All about turtle food

What do pet turtles eat and drink? Turtle food you can feed your small pet turtle with is:

One of the most important things is that leftovers from your meal are not proper turtle food.

Commercial food

For aquatic turtles, you will find a big variety of commercial food in pet shops. Manufacturers make commercial food taking in consideration most of the pet turtle's needs.

This turtle food usually contains enough proteins for a good turtle diet and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Every commercial food is different, varying in amount of proteins, vitamins, etc. Of course, this is where the same rule as everywhere applies ? if it is from a known manufacturer and slightly more expensive, it is probably better.

Choose different kinds of commercial turtle food, because their different formula will give your pet better balanced diet.

Small pet turtle

For your young pet, you can even find special commercial food for young turtles.


As for meat, many people suggest feeding turtle with raw meat. I don't do this. My turtle?s vet advised me not to feed him with it. The main reason being that it can contain bacteria that will make your pet turtle sick.

The best meat would be chicken since it does not have a lot of fat and the only thing you need to do is cook it. It will not take but few minutes. You can also include cooked lean beef in turtle diet. Still, other sources of proteins are better for your little pet.

I have heard of people feeding their pet turtles with dog and cat food but I have never tried that. I do not even think it would be a great idea since that food was not made for turtles and is different from what they eat in nature. Turtles eat turtle food, that is all there is to it.

The best way to keep any pet happy is trying to recreate their natural habitat and diet.

Live prey

Live prey is something that will keep your pet fit. It gives your pet turtle some exercise while chasing it. The most important rule is that you do not catch live prey somewhere in the yard since it can contain parasites and pesticides. That is something you do not want your pet to eat.

You can buy live prey in pet shops or some of it even you can grow. Still, since I am talking about small apartments I doubt you will do it (I could not, do not like bugs and worms). Your turtle can eat crickets, shrimps, many kinds of worms (earthworms, bloodworms, and silkworms), aquatic snails, feeder fish (larger turtles).

small pet turtle eating
Hand feeding a turtle, courtesy of Dimitris Siskopoulos

It is very funny to watch your pet turtle chasing a little fish through the tank. You might be surprised what a hunter it is.

Aquatic plants

You can buy aquatic plants from your local pet shop. Just put them as a decoration in your turtle?s tank and it will be gone very fast. Those submerged plants will be a nibble snack for the pet. Turtles like plants like frog-bit, water lettuce, duckweed?

Leafy greens and vegetables

Turtle diet must include leafy greens and vegetables. They can eat cabbage, lettuce (romaine not iceberg), carrots, collard greens, green beans, mustard greens, clover, alfalfa and squash.

Supplementing with vitamins and minerals

Supplements you should give your turtle are calcium and vitamin D. Some pallets have these ingredients so commercial turtle food can be a good source of the supplements. Most vitamins and minerals, as we know when we eat, are better absorbed if the food is raw. That means that one of the sources of supplements will also be feeding the turtle with vegetables and leafy greens.

My favorite way of supplementing turtle diet was actually putting liquid supplements in his tank. Every time I would clean his tank, I would put a certain amount of the liquid in the tank water.

Every liquid supplement has a short explanation on the back of the bottle stating how many drops per liter (or per gallon) you should put. There are also supplements that you can mix with food and you should usually do it a couple times a week.

Don't forget the water

Pet turtles drink water. The water they live in is not clean, since the turtle "does all its business" in it. You need to provide a little dish with clean water for pet turtle to drink. You can put the little water dish somewhere on the dry basking part of the tank.

Do not give your turtle water directly from the tap since it contains chemicals that are not good for them.

Two ways will make tap water good for your turtles. One is to boil the water and leave it to cool down. The other is to pour the water in a bottle and leave it for 24 hours. After one of these two actions you can give it to your pet.

Turtle feeding is a serious task for turtle owners. Make sure your pet is getting all the ingredients it needs to stay healthy and happy.

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