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What Do Turtles Eat? (A Complete Guide)

If you are like me then you have definitely wondered at some point, ‘What do pet turtles eat?’ or even ‘What do baby turtles eat?’ Knowing what to feed a pet turtle can be perplexing if you don’t have the right information.

While turtles may accept a wide variety of foods, these may not be the best foods to feed them. Feeding them the right turtle food ensures they are healthy and grow as they should.

Apart from knowing what to feed turtles, ensuring they get the right nutrients in the right amounts is essential.

Feeding Freshwater Turtles

Best Commercial Turtle Foods

Below are some popular commercial turtle foods. These provide your turtle with the needed nutrients to thrive. Regardless of this, you must also offer fresh food to your turtle.

If you have time to read further we break down foods by groups of common pet turtles including Musk Turtles, Mud Turtles, Map Turtles, Box Turtles, Cooters, Pond Turtles, and Softshell Turtles.

What Do Pet Turtles Eat?

Red eared slider turtle eating some bell pepper
Red-eared slider turtle eating some bell pepper

So what do aquarium turtles eat? Well, there are a variety of foods that aquarium turtles eat. These include insects, vegetables, and even commercial turtle foods.

Protein-based Foods To Feed Your Pet Turtle

Here is a list of foods you can feed your turtle. Since turtles are either omnivorous or carnivorous, you may need to feed them only animals or both plants and animals.

What do turtles like to eat? Here are some foods that turtles enjoy:

  • Superworms
  • Snails
  • Shrimp
  • Mollusks
  • Mealworms
  • Locusts
  • Krill
  • Fish
  • Earthworms
  • Dubia roaches
  • Crickets
  • Crayfish
  • Bloodworms
  • Blackworms
  • Redworm
  • Dragonfly larvae
  • Waxworms
  • Sow worms

Some such as softshell turtles and box turtles accept lean meat and cooked chicken. Offer these in limited amounts.

Fish To Offer Turtles

Turtles enjoy fish especially snapping turtles and softshells. When offering them avoid fish with high thiaminase levels such as goldfish.

I recommend you offer the following feeder fish.

  • Bluegills
  • Guppies
  • Killifish
  • Crappies 
  • Mosquitofish

Plants Your Turtle Can Eat

Florida red-bellied turtle eating a yellow pond lily
Florida red-bellied turtle eating a yellow pond lily

When it comes to plants, what do turtles eat as pets? A healthy mix of plants and animals is essential if your pet turtle is an omnivore. For omnivores, plants should make up about 50 percent of their diet.

Some healthy food choices include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Prickly pear
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce (romaine, red leaf, and green leaf)
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Hyacinths
  • Hibiscus flowers and leaves
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Escarole
  • Endive
  • Elodea
  • Duckweed
  • Dandelion greens
  • Collard greens
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Strawberries

Food Items To Avoid

There are some food items that you should never offer your turtle. These foods are either toxic or unhealthy.

Unhealthy foods to never offer your turtle include:

  • Fatty meats
  • Pastries, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pasta, bread
  • Processed human foods such as corned beef, and sausages
  • Grains
  • Sugary foods such as candies, chocolate, and taffy
  • Dairy products

Toxic food items include:

  • Tobacco leaves
  • Tomato leaves, roots, and stems
  • Potato leaves, stems, and roots
  • Avocado leaves, seeds, and skin
  • Poison ivy

Feeding Schedule

It is crucial to stick to a feeding schedule. This ensures you notice any change in appetite. A change in appetite can be a symptom of illness. Feed juveniles and hatchlings daily until they reach adulthood.

From there you can feed them once every other day. Turtles generally reach adulthood around age 6 to 7.

Generally, baby turtles are more carnivorous than adult turtles. This isn’t always the case as cooters are herbivores.

Different types of turtles will have different feeding schedules. While pets like dogs and cats need to be fed multiple times every day, turtles are surprisingly low maintenance and don’t need to be fed daily.

