Your turtle keeps begging, and you keep feeding. Your head starts to wonder, “Just how much food should I feed my turtle?!” Here’s the answer.
Diet can be one of the trickiest things to master when it comes to perfecting the care of your turtle. It can take a lot of research and time to ensure that all of your turtle’s nutritional needs are met. In this article, I will focus specifically on how much and how often you should feed your turtle.
Aquatic turtles tend to be opportunistic eaters, so they will eat as much as you provide them. This can easily lead to overfeeding which can have negative implications on their health. So, it is very important to establish a routine and stick to it.
How often should I feed my turtle?
In general, it is best to feed your turtle every day or every other day. However, the exact answer depends on the age of your turtle.
Here are some good rules of thumb for frequency of feedings:
- Feed babies and juveniles (turtles up to 1 year of age) once a day.
- Young adults (ages 1 to 5) should be fed every day or every other day.
- Mature turtles should be fed every two to three days.
As mentioned in the introduction, turtles are opportunistic. Even if they are overweight, they will continue to eat whatever is provided. So, making sure you are not feeding them too often is very important for their overall health.
Below are my top choices for turtle food. They are all under $15.
|Tetra Tetrafauna Pro Turtle Food
Price: ~$10 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin D3
|Check Price On Amazon
|Aquatic Turtle Medley Food - Freeze Dried Shrimp & Mealworms for Aquatic Turtle
Price: ~$15 Nutrition: High Protein and Fiber
|Check Price On Amazon
|Fluker’s Buffet Blend Turtle Food
Price: ~$8 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin A
|Check Price On Amazon
How Much to Feed a Turtle
You should feed your turtle the amount of pellets that would fit inside their head if it were empty. A great way to measure this is with a medicine cup. You can also feed them as much as they can eat in 5 minutes.
That being said, you shouldn’t pour a bunch of food into their tank at once, as uneaten food can cause problems in your tank.
If you have an aquatic turtle, check out my video below that explains how much to feed a turtle.
Turtles do not need too much food to sustain themselves. They actually eat far less than most people would presume. Overfeeding as well as underfeeding your turtle are both common mistakes and can be problematic, so it’s important to know how much is a good amount.
As well as understanding how much total food you should provide your turtle with, it’s also necessary to understand what type of food to feed your turtle.
What type of food to feed your turtle?
You should feed your turtle a combination of pellets, vegetables, and a protein source.
The pellets, or “staple food”, should make up the majority of your turtle’s diet. It should account for around 75% of their food. I suggest that you have a couple different types of pellets to ensure they are getting all of their nutrients. When it comes to how many pellets you should feed your turtle, as mentioned you should feed as many as would fit in your turtle’s head.
While it depends on the species of your turtles, most will require some vegetables. This is especially true for the popular red-eared sliders and painted turtles. Some great vegetables include romaine lettuce and collard greens. Make sure to take out any uneaten vegetables before they rot in your tank. You should feed vegetables to your turtle once or twice a week.
Once a week, you should feed your turtle some treats. These should be some type of insects or freeze dried worms. This is important because it provides your turtle protein. You can also feed your turtle small live feeder fish.
As a reminder, I recommend you do further research specifying the type of turtle you have, as it varies from species to species. If you want to feed pond turtles, you should check out my article what do pond turtles eat? If you have a snapping turtle, you should check out my article on what do snapping turtles eat?
How Much Should I Feed A Baby Turtle?
When it comes to baby turtles, I would recommend that you simply follow the empty-head rule, just as with young and mature adults.
Turtle feeding schedule
Below is a schedule of when and what to feed a baby turtle:
- Monday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head
- Tuesday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head, Leafy greens
- Wednesday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head, Protein treats
- Thursday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head
- Friday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head, Leafy greens
- Saturday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head
- Sunday: Enough pellets to fit the size of their head
As the turtle ages, I would phase out one of the pellet feeding days and replace it with leafy greens and veggies. If you have a Red-Eared Slider, you should check out my article on how much to feed a Red Eared Slider baby.
How many pellets should I feed my turtle?
You should feed your turtle as many pellets as would fit inside their head if it was empty. A good way to measure this is with either a medicine bottle cap or a plastic bag.
Pellets are great for all species of turtles, especially red-eared sliders. My favorite pellets for red-eared sliders are these Zoo-med pellets.
How Many Times do you Feed a Turtle in a Day
You should feed juvenile turtles once a day, turtles 1-5 years old every other day, and turtles 5 years and up should be fed every two to three days.
As you know, nutrition is incredibly important to maintaining your turtle’s happiness and overall well-being. Therefore, it is a very important thing to understand and execute properly.
How much and how often you feed your turtle is very dependent on its species. While there are some general suggestions that apply to most all turtles, it’s important to research your specific species of turtle to know the correct proportions of vegetables and protein as well as how much to feed them.
It is also important to pay attention to your turtle’s body language and behavior to determine if they are being overfed or underfed. If you are concerned about their behavior or appearance, visit your local veterinarian to see if you can determine the cause.
Keep in mind that your turtle will likely eat whatever you give them, so it is important to establish a good, strong routine. Feed them at the same time every day or every other day and keep the amount of food at the same amount each time.
Your turtle will continue to eat even once they are full, so make sure that you only provide an amount of food that they can eat within twenty minutes. Anything more and you’ll likely be overfeeding them.