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What Do Box Turtles Eat? (A Box Turtle Diet Guide)

Discover the fascinating diet of Eastern box turtles, Ornate box turtles, and other American box turtles native to North America, a region experiencing significant habitat loss.

Box turtles are a popular turtle species commonly kept as pets. These turtles are calm, friendly, and active. Their distinct features, such as red eyes in some species and their diverse food group preferences, make them unique. In addition to this, they aren’t big.

All these characteristics make them excellent pets. However, what do box turtles eat? Well, as omnivorous species, box turtles feed on fruits, leafy greens, foliage, insects, fish, and even meat.

Understanding their natural habits, including leaf litter exploration for food sources and the impact of habitat loss, is vital for proper care.

Feeding them high-quality foods in the right amount, right intervals, and composition is necessary to maintain a healthy chelonian in the right weight range.

Popular box turtles kept as pets include the common box turtle (which is made up of the three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis), Gulf Coast box turtle (Terrapene carolina major), eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), and Florida box turtle  (Terrapene carolina bauri).

These species, often found in the Eastern United States, have different dietary habits compared to younger turtles and those reaching sexual maturity.

Commercial turtle diets are also an excellent method of providing the box turtle with nourishment.

However, if you wish to make commercial food a major component of the turtle’s diet, you have to ensure you use only the best. There are several options available, including both baby formulae as well as a regular for adults and subadults.

Commercial diets are very convenient as they last longer and are easier to store. Regardless, you must always provide the turtle with fresh food – fresh foliage, vegetables, fruits, insects, fish, and meat.

Other whole foods such as freeze-dried krill and shrimp can also be included in the turtle’s diet. Feeding the turtle a variety of good foods is best.

What do box turtles eat?

Animal products
Commercial foods
Plant-based foods
Leafy greens
Foods to avoid
Feeding schedule
Baby box turtle diet
How to feed box turtles
Providing the right amount of nutrients
Vitamin A
Providing water
Printable Infographic about what Box Turtles eat
32 Common frequently asked questions

Diet for Adult Box Turtles

Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) in its shell on cement
Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) in its shell on cement.

Animal Source Foods

In their natural habitat, wax worms, earthworms, mollusks, insects, fish, frogs, snakes, birds, slugs, worms, salamanders, eggs, and other animal matter form a significant part of their diet, which is often scarce due to habitat loss.

They do not discriminate. As long as the animal is smaller than they are, it will hunt and feed on it. They also eat carrion and have been observed feeding on dead ducks, worms, and then of course insects.

Box turtles need a high percentage of animal-based foods. There isn’t an exact number here. Just make sure you feed the turtle a lot of protein. Animal-based foods should make up about 50% of the turtle’s diet.

They will eat any animal-based food provided to them. As such, you have to be careful about what you offer them. You don’t want to make a habit of offering them foods high in fats, as this is bad for their health and could make them fat.

These chelonians also accept insects. While insects are high in essential nutrients and low in fat, they also contain a lot of phosphorus when compared to other animal-source foods.

As such, it’s a good idea not to make insects the turtle’s only source of protein. And if you do, then I recommend using calcium supplements.

Here are some of the best animal-source foods to feed them:

  • Snails
  • Slugs
  • Shrimp
  • Feeder fish
  • Boiled Chicken
  • Beef heart
  • Grubs
  • Sowbugs
  • Beetles
  • Earthworms

Other excellent foods include:

  • Waxworms
  • Super worms
  • Sow worms
  • Roaches
  • Red worms
  • Mollusks
  • Mealworms
  • Lean meat
  • Krills
  • Grubs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Dubia roaches
  • Crustaceans
  • Crickets
  • Crayfish
  • Caterpillars
  • Bloodworms
  • Silkworms

This chelonian also accepts:

  • Pinkie mice
  • Boiled egg
  • Low-fat cat kibble
  • Tofu
  • Fish (I recommend bluegills, mosquitofish, crappies, guppies, and killifish)

You don’t need to feed the turtle every animal source food on this list, but a selection of about 4 of them should be good enough.