If your turtle is young (less than a year old), this is the only time when it should be fed every day. Once they move past this age, you can feed them every other day.

If you have a mature turtle (around 10 years old), its appetite will be even lower. For adult and mature turtles, feeding should be carried out once every three days.

How Much Should I Feed My Turtles?

Feeding your pet turtle can be a bit of a challenge with questions like; How much do I feed my turtle? What does my turtle eat? Where can I buy turtle food? These questions are all very valid and we hope our advice helps.

So how much do you feed your turtle? Well, the answer varies from one turtle species to another. They all eat something different or prefer things.

If you are not feeding live things and are feeding things such as sticks or pellets a general rule of thumb from experienced owners would be to only give as much as they can eat in 15-20 minutes.

Once finished eating it is advisable to remove all the excess. This will keep from overfeeding and will also help to keep the environment a bit cleaner.

Hibernating Turtles

Another thing to keep in mind is when your turtle is about to hibernate. Most turtles hibernate in the winter months. While feeding cycles can be easily kept uniform throughout the rest of the year, you need to make them fast about a month before they hibernate.

This fasting process will clean out their system and ensure that they don’t run into any health issues when they’re hibernating. For turtles in the wild, this is an evolutionary measure that should be mimicked while they’re hibernating.

As turtles are reptiles, they’re cold-blooded animals. This means that they rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. When the winter months approach, it becomes difficult for them to digest their food properly due to the colder temperatures.

There’s no need to worry about your turtle during this fasting period, as the colder temperature means that they don’t spend a lot of energy during this time. This time is meant for cleaning out their digestive tract.

Commercial Turtle Food Recommendations

We covered these in the chart at the beginning of the article, but to sum up, here are some of the best commercial turtle foods for your pet turtle.

What Do Musk & Mud Turtles Eat?

Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) in some wet dirt near Ottowa River, Quebec, Canada
An Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) in some wet dirt near Ottowa River, Quebec, Canada. – Source

Both musk and mud turtles are very closely related. In fact, they belong to the same subfamily (Kinosterninae). Some sources even place both musk and mud turtles under the same genus.

The musk turtle belongs to the genus Sternotherus, while mud turtles belong to the genus Kinosternon. Turtles from either genus are very alike, however, mud turtles are generally smaller and have flatter domes.

Both mud and musk turtles are endemic to the Americas and are carnivorous. Common musk and mud turtles kept as pets include the razorback musk turtle (Sternotherus carinatus), loggerhead musk turtle (Sternotherus minor), common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus, also known as stinkpot), the Eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum), and the Florida mud turtle (Kinosternon steindachneri). There are many more not mentioned here.

What Do Wild Musk And Mud Turtles Eat?

In the wild, musk and mud turtles are generally carnivorous. They tend to feed on aquatic invertebrates such as insects, snails, mollusks, crayfish, freshwater clams, fish, and carrion.

What Do Pet Musk & Mud Turtles Eat?

Occasionally they may consume plant matter (especially mud turtles). What turtles eat fish? Well, musk and mud turtles do enjoy fish, and they are not alone. Many omnivorous and carnivorous turtle species do eat fish.

Feeding pet musk and mud turtles are simple since they accept dry foods. Foods to feed them include shrimp, crickets, dubia roaches, bloodworms, earthworms, pieces of fish, and commercial pelleted turtle foods.

I recommend commercial diets because they contain all the needed nutrients for a pet turtle.

What Do Map Turtles Eat?

Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) in pebbles near Reeds Lake, East Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
A Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) in pebbles near Reeds Lake, East Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.

Map turtles get their common name because of the marking on their shells which resemble the contours on a map. Map turtles belong to the genus Graptemys. These species are endemic to the Eastern United States and Southeastern Canada.

Mature females are usually twice as long as mature males and are 10 times as heavy as mature males. Their carapace length ranges from 3 inches to 11 inches.

