Turtles, like the humans who love them, are a diverse bunch. There are over 300 species of this ancient reptile, and each one has its own preferred diet. Some turtles are carnivores, while others follow a strictly vegetarian diet. Most turtles, however, are omnivores, eating both animals and plants.
What a turtle eats depends on its species — specifically, what kind of jaw it has for masticating (chewing) food, where it lives and what food sources are available to it. Sea turtles, depending on the species, may eat seagrasses, algae, sponges, sea squirts, squid, shrimp, crabs, jellyfish, cuttlefish or sea cucumbers.
For instance, leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), which can reach a whopping 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) use their scissorlike jaws to munch on a jellyfish-only diet, according to the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Green sea turles (Chelonia myadis), on the other hand, are herbivores that feed on algae and seagrasses.
Different Turtle Species And Their Food Preference
A freshwater turtle’s diet is just as varied and may include worms, snails, insect larvae, aquatic insects, crustaceans, water plants, algae and fallen fruit. Some species of freshwater turtles, such as snapping turtles, also eat small mammals, frogs, snakes, fish and even other, smaller turtles, according to Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Terrestrial turtles also eat a variety of foods, from earthworms, grubs, snails, beetles and caterpillars to grasses, fruit, berries, mushrooms and flowers. Both aquatic and land turtles have been known to eat carrion (decaying flesh) when it’s available.
Many species of turtles are commonly kept as pets, and just like their wild cousins, they eat a diverse range of foods. Commercial turtle pellets and fish pellets, as well as gut-loaded insects (bugs with nutrient-rich diets), earthworms and small fish, are often sold as turtle food at pet stores. Turtle owners should speak with a veterinarian or other professional when planning a diet for their pet, as the diets of captive turtles also vary by species.
As turtle owners, we are always looking for new types of foods to feed our pets. Naturally, as responsible turtle owners, we want the best for our pets. But, one question has always intrigued us the most. What can turtles eat from human food? Is it safe to feed them the same food we consume on a daily basis?
In this article, I’ll tell you exactly what types of food from your home you can use to feed your turtles. In addition, we’ll get into the pros and cons of those foods, and what benefits you can expect from each one.
What can turtles eat from human food? Turtles are omnivores which means they can eat pretty much everything. In other words, they’ll eat most of the foods you have in your home. Meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits, are all types of human food that your turtle will gladly accept and eat.
Now, let’s see the whole list of foods your turtle can, and those that you should avoid feeding them.
Turtles love fish. It’s no surprise, after all. They share the same habitat, they swim with fish, and they eat the fish. Fish are their primary source of quality protein in the wild. So, if you have any fish in your home, your turtle will gladly accept and eat it.
Eating fish has numerous advantages and benefits. They are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids, they are rich in calcium and phosphorus, and most importantly they are excellent sources of minerals. As you can see, feeding your turtle with fish can have a positive impact on its health.
However, one question always arises when you feed your turtles with fish. Are all types of fish safe and healthy for the turtle to consume them? And the answer is no.
You should always be careful with what kind of fish you are feeding your turtle. Avoid wild-caught fish at any cost. They may carry unknown pathogens that can be harmful to your turtle. In addition, avoid fish that are high in fats. Foods in high fats can lead to vitamin E deficiency in turtles.
In general, one of the safest fish to give your turtles are bluegills, crappies, and bass.
Feeding your turtles with feeder fish can also have negative effects. Generally, feeder fish aren’t high-quality food, mostly because they are high in fat.
Every person that has kept turtles knows that they enjoy eating meat. Giving your turtle threats once in a while is never a bad idea.
Meat is an excellent source of protein, which is an essential nutrient, highly necessary in the first couple of years of your turtle life.
Even though meat is good for turtles, it can cause negative effects, as well. The first side effect of too
Giving fruits on a regular basis to your turtles is a great way to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of disease.
Why Are Fruits So Valuable To Turtles?
Not only that they are full of vitamins and minerals, but they are also high in fiber, as well.
Include fruits in your turtle diet and remember to always wash the fruits before you give it to the turtle.
Vegetables should be part of every turtle diet.
Especially for adult turtles where vegetables make a majority of their diet. Turtles can eat almost all the vegetables people usually eat, however, avoid giving them vegetables that don’t have nutritional value.
Human Foods To Avoid
Not every type of food people eat is necessarily good food for a turtle. In a matter of fact, not every food that people eat is good food for the people themselves. But, that’s a completely different subject. Let’s just focus on the turtles.
Let’s see what’s bad for turtles and why you should avoid feeding them.
You should avoid feeding your turtle with dairy or milk products. Turtles lack certain enzymes to break down those nutrients and feeding with those may cause severe indigestion.
Chocolates and all other kinds of sweets are bad for your turtle health. Never feed your turtles with these types of foods.
Bread is not a healthy food for your turtle. If you are interested to learn more about this topic check out this article: Can turtles eat bread?
Your pet turtle deserves the best food. And I am confident that you will provide it. In order to grow into healthy individuals, turtles need to have a diverse diet. You can give them food from your household on some occasions, or when you are out of turtle food.
However, don’t overdo it. Stick to certain types of food that are healthy and beneficial for your turtle, and follow that schedule.