You can also keep changing the foods in the turtle’s diet continuously. For instance, you can offer chicken on the first feeding day, crayfish on the next, and then shrimp on another day.

Commercial Turtle Foods

Zoo Med Natural Box Turtle Food, 40-Ounce

Commercial turtle foods are a superb choice since they last longer and can be conveniently stored. These are all mostly available in pet stores and can help with creating a healthy box turtle diet.

However, they are best offered occasionally. It isn’t advisable to feed the turtle only commercial turtle foods.

Plant-Based Foods

Plant-based foods should make up about 50% of the chelonian’s diet. In the pet trade, it’s essential to replicate their natural diet, which includes alfalfa pellets, leaf litter, and green vegetables typically found in North America.

These foods are very important since they contain a lot of the nutrients and fiber that the turtle needs. The best foods are rich in both calcium and fiber. These are all important to the turtle’s health.

Adults may want to eat more plants than juveniles. In this case, plants can consist of up to 80% of the turtle’s overall diet.

Allow the turtle to eat as many plants as it wants. The way your turtle feeds will let you know if you need to offer less protein and then more plants.

When it comes to plant matter aspect alone, vegetables and leafy greens should make up about 80% to 90% of the boxie’s diet while fruits make up 10% to 20% of the plant material.


peas and carrots
Peas and carrots.

These chelonians love vegetables and there is a lot to choose from. However, it is best to start offering vegetables early – when the chelonian is young.

You don’t want the turtle to become fixated on just one food type. Offer as many fresh vegetables as you can.

Grate hard vegetables such as carrots so the turtle can easily eat them. Vegetables should constitute about 20 to 30 percent of the chelonian’s diet. (This is about 40 to 60 percent of the plant content.)

Offer these vegetables most often

  • Grated carrots
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Wax beans
  • Summer and winter squashes 
  • Mushrooms
  • Cactus pads (make sure to remove the spines)
  • Alfalfa
  • Bok Choy

Offer these vegetables occasionally

  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms (technically fungi)
  • Bean sprouts 
  • Beets 
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn on the cob
  • Green Peas
  • Zucchini Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas in the pod 

The veggies mentioned aren’t the only suitable ones available. Some other vegetables you can offer the boxies but are not mentioned include:

  • Radishes
  • Avocado
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Cucumbers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Watercress
  • Mixed Vegetables
  • Savoy
  • Swiss Chard

It is safe to offer boxies all sorts of vegetables and these aren’t the only suitable ones.

Leafy Greens

leafy greens
Leafy greens

These should make up about 10 to 20% of the turtle’s diet. (This is about 20 to 40 percent of the plant content.) These are rich in nutrients. They also help keep the turtle’s gut clean and healthy as they are rich in fiber.

Offer the turtle more dark leafy greens and less light leafy greens. Light leafy greens should generally be avoided or offered sparingly. These may be tastier to you but they have little nutritional value and are mostly water and fiber. As such they do not offer the turtle the needed amount of nutrients. Examples of light green veggies/leafy greens include celery, and head lettuce (also known as iceberg lettuce).

Light leafy greens are edible and can be enjoyed by the turtle but they just lack the needed amount of nutrients.

I recommend that you offer these leafy dark greens most often:

  • Dandelion greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Wheatgrass
  • Cilantro
  • Tendergreen 
  • Mustard spinach
  • Watercress

I recommend that you offer these leafy greens occasionally:

  • Swiss chard
  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Kale 
  • Endive
  • Beet greens
  • Spinach

The leafy greens mentioned aren’t the only suitable ones available. Other vegetables you can offer the boxies include:

  • Lambsquarters
  • Dill weed
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Chicory greens
  • Cabbage
  • Butterhead lettuce


fresh fruits
Grapes, kiwi, and strawberry

Fruits are high in sugar and as such should be offered only occasionally or better still – rarely. If you must, fruits should make up about 5 to 10 percent of the turtle’s diet. (This is about 10 to 20 percent of the plant content.)

