diet.