What to Feed Box Turtles

Box turtles should be fed a variety of food items. Limiting themselves to only one or two food sources can lead to nutritional imbalances or deficiencies.

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An ideal diet for box turtles consists of 80-90% vegetables and flowers and 10% fruit. Crickets, earthworms and Zoophobas can all provide excellent sources of animal protein.



Box turtles eat an array of fruits and vegetables. Some foods are rich in Vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), while others provide plenty of calcium.

Dark leafy greens should comprise the bulk of your turtle’s diet, while light-green veggies such as iceberg lettuce and celery should only be offered occasionally as these provide little nutritional benefit.

Carrots, squash, spinach, kale, collards, turnips and chard are also great vegetables to include as part of a varied diet. Be sure to provide all these along with water.

Before feeding vegetables to box turtles, all must be thoroughly washed in cold water for at least 15 seconds to prevent mold growth and bacteria buildup. A light dusting with reptile calcium and multivitamin mineral powder 2-3 times weekly may also help. When exposed to direct sunlight, box turtles usually produce their own vitamin D3 naturally so may not require supplementation as often.


Box turtles can enjoy fruit such as berries and melons from time to time; however, fruit should not make up too much of a reptile’s diet.

Turtle diets should consist primarily of dark leafy vegetables such as collard greens, mustard or turnip greens, bok choy, alfalfa hay, kale and Swiss chard. Avoid light leafy greens due to their lower nutrient content and higher concentrations of oxalates which may inhibit calcium absorption from their digestive systems.

Other acceptable vegetable foods include cooked sweet potatoes (which contain the highest concentration of Vitamin A per gram of all these veggies), winter squash, carrots and romaine lettuce. All veggies should be cut up finely before offering.


Fruit and flowers offer tortoises and box turtles a nutritious diet of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enrichment. When planting a garden or outdoor turtle enclosure, try growing strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, or cranberry plants that contain plenty of folic acid for eye sight and immune support. Non-toxic flowers like geraniums, carnations, hibiscus or nasturtiums may be added for extra enrichment!

Ideal diets for turtles include dark leafy greens. Avoid feeding iceberg lettuce and other light greens which contain mostly water but few essential vitamins and nutrients.


Box turtles should primarily focus on eating animal-based food sources like earth worms, night crawlers, horn worms, wax worms and meal worms as their staple diet. Insects found both wild and in bait shops such as crickets may also provide valuable nourishment.

Vegetables should play an essential part of a balanced diet. Sources of high-calcium vegetables include collard greens, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens and alfalfa hay; while other acceptable vegetables include acorn squashes, bell peppers, prickly pear leaves, bok choy, radish and dandelion leaves.

Take care when feeding your turtle food high in phosphorus, as this could lead to a deficiency of calcium. Avoid providing your turtle with foods such as rhubarb, potato leaves, tobacco leaves and avocado peel/skin/pits as sources of phosphorus.


There are a few commercial turtle foods that claim to provide complete nutrition; however, it should only form part of their overall diet.

Dark green vegetables should form the bulk of your turtle’s diet, such as collard, beet, mustard and turnip greens, kale and Swiss chard. Other good options for turtle nutrition are dandelion leaves, fennel stalks, arugula, bok choy watercress alfalfa hay; light-green vegetables such as iceberg lettuce or celery should also be avoided.

HBH Turtle Bites may be the top pick among these pellets, providing balanced nutrition to many turtles and being their go-to choice. While this food does contain high amounts of protein, supplementation should still be made as necessary. With four sizes to accommodate turtles of various ages and species.