You can learn turtle feeding rules along the way. But it would not be bad to know the basics so you can welcome your pet into your life prepared to give him the best.
Most aquatic turtles (including my favorite Red Ear Slider) should eat every day while young. It is very important to provide them with appropriate turtle diet while they are growing. Especially since bad nutrition is a source of health problems for pet turtles.
As the turtle grows older, you can change feeding time to every second day or three times a week. It can depend on your schedule. Maybe it is more convenient for you not to feed the pet every day. If you have enough free time, you can continue feeding the turtle every day but with smaller amounts of food.
Photo courtesy of Robert Judge
The most important is not to over-feed the turtle since it will get fat and that can cause more problems. As long as you know how much food your turtle needs you can organize turtle feeding frequency easy.
If you want, you can feed it two times a day, as long as you divide the food in smaller portions. Try not to give the pet more food than it really needs. This can be easily done since pet turtles beg for food.
Make a game out of feeding your small pet turtle. Get a small tank, move the turtle into it and feed it. Why small tank? To keep the big one cleaner for a longer time.
How to make this all fun? Feed the turtle from your hand. It is just great interacting with pets. I loved feeding dried crickets to my small pet turtle. He would catch it so fast! Of course, I never made it easy on him... making him work for it. Once he catch it and bites we move the cricket away so has to "chase" it. It was fun for us and he never showed any signs of discomfort.
Planning your pet turtle diet will not be enough. You should learn not just about the kinds of turtle food, but what is the amount of food you will prepare. There are some rules of thumb in amount of food for pet turtles.
Two major rules are:
I read once that the time for feeding should be 5 minutes. Personally, I would not agree with this. My pet turtle ate very slowly, so if I would feed him 5 minutes he would die of hunger. It will not take you long to see what your turtle is like.
There are always those people that will just drop a bunch of pet turtle food in the tank and go away, but we am sure you are not one of those. Turtle feeding is so much more than that.
The amount of food is always connected to how frequently you feed the turtle. If you are feeding your grown up pet daily, give it smaller amounts than suggested. Keep in mind that turtles really like to eat and sometimes do not know when to stop, so you will have to decide when to stop feeding it.
Whatever you decide to do, even if you make a little mistake in the amount or frequency of feeding you can always fix it. Just watch the pet: if it is getting fat - feed it less and if it looks too thin, feed it more. I guess that is the same rule us girls are trying to follow when it comes to food :)
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