While turtles are sometimes kept as pets, they are not as common as dogs, cats, or hamsters. And should you find yourself willing to take that step to keep a turtle, you probably have no idea what they eat or drink.
Just remember that turtles thrive best on a diet gives them a wide variety of balanced nutrients.
What Food Should My Turtles Eat?
Turtles are omnivores which means that they can eat both plants and animals. This is good for you, as it expands your feeding options.
Turtles generally get their protein from things that they can capture.
Turtles Eat Protein
For proteins, turtles eat almost anything they can capture and control. Imagine your turtle feasting on spiders, worms, and insects!
If your turtle is bigger than the standard box turtle, you can consider taking it to the next level. Depending on the size of the turtle, you can even go to larger prey.
Some turtles have been known to eat frogs, snakes, or even smaller turtles!. You’d be surprised at the variety of proteins that your turtle will devour.
Pet Turtle Diet: Plants
But what about those vegetables? Turtles cannot live by fish alone. They need the vitamins and minerals that vegetables provide – especially as they get older.
Younger turtles will favor a diet skewed more towards meat, but as they age, they will increase the percentage of their diet towards plants and vegetables.
So what kind of vegetables do turtles prefer? Feel free to offer your turtle a variety of vegetables. You can try carrots, sweet potatoes, and even green beans.
And of course, don’t forget to include leafy greens. Kale, romaine lettuce and even dandelion greens can prove to be highly enticing to your turtle.
You may be thinking that your turtle may enjoy some fruits in addition to insects and a side of veggies. Yes, turtles generally enjoy eating fruit.
In fact, they may enjoy it so much that you will need to limit access to them. Bananas, apples, or grapes can be a wonderful treat for your turtle – but make sure you don’t overdo it. All that sugar, even if it is natural, can prove to be unhealthy.
Turtle Care Guide: Pet Turtles Food Items
- Small Fish
- Turtle Pellets
Plants and Vegetables
- Leafy Greens (excluding spinach)
- Weeds like Dandelions
- Sweet Potatoes
- Other vegetables
What do turtles like to eat most?
Well, it depends on the species, but in general they are omnivores. An average turtle diet includes plants and animals. Some turtles even love to eat snails! Some turtles love to eat plants only.
How often should I feed my turtle?
That depends on the species and the size of your turtle. Small turtles (hatch-lings) should be fed daily, medium sized turtles can be fed protein 2-3 times a week and a daily vegetable or plant.
For big turtles only once or twice per week.
Can I feed my turtle human food?
Yes, although there are some exceptions. Stay away from processed foods. Instead, choose fresh items.
Turtles can get sick eating a lot of fat-heavy foods. Also, avoid sugar-laden items. Foods high in oxalic acid can prevent the absorption of calcium, an important mineral for turtles. These include nuts, spinach, chard, rhubarb and beets.
What Do Turtles Drink?
The short answer is water. However, it’s a little bit more detailed than that. Water serves a dual purpose for turtles. First, it’s a necessary part of their environment.
Second, turtles are ectoderms which is a fancy way of saying they are cold-blooded. This means that, like other reptiles, they regulate their temperature using external means such as rocks warmed by the sun or a pool of cool water.
Because water plays multiple roles, turtles consume the same water that they play around in.
So in between strokes, your turtle will simply take a big swig. Turtles also use water to help consume their food, so don’t be surprised if it drags dinner down to the water’s edge.
If you keep your aquatic turtle in a tank, take care to change the water often. Urine and fecal waste can soon turn potable water into a toxic mess.
You should definitely look into getting a filter for your turtle, or you may need to clean out the water almost every day.
This is a brief summary of what turtles like to eat and drink. As you can see, pet turtles have a wide selection of foods to choose from.
Feel free to offer your turtle a variety of proteins and vegetables as long as it is balanced overall.