Two of the most essential things that you have to know when you have a red eared slider as a pet is how much you have to feed them and how often you have to feed them. Before I got my first red eared slider I spent weeks researching those things because I wanted to make sure that I know what I am doing. In this article, I am going to share the results of my research with you, that way you will know exactly what you are doing when you have to feed your red eared slider.

Red eared slider turtles are aquatic turtles that have been popular as pets for a long time. In fact, at one time they were even sold in dime stores. Red eared sliders are resilient creatures and tolerate a range of conditions (such as various water temperatures, pH, and hardness). They are also comfortable with people and love to voraciously beg for food. So, what do red eared slider turtles eat? Living in the wild, red eared slider turtles feed on aquatic vegetation, little fish, and material that is decaying such as frogs and dead fish. The young turtles are mainly carnivorous and become more omnivorous as they grow into adults. As pets, red eared sliders and other aquatic turtles can be fed daily as hatchlings and juveniles, reducing the feedings to every other day as adult turtles.

Aquatic turtles in the wild eat fish, and “feeder fish” may be purchased from pet stores or bait stores to feed pet turtles. Depending on the size of the turtle, fish such as goldfish, guppies, or minnows may be offered. Feeding live fish can provide your turtle with the mental stimulation and exercise that comes with the challenge of chasing and catching its dinner. Fish also can be a good source of calcium for turtles, as long as they eat the entire fish, bones and all. However, recently feeder fish have been implicated as carriers of parasites and bacteria that can infect the pet turtles that eat them. Therefore, if feeder fish are fed to turtles, they should be offered infrequently. Smelt, mackerel, and other oily fish should be fed sparingly or avoided all together, as their high fat content may upset nutritional balance and lead to vitamin E deficiencies. A predominantly fish diet may also lead to a thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency, so fish should only be offered as a small portion of aquatic turtles’ diets.

How Often Do Red Eared Sliders Eat?

 How often a red eared slider has to eat is closely related to how much it eats. Depending on the amount of food that your turtle eats, you can feed it once every day, once every two day,s or once every 3 days. The best practice is not to wait more than 3 days between each meal.

What Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

An improper diet is likely the most common cause of health problems in captive turtles and other reptiles.

“Red-Eared Sliders Are Typically Voracious Eaters And Are Omnivorous, Eating Both Animal And Vegetable Matter.”

Red-eared sliders are typically voracious eaters and are omnivorous, eating both animal protein and vegetable matter. As juveniles, they are mainly carnivorous (eat animal protein) and become more omnivorous as they age. All aquatic turtles eat and swallow with their head under water and will not eat out of the water. To help facilitate optimal cleanliness of their tanks, aquatic turtles can be fed in a separate, small aquarium of warm water. That way, they will soil this water, and not their main aquarium. When feeding turtles, offering a variety of food is important. Changing the types of food fed on a regular basis helps stimulate the turtle to eat and provides nutritional balance.

What Types Of Plant Material Can I Feed My Red-Eared Slider?

The plant portion of the diet should be made up of vegetables, preferably ones that float and can be left in the water for the turtle to nibble on throughout the day. Leftover food should be scooped out of the tank daily to promote proper hygiene. Desirable vegetables to offer include dark leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, carrot tops, endive, Swiss chard, kale, parsley, green beans, dandelion greens, turnip greens, and clover. Iceberg or head lettuce should not be fed, as it is comprised mostly of water and contains very little nutritional value.

How Often Should I Feed My Red-Eared Slider?

The frequency of feeding depends on the age and size of your red-eared slider. Smaller or juvenile turtles will eat heartily every day. As they get older, adult turtles may be offered a good-sized portion of food every two or three days.

Do I Need To Give My Red-Eared Slider Vitamins And Minerals?

The key to proper nutrition for a red-eared slider is a diverse and varied diet containing a balance of vegetable and animal protein, depending on the pet’s age. Some veterinarians suggest adding a balanced, commercially available multivitamin once per week with an additional source of calcium, such as a calcium block or cuttlebone, twice per week.

What About Water?

Aquatic turtles, of course, swim in water and drink all day; therefore, the only water requirement for an aquatic turtle is to keep their tanks clean and at an appropriate temperature. Having a well-functioning filtration system that is cleaned regularly is key to ensuring good water quality.

How To Tell How Old Your Red Eared Slider Is

If you did not have your red eared slider from when it was born, or very young, then you will need to determine its age in order to feed it the proper diet that it requires. Some argue that you can find how old a turtle is by looking at its scutes, but this method is unreliable, and the scutes are hard to find on a red eared slider!

The best way to determine how old your red eared slider is is to examine its turtle shell. You can quite simply find out your red eared slider’s age by looking at the size and the color of the shell!

To do this, all you must do is take a measuring tape or a ruler to determine the size. You will want to measure from the topmost part of the shell from the turtle’s head, down past the middle of the shell and towards the rear. This is to determine the length, rather than the width of the particular shell.

Why Is My Turtle Eating So Much?

You may notice that your red ear slider is eating very frequently, and begging for lots of food. This does not necessarily mean that it is hungry or starving, as turtles are naturally opportunistic eaters in the wild.

They must find their prey, and never know where their next meal is coming from, so naturally they eat as much as they can when they find it.

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