Can Tortoises Eat Mealworms? (Interesting Benefits)

Can tortoises eat mealworms?

The answer to this question is yes. Tortoises are omnivores which means that they eat both plants and meat.

Mealworms are made of mostly protein which is a great source of food for these reptiles. Mealworms are also easy to digest.

It’s important to know that they should be consumed in moderation since it’s not part of their natural diet.

What Are Mealworms?

Photo by Robert Gunnarsson on Unsplash

Mealworms are live worms that are used as a diet for different types of critters. It is the larvae stage of the darkling beetle and it is a high protein food that can be fed to small animals like reptiles, fish, and birds.

They are also used in different products like pet food. Many people keep them as pets when they reach adulthood.

The mealworm is not entirely defenseless against predators due to its nasty taste and odor that deters predators from eating them.

That’s why you need to make sure that the worms you buy have not been fed with anything toxic like garlic or onions which might kill your pet or at least make him/her sick. Other than that many keepers feed their pets with vitamin or mineral-rich foods to improve their health or growth rate.

In the wild, mealworms live for about 2–3 months, but when raised in captivity, will live for about 6 months to 1 year. Mealworms have four stages to their life cycle: egg, larvae (mealworm), pupa, and adult.

Mealworms will only eat a specific type of food, making them not as suitable for people that want to breed their own mealworms. The ones available in store or online are usually bred in captivity so you don’t have to worry about how healthy your mealworms are.

See Also: Can Tortoises Eat Earthworms?

Are There Benefits Eating Mealworms For Tortoises?

Mealworms are a good source of protein for tortoises. They are also known to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A, thiamine and riboflavin.

Mealworms should be fed only occasionally as part of a varied diet. Mealworms can be fed to tortoises that are yearlings or older or if the tortoise is not interested in eating other high-protein foods.

In the wild, tortoises will eat plants, flowers, fruit, and grasses. Mealworms can be a great substitute for these natural foods due to their high protein content.

How Do I Choose The Right Mealworm?

The best way to choose the right mealworm is to pick the biggest one you can find while still maintaining quality.

Most mealworms have a natural tendency to get long and skinny, however, there are some that are more active and remain more compact. Any excess waste is excreted through the anus.

What Can Tortoises Not Eat?

Tortoises should not eat anything that is high in fat and protein. They should also stay away from anything with a very strong smell or flavor.

Here is a list of what you should keep away from torts:

-Avocado: Avocado is not a staple food for tortoises and should be fed only occasionally. It is also known to cause intestinal obstruction in tortoises.

-Citrus Fruits: Tortoises should not be fed citrus fruits. They are high in acid and can cause a serious case of metabolic bone disease or shell defects.

-Spinach: Spinach is heavy in nitrate and should not be fed regularly.

-Potatoes: Potatoes are high in starch and should be avoided.

-Garlic and Onions: Onions and garlic should be avoided as they have been linked to respiratory infections in tortoises.

-Chocolate: Tortoises should not be fed chocolate because it contains theobromine which is toxic to them.

-Daffodils, amaryllis, and tulips: These plants contain the toxin lycorine and can be fatal to tortoises.

-Legumes: Legumes should never be given to tortoises!

Never feed your pet a wild animal or insects from outside, especially if they are dead. In addition, just because it is sold in the market you bought it at does not mean it is safe for a tortoise to eat.

If you want to give your tortoise a treat, it’s advisable to use mealworms as this will provide them with the protein that they need. Mealworms are made up of mostly protein which means that they’re an excellent source of food for tortoises.


If you have a tortoise, you should know that they can surely eat mealworms, but know that it should not be a daily habit for the tortoise.

It has some benefits though, they are a good source of protein, they are nutritious, and they don’t cost too much.

I would say that he main reason why tortoises should be fed mealworms as a treat is that they provide the right nutrients that they need to stay healthy & fit.

When feeding mealworms as a treat, it’s always recommended not to give them too much at one time because you don’t want them to get sick from eating too much and not being able to digest.


Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash