Turtles are cute, if not the best pets around. They aren’t noisy or get worked up whenever any other living thing comes close. They never shed fur all over the furniture and the carpet. They just sit or crawl ever so slowly in their terrarium cage, minding their own business up until meal time – and that’s where the real problem sinks in – what do turtles eat?
What Do Turtles Like To Eat
I’ve had the pleasure of ogling at two cute turtles a year ago since my housemate brought them home in a small terrarium. Sadly, I also watched them die. It must have been the food. The food pellets from the pet shop weren’t enough to keep them alive.
Turtles that are captured from the wild are certified omnivores, meaning they can feed on a lengthy menu from earthworms, snails, caterpillars, carrion, grasses, berries, mushrooms and flowers. In the wild, they will nibble on anything that smells good to eat. It is a must that they be given protein or meats around 50% of the meal, 30% from vegetables and the remaining 20% should consist of fruits and leafy greens. Do not give table scraps and processed foods such as burgers or any food with high fat content. Better to stay all natural, so that they still get the same or at least close to the nourishment they had in their natural habitat.
If the turtles love worms, try mixing vegetables into the dissected crawlies in their next meal. Variety will ensure that they get all the vitamins and minerals to make them healthy enough to live long lives they are known for.
What Do Snapping Turtles Eat
Just like most turtles, they also love meat and vegetation. Commercial pellets should be supplemented with fresh foods such as minnows, goldfish, crayfish and pond snails minced to the appropriate size. The young are particularly fond of earthworms, ghost shrimp and guppies. Chicken meat, turkey, fish slabs will also pass for a good meal. Their plates should also include leafy greens and vegetables. Take it easy on the fruit. Think of it as a treat that should be given once a week.
What Do Sea Turtles Eat
Most sea turtles are omnivores just like their ordinary kin, but some species will feed only on a specific prey. Hawksbills love sponges and leather backs simply can’t get enough of jellyfish and soft-bodied invertebrates. The loggerheads definitely love challenge since they feast on hard-shelled prey like crabs, conchs and whelks. Green sea turtles, as the name implies, are herbivores which munch on sea algae, grasses and seaweeds.
The hatchlings feed mostly on pelagic or open sea mollusks and crustaceans, hydrozoans or jellies and corals, fish eggs and sea weeds. The greens start off as carnivores but their diet eventually transition to mostly plant material.
What Do Pond Turtles Eat
Instead of keeping turtles in an aquarium or terrarium, some would place the creatures in a large pond, much like those in zoos or parks. So the question is, is it ok to feed them? What do pond turtles eat?
It is harmless to feed the turtles, but do so in moderation. Commercial food from pet shops can be given on a regular basis. Fresh vegetables and fruits can also be given in modest amounts.
Meats such as chicken, beef, lunch meats and others are to be avoided because the leftovers sink up to the bottom of the pond, rot, harbor microorganisms which end up causing problems such as Salmonella contamination.
Also, be mindful not to dangle fingers or toes in the water or directly in front of a snapping turtle. They live up to their name and might just randomly snap their jaws shut around your beloved appendage, thinking they are worms wriggling in the water.
What Do Baby Turtles Eat
First, from which species do the baby turtles belong? From there, meal plans can be formulated to keep the hatchlings alive and healthy. They are more prone to diseases, thus they will need more attention than their adult kin.
For turtles bought in pet shops, they can be given commercial pellets from the store and then supplement the meals with meat, veggies and the occasional fruit. Make sure to dice the food into small pieces.
Aquatic baby turtles should be fed in a separate feeding tank to avoid dirtying their aquarium when they sloppily feast on their meals. Turtles also have the nasty habit of relieving themselves in the middle of the meal so the feeding tank is the best choice.
To keep them in top shape or shell, I mean, vitamin supplements such as vitamin D must be given. They must also be exposed to sunlight so that they get natural vitamin D. Just don’t leave them to bake in the sun since they are cold-blooded creatures. Just enough sun, but not too much. Also, cold turtles can’t digest much of their food so they will need to warm up a bit. It is best to position the feeding tank in a place with ample sunlight and place a rock or anything that will provide shade and a small pool of water in so that the hatchlings will be able to cool themselves the moment it gets too hot for their fragile bodies.
The hatchlings are picky eaters, not to mention shy, like their older relatives. Most baby turtles will need “privacy” when consuming those diced up worms so leave them alone for half an hour and haul whatever’s left.
How Often Do Turtles Eat
Don’t go worrying that you aren’t feeding your pet adequately when you just missed giving it a carrot for dinner. Turtles don’t feed like humans. They don’t need to eat three full meals with snacks in between. Adult turtles should be fed every two or three days in summer and late spring, while the young ones should be given only small amounts of food three times a week or every other day.
Knowing what food to supply them isn’t enough. The environment – the lighting, temperature and other conditions – play a part in stimulating the appetites of the cold-blooded turtles. Also, unlike us humans, turtles do not feel hunger pangs as dictated by our metabolism. To compensate for the decrease of food intake or lack thereof, they deliberately slow down their activity level, retreat in the comfort of their shells until they slowly grow weaker, get sick and eventually die.
Do Turtles Eat Lettuce
Yes. They love lettuce. Well, the omnivore and herbivore ones do. However, lettuce is not the only leafy green that turtles will love to munch on. Remember that variety is the key.