What Vegetables Can Red eared Sliders Eat? + Feeding Tips

Red-eared sliders are omnivorous and will eat anything you feed them. This means they can eat various food such as insects, fruits, and vegetables. Many pet owners are confused about what vegetables are best for their pets. This article will guide you on what vegetables red-eared sliders can eat.

Dark leafy vegetables are considered the best vegetables to feed your red-eared slider. Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, carrot, and kale are suitable for your pet. The only type of vegetable that you should avoid is the one that is high in phosphorus.

7 Vegetables That Are Safe for Your Red-eared Slider

leafy greens

Red-eared sliders are not picky eaters and will eat whatever you feed them. Many pet owners are concerned about which vegetables are safe for their pets. This is due to the high phosphorus content in some vegetables, which can cause health concerns for your pet. Here are seven vegetables that are safe for your red-eared slider.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are not only safe to eat but provide a lot of vitamins to your red-eared sliders. This vegetable is high in vitamins but provides your pet with essential minerals. These vitamins and minerals are necessary for your pet’s growth. You can feed your red-eared slider and painted turtles as well with lettuce, spinach, and kale. These vegetables are high in calcium and low in phosphorus levels, making them safe for consumption. 

Vegetables high in phosphorus are considered unsafe for your pet as they can cause significant health issues such as metabolic bone disease. The high phosphorus content in the vegetables will absorb all the calcium produced in the body. This leads to the weakening of the shell and then eventually to MBD.


Carrots are also a great choice of vegetable for your red-eared slider. This vegetable has beta-carotene and vitamin A, improving your pet’s vision and boosting their immunity. Although, you should not make carrots part of their everyday meal as they have high levels of sugar content.


Squash is an excellent source of vitamin C for your pet sliders and improves your turtle’s digestion system. Thus, making it a safe vegetable for your red-eared slider. You can provide your pet slider with a different type of squash to prevent redundancy. Vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, and butternut squash are safe options.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are another example of healthy vegetables to feed your red-eared sliders. These vegetables are rich in vitamin C and improve your turtle’s immune system. Bell peppers are also known to help your pet to digest food easily. You can feed your red-eared slider with any color of bell pepper, such as red, yellow, or green.


Cucumbers serve as an excellent vegetable for your red-eared sliders. This vegetable provides your pet slider with hydration, as cucumbers are mostly made of water. Cucumbers are also in calorie ratio and will not cause your pet to gain weight, making it a perfect snack in the summer.


Brocolli is an excellent vegetable for your pet slider, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Broccolis are an essential source of calcium and vitamin C which are important in the growing age of your red-eared slider. Broccoli also helps your pet to maintain the health of its shell and keep it vibrant and strong.

Green Beans

Green beans are rich in vitamin C and fiber content. Thus, making this vegetable a healthy option to consider for your turtle. Green beans also keep your red-eared slider healthy. The only thing you should know is that it has a low calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.

VegetablesCalcium to Phosphorus Ratio
Bell Peppers0.5:1
Green Beans0.5:1

5 Tips to Feed Vegetables to Your Red-Eared Sliders

red-eared slider with green leaf vegetable on the side

 Now that we know the importance and benefits of feeding vegetables to your pet, you should know how to feed them. Feeding vegetables to your turtle can be tedious; your pet slider might even reduce eating veggies. Here are five tips for feeding vegetables to your red-eared slider.

Offering a Variety of Vegetables

It is always better to offer your red-eared slider a wide range of vegetables. This will help you understand the vegetables they like and the ones they do not. You should offer your pet a mix of leafy greens like kale, spinach, cucumber, and carrots. Providing a wide range of vegetables will make you understand which vegetables you like. You should also check if the vegetable does not have too much phosphorus content, as it can cause a series of medical illnesses.

Cut the Vegetable Into Finer Pieces

You should remember that red-eared sliders have smaller mouths compared to other reptiles. This can cause a choking hazard if the vegetable is too big for your turtle. Chop the vegetables into smaller bits so your pet slider can enjoy them peacefully. You should also remove any seeds from the vegetables, as they can be difficult for your slider to digest.

Editor’s Note
The size of the vegetable depends on your pet’s size, age, and gender. You should chop the vegetables as big as the distance between their eyes. This method will avoid choking hazards and make vegetables easy to eat.

Feed Vegetables in Water

Red-eared sliders like to hunt in water and are comfortable eating in water. While feeding your red-eared sliders, dip them in water, making the food more accessible to the turtle. Use a shallow container and dip your vegetables inside the container. This method will also keep you hydrated while your pet eats its food.

