Pet turtles can eat almost anything, including animal and plant-based foods. But can all turtle species eat rice, a popular staple diet for humans? Or are there risks for turtles eating this food?
So, what is the answer to the question, can turtles eat rice? Yes, pet turtles can eat cooked rice either white or brown. However, they should only eat it sparingly. Rice is low in sodium, sugars, and fat but is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and essential nutrients. This, therefore, makes it a healthy food.
Since pet turtles can eat rice, does this mean it is beneficial for their health? Read on to find out this and much more.
Can You Feed Rice To Your Pet Turtles?
You definitely can. Rice is free of any toxic compounds and is, therefore, safe for your pet turtles to eat. Besides, it offers many nutritional benefits to your turtles, including preventing constipation, obesity, and a spike in blood sugar levels.
You can choose to feed white or brown rice to your turtles. However, unlike white rice, brown rice has both bran and germ. Therefore, it contains more fiber, protein, and carbohydrates than white rice. On the other hand, white rice is richer in other nutrients like calcium and iron.
But what is the exact nutritional value of brown and white rice? Here is a table comparing their nutrient proximates.
|Nutritional Information (Approximates for 1/3 Cup Cooked Rice)||Brown Rice||White Rice|
|Carbohydrates||17.05 g||14.84 g|
|Dietary fiber||1.1 g||0.2 g|
|Protein||1.83 g||1.42 g|
|Sodium||3 mg||1 mg|
|Calcium||2 mg||5 mg|
|Iron||0.37 mg||0.63 mg|
However, you cannot feed this food to your turtles as part of their regular diets. This is because rice does not pack many nutrients as it is mainly rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein. It also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals such as:
- Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B-3 (Niacin)
Unfortunately, rice is not a source of vitamins A and D, which are essential for a turtle’s proper growth. Therefore, feeding your turtles too much rice and too often may expose the pets to many health risks.
Do Turtles Like Rice?
Turtles are not fond of eating rice because it is not something naturally found in the wild. However, when you give rice to turtles as an occasional treat, most species love it and can easily overfeed if you are not careful.
Health Benefits For Turtles Eating Rice
While rice is not the most nutrient-rich food out there for turtles, it offers several health benefits. These include:
- Maintaining turtle’s healthy weight
- Brown rice has a cardio-protective effect
- Excellent source of energy
- Helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels
- Antioxidant and anti-diabetic effect
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Relieves constipation
How Much Rice Should Turtles Eat?
Your pet turtles should only eat a small amount of rice that they can consume within 15 minutes. This is because overfeeding will only make the pet feel full quickly without getting significant amounts of nutrients. You could give them rice once or twice a month.
How Do You Prepare Rice For Turtles?
You start by boiling or steaming the rice until it is properly cooked but not overcooked. Then, let the rice cool down before serving it to your turtles in a shallow and clean dish.
Can You Feed Rice To Baby Turtles? If So, How?
Yes, you can, but it is not recommended. Baby turtles need a lot of animal and plant-based foods in their regular diets instead of grains. However, you can feed them just a little amount of cooked rice. Just make sure to mash it for ease of eating.
Now, if you have never seen a pet turtle eating steamed white rice, check out this short video.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Box turtles are omnivorous and will eat nearly everything, including rice, leafy green veggies, carrots, peas, and an assortment of fruits. However, younger box turtles may not like rice because they are more carnivores than their adult counterparts. Even so, you should feed rice to your adult box turtles sparingly.
Yes, they can. Red-eared slider turtles enjoy eating a wide range of dark leafy greens, fish, insects, fruits, and vegetables. However, they can still eat rice once in a while since they are not exclusively carnivorous. You just cook the rice and throw it in their aquarium for them to enjoy.
Absolutely. Both young and adult painted turtles can eat rice occasionally since their diet comprises mainly plants and animals. But since painted turtles are aquatic, you will have to feed them the rice in their water tank. They will enjoy eating the rice while swimming, whether brown or white.
Your pet turtles will not get sick from eating cooked rice occasionally. In fact, there are many health benefits for turtles eating rice, including improving gut health and maintaining a healthy weight. So, whether you have the box, painted, or red-eared slider turtles, they can eat rice provided you don’t overfeed them.