I am lucky enough to live only a few blocks from Newport News Park, one of the largest state parks in Virginia. At more than 8,000 acres, Newport News Park is filled with a huge variety of wildlife, including large populations of reptiles and amphibians. Turtles especially are incredibly common in the park; snapping turtles, mud/musk turtles, and a number of slider species call the central lake their home. In the heat of summer, you can find dozen of these pond turtles basking near the shores and bridges with relatively little effort.
People come to visit the park for many reasons, but some come to see these turtles specifically; feeding the park’s turtles is a popular draw for many visitors. As soon as people toss food into the water (most notably bread), massive numbers of turtles congregate near the bridges and banks to eat, much to the delight of visitors. Although they do show an interest in human food such as bread, an important question arises: is it actually okay to feed bread to turtles (wild or domestic)?