What do turtles eat? It depends on the type of turtles, how old they are and where they are located. Generally, turtles are carnivores when they are young. However, they turn into omnivores or herbivores when they grow up and mature, depending on their type.
To answer the question “What do turtles eat?” we’ll start by listing the common types of turtles and what they like to eat:
o While River Cooter turtles feed primarily on plants, Map turtles and Malayan Box turtles eat meat and lots of plants.
o American Box turtles feed on anything it gets.
o Meat forms the principle diet of the Chinese 3-Striped Box turtles.
o The Red-Eared Slider turtles end up being omnivores on maturity after starting off eating bugs and worms when they are young.
o Snapping turtles look for small creatures to eat, while most other turtles simply eat plants.
o Most turtles eat shellfish, insects, water plants or fish.
o To ward off predators, turtles often eat poisonous plants like poisonous rhubarb, ivy and avocado found near their habitat.
o Pond turtles in the US eat from a wide list consisting of insects, arthropods, small shellfish, snails, worms and small fish.
o Poisonous plants should not be in a pet turtle’s diet as the owner may not know which plants they were acclimatized to in their natural surroundings.
o What pet turtles should eat is good and healthy food. If you bought the turtle from a pet store, they most likely also sell the food that the turtle eats.
o Aquatic turtles eat aquatic aquarium plants, small live fish, dried shrimp and floating turtle pellets found at the pet store.
o Land turtles eat special pellets made for land turtles. While some eat worms, others eat fruits, vegetables, and meal worms.
o Processed foods with high contents of salt and preservatives run a risk of damaging the turtle’s digestive system.
o Milk or dairy products can make them sick and should be totally avoided as their stomachs lack the enzyme for breaking down lactose.
o Turtles sometimes eat fruits such as bananas, grapes, mangoes, blueberries, apples, strawberries and other citrus fruits.
o Turtles can also eat chicken, turkey, cooked fish in small quantities, mealworms, boiled eggs, earthworms, silkworms, shrimps, snails and crickets. Raw meat with too much fat can get contaminated and
should be avoided.
o Domestic turtles eat leafy vegetables like carrot tops, fig leaves, red and green lettuce, corn, green bean and peas, beets, squash, okra and plantain weed.
o Turtles also love to eat flowers like roses, pansies, petunias, borage, geraniums, carnations, hyssop and nasturtium.
o Phosphorus goes with the kind of food preferred by the turtle, but you should take precautions and watch out for the calcium intake and minerals like vitamin D3 in the turtle’s diet as they have a direct bearing on its health. Vitamin D3 can be given as a dietary supplement if your turtle is lacking the vitamin. Exposure to sunlight or reptile light also helps in producing it in the turtle’s body.