Some fruits that I recommend offering to boxies include:

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries 
  • Crabapple
  • Cranberries
  • Fresh figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Mulberries 
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Plum
  • Raspberries
  • Ripe Pokeberries
  • Sour Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Raisins 
  • Star Fruit

Of course, these aren’t the only fruits that boxies accept. In fact, these reptiles accept all fruits.

Even offering fruits to these chelonians, ensure that they are in manageable sizes. This means that you may have to cut up some of the fruits such as melons into smaller slices.

When offering them melons and cantaloupes, do not remove the rinds. Generally, you shouldn’t remove the rinds of fruits unless they are harmful. For instance, the rind of pineapple is thorny and as such should be removed.

Foods To Avoid

Some foods are best avoided as they are unhealthy. They can even be harmful. Some of these foods include.

  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Potato leaves
  • Tobacco leaves
  • Avocado rind, leaves, and seeds
  • Tomato leaves and vines
  • Poison ivy
  • Fatty meats 
  • Processed foods such as processed meats (canned meat, sausage, and lunch meat)
  • Bread, pasta, cake, and biscuits
  • Grains
  • Dairies such as yogurt, milk, and cheese
  • Foods with refined sugars such as chocolate, gummies, jellies, hard candy, licorice, lollipops, taffy, and candy.

Feeding Schedule

Feed turtles every other day. Adults can be fed a full meal once every 2 to 3 days. Subadults should also be fed every other day. Juveniles and hatchlings can be fed once every day.

A full meal should consist of a well-balanced meal as described in the article – 50% animal-based food, 30% vegetables, 10-20% leafy greens, and 0-10% fruits.

Though beneficial, fruits have the smallest fraction of diet because consuming too many fruits can cause serious health problems.

A feeding schedule lets you know what foods you feed it, how often, and in what quantity. This way, you can ensure you’re not giving it too much of one food while depriving it of the nutrients in another.

You can draw up a feeding schedule for your pet based on its favorite snacks. Feel free to do this in a book or in a document or app on your computer.

But if you have anyone assisting you in caring for your pet, you should draw your feeding schedule in a book and keep it close to the turtle’s housing.

Remember, young turtles and juvenile box turtles may have different feeding requirements compared to adult species of box turtle.

Here’s an example of a good feeding chart for your pet chelonian:

Feeding schedule for adult box turtles:

MondayCrickets, beetles, roachesSquash, collard greens
WednesdayNightcrawlers and earthwormsKale, beet greens, carrotsOranges
FridaySlugs and mealwormsTurnip greens, green beans, carrotsBerries

Feeding schedule for baby box turtles:

SundayTubifex worms and mealwormsCollard greensGrapes
MondayEarthworms and nightcrawlersBeet greens
TuesdayGrasshoppers and waxwormsSpinach mustardBlueberries and blackberries
WednesdayRoaches and spidersButternut squash and carrots
ThursdayEarthworms and anglewormsSweet potatoOranges
FridayCrickets, mealwormsGreen beansStrawberries
SaturdayCooked beef meatSpinach mustardPapaya

Pay attention to the vitamin A content and phosphorus to calcium ratio of each food you give your pet.

However, what’s more, effective is monitoring the ratio of all the nutrients in the overall dietary plan.

This gives you a more holistic view of which nutrients are excess and which you need to increase.

Baby Box Turtle diet

Baby Box Turtle near grass taken by Kerry Wixted
Baby Box Turtle near grass taken by – Kerry Wixted

Baby box turtles have similar dietary requirements to adults, but there are some vital differences you should pay attention to when preparing a baby box turtle diet.

Hatchlings eat essentially the same foods as adults. These foods include animals, plants, and vegetables.

Their dietary differences are mostly about how often they eat and how much of each food type to include in your baby box turtle diet.

Some research suggests that hatchlings consume more animal-source foods than plant-based foods. So you can feed your baby box turtles the same foods you give adults. However, you should include more animal protein than plants.

Baby box turtles may completely refuse to eat plant matter the first few weeks after hatching. This changes after a while, and they start eating plenty of plant food if you persist with offering them.

Your young chelonian will likely consume lots of animal protein from insects and other small invertebrates. This is because it is still too small to go after larger prey.