Popular map turtles kept as pets include the false map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica), the Barbour’s map turtle (Graptemys barbouri), the northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica ), the Mississippi map turtle, (G. p. kohnii) and the Texas map turtle (Graptemys versa).

These turtles can be found in large waterbodies such as rivers. So what do river turtles eat?

What Do Wild Map Turtles Eat?

In the wild, female map turtles feed on mollusks, crayfish, and insects. The smaller males feed on tiny mollusks and insects. Map turtles only feed underwater.

What Do Pet Map Turtles Eat?

Feeding pet map turtles is stress-free if you stick to commercial food pellets only. These should be dropped into their aquarium or pools.

You can even simplify your life by getting an automatic feeder to be on a timer.

If you want to feed them natural food (as opposed to commercially produced feeds), you can give them blackworms, bloodworms, crickets, mealworms, earthworms, and crayfish.

Supplement this with dark leafy greens such as kale, escarole, endive, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce.

Their diet should be high in protein and calcium. Gut load insects if you can. Also, dark leafy greens have a high calcium-to-phosphate ratio which is good.

Since commercial food sticks contain all the needed nutrients, they are a safe bet.

What Do Box Turtles Eat?

Yucatan Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina yucatana) in loose soil and a pink leaf in Yucatan, Mexico
A Yucatan Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina yucatana) in loose soil and a pink leaf in Yucatan, Mexico. – Source

Box turtles closely resemble tortoises both in habits and appearance however, box turtles are pond turtles. Just like tortoises, box turtles have high-domed shells that are hinged at the bottom.

Popular box turtles kept as pets include the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), the Coahuilan box turtle (Terrapene coahuila), the ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata), and the three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis).

What Do Wild Box Turtles Eat?

In the wild, box turtles are omnivorous and eat whatever they can get their beaks on. Invertebrates (such as millipedes, earthworms, and other insects) and gastropods (commonly known as snails and slugs) make up about 50 percent of their diet.

Interestingly, the diet of young box turtles is more carnivorous than herbivorous. So what do wild baby turtles eat? While they eat the same foods mentioned above, the protein content of their diet is much higher than that of adult box turtles.

They also consume vegetation including flowers. Fruits they are known to eat include cacti, berries, and apples. The young are predominantly carnivorous. From age 6 onward, they are primarily herbivores.

What Do Pet Box Turtles Eat?

What do these freshwater turtles eat as pets? As pets, you should try to feed them a mix of animal materials and plant materials.

Variety is key so they don’t become fixated on just one food type. Feed them 60 percent animal food and 40 percent plant food.

Animal matter to feed your pet box turtle includes grubs, caterpillars, gastropods, superworms, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Although they accept cat food and cooked lean beef (and even burger), insects are the best food choice for them.

Plants to feed them include collard greens, duckweed, dandelions, and hibiscus flowers & leaves. They also eat succulents and cacti (prickly pear).

To avoid injuries, remove all needles before you feed any cacti to the turtle. They also accept berries and apples. Feed them fruits about once a week.

Sprinkle calcium and vitamin D3 powder on foods fed to them. Vitamin D3 is only needed if they are housed indoors.

What Do Cooters Eat?

Two Florida Red Bellied Cooters sitting on rocks sunning themselves.
Two Florida Red Bellied Cooters sitting on rocks sunning themselves.

Cooters refer to the turtles within the genus Pseudemys. These are large freshwater turtles found in the Eastern United States and northeast Mexico.

Cooters are among the biggest terrapins in North America with carapace lengths of 17 inches.

As aquatic turtles, these terrapins spend most of their time in water ( namely ponds, rivers, and lakes), and bask when the sun is high.

Some popular cooter species kept as pets include the red-bellied cooter (Pseudemys nelsoni), pond cooters (Pseudemys floridana), and river cooters (Pseudemys concinna).

