Aquatic turtles are omnivores – they eat both meat and vegetables. A turtle must eat from both of these food groups to gain the required nutrients that their bodies need. Juvenile turtles eat more meat than adult turtles.
A juvenile turtle will eat approximately 70-100% meat and 0-30% vegetables. Juvenile turtles will eat heartily every day.
An adult turtle will eat about approximately 50% meat and 50% vegetables. Adult turtles may eat large meals every other day, but you will have to determine what works for your turtle.
What Types of Foods Will I Need to Feed My Aquatic Turtle?
Turtle pellets can be fed to both juvenile and adult turtles. These pellets float at the surface of the water. Aquatic turtles eat underwater, so you have to place all food into the water directly. The pellets are available in different sizes because juvenile turtles prefer smaller pellets, while adult turtles like the bigger pellets.
It is recommended that you provide your turtle with live fish to feed on. Live fish offer your turtle the opportunity to hunt for food as it would in the wild. Hunting provides mental and physical stimulation to your turtle. Examples of live fish that may be fed to your turtles include feeder goldfish, guppies, and minnows. Turtles also like to eat tadpoles or frogs, as well as insects, such as crickets, earthworms, snails, slugs, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, mealworms, and wax worms. Fish, frogs, and insects are the types of food your turtle would eat in the wild, living in a pond, lake, creek, or stream.
Vegetables that are high in nutrients for your turtle include dark romaine lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, carrot tops, endives, swiss chard, kale, parsley, green beans, dandelion greens, turnip greens, and clover. Dark leafy vegetables will float on the water’s surface and contain the most nutrients. You should be able to buy these vegetables at the local grocery store. Offer fresh vegetables daily and remove them each day.
Aquatic plants can be used in the habitat for decoration and food. However, you have to be certain that the plants are edible and non-toxic. Water hyacinth, water lilies, elodia, and duckweed are all acceptable. Your pet store may carry these, or other edible, aquatic plants.
Vitamins, calcium blocks, and cuttlebone are available to provide your turtle with extra nutrients and calcium, but are not absolutely necessary.
Do Not Feed
-Meat or fish from the grocery store
-Don’t include plastic plants in your turtle’s habitat because they will try to eat them!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!