What Not to Feed Your Pet Turtle

What Not to Feed Your Pet Turtle – A Helpful Guide

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Turtle GuideAquatic Turtles are some of the most common and beloved pets throughout America. Aquatic turtles can grow to be about 10-12 inches long, so it’s important to provide a large enough tank and feed them the proper diet they need to be able to thrive and grow.

Owning a turtle is a huge responsibility, and you should make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your cute little friend happy and healthy.

What Type of Diet Do Aquatic Turtles Eat?

The majority of Aquatic Turtles are omnivores, so they eat both plants and meat. Aquatic Turtles love to feast on vegetables, fruits, and small animals.

It’s impossible to completely replicate the same diet that your aquatic turtle would have access to if they were in the wild.

However, we can get as close as possible by feeding them a balanced diet and turtle pellets. Turtle pellets provide your turtle with all of the proper minerals and vitamins they need to stay healthy.

What Types of Meat Can Turtles Eat?

You will want to mimic the protein or meat selections that aquatic turtles have access to in the wild. Crickets, Minnows, and various kinds of worms are perfect additions to any aquatic turtle’s diet. These are small creatures that turtles would typically find in a stream or lake.

Aquatic turtles can also eat small fish and aquatic snails. Turtles prefer to eat live animals, and it’s important to note that young turtles require more protein in their diet than adult aquatic turtles.

What Type of Plant Materials and Food Do Turtles Eat?

The majority of your pet turtle’s diet should be made up of vegetables. Dark green, leafy vegetables are the best kinds of vegetables to feed your turtle. Examples of dark green, leafy vegetables include:

  • Broccoli
  • romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • collard greens
  • kale

Feeding your pet turtle green vegetables allows them to have the necessary calcium they need to remain healthy. Other vegetables and low-sugar fruits such as carrots, bell peppers, and squash are also good food choices to feed your aquatic turtle.

In general, your aquatic turtle’s diet should be made of 25% turtle pellets. Leafy green vegetables should make up around 50% of their total diet. The rest can go towards protein and fruits.

How Often Do Turtles Need to Eat?

In general, it is best to feed your turtle every day or every other day. However, the number of times you should feed your turtle is age-specific as well. 

  • If the turtle is a baby or juvenile (under one year old), they need to eat about once a day. 
  • Young adults can be fed every other day. 
  • If the turtle is an adult, it is ok to feed them every third day.

Can I Feed Vitamins and Minerals to a Turtle?

You can, and should, feed vitamins and minerals to a turtle. You can provide your turtle with the proper nutrients by feeding them turtle pellets. However, you should not be feeding adult turtle pellets daily. You need to balance out their diet with green leafy vegetables and proteins as well.

Complete Aquatic Turtle Diet

FAQs About Feeding Pet Turtles

Can I feed chicken to my turtle?

You can feed chicken to your turtle in moderation. You should be aware of certain risks and problems your turtles could face after eating chicken. Aquatic turtles and other reptiles can be carriers of salmonella bacteria.

Therefore, you should avoid feeding turtles raw chicken. Feeding your aquatic turtle raw chicken can cause them to become sick from salmonella poisoning. You can cook the chicken and kill any bacteria before feeding it to your turtle.

Can I feed fruit to my turtle?

Yes, you can feed your pet turtle fruits. Fruits are a good way to provide extra vitamins and nutrients.

However, fruit should not be the primary source of food in your turtle’s diet. The excessive sugar in fruit is not healthy for your aquatic turtle. You can reward your turtle with small pieces of fruit as treats. Bananas, strawberries, melons, and apples are all good examples of fruits to feed your pet turtle. Avoid feeding them citrus fruits such as oranges.

How Often Should I Change my Turtles Waters?

Changing your turtle’s water regularly is one of the most important things you can do for your aquatic turtle’s health and happiness. You can change the turtle’s water by using a siphon hose to take out some of the water. Then replace it with fresh, clean water. Changing just one-quarter of the water in the tank qualifies as a water change. Changing the Water

How often you should change the water in the tank is dependent on:

  • the size of the tank
  • the quality of the water filter
  • how many turtles live in the tank
  • the setup of the tank

Cloudy water, strange smells, and high nitrate levels are all signs that a water change is due. It’s best to be proactive and change the water before any of these things occur.

With a good filter and water chemistry, you should be doing partial water changes at least twice a month. If your filter isn’t the best, or your chemistry seems a little off,  you should be doing water changes more than twice a month.

One method to decrease the frequency of water changes is to place live plants in your turtle tank. Live plants like to feed on nitrates as well, therefore, reducing the number of nitrates in the environment.

A Well-Fed Turtle is a Happy, Healthy Turtle

Truly, Aquatic turtles can be the perfect, cute, little pet and companion. However, you should make sure you do your research on how to properly take care of your animal to keep your little friend happy and healthy.

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