What Do Wild Cooters Eat?

So what do these terrapins eat in the wild? In the wild, cooters are herbivores or to be precise predominantly herbivores.

Regardless of this, they consume crayfish from time to time. This dietary habit is usually found among juveniles.

The main foods a cooter consumes are aquatic plants like pondweed, green algae, and eelgrass.

What Do Pet Cooters Eat?

What do terrapins eat as pets? Hatchlings are more carnivorous than adults. Feed hatchlings foods such as worms, insects, and crayfish.

For adults, I recommend greens such as duckweed, water hyacinth, spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley, and many more. They also accept fruits such as bananas and strawberries.

The easier way to feed juveniles under 6 inches is to rely mainly on commercial turtle diets.

Supplement this with the insects and invertebrates mentioned above. Adults also accept Mazuri tortoise food and Mazuri freshwater turtle food.

Other commercial diets to feed them include Fluker’s Aquatic Turtle Medley Treat, Tetra Reptile Sticks, and Gourmet Aquatic Turtle Food.

What Do Pond Turtles Eat?

Common Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta) on a log in Darnestown, Maryland, USA
A Common Pond Slider (Trachemys scripta) on a log in Darnestown, Maryland, USA. – Source

Pond sliders are endemic to southern North America and northern Mexico. While they are stunning pets that are easy to care for, they can easily become an invasive species when released outside their geographical range.

Pond sliders include the yellow-bellied slider (Trachemys scripta scripta), the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), and the Cumberland slider (Trachemys scripta troostii).

Their size ranges from 5 inches to 16 inches, with females being twice as long and 10 times as heavy as males.

Pond sliders are generally omnivorous. However, juveniles are primarily carnivorous while adults are generally herbivorous.

What do wild Pond Turtles Eat?

So what do wild turtles eat? They are known to eat small amphibians, snails, sponges, clams, fish, reptiles, tadpoles, crayfish, spiders, grasshoppers, carrion, and beetles.

Plants that adults feed on in addition to the animals they eat include seeds, algae, flowers, leaves, and stems. Unlike several other turtles, sliders eat both in water and on land.

What Do Pet Pond Turtles Eat?

As pets, animal foods to offer pond sliders include earthworms, krill, crickets, locusts, bloodworms, water snails, and fish.

As some of these are difficult to obtain regularly, you can offer them turtle diets such as ReptoMin Food Sticks. Adults can be fed collard greens, hyacinths, spinach, duckweed, dandelion greens, elodea, carrots, romaine lettuce, and aquatic plants.

To supplement their calcium intake, offer them cuttlefish bone.

What Do Softshell Turtles Eat?

Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera) on some dry rocks somewhere in Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
A Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera) on some dry rocks somewhere in Lebanon, Tennessee, USA. – Source

Softshell turtles are unique as they do not have hard shells instead their shells are leathery and fleshy. These softshell turtles spend most of their time in the water, coming out only to bask and dry off.

Although there are several species of softshell turtle around the world such as the black softshell, the Chinese softshell turtle, and the Indian softshell turtle, softshell turtles usually kept as pets belong to the genus Trionyx, which includes the African softshell turtle (Trionyx triunguis); and Apalone, which includes the spiny softshell turtle  (Apalone spinifera) and the Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox).

What Do Wild Softshell Turtles Eat?

What do these water turtles eat? Softshell turtles are carnivores.

They generally feed on fish, aquatic insects, worms, aquatic crustaceans, mollusks, frogs, carrion, and even turtles smaller than they are. Softshell turtles hunt prey by ambushing them.

What Do Pet Softshell Turtles Eat?

As pets, they need to be fed animal proteins and commercial turtle foods. They accept cooked chicken, tuna, mollusks, snails, mudpuppies, shrimp, krill, crayfish, crickets, mealworms, superworms, and small fish.

I recommend feeding them commercial turtle diets such as ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks as these contain all the needed nutrients and are easy to find and importantly store.

