Feeding a turtle or tortoise a well balance diet is a crucial part of keeping it healthy. This is especially true if you keep them in an indoor turtle tank since they don’t have the same opportunities to feed on a wide variety of plants and or animals that are found in the wild. Furthermore, with the lack of natural sunlight, they will need to make up for any lost benefits from the food they eat. Even if you house them outdoors in a large pen or pond, you should still take care in selecting your turtle’s meals. With all the said though, it’s fairly easy to feed your turtles.
Complete Feeding Guide for Turtles
Variety of Diet
Add variety into their diet. it will keep them from getting bored and it will ensure they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. If a turtle has lost interest in eating, it might be remedied by switching up its food. Here is a list of acceptable items to feed your turtles. Note: make sure you know what breed you have since not all are omnivores; some are strictly vegetarians (herbivores) while other prefer to mainly eat protein (carnivores).
| Pesticide free grasses|| Human Food|
| Flowers|| Pet Food|
| Fruits|| Fish|
| Vegetables|| Bugs and Insects|
| Worms and Grubs|
f you decide to only feed your turtles one thing, which you shouldn’t but if you do, consider getting them a commercial brand turtle or tortoise food. These consist of a mixture of ingredients compressed into a pellet or block and are sold at most pet stores. Manufactures created these types of food with complete nutrition in mind.
A few brands include:
- Tetra ReptoMin Sticks
- Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle Food
- calcium powder
- calcium blocks
Your turtles are opportunistic eaters so don’t be alarmed if you see them eating the following:
You don’t have to feed your turtles or tortoises every day, 3-4 times a weeks is sufficient enough to keep the well fed. If your turtles are hatchlings, you should feed them every day until they put on some weight. Here is the breakdown based on age and size:
Hatchlings to 1 year old: Every 1-2 days
2-3 years old: Every 2-3 days
More than 3 years old: 3-4 days
Underweight: Every 1-2 days
Recovering form illness: Every 2-3 days
An overweight turtle: Every 4 days
Don’t overfeed your turtle. If you provide them with more food than they need, they will continue to eat until it’s all gone. Use a loose rule of only feeding them as much as they can eat in ten to 15 minutes for aquatic turtles and about the same for land species. If your turtles are more timid and slower eaters, allow more time for feeding. Another method is to feed them portions that are no bigger than the turtles head and neck. An overfed turtle can get fat and not be able to pull in its head or legs.
Separate During Meal Time
If you have multiple turtles, feed them separately. This not only allows you to monitor how much food each one is getting but it also makes it so each will get it’s fair share. Some aggressive or larger turtles will dominate over the smaller more timid ones. Additionally, if there is a feeding frenzy, a more aggressive turtle can bite another turtle in all the commotion. Some turtles have been known to have their limbs bitten off. This is a situation that can be traumatizing for both turtle and owner so do your best to avoid such an ordeal.