Animal source foods you can feed your pet baby box turtle include:

  • Waxworms
  • Earthworms
  • Angleworms
  • Mealworms
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets

Plant-based foods include:

  • Green beans
  • Spinach mustard
  • Mustard greens
  • Berries

Box turtles like varied diets, regardless of their age. So ensure you vary the contents of your baby box turtle diet. Avoid feeding it exactly the same thing every time.

Best Foods for Young Box Turtles

Young Ornate Box Turtle in sand and grass taken by Peter Paplanus
Young Ornate Box Turtle in sand and grass taken by – Peter Paplanus

Since box turtles are omnivores, they eat various kinds of food. Their diet is made up of many animals and plants, but the ratio changes with age.

Younger box turtles are primarily carnivorous. This evens out in adulthood. Adults consume plants and animals in roughly equal proportions, although some may be slightly more herbivorous.

Your turtle’s plant-derived foods should be clean and pesticide-free. It’s best when you get organically grown plants or grow them in your garden yourself. Regardless, always thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits before feeding your pet.

As for animal foods, your best bet is those bred in captivity to serve as reptile feeders. They tend to have fewer parasites and transmissible diseases than those in the wild.

Wild insects, in particular, may have pesticides on their body. This may be harmful to your pet.

There is no best box turtle food. But if there was, these foods are among the best to give your pet:

Animal source foods:

  • Mealworms
  • Earthworms
  • Waxworms
  • Silkworms
  • Slugs
  • Crickets
  • Beetles
  • Spiders
  • Grasshoppers
  • Cooked meat
  • Pink, baby mice

Regular plants and vegetables:

  • Squash
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cacti
  • Green beans
  • Flowers

Leafy greens:

  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Collard greens


  • Berries
  • Papaya
  • Oranges
  • Apricots
  • Figs

How to Feed Box Turtles

Box Turtle taking a large bite out of a strawberry
Box Turtle taking a large bite out of a strawberry. – Source

How often do box turtles eat?

These considerations are what often determine how you should feed your chelonian companions.

Feeding box turtles can be tricky. The key is to give them food in the right amount and frequency.  Otherwise, you may find that even ordinarily healthy foods cause health problems for them.

For instance, leafy greens are an excellent food for your young chelonian. That’s because these vegetables are high in calcium and fiber.

However, too much can also be problematic. Leafy greens are high in oxalates, which may impair calcium absorption by binding to them.

When feeding your pet, ensure to mix up its diet. Rotate the foods you give it, so it can get different types of nutrients.

Always feed your box turtle fresh food and provide clean water for it to drink. You do not need to put the food in its mouth.

Instead, leave the food in your pet’s enclosure and wait for it to consume what it can. Cooked meat has fewer bacteria and germs, so try as much as you can to cook its meat first.

Also make sure to shred or chop meats, vegetables, and fruits, to sizes that are easy for them to consume.

Providing The Right Amount Of Nutrients

When offering the boxie food, you have to consider the nutrient content of the food you offer the turtle. You want to ensure that the nutrient levels are high. For this reason, I recommend against offering light greens as these have little nutritional value.

Dark greens such as collard greens and tender greens are high in vitamin E, folate, potassium, and calcium while bright red/orange vegetables are high in manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

The best way to ensure that you are offering the right amount of nutrients is to offer a varied diet. Change the foods you offer every meal or almost every meal.

Vitamin A

One of the commonest health problems box turtles face is vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to eye infections, ear abscesses ad even respiratory infections. Some foods high in vitamin A include sweet potato (the highest vitamin A content per gram of the foods mentioned), winter squash, collard greens, turnip greens, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and carrots.


Another deficiency that turtles normally suffer from is calcium deficiency.

When providing the turtle with foods high in calcium, you also have to consider the calcium-phosphorus ratio. The best ratio is 1½ to 1 (1½ parts calcium, 1 part phosphorus)  or 2 to 1 (2 parts calcium, 1 part phosphorus).

While you can still offer foods with high phosphorus levels, they should be in limited quantities.

Here are some plants high in calcium and their calcium-to-phosphorus ratio – oranges (3:1), turnip greens (4:1), tender greens (7:1), and collard greens (14:1).

