Can a Red-Eared Slider Turtle Eat Cabbage?

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Red-eared slider turtles can indeed consume kale. Approximately 80% of the turtle’s diet consists of veggies daily. But Can a red-eared slider turtle eat cabbage?

Since your tortoise is a vegetarian, you should give it fresh, wholesome food rather than dried or processed food. Don’t provide veggies like lettuce, which have very little nutritional value.

More Choices the Better

The best vegetable selection is not cabbage; as a result, you should think about superior alternative options. You should pick at least three distinct veggies daily since your turtle needs to eat vegetables. Your turtle will receive more nourishment and three distinct flavors of food this way.

Your turtle loves to eat crunchy veggies. Turtles are opportunists; they frequently consume anything that is presented to them.

Therefore, it is on your shoulders to decide whether to offer nourishing foods or not. Vegetables come in a wide variety that is available to you effortlessly.

Alternative Foods for Red Eared Slider Turtle

In addition to veggies, fruits are an alternative. As frugivores, turtles like consuming scrumptious fruits. You may choose fruits since they are incredibly nutrient-dense and offer your turtle a variety of nutritional advantages.

Apples, berries, melons, and other fruits are excellent additions to your red eared turtle’s diet. It is crucial to understand that whatever your turtle consumes besides its usual meal shouldn’t account for more than 10% to 20% of its daily calories.

Critical Nutrients

When discussing fruits and vegetables for turtles, we suggest that they must be rich in calcium and vitamins A and D. Your turtle must get these critical nutrients.

However, this green vegetable also has goitrogens, which are substances that prevent the thyroid gland from producing thyroid hormones. So giving your turtles too much cabbage might cause hypothyroidism.

Through interfering with the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine, goitrogens reduce the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Salts, which are known to damage the kidneys, are also present in cabbage. However, compared to other vegetables, cabbage has a comparatively low concentration of oxalic acids. You shouldn’t be concerned about it.

The lesson to be learned from this is to consume cabbage in moderation. Turtles enjoy eating cabbage, and if left unchecked, they may consume a sizable amount of it. However, as long as you sometimes provide moderate doses mixed with other meals, you’re fine to go!

Giving meals that are high in oxalates and goitrogens while also time requires constant vigilance. Kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and broccoli are a few examples.

The Calcium Phosphorus Ratio

Calcium and phosphorus are present in almost all veggies. The majority of them result in calcium to phosphorus ratio as a result. So let’s examine the effects of calcium, phosphorus, and healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio on turtles.

Every animal with bones in the world needs calcium to maintain healthy bones. Additionally, calcium is crucial for turtles more than any other animal since a turtle’s shell is composed of bones. A turtle gets most of its calcium from vegetables, thus it’s crucial to provide them with lots of calcium while feeding them.

Phosphorus is a crucial mineral for humans since it aids in waste filtration, cell and tissue repair, and other processes. Phosphorus, though, is not all that helpful for turtles. The slightly increased flexibility that phosphorus affords turtle shells makes them more resilient to biting and other sorts of trauma, which is fantastic. However, too much phosphorus can also weaken the shell’s ability to protect the tortoise from predators by making it much softer.

How to Interpret Ratio?

In a nutshell, calcium is beneficial for turtles but excessive concentrations of phosphorus are not so terrific.

The calcium to phosphorus ratio in most plants might be 1:1, 2:1, 5:1, 1:2, etc.

A 1:1 ratio indicates that the amounts of calcium and phosphorus are equal or nearly equal. Therefore, however, a vegetable with this ratio is not ideal for turtles, it is also not dangerous. Such vegetables should be avoided, though, if at all feasible.

Since there are few plants with a calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1:2, you shouldn’t worry too much about them. Just bear in mind to keep vegetables away from your turtle if they contain more potassium than calcium.

The 2:1 ratio is good and should be your goal; if it is exceeded, it is acceptable, but this is generally the ratio you want.

Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio in Vegetables 

With a 2:1 ratio, cabbage is a healthy food choice for turtles. The calcium to phosphorus proportion of some of the most popular vegetables is listed below:

Spinach, Mustard7.5:1
Turnip Greens4.5:1
Dill Weed3.2:1
Beet Greens3.0:1
Dandelion Greens2.8:1
Chinese Cabbage (Pak Choi)2.8:1
Lettuce, Loose-leaf2.7:1
Mustard Greens2.4:1
Chicory Greens2.1:1
Endive (Escarole)1.9:1
Lettuce, Butterhead (Boston, Bibb)1.4:1
Swiss Chard1.1:1
Squash (Winter, all varieties)1.0:1
Green Beans1.0:1
Lettuce, Romaine0.8:1
Sweet Potato0.8:1
Cucumber (with skin)0.7:1
Endive, Belgian (Witloof Chicory)0.7:1
Squash (Summer, all varieties)0.6:1
Brussels Sprouts0.6:1
Alfalfa Sprouts0.5:1
Peppers, Green0.5:1
Peppers, Red0.5:1
Sweet Potato Leaves0.4:1
Corn, White0.02:1

You should really be able to obtain a basic sense of what veggies you should give your turtle from the information in this table.

How Do I Get My Turtle to Eat Cabbage?

Finding the reason must come first on your list of tasks. Additionally, there are two options.

The first scenario is that your turtle has been accustomed to solely consuming meat, pellet, and prepackaged meals and is refusing to consume anything else. But thankfully, this is a frequent issue with a straightforward circumstance. Simply cut back on the amount of meat and pellets you feed your turtle and start supplementing it with cabbage. Start by giving it less food initially and switching to veggies instead. Substitute more of its diet with veggies if it still won’t eat.

Continue doing this until the cabbage starts to disappear. Don’t be concerned about starving your turtle; in nature, they are accustomed to going for weeks at a time without food, and you are still providing it the option to eat a lot of food; nothing is being taken away entirely. It merely refuses to eat because it is accustomed to other, less healthy but much sweeter, forms of food.

Your tortoise will start eating veggies after a few weeks or a month of employing this strategy, and eventually, it will come to like some of them as well.


You can offer your turtle cabbage, including green and red types, so that’s good to know. It includes numerous essential minerals that a turtle requires, including calcium and vitamins A and C.

However, considering it isn’t completely devoid of vices, be cautious to offer sparingly. Goitrogens, which are found in cabbage, interfere with a reptile’s thyroid function.

Turtles prefer lush green foods like kale, cabbage, spinach, collard greens, etc. in addition to most types of lettuce. These are not only delicious, but they also contain essential vitamins and minerals that your turtle will appreciate just do not overfeed the same vegetable over and over again to your turtle.

Can a Red-Eared Slider Turtle Eat Cabbage? FAQs

Do red-eared sliders eat fish?

Red-eared slider turtles are predators, that live in the wild and eat decaying materials like frogs and dead fish as well as aquatic plants and small fish. When turtles are young, they are mostly carnivorous; as they become older, they become increasingly omnivorous.

How often should I feed my red-eared slider?

How frequently you should feed your red-eared slider depends on its size and age. Turtles that are smaller or younger will eat a lot every day. As they become older, adult turtles may be fed a big piece of food every two or three days.

How often should you give cabbage to red-eared sliders?

You should be feeding your red-eared slider with vegetables at least 3 times a week so it is recommended to give them cabbage only once a week and other vegetables for the rest of the days.

Do red-eared sliders eat during the winter seasons?

The turtles become almost completely immobile, stop eating and urinating, and slow down their respiration when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They still require water to consume (unlike the other hibernating animals). “They can become active and surface for sunbathing in milder winter climes.”

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