Mix Vegetables and Other Foods

If your red-eared slider still refuses to eat vegetables, you can mix them with other foods. You should also add a small number of vegetables along with worms and pellets. Over time you can see your red-eared slider eating greens more regularly.

Offering Vegetables as Treats

You should give your red-eared slider vegetables as treats from time to time. This will encourage them to eat more vegetables. Offer them a small piece of carrot or cucumber which they can eat after they are done with their meal. This will make your turtle enjoy eating vegetables and may provide them with all the health benefits of veggies.

Unsafe Vegetables for Red-eared Sliders

While some vegetables offer health benefits, not all are safe for your red-eared slider. You should know that some vegetables are also harmful and toxic to your pet’s consumption. Here are some unsafe vegetables for red-eared sliders.



Avacado is considered toxic for many reptiles, including red-eared sliders. This vegetable contains a chemical substance known as persin, causing heart damage and respiratory problems for your pet. Red-eared sliders can also die if they are given avocados too regularly. You should never feed your pet any part of an avocado, including the flesh, pulp, or pit.



Rhubarb is also considered unsafe for your red-eared slider. This is because this vegetable contains a high amount of oxalic acid, which can bind with calcium in your pet’s body. This vegetable will cause digestive problems, kidney stones, and even death. You should not even feed the leaves or stems of the plant as it may also have a damaging effect on your pet.

Onion and Garlic

Onion and Garlic

Onion and garlic can cause anemia in red-eared sliders. Feeding onion and garlic can cause health problems for your pet and make them lazy. This vegetable also damages the red blood cells in your turtle’s body and causes various health issues. Avoid feeding your pet onion and garlic, as they belong to the allium family.



Some species of mushrooms can be difficult to digest for your red-eared sliders, making them an unsafe option for your pet. Mushrooms are high in fiber and can cause digestive issues and impaction in your turtle’s body. You should be extra careful with wild mushrooms as they can be poisonous and even cause death in a worst-case scenario.



Spinach is considered unsafe for red-eared sliders as it is high in oxalic acid. This vegetable can cause health issues such as kidney and bladder stones and should be avoided. Spinach can be served occasionally to bring variety to your pet’s diet but should never be given as part of an everyday diet.

What Is an Ideal Diet for a Red-Eared Slider?

Red-eared sliders are omnivorous and will eat anything that you feed them. You should know about the various vegetables and fruits that you should feed them to keep them safe in the longer run. Here is an ideal diet for a red-eared slider; this will help you choose the best food to feed your pet. If your red eared slider is having a healthy diet, you won’t have any poop related problems, so its highly recommended to have more focus on this.


feeding pellets to red-eared slider

You should feed your red-eared slider high-quality pellets as part of their diet. Commercial turtle pellets are specially formulated to provide all the nutrients for healthy growth in your pet. Avoid pellets that contain artificial flavoring, color, and preservatives, as they can damage your pet.


As red-eared sliders are omnivores, you should provide them with a protein source to keep them healthy and running. You can offer your pet small pieces of fish, chicken, or turkey meat to keep them strong. Small insects such as crickets, mealworms, and other feeder insects can also be given occasionally as a source of protein for your pet.



Vegetables should be a staple of your pet’s diet and have 20-50% weightage in their daily feeding session. You can offer various vegetables such as carrots, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. Although, you should never give unsafe vegetables to your red-eared slider, as it can make them fall sick and face health issues. Avoid feeding vegetables that are high in phosphorus or oxalic acid.


slice of banana, strawberries, and blueberries

You can also offer your red-eared slider some fruits on an occasional basis. Remember, fruits should only be given as a treat and should not become a part of their everyday diet. Fruits are high in sugar and cause health issues in your pet’s body. Some fruits that you can offer your pet are strawberries, bananas, and blueberries.


Can a red-eared slider eat vegetables?

Red-eared sliders can eat vegetables, but only those safe for them. You can feed your pet with carrots, kale, cucumber, romaine lettuce, and zucchini. Avoid vegetables that are high in phosphorus and oxalic acid content.

What fruits can I feed red-eared sliders?

You can offer various fruits to your red-eared sliders, such as strawberries, bananas, grapes, mangoes, and kiwis. You should only give fruits on an occasional treat basis and not make them part of their everyday diet.

Final Thoughts

Red-eared sliders are omnivores and will eat any vegetable that you feed them. The critical question is which vegetables are safe for them and which ones are not. You should always avoid vegetables that are high in citrus and phosphorus content. These vegetables can cause health problems and should be avoided. Give your red-eared sliders some leafy greens to give them all the essential nutrients required for rapid growth.

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