Here are some protein sources high in calcium and their calcium-to-phosphorus ratio- pinkie mice (0.9:1), dog food (1:1), nightcrawlers (1.5:1), earthworms (1.5:1), black soldier fly larvae (1.5:1).

Here are also some plants with low calcium to phosphorus ratio – tomatoes (0.4:1), sweet potato (0.3:1), yam (0.3:1), zucchini squash (0.2:1), bananas (0.2: 1), and green peas (0.2:1).

Here are also some protein sources with low calcium to phosphorus ratio – crickets (0.1:1), chicken breast (0.07:1), mealworms (0.07:1), superworms (0.06:1), and butterworms. (0.05:1).

Offering Calcium And Mineral Supplements

Fluker's Reptile Calcium Supplement Without Vitamin D3 Black 4-Ounce

Turtles kept in captivity may require supplements and the box turtle is no different.

When it comes to these supplements offering the right amount can be tricky. I recommend following the recommendations given to you by your herp vet.

Supplementation depends on what you feed the turtle as well as where it is kept. If the chelonian is housed outside and has access to sunlight, then it won’t need extra vitamin D3 as it can produce all it needs by itself.

Similarly, with calcium, many turtle experts believe that as far as you feed the turtle foods rich in nutrients and in particular calcium, then extra calcium isn’t needed. In fact, too much calcium has negative effects. If you wish to provide your turtle with calcium and multivitamin supplements, you should contact your herp vet first.

One natural way of providing extra calcium is by placing a cuttlebone in the turtle’s enclosure.

Since nutritional metabolic bone disease is one of the main health issues that affect turtles, supplements can turn out to be crucial, especially for turtles housed indoors.

However, here are a few guidelines you can follow when supplementing the turtle’s diet.

  • Lightly dust the turtle’s leafy greens and vegetables with calcium powder without Vitamin D3 about twice a week. I recommend Fluker’s Reptile Calcium Supplement Without Vitamin D3.
  • Lightly sprinkle multivitamin/mineral powder on the leafy greens and vegetables once a week. 
  • Supplements with vitamin D3 must be offered only once a week. When over-supplemented, vitamin D3 is toxic.

Providing Your Turtle With Water

Box turtles need to have clean water in their enclosure at all times. You need to change the water within the enclosure daily. When changing the water within the enclosure, also clean the water bowl.

These chelonians not only drink from the water bowl, but they also bathe in the bowl. Because the turtle climbs into the water bowl frequently, the bowl needs to be sturdy, the turtle shouldn’t be able to tip the dish/bowl easily.

The turtle should also be able to get into the bowl to bathe with no complications. I recommend you get a water bowl with a ramp such as the Zoo Med Repti Ramp Bowl.

When filling the water bowl, ensure that the water is up to the chelonian’s chin. You don’t want the turtle to drown.

Printable Infographic about Box Turtle Diets

Infographic about what Box Turtles Eat


Do you have further questions about what or how to feed box turtles? Find the answers here:

1. What fruits can box turtles eat?

There are many fruits that box turtles can eat.

In fact, these turtles can eat most fruits available and any fruit you can offer them should not be an issue. However, before you offer these chelonians hard fruits to ensure that they are small enough to fit into the turtle’s mouths, I also recommend slicing large fruits into manageable sizes.

Here are some fruits that box turtles particularly enjoy – apples, apricots, papaya, oranges, mulberries, melons, kiwis, grapes, fresh figs, crabapples, cherries, cantaloupes, blueberries, blackberries, papaya, oranges, mulberries, melons, grapes, watermelons, tomatoes, strawberries, sour cherries, ripe pokeberries, raspberries, plums, persimmons, pears, peaches, honeydew, and banana.

There are many more fruits that boxies can eat. It is best to always try to vary the fruits that you offer the turtle. This ensures that it doesn’t become fixated on one type of fruit.

2. What do box turtles eat in the wild?

There are seven species of box turtles and each of these lives in different locales and as such feed on different types of foods. Some of these species are considered subspecies of the common box turtle.

