Water Turtle Feeding

“Mommy, I’m hungry!”

One of the other strange behaviors that turtles do. Turtles love to beg. One of the ways that my turtles beg, is they will swim up to the glass near the surface of the water and they open their mouths as if they are chomping on food. So in the begging aspect, they are a lot like dogs.

Baby Painted Turtle

Water turtles need to be fed in the water. They can not swallow their food unless they are in the water.

Most people that I have read about feed their turtles a prepared balanced food, such as Tetra Reptomin or Purina Trout Chow. I call this the everyday “dry” food. Some people say that you can feed your turtles cat food (I guess they are like cats too then!). They use a cat treat called Tender Kittels. But you can’t feed them that everyday, because they are very fatty and are high in protein.

When your turtles are young, they are carnivorous. They love chicken, turkey and tuna. Always have their meats cooked. And never feed them hamburger…too fatty! You can occasionally feed them brine shrimp, ocean fish, and squid. You can also feed them the little creatures of the river. My turtles love small salamanders, snails, and crayfish. Of course it was a handicap match. My husband pulled off the large front claws of the crayfish so that our turtles won’t get hurt.

Speaking of chasing their food, feeder fish or gold fish are good foods to have, especially when you go away on short trips. They will leave your turtles entertained for hours. Crickets and worms are good too, but make sure you rinse them off first because of pesticides and fertilizers.

As your turtles get older, they will start to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some good fruits and veggies to feed them include: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peas, mulberry leaves, escarole, endive and romaine. Do not use iceberg lettuce. Lots of leafy greens are good for your turtle because of the natural vitamins and calcium. Dandelion leaves are very high in the calcium and vitamin A they need.

Do not use spinach. They can also feed on plants like amazon swords, anachris, water lettuce, and water hyacinth.

When your turtles are young you need to feed them everyday. I used to feed my turtles once when I got up in the morning and then again in the afternoon right before I left for work. Now I just feed them once in the morning. Occasionally I give in to their begging and give them a little snack in the afternoon. As they get older, you will only have to feed them once every other day. Turtles aren’t like us, they don’t have to eat everyday to survive. Hey, in the wild they don’t eat everyday!