Can Turtles Eat Broccoli – What about Their Leaves & Stems?

Can Turtles Eat BroccoliTurtles might be the easiest animals to please when it comes to food due to the wide variety of foods that can be included in their diet.

However, there are still a few vegetables that have made it onto the ‘no-feed’ list for turtles, and, surprisingly, broccoli is on that list.

In This article, we will see if you should be feeding broccoli to your turtle, and if so how much is safe or it’s best to be avoided all together?

Can Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Turtles can absolutely eat broccoli. They probably wouldn’t think twice if you placed those delicious looking baby trees in their way. However, that does not mean they should eat broccoli. Many turtle owners see broccoli as a form of superfood. Unfortunately, the truth is that broccoli has many anti-nutrients that can end up harming your turtle and damaging their organs instead. I will not say to never feed broccoli to your turtle. On occasion, broccoli can be a nice treat, but I must stress the word occasion. It should not make up the bulk of your turtle’s diet.

Can Turtles Eat Broccoli Stems?

Broccoli stems and flowers actually contain something called goitrogens. These compounds interfere with the turtle’s thyroid activity and interfere with the uptake of iodine. Sadly, steady consumption of broccoli can, therefore, lead to kidney disease, can damage its liver, and therefore lead to death.

Can Turtles Eat Broccoli Leaves?

The leaves may seem safer. They are dark and leafy and green, which fits the description of most of the ideal types of vegetables to feed your turtle. The leaves are also considered high fibre, low protein, and full of vitamin A. While all these things might be true, it does not change the fact that broccoli – all parts of it, head, stem, and leaves – provide anti-nutrients that in the long run simply will harm your turtle regardless of how nutritious broccoli seems.
For example, broccoli is high in purines, which in turn can lead to a high production of uric acid which in turn puts a lot of stress on kidneys.
Additionally, broccoli contains Oxalic Acid, which can be detrimental to turtles because it inhibits the absorption of calcium.
Now once you weigh the pros and cons, doesn’t it just seem easier to leave broccoli out of your turtle’s diet altogether?

Can turtles and tortoises eat broccoli

Do Turtles Like Broccoli?

Sure, they do. Many owners report of their turtles obsessing over the leaves, happily munching away. But then again, I wouldn’t say turtles are picky eaters. Since most are omnivores anyway, and in nature they would eat whatever looks interesting and whatever is available, it shouldn’t shock us that broccoli can be a turtle favorite. That is why most people will not outright ban broccoli from the turtle diet. Let’s be honest, broccoli can be cheap, it is often leftover from our own meals, in can be an easy vegetable to have laying around and feed to your turtle.

But this is where your responsibility as their owner comes in. Because your turtle is in fact not in the wild, it is your responsibility to not only provide your turtle with a wide variety of food to meet their nutritional standards but to also know which foods can be dangerous or harmful. In this case the general consensus stands, try to avoid feeding your turtle broccoli, but once in a blue moon won’t kill them.

What Kind Of Turtles Can Eat Broccoli?

We know turtles like broccoli and that it is harmful in larger quantities but lets take a look if all types of turtles are affected by the seeming dangers of broccoli.

Can Baby Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Baby turtles should absolutely not be fed broccoli. For all the reasons mentioned earlier, but also because of the inability to absorb iodine, which goitrogens in broccoli cause, inhibit turtle growth. And especially baby turtles, need all the right nutrients to grow healthy and strong. You don’t want to be feeding them something that could get in the way of their growth. Try feeding them dandelion leaves or lettuce instead. Away with the broccoli!

Can Box Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Box turtles need a good balance of plant and animal-based foods. Their ideal diet includes a wide variety of fruits such as papaya and raspberries to crickets and earthworms. When it comes to vegetable, Chinese cabbage and butternut squash are a favourite. Broccoli is still on the ‘warning’ list, so the occasional steamed broccoli is okay.

Can Desert Turtles Eat Broccoli?

The Desert Turtle can live up to 100 years, but with an improper diet, this number can reduce significantly. Vegetables only account for 15% of this turtle’s diet, the other 85% come from grasses. That means this turtle is totally vegetarian and should only be eating what is of nutritional value to it. For this reason, broccoli is on the ‘no-feed’ list for desert turtles. Broccoli’s cons just outweigh the pros for the desert turtle and in this case provide no value when added to its meal.

Can Green Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Adult green turtles are herbivores, meaning they are vegetarian. But they are also aquatic turtles, meaning their diet would usually consist of what is available in the ocean such as algae and seagrass. Since broccoli isn’t naturally found growing on the bottom of the ocean, it wouldn’t make much sense to introduce green turtles to this potentially harmful vegetable. Let them stick to the greens of the sea.

Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Broccoli?

In the wild, Red Eared Sliders feed on aquatic vegetation and small fish. Broccoli should definitely be avoided with this type of turtle as it does not show up in their natural habitat. They might enjoy it as a little snack every few months since it is not something they would come across naturally, but it should be avoided if possible.

Can Aquatic Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Similar to the Green turtle, aquatic turtles live, eat, and sleep at sea. They spend their whole lives enjoying the many delicious and nutritious aquatic fruits and animals the ocean provides. To introduce them to broccoli, which is harmful and potentially life-threatening, when they have a whole underwater world of amazing food, would somehow be ridiculous. Let’s leave aquatic turtles to their food and keep broccoli for ourselves.

Can Yellow-Bellied Turtles Eat Broccoli?

Yellow-Bellied Turtles consume a diet of plants and meats. Diversity is key, as it is in any turtle’s diet, and so, once again, broccoli is one of those controversial vegetables when discussing it in relation to your turtles’ diet. The occasional broccoli treat is fine, but it should not ever be a staple in your pets’ diet.


At the end of the day the research might be conflicting. We know that broccoli has many great nutrients, it is high fibre, low carb, and possesses a great number of vitamins which are beneficial to your turtle. But the argument here is that broccoli also possesses many harmful substances which essentially make the consumption of broccoli for your turtle sort of counterproductive. Now, while consuming broccoli does not guarantee liver or kidney problems, and many turtles do enjoy broccoli, the question I want you to ask yourselves is ‘is the risk really worth it?’.

There are so many wonderful vegetables and fruits that your turtles love and are safe to consume. So why even risk their health with broccoli when you have so many other options!