What Do Snapping Turtles Eat?

Common snapping turtle basking on rock in Ontario Canada
Common snapping turtle basking on a rock in Ontario, Canada

These include species of the Family Chelydridae. There are five snapping turtle species still alive but only two of them are commonly kept as pets. These are the alligator snapping turtle(Macrochelys temminckii) and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

The other three snapping turtles are the Central American snapping turtle (Chelydra rossignonii), the Central American snapping turtle (Chelydra rossignonii), and the South American snapping turtle (Chelydra acutirostris).

What Do Wild Snapping Turtles Eat?

Although snapping turtles are apex predators, they also eat a lot of vegetation as such they are herbivorous. They eat amphibians, small mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, and carrion.

What Do Pet Snapping Turtles Eat?

Although snapping turtles start out small within two years, they will be huge. Their diet should consist of mostly proteins (70%), and plants (30%).

Offer hatchlings commercial diets, small fish (bluegills, guppies, killifish, crappies, and mosquitofish), pinkie mice, and worms (such as redworm, and larvae).

Offer adults and subadults fish (such as bluegills, guppies, killifish, crappies, and mosquitofish), and plant matter such as duckweed, elodea, dandelion greens, and collard greens. Refer to the section – Plants Your Turtle Can Eat. Snapping turtles accept all the plants listed there.

What Do Asian Box Turtles Eat?

South Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis) walking near a tree trunk in grass in Johor, Malaysia
A South Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis) walking near a tree trunk in grass in Johor, Malaysia. – Source

Asian box turtles are endemic to Asia, especially southeast Asia. They include species that can be found in the genus Cuora. Asian box turtles are more aquatic than American box turtles.

Asian box turtles are considered semi-aquatic and require a terrestrial enclosure although you should provide a small pool of water for them to submerge in when they want.

Some popular Asian box turtles are the southeast Asian box turtle, also known as the Amboina box turtle (Cuora amboinensis), the Indochinese box turtle (Cuora galbinifrons), and the snake-eating turtle or the Chinese box turtle (Cuora flavomarginata).

What Do Wild Asian Box Turtles Eat?

In the wild, these chelonians feed on both plants and animals.

They are known to eat insects, fish, crickets, and worms. Many Asian box turtles enjoy feeding in water such as the Amboina box turtle and spend large portions of their day in water bodies.

They also eat berries and vegetation.

What Do Pet Asian Box Turtles Eat?

The diet of Asian box turtles is similar to that of American box turtles. Feeding them should be relatively easy. These turtles eat a mix of animals and plants. They are very omnivorous and require a lot of protein as well as plants.

Proteins to feed them include fresh shrimp, chopped chicken (they enjoy the liver and heart), rabbit meat, quail meat, pinkie mice, superworms, mealworms, waxworms, earthworms, and snails (both land and freshwater species).

These turtles can also be fed in water. Some excellent nutritious plants to offer include water lentils, water lettuce, water hyacinth, watercress, common sowthistle, dandelion flowers and leaves, and chicory.

You can also offer commercial diets and fruits although I recommend doing this less frequently. They accept tomatoes, papaya, mango, apples, pears, melons, figs, peaches, cherries, and bananas.

You can supplement their diet. This helps to prevent MBD (metabolic bone disease) – a disease caused by calcium and/or vitamin D3 deficiency.

Offer calcium supplements about twice a week and multivitamin supplements about once a week. Instead of calcium supplements, you can place cuttlebone in the enclosure.

Printable Infographic

What Do Turtles Eat infographic
Infographic about what turtles eat

Frequently Asked Questions

Can aquatic turtles eat apples?

Yes, turtles can eat apples and pears. Predominantly carnivorous turtles like softshells most likely won’t accept them, but others such as box turtles will. They also accept crabapples and pears.

Can turtles eat bananas?