The eastern box turtle, also known as the common box turtle, eats snakes, salamanders, frogs, birds, fish, eggs, slugs, insects, snails, roots, fungi, berries, and flowers. While the young eastern box turtle is predominantly carnivorous, the adults are predominantly herbivorous also they do not feed on green leaves.

The Coahuilan box turtle is a well-known omnivore. Biologists such as  Brown (1971) concluded that their diet mostly consisted of about 51% aquatic insects and about 46% plants. These chelonians are known to eat mushrooms, spike rush, green algae, dragonflies, beetles, and fly larvae. On rare occasions, they feed on crustaceans, fish, and spiders.

The ornate box turtle eats food that is readily available. Foods they eat include prickly pear cacti, flowers such as dandelion, mulberries, slugs, beetles, grasshoppers, and earthworms. On rare occasions, this chelonian feeds on carrion, fish, and fecal matter.

3. What do box turtles eat as pets?

As pets, these animals are not difficult to feed as they accept a wide variety of foods. They accept meat (although I recommend lean meat), fruits (although I recommend offering these sparingly), vegetables, and leafy greens (such as collard greens).

These turtles can even be offered canned dog food. Offer soaked dry food, canned dog food, and semi-moist dog food.

When they are young offer them more protein and when they are older you should offer them more plants. Regardless of what you offer them, fruits should be kept to a minimum as these are high in sugar.

Refer to the article for more specifics.

4. What do baby box turtles eat?

Baby box turtles need a lot of protein. In fact, some baby box turtles will ignore vegetables entirely and also go for protein and animals. As you may have guessed since they are growing they require a lot more protein.

Offer them protein vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits every meal even though they may ignore it. Proteins to provide include the insects listed, fish, commercial turtle diet, and many more. All the foods listed are suitable for hatchlings and juveniles.

5. How much do box turtles eat?

There is no set amount of food to feed your boxie. I recommend allowing your box turtle to eat as much as it can within 15 to 20 mins.

Alternatively, you can use the head of the boxie to determine how much protein to feed it. With this approach, the animal-based food for a single meal shouldn’t be larger than the turtle’s head.

6. How often do box turtles eat?

These chelonians eat daily or every other day. I recommend feeding hatchlings and juveniles daily. This is within the first 4 or 5 years of their lives.

Adults on the other hand should be fed once every two days or even once every three days. Adult box turtles have a shell length of about 4 to 7 inches and an age of 4 to 5 years.

The appetite of your box turtle and its activity level will determine how often to feed them. If your turtle just isn’t eating, then you can feed it once every three days. If the turtle has a huge appetite, you can even feed it daily.

7. What vegetables can box turtles eat?

Box turtles can eat all vegetables found in the home and in grocery shops. Just avoid feeding them rhubarb, tobacco leaves, potato leaves, tomato leaves, avocado peel/skin and pits, grains, and processed human food like bread, pasta, cake, and biscuits.

Some vegetables they can eat include dandelion greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, collard greens, wheatgrass,  swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, parsley, kale,  endive, bean sprouts,  beets,  cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, grated carrots, green beans, okra, peas in the pod,  summer and winter squashes,  sweet potatoes, and wax beans.

8. Can box turtles eat apples?

Boxies can eat apples, just make sure to slice them up into manageable sizes.

9. Can box turtles eat blueberries?

Boxies enjoy blueberries and do eat them both as pets and as wild reptiles. They are safe to eat.

10. Can box turtles eat grapes?

Yes, they do. These should be a snack for the turtle. Grapes along with all fruits should make up about 10% of the diet.

11. Can box turtles eat oranges?

While not their favorite food, box turtles do accept and eat oranges.

12. Can box turtles eat tomatoes?

Tomato along with other fruits should be offered as a treat. Box turtles enjoy and eat tomatoes.

13. Can box turtles eat blackberries?

You can offer them blackberries. They do accept these and even eat them in the wild.

14. Can box turtles eat cherries?

Box turtles accept and eat cherries including black cherries, sweet cherries, and sour cherries.

15. Can box turtles eat raspberries?

Yes, they eat raspberries. I recommend chopping up the raspberries before offering them.

