Key Turtle Feeding Tips:
- Turtle pellets are the most affordable turtle food and almost guarantee you are giving your turtle the right nutrients
- Choose food based on turtle size and maturity (hatchlings require different food size and nutrients)
- There are natural options such as fruits, vegetables and meats, but it is recommended you feed these as snacks
There are quite a few options when it comes to turtle food. To simplify the decision on what food it best break it down into three questions:
- Is the food the correct size for my turtle? (can my turtle easily eat it)
- Is the food appropriate for my turtle? (provides your turtle all essential nutrients)
- Is it sustainable and always available?
The last question is more of a turtle owner comfort level. All-in-one pellets are really the best choice as they have a long shelf life and are engineered to provide everything your turtle need in their diet. If you are trying to feed your turtle only fresh ingredients, you need to always be planning ahead and calculate if it is what your turtle needs.
Pellet food (basically dog food but for turtles) is an all-in-one food source for your turtle. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. For the most part, food is divided into two categories: Hatchling and adult turtle food. Hatchling diets are more carnivorous and the food pellet’s are more aligned with this diet. Adult turtles are typically more omnivorous and consume both plant and animals. Now what pellet food size is appropriate for your turtle? The rule of thumb is that the food should be able to fit in your turtles mouth. Simple as that. Some brands side with being “natural” and contain little “fillers”. These tend to be more expensive but like human food, better for turtles as there are no potentially useless or harmful additives in them. An example of a few great turtle food products are provided below:
Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks – https://amzn.to/2Jnxitt
Omega One Floating Adult Turtle Sticks – https://amzn.to/37dHyg0
Exo Terra Hatchling Aquatic Turtle Food – https://amzn.to/3mjaEAQ
Store Bought Snacks
There are several treats you can feed your turtle, many of which have the added benefit of being nutritios and stimulating for your turtle. Bones and freeze dried shrimp are great treats for your turtle.
The cuttleboneis a excellent treat for a turtle. It is actually a bone from a fish that is full of calcium. Turtles love chomping at these and it can give them lots of enrichment time as they chase the bone around trying to grab pieces off of it.
Turtle Bone – https://amzn.to/37g9lfC
The freeze dried shrimp are basically all protein but something new for your turtle to gobble up. My turtles love these as treats.
Freeze Dried Shrimp – https://amzn.to/2JoLeU7
Fresh Vegetables, Fruit and Animals as Food!
If you want to go at it with fresh food (*I suggest these only as a snack) try these:
Vegetables: Dark leafy greens, shredded carrots, squash and zucchini, mustard greens, peas
Fruits: strawberries, bananas, blueberries, pears, figs, apples and currents. Avoid citrus.
Meat: Fish, more specifically feeder fish including rosy red minnows and comet goldfish, mussels, clams, snails, insects, worms
* The reason I only suggest feeding your turtle fresh/raw food is that it can be difficult to keep up with the nutrients your turtle is getting vs. needs. In the wild, they naturally seek out the nutrients they need. When you are doing all of the feeding, it is up to you. This is why I recommend pellets because they are specifically designed to meet your turtle’s dietary needs whether they are a hatchling or adults. Of course it is ok, enriching, and fun to feed your turtle more exciting food so don’t be afraid to do so.