Yes, some turtles can eat bananas and these include box turtles. However, the high sugar content and phosphorus levels make it an unideal food to offer to the chelonian. If you must offer bananas rarely.

Can turtles eat banana peels?

No, banana peels are not recommended due to potential pesticide residues and difficulty in digestion.

Can turtles eat cucumbers?

Yes, turtles can eat cucumbers as part of a varied diet.

Can turtles eat duckweed?

Yes, turtles can eat duckweed. This includes omnivores such as map turtles, sliders, and even more herbivorous turtles such as adult cooters. Duckweed is healthy and provides the chelonian with essential nutrients.

Can water turtles eat iceberg lettuce?

Yes, they can. However, you have to offer dark lettuce and not light ones such as iceberg lettuce as the light lettuce lacks the needed nutrients. Dark lettuces such as romaine lettuce are the best for the chelonian.

Can turtles eat mandarin oranges?

In very small amounts and rarely, as the acid and sugar content can be problematic.

Can turtles eat orange peels?

No, turtles should not eat orange peels as they might be difficult to digest and potentially toxic.

Can turtles eat parsley?

Yes, turtles can eat parsley. Fresh parsley is best. Offer parsley occasionally.

Can turtles eat peanuts?

No, turtles should not eat peanuts due to potential choking hazards and nutritional imbalances.

Can turtles eat pickles?

No, the vinegar and spices in pickles are not suitable for turtles.

Can turtles eat pineapples?

Only in very small amounts and rarely, as the acidity and sugar can be problematic.

Can turtles eat strawberries?

Yes, they can eat strawberries. It is perfectly safe for them to consume this fruit. Box turtles in particular enjoy strawberries a lot. However, just like other fruits only offer strawberries on rare occasions. Offer fruits about once a month.

Can turtles eat spinach?

Yes, they can. Offer spinach occasionally. It shouldn’t be the main vegetable they eat as it has high levels of phosphorus.

Can turtles eat sunflower seeds?

No, they are not a recommended food due to potential choking hazards and fat content.

Can turtles eat watermelon rind?

Yes, but in moderation due to potential pesticide exposure and digestion issues.

Can turtles eat cheerios?

No, processed human foods like cheerios are not suitable for turtles.

Can turtles eat chocolate?

No, turtles should not eat chocolate; it’s toxic to them.

Can turtles eat french fries?

No, turtles should not eat french fries due to the high fat and salt content.

Can turtles eat bacon?

No, processed and fatty meats like bacon are unhealthy for turtles.

Can turtles eat ham?

No, processed meats like ham are unhealthy for turtles.

Can turtles eat popcorn?

No, turtles should not eat popcorn due to the risk of choking and lack of nutritional value.

Can turtles eat raw shrimp?

Yes, turtles can eat raw shrimp as part of a protein-rich diet.

Can turtles eat salmon?

Yes, in moderation, as part of a varied and balanced diet.

Can turtles eat cockroaches?

Yes, they can eat insects like cockroaches as a natural protein source.

Can turtles eat dried mealworms?

Yes, they can be a good protein source, but fresh is always better.

Can turtles eat egg shells?

Yes, finely crushed eggshells can provide calcium, but they should be cleaned and sterilized.

Can turtles eat ants?

Yes, ants can be eaten, but avoid fire ants or those exposed to pesticides.

Can turtles eat scrambled eggs?

In very small amounts and occasionally, as part of a varied diet.

Can turtles eat tadpoles?

Yes, tadpoles can be a natural food source for turtles.

Can turtles eat pepperoni?

No, processed meats like pepperoni are too fatty and salty for turtles.

Can turtles eat steak?

Only in very small, lean, and cooked pieces occasionally.

Can turtles eat pretzels?

No, pretzels are not suitable due to salt and lack of nutritional value.

Can turtles eat chips?

No, chips are unhealthy due to high salt and fat content.

Can turtles eat fish food?

