For beginners, the red-eared slider can be an excellent starter turtle. However, when it comes to the dietary needs of their red-eared slider, many often make mistakes. The most prevalent question new owners have is, “can red-eared sliders eat fruit?” In this article, we will answer your question and advise you on how to provide a balanced diet for your beloved slider.
Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Fruit?
Most types of fruit are safe for red-eared sliders to eat; however, they must be limited as they don’t provide a lot of essential nutrients for turtles.
You can learn more in my video below that covers the best fruits for red-eared sliders.
Fruit is not something red-eared sliders regularly eat in the wild. In fact, their digestive system is not great at breaking down sugar since it’s not natural to their diet. Therefore, it should not be their main source of nutrition as pets. Fruit should be given as a treat from time to time.
Strawberries, bananas, apples, mangoes, grapes, kiwis, and other fresh fruits are popular with many red-eared sliders; however, because fruits are high in sugar, giving them too much can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.
Too much fruit can also cause diabetes in turtles. Diabetes symptoms in red-eared sliders include lethargy and weakness, increased appetite, increased urination, and dilated pupils. However, you won’t need to worry about these conditions if you only feed your turtle fruit in moderation.
If you want to be extra safe, you can also just give your turtle this fruit mix that is made specifically for turtles.
Some red-eared sliders may also not enjoy eating fresh fruits, even as a treat. It all depends on your turtle’s personality and preferences. Some will not even look at fruits, or they will bite them and then spit them out. If your turtle doesn’t like fruit, you should not force it on them.
Now let’s talk about what you should feed your red-eared slider to keep it healthy.
Red-eared sliders can eat a wide range of foods, but they mostly feed on aquatic vegetation, small fish, insects, flowers, and vegetables, among other things. They eat a wide variety of foods out in nature, and while we can’t accurately replicate these foods for our pets, we can try to do so to the best of our abilities.
An appropriate diet for red-eared sliders should consist of 25% live protein, 25% commercial foods, and 50% vegetables and aquatic plants.
You can feed them live proteins such as earthworms, silkworms, crickets, shrimp, bloodworms, and wax worms. You should, however, avoid feeding your red-eared slider dried insects or shrimp because they lack the nutritional value of live proteins.
You can learn more in my article on the best red-eared slider food.
When it comes to commercial foods, there are many available on the market, but you should look for one with low protein and low fat. For vegetables, red-eared sliders enjoy eating Chinese cabbage, dandelion greens, sweet potatoes, squash, bell peppers, carrots, etc.
You can also provide turtle safe plants for your red-eared slider, such as water lettuce, anacharis, duckweed, and water hyacinths.
You can also grow your own vegetables and plants to ensure their safety. Check that no pesticides have been used on the vegetables you will give your red-eared slider.
As previously discussed, you can feed your red-eared slider fruits from time to time. Most fruits are safe for turtles, but we recommend limiting fruits.
Lastly, you should also provide nutritional supplements to your red-eared slider, as we cannot mimic all of the food and nutrients they can get out in the wild. Nutritional supplements will ensure that your turtle receives a completely balanced nutritional profile.
Even with a well-balanced diet, some nutrients are challenging to obtain, so nutritional supplements are ideal for solving this problem. When choosing a nutritional supplement for your beloved pet, look for one that contains calcium and vitamin D3. Mix it with your turtle’s food at least twice a week to ensure your beloved pet gets all the nutrients it needs. Cuttlebone is a great supplement for calcium.
When feeding red eared sliders, some people prefer to feed them once every three days, while others prefer to feed them smaller meals daily. Whatever feeding schedule you choose, don’t overfeed your turtle, especially with high protein and fat items. Depending on its size, the amount of food you give your turtle can vary. A good rule is to let your turtle eat as much as it can in the span of 15 minutes.
If you feed your turtle too frequently, it can result in pyramiding.
Again, fruits are perfectly safe for red-eared sliders if given only occasionally. Giving them too many fruits on a regular basis may cause digestive problems as well as long-term issues such as diabetes. A balanced diet of live protein, pellets, and vegetables is the best way to keep your turtle healthy.
Fruits can be included as a treat, but they should not be their primary source of nutrition. Hopefully, this article answered your questions about whether red-eared sliders can eat fruit and helped you determine the best diet for your red-eared slider. Good luck!