I've got my turtle some dog food to use as an occasional treat for it. I've only gave it once and it didn't even eat from it then. I then covered and left it.

After some time I noticed some white worms inside, even though I've covered it.

I know they're maggots, I'm just left wondering if I can feed my turtle these worms as I know that turtles love worms. I do know the turtle would eat them, I've just read on the Web contradictory statements, as some people feed them and some people don't. Any idea if they are healthy for my turtle to eat?

  • How long have you left it?
    – user53
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 16:36
  • About a week, but it was covered the whole time.
    – Mozein
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 16:37
  • Is this wet food? Did you refrigerate it? (Just trying to figure out what happened)
    – user53
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 16:38
  • Yes it's wet food, I didn't refrigerate it. <-probably the problem, I just forgot about them for some time since my turtle didn't show interest.
    – Mozein
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 16:40
  • Forget it, I've read some more about them, and I've figure they can carry a lot of diseases or parasites. Anyone know how to delete a question?
    – Mozein
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


Maggots are the larvae of a fly, generally the maggots we deal with are housefly maggots. Though houseflies are considered pests, most of the 250,000+ fly species are not pests but rather innocuous or even helpful. Even more, maggots play a very important role in the ecosystem as decomposers of dead matter (mostly they absorb nutrients from dead or rotten flesh).

Now, enough with the goodies. Maggots can be found in the most abominable places and are generally exposed to very dirty and unhygienic environments. Which is a reason many carry a lot of parasites and/or diseases. In this case though, the maggots in the dog food were limited to a space of a small can and are unlikely to carry diseases and/or parasites.

Maggots can actually invade a turtle's body. Signs of maggot infestment are holes in a turtle's skin or shell with black fluid oozing out. This happens if a turtle has wounds: flies will land on it and lay eggs. Maggots should be removed by tweezers, but can take a long time to be removed completely. When maggots are removed an antibiotic ointment should be applied daily. If you cannot see the maggots then you need to deprive them of air so they would come out to breath. You can do so by placing a gauze above the hole, then sealing it with a duct tape. After a little time, remove the duct tape and a maggot should appear trying to breath, you should then pierce the maggot with a needle and remove it. Repeat this procedure until all maggots have been removed. Cleanse the area daily with a Betadine (povidone-iodine) solution or mildly salty water until the hole is healed. You might want to consult a vet before doing any of these and perhaps let them do it for you.

If the maggots are left for enough time, they can eat through the insides of the turtle and kill it. So just in case, keep an eye on the turtle while feeding it maggots in case the maggots find a wound you didn't notice and invade it. Maggots can be real evil!

Generally, salamanders, frogs, lizards, and turtles will readily eat maggots. Maggots are a good source of protein, but they also contain lipids. The proteins and fats are mostly high in amount but are actually extremely variable. Since these maggots were mainly feeding on dog food, which is relatively high in fats, then these maggots will probably have a very high fat content, which isn't good for the turtle.

In summary, turtles can eat maggots and yours probably will. However there are many better alternatives like crickets, meal worms, or superworms. Also, feeding maggots to your turtle poses unnecessary risks to the turtle's well-being. I'd advise you feed maggots to your turtle only if they've been kept in a closed environment and were feeding on dead or rotten flesh that are low in fat. And if your turtle has been rejecting other food to a point were you know it's starving.


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