16. Can box turtles eat kiwis?

Yes, they eat kiwi although I recommend cutting the kiwi into sizeable chunks.

17. Can box turtles eat peaches?

Yes, they eat peaches. Just as with other fruits, cut these into smaller pieces.

18. Can box turtles eat carrots?

Yes, they eat carrots. Carrots are high in vitamin A and as such can be offered often, not as much as dark leafy greens though. Make sure to grate the carrots.

19. Can box turtles eat broccoli?

Yes, they eat broccoli and broccoli rabe. These are high in vitamin A as well.

20. Can box turtles eat spinach?

Yes, they eat spinach. Offer this in limited amounts as they are quite high in phosphorus. You can also dust spinach with calcium powder.

21. Can box turtles eat avocados?

Yes, they eat avocado although the pit and skin (rind) of avocado is toxic to turtles. Do not offer avocado pits or skins to the turtle.

22. Can box turtles eat cabbage?

Yes, they accept cabbage although it should be offered in limited amounts. Instead offer more dark leafy greens. Cabbage along with kale and mustard is also high in goitrogens which can be harmful in large quantities.

23. Do box turtles eat grass?

Yes, they eat grass although they are usually picky when it comes to grass. Offer alfalfa grass to the turtle.

24. Can box turtles eat potatoes?

Yes, they eat sweet potatoes. These are high in vitamin A which is essential to the health of the turtle.

25. Do box turtles eat meat?

Yes, they eat meat. However, you should only offer low-fat white meats such as boiled chicken.

26. Do box turtles eat worms?

Yes, they eat worms. Earthworms are particularly nutritious as they are high in calcium. Offer earthworms often.

27. Do box turtles eat mealworms?

Yes, they eat mealworms. These should be dusted with calcium powder before offering them to the turtle. Only offer calcium supplements about thrice a week.

28. Do box turtles eat frogs?

Yes, they eat frogs, especially in the wild. Do not offer wild frogs to your pet turtle as they may carry harmful bacteria. You can get frogs from pet supply stores.

29. Do box turtles eat crickets?

Yes, box turtles eat crickets. Offer the cricket in a limited amount. Alternatively, dust the crickets with calcium powder as crickets are high in phosphorus.

30. Can box turtles eat chicken?

Yes, box turtles eat chicken. Offer boiled chicken occasionally. It shouldn’t be their main source of protein. The chicken should be boiled with just water and nothing else. Don’t add any salt.

31. Can box turtles eat dog food?

Yes, they can eat dog food. Offer soaked dry food, canned dog food, and semi-moist dog food. Try and offer dog food in limited quantities. These may still contain too much fat for the chelonian.

32. Do box turtles eat fish?

Yes, they eat fish. They accept feeder fish such as killifish, mosquitofish, crappies, bluegills, platies, and guppies. Avoid goldfish as they are high in fat. Goldfish are also high in thiaminase. Other fish to avoid include buckeye shiners, spottail shiners, gizzard shad, carp, fathead minnows, and bullhead catfish. Also avoid fish with sharp bones such as cockatoo cichlid, bichir, angelfish, and swordtails.

Also, avoid feeding your turtle wild fish. Wild fish may carry harmful bacteria.

In all, only offer fish occasionally. While these chelonians eat fish in the wild, this is usually on rare occasions.

Insects are the best source of protein for the box turtle. Try and offer insects with a high calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.


The omnivorous box turtle is a popular turtle kept as a pet. These chelonians feed on a wide variety of foods including insects, carrion, mushrooms, berries, foliage, and many more.

There are few foods the box turtle won’t accept. Regardless of this, the box turtle can become fixated on a particular food. To prevent this, feed these turtles a wide array of foods.

The chelonian’s diet should consist of 50% animal-based foods and 50% plant-based foods. This should allow the turtle to eat a well-balanced diet.

Calcium and vitamin D3 supplements may also be needed to keep the turtle fit and healthy. Sprinkle calcium and vitamin D3 powder on the turtle’s meal about twice or three times a week.

If you have any extra information, we’d love to hear it in the comments section below.

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