While turtles can eat fish food, it is not nutritious enough for them. For your turtle to get all the nutrients it needs, make sure to offer it turtle foods such as insects, edible aquatic plants, and even commercial diets.

Can turtles eat dog food?

Some turtles such as box turtles can eat dog food. The types of dog food it can eat include semi-moist dog food, canned dog food, and soaked dry food. Offer these in limited amounts.

Can turtles eat cat food?

While some turtles, like box turtles, can eat cat food, it isn’t good for them as it contains too much protein. Also, aquatic turtles cannot eat cat food as they can only feed underwater.

Can turtles eat bloodworms?

Yes, they can eat bloodworms and quite enjoy them. They will eat defrosted frozen bloodworms or even live ones. Hatchlings and juveniles, in particular, cannot get enough of them.

Can turtles eat flies?

Yes, turtles do eat flies. It is better to offer them the nymphs which look like worms. Dragonfly nymphs are popularly fed to pet chelonians.

Can turtles eat tuna?

Yes, they can eat tuna. If you are offering tuna make sure it is canned in water. Also, tuna shouldn’t be the main source of protein for our pets, insects and commercial diets should.

Do turtles eat spiders?

In the wild, box turtles eat spiders. Of course, if a spider gets trapped in water, aquatic turtles won’t mind eating them. Offering spiders to your turtle isn’t advisable as spiders are quick. Turtles prefer slow-moving preys they can easily catch.

Can turtles eat grasshoppers?

Yes, they do but it is much easier to offer other insects such as worms (for example mealworms). Crickets can be offered to box turtles as well. They do enjoy these a lot.

Can turtles eat out of water?

Most species cannot eat out of water. All aquatic species cannot eat out of water. Some species such as box turtles can eat out of water. Make sure to feed your aquatic turtle in the water. If you are worried about the aquarium becoming messy you can feed them in a separate container.

Can turtles eat mealworms?

Yes, they can eat mealworms, and mealworms are offered regularly to both aquatic turtles and terrestrial ones such as box turtles. Mealworms have a low calcium-to-phosphorus ratio so they should be offered in limited amounts.

Do turtles eat bugs?

Yes, they do eat bugs and they love them. They will eat dubia roaches, insect larvae, caterpillars, and worms. These chelonians eat all types of bugs. I recommend feeding them captive-bred bugs only as wild bugs can carry diseases.

What human food can turtles eat?

Some human foods that turtles can eat include leafy greens, vegetables, meats, fish, and fruits. Be careful when offering human foods to turtles as human foods contain too many calories for turtles. Even foods like tomatoes generally contain too much sugar for turtles. Only offer human foods rarely.

What do I feed my pet turtle?

There are several different types of food available such as sticks, flakes, and pellets. All of these are good options.

In addition to using these for daily feeding if your species is omnivorous. We advise occasionally adding in feeder fish and/or night crawlers. This will give them a variety and may help them with exercise in having to chase the food.

Where can I buy turtle food?

Turtle food is available at most pet stores as it is quite common. The larger stores will have live fish, crickets, grubs, etc. Buying in bulk is possible, although would be most advisable doing from a specialized store or also search online.

You should always check the reviews for what you’re buying and whether it’s suitable for your pet turtle. 

Not all turtles need the same kind of diet, as some might be well suited to a more carnivorous diet than others. Do your research before you purchase any kind of commercial food to ensure that your turtle doesn’t run into any digestive health problems after consuming it.

How long can turtles go without eating?

While adult turtles can go for several months without food, it is important to feed them regularly.

A simple way to feed turtles is through the use of commercial turtle diets. These are convenient and easy to store. Additionally, they contain all the nutrients needed for healthy growth.

Since the meals of turtles (apart from box turtles) cannot be easily supplemented with calcium and vitamin powder (as most turtles only feed in water), commercial turtle diets ensure they get all the needed nutrients.

