How To Feed A Turtle

How To Feed A Turtle

Last update: 09 May, 2018

You can give natural or commercial food to a turtle as long as you fulfill its nutritional needs. You should also consider hygiene in regards to to deciding what type of food to feed him.

The food you feed your pets is going to directly impact their health. In order for you to know how to feed a turtle correctly, it is necessary to know what exact nutrients your pet needs and what products are available at the supermarket.

The aquatic turtle’s nutritional needs

Aquatic turtles, unlike land turtles, are omnivorous. This means that you can feed them plants, meat or fish. This turtle’s diet requires 25% animal proteins, since they usually eat the following in the wild:

  • Small mollusks
  • Worms
  • Insects, such as crickets
  • Small-sized fish
box turtle

Therefore, you need to consider animal proteins when thinking about their diet. The remaining percentage will consist of plant-based food.  Feed your turtle the following if you decide not to use commercial pet food or other artificial products:

  • Vegetables, like small pieces of carrots, chopped up cabbage or lettuce, crushed pumpkin, peas, etc. You can include Algae into their diet too.
  • Chopped fruit, such as apples, melons, berries, etc. Don’t peel the fruit because the skin is good for their beak.

When feeding turtles natural food, remember these animals don’t know how to control their appetites and they tend to overeat.

Warning: don’t forget to chop or mash the biggest and hardest pieces. Turtles may easily choke because their esophagus is very small and narrow.

Turtle eating

Food products for turtles on the market

If you choose to feed a turtle manufactured foods, it’s a good idea to become familiar with different options in the market. For instance, knowing their quality can be useful to make sure your pet has a well-balanced diet.

Commercial pet food can be found at usual pet stores. There are special turtle foods that fulfill their nutritional needs. However, variety is important in a turtle’s diet.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to add other types of food and supplements. Last but not least, it is recommended to change the turtle banks so the water doesn’t get too dirty. The following is usually the nutritional composition of these types of foods:

  • Raw protein: 42%
  • Raw fat: 10%
  • Humidity: 10%
  • Raw fiber: 5%
  • Ashes: 5%

Besides commercial food, you can give your turtle treats and snacks in the shape of shrimp. Turtles love this type of food. It should be an occasional treat and not the main component of their diet.

As a nutritional supplement, we must not forget to mention calcium pill. You should place it at the bottom of the terrarium. Turtles’ shells are only made out of calcium, so this pill is important to improve vitamin D synthesis, which binds the calcium.

In regards to the number of meals, you should feed a turtle twice a day consisting on a normal diet, without any supplements or treats. Likewise, be careful with all the food the turtle ignores for more than ten minutes. It should be taken out in order to keep the water clean.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.