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What Foods Do Turtles Eat?

By Edited Apr 14, 2014 0 0

Favorite Turtle Foods


For pet owners who have recently, or are interested in, getting a pet turtle, the most important question some may ask themselves is, "what do turtles eat?".

And a valid concern that is since without the presence of the right diet, a pet turtle will not live an exceptionally happy, healthy, or long life.

Although a turtles diet will depend largely on the type of turtle it happens to be and where it lives, we could quickly break this into three diverse groups for determining what they eat.

The three groups consist of turtles which are carnivores who predominantly prefer animals and protein, herbivores preferring plant matter, and omnivores which want a steady diet of both.

Keep in mind that many turtles change their personal preference during their life time. It is common for adolescent turtles to be exclusively carnivores and as they age switch to more omnivore diets.

Carnivorous Turtles

For turtles that prefer a steady diet of animals they'll pretty much eat anything they are able to catch, subdue, or find. Such as: Small Insects, Worms, Slugs, and Snails. 

And then for larger turtles this might even mean larger prey including: Rodents, Frogs, Fowls, Minnows, Crayfish, and Goldfish.

At home it is common to feed them small quantities of: Chicken, Boiled Eggs, Turkey, Cooked Fish, Mealworms, Worms, Snails, Small Shrimps, Crickets, and Dead Flies.

Herbivorous Turtles

Although the majority of turtles prefer a combination of both plant and animal matter, there are several which are somewhat more selective and opt for plants almost exclusively.
Examples of what they eat are: Celery, Sweet Potatoes, Collard Greens, Green Beans, Lettuce, Oranges, Plums, Cherries, Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens, Beets, Zuccinni, Okra, and almost all fresh produce.

Omnivorous Turtles

Omnivorous turtles want a combination of both plant and animal matter to be able to maintain a healthy diet. Again some quick suggestions to feed your turtle are: Poultry, Shrimp, Turkey, Celery, Green Beans, Pears, and Plums.

Make sure to keep vegetables at about 60-70% of the total diet.

Overall it is best to give full attention to feeding your turtle foods that are fresh and contain the appropriate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Some of the most important are: Calcium, Vitamin D3, and Phosphorous.

You can even feed your turtle commercially made turtle food. This generally takes the shape of pellets and/or dried shrimp. It is important to add multivitamin powders when feeding your turtle these kinds of foods though.

A fascinating note is it has been discovered that some turtles will eat poisonous plants in order to repel predators.


Some poisonous vegetation they will eat are: Poisonous Rhubarb, Poison Ivy, and Avocados.


What To Avoid When Feeding Turtles

As with every pet, you ought to make sure that your turtle will be as healthy as it can be. Furthermore you should be sure your family is as healthy as it can be at the same time.

Here are some helpful suggestions to balance the both of best worlds.

No Foods That Are Fried: Avoid giving your turtle any sort of fried foods. No french fries, donuts, onion rings, etc.

No Sugary Foods: No candy, chocolate, or other type of sugary foods. Not only is it unhealthy for a turtle, these kinds of foods tend to be hard and may pose a choking hazard for the little friend.

No Dairy Foods: This includes milk, cheese, butter, etc. Turtles lack the necessary enzymes to correctly digest lactose.

No Sharing Foods: Avoid sharing meals or snacks with your turtle. Many turtles, like most aquatic animals, carry salmonella bacteria. Salmonella doesn't affect them like it does humans.

No Kissing: No seriously, don't kiss your turtle. Although they are extremely cute while they are young or small, they carry salmonella and the last thing you want is to get sick from your own turtle.

No Dirty Hands: When ever you handle your turtle make sure you wash both hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.

And there it is, the fundamental information required to keep a happy and healthy turtle as a pet.



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