Also, insects such as crickets, mealworms, and superworms can be gut loaded before being offered to the turtle.

This will make the diet cleaner and ensure that your turtle doesn’t develop any sort of health issues.

What fruits can turtles eat?

Some turtles do eat fruits and enjoy them a lot. Turtles that enjoy fruits are box turtles. Some box turtles commonly kept as pets include the eastern box turtle (also known as the common box turtle), the three-toed box turtle, and the ornate box turtle.

Some fruits to offer them include melons (such as honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and ogen melon), kiwis, star fruit, guava, peaches, fresh cranberries, cherries (remove the pits), fresh apricots, strawberries, grapes, mango, banana, pears, apples, raisins, and tomatoes.

While they can eat citrus fruits, avoid them as the strong taste isn’t to their liking.

However, offer fruits in limited quantity and rarely. The high sugar content means that they are not healthy.

What vegetables can turtles eat?

Some vegetables that turtles can eat include collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, romaine lettuce, hibiscus leaves and flowers, kale, parsley, mustard greens, turnip greens, cilantro, mustard spinach, beet greens, red leaf lettuces, swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, chicory greens, and several more. 

Offer collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, endive, romaine lettuce, and hibiscus leaves and flowers the most. Offer kale, parsley, cilantro, mustard spinach, beet greens,  red leaf lettuces, and swiss chard occasionally.

How does a turtle eat?

How a turtle eats depends on the species. Aquatic turtles such as map turtles and cooters can only eat in the water. 

Some turtles have beaks. These include snapping turtles, map turtles, cooters, sliders, and all the hardshell turtles. 

Softshell turtles on the other hand have lips. These soft lips are capable of causing server bites and even lacerations. Their bites are very painful so be wary of that. 

Turtles with beaks use their jaws to bite and tear up prey and plants alike. They then proceed to swallow the bits and pieces.

They may also eat small prey and food items whole. Alligator snapping turtles’ jaws are powerful enough to amputate fingers. 

Softshells eat by sucking prey into their mouths like a vacuum. 

How much do turtles eat?

Turtles do not eat much. While you should hatchlings and juveniles daily, feed adults every other day. The rule of thumb is to feed the turtle as much as it can eat within 15 to 20 minutes. 

Always offer low-fat protein sources and low-sugar plant sources. Leafy greens and aquatic weeds such as duckweed are the best to offer. 

You can supplement the turtle’s diet with commercial diets. 

Do pond turtles eat fish?

Yes, they do. In the wild, pond turtles eat fish. When it comes to feeding your pet ensure that you offer only the best fish. This is fish that is good for their health. The best fish to feed your pet turtle are platies, bluegills, guppies, killifish, crappies, and mosquitofish. Goldfish isn’t advisable as it has high thiaminase levels. 

Do not offer them bony fish such as bullhead catfish, buckeye shiners, fathead minnows, spottail shiners, carp, and gizzard shad as the bones can injure the turtle.


When it comes to feeding turtles, be sure you know what they eat.

If you are unsure, a little research can reveal a lot. You’ll need to know exactly what breed and species of turtle you own to ensure that you can carry out the proper research about their eating habits.

Also, commercial turtle diets are a wonderful substitute for insects, fish, and vegetables. Regardless of whether you feed your pet turtles with commercial foods or not, variety is essential.

It’s your choice whether you want to feed them commercial foods or go natural, but the beauty of commercial foods is that they’ll save you a lot of time and effort and won’t leave a mess when your pet turtle is done with it.

Ensure the turtle’s diet is a mix of many different food items. This ensures the turtle doesn’t become fixated on one type of food and acquires all the needed nutrients. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, we would love to hear them.

What do lake turtles eat? In this article, we answered this question and where you can get your hands on the right food.

We hope that this article has helped you understand how to take better care of your pet turtle. We also have a large number of informational articles on our website about similar topics.

If you’re a turtle owner, you should definitely check them out!

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