African Sideneck turtle food list

If you own or plant to own an African Sideneck turtle, it is very important that you feed them the right diet. In today’s article, we will explain everything you need to know about feeding them, as well as an African Sideneck turtle food list.

African Sideneck turtle food list

An African Sideneck turtle’s diet should include a combination of pellets, vegetables, insects, and fruit. You can also feed them supplements.

Below I will break down what you can feed for each category.


Pellets should account for around 40%-50% of your African Sideneck turtle’s diet. You can feed them any pellets that are meant for aquatic turtles.

I prefer to feed Sideneck’s floating pellets because it is easier for them to find. It also leads to less waste that your filter has to clean.

Two of my favorite pellets for Sideneck’s are Mazuri aquatic turtle pellets and Reptomin pellets. Both are relatively cheap and provide a wide range of nutrients including protein, calcium, and essential vitamins.

African Sideneck turtle vegetables list

Another key component to your African Sideneck’s diet is vegetables. It should account for around 20%-40% of their diet.

The best vegetables for Sideneck’s are leafy green vegetables including collard greens, turnip greens, kale, lettuce, and arugula.

Some other good vegetable options include carrots, squash, endives, and green beans. It’s important that you chop these vegetables up into small pieces so that they are easy to eat for your turtle.

Also, since vegetables can decay quite quickly, it is important that you remove any uneaten vegetables at the end of the day. This will help reduce the amount of waste and ammonium  in your tank water.


In the wild, African Sideneck turtles frequently eat insects and other small aquatic animals. These are large sources of protein, which is integral to their growth. Therefore, you will want to replicate this in their diet in captivity.

Some good options for protein include mealworms, earthworms, freeze-dried shrimp, and crickets. You can also feed them small feeder fish as well.

You can learn more in my article on the best insects for turtles.

The amount of insect/protein that you feed your African Sideneck will depend on a couple factors. For example, if the pellets you feed them are already high in protein, then they will likely not need an addition source of protein from insects.

Also, younger turtles have a higher need for protein than older turtles. For younger turtles, insects could account for anywhere from 10%-40% of their diet, since they need a lot of protein to support their growth.

On the other hand, older adult turtles that have already reached their full size will have much less of a need for insects and protein.

Can African Sideneck turtles eat fruit?

While fruit isn’t mandatory for an African Sideneck’s diet, it can help provide essential vitamins. Additionally, your turtle will probably love the taste. That being said, there are a couple things you should keep in mind.

First off, fruit is not as common for Sideneck’s to eat, and their digestive system is not great at digesting sugar. Therefore, you should make sure that fruit never accounts for more than 10% of their diet. Secondly, it’s important that you avoid fruit that is high in sugar.

What fruit can you feed an African Sideneck turtle?

Some good fruit that you can feed your Sideneck include tomatoes, blueberries, bananas, and grapes.

Make sure you cut these fruits up in small pieces so that your turtle can easily eat and digest them. Also, make sure to avoid any fruit that has an seeds or pits.

Vitamins and supplements

If you follow the instructions above, you Sideneck turtle should have a solid diet that doesn’t need any additional supplementations. However, if you want to be extra safe, you might want to feed your turtle calcium supplements.

Calcium is extremely important for your turtle’s growth, especially when it comes to the growth of their shell. Some other important vitamins for your turtle include vitamin A and vitamin D.

Variety is key

It is very important that you maintain a varied diet for your African Sideneck turtle. If you don’t feed your turtle different types of food, they will likely not receive all of their required nutrients. This can lead to a wide range of health defects and diseases.

Additionally, a lack of variety can cause your turtle to become a picky eater and become too dependent on a specific food. This can cause problems if you run out of this food, as they might refuse to eat anything else you try to give them.

It’s also important that you feed your turtle vegetables even when they are young. Even though they are less important for their diet, it will become more significant to their diet when they get older. It will be much harder to convince them to eat vegetables if they never ate them when they were younger.

Feed in water

Lastly, it is important that you always feed your African Sideneck directly in the water. When these turtles eat, they prefer to also gulp in some water to help soften the food and help digestion. If you feed them on dry land, it can be much harder for them to break down the food and can lead to digestion problems.

You can drop the food directly into their tank water, or you can take them out of the tank and feed them in a separate container of water. Some people prefer separate containers because it helps reduce leftover waste in the turtle tank.

If you do decide to feed your turtle directly in the tank, make sure to remove any uneaten food before it decays.


I hope this article helped shed some light on what you can feed your African Sideneck Turtle. It is important to feed them a variety of pellets, vegetables, and insects. Fruit and supplements can also be added to their diet.

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