Turtles are omnivores, meaning they get their food from both animal and plant sources. In today’s article, we will discuss what insects turtles can eat, and the role it plays in their diet.
Do turtles eat insects?
Yes, turtles eat plenty of insects. Insects are very good for turtles because they provide a great source of protein, which helps support their growth.
Insects make up a good portion of a turtle’s diet in the wild. This is because there is an abundance of them, and they are also easier to catch compared to other types of animals (fish, river shrimp, etc.).
What insects do turtles eat?
Turtles eat a wide range of insects including crickets, worms, beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, cockroaches, mosquitoes, ladybugs, and flies.
That being said, it’s important that you only feed your turtle insects that are safe for them to eat. You also want to make sure that you feed an insect that actually has nutritional value.
Best insects for turtles to eat
The best insects to feed a turtle are crickets, worms, and bugs. Turtles can also eat flies, but I advise against it.
My favorite insect to feed my turtle are crickets. They are very healthy for your turtle, as they have a lot of protein and calcium. My turtle also loves the stimulation that comes with trying to catch these creatures.
They can run around and jump on the water, so it is a bit of a challenge for your turtle to catch them. However, it provides great exercise and stimulation for your turtle.
I do recommend that you keep a close eye on the crickets when you feed them to your turtle. You want to make sure that the crickets don’t jump out of the tank. I had a close call when one got on top of the basking platform and almost jumped out. For this reason, I suggest that you feed them one by one instead of putting a bunch in at the same time.
To learn more about crickets, check out my guide on do turtles eat crickets.
Similar to crickets, you can also feed your turtle grasshoppers.
Worms are another great insect you can feed your turtle. Similar to crickets, they have a lot of protein. Also, based on my experience, worms are the best tasting insects for turtles. My turtle chomps down on worms the second I put them in the tank. While worms are great to feed your turtle, there are some precautions you should take.
I advise against feeding worms to baby turtles. Worms can be hard for your turtle to break into pieces, so sometimes they will swallow them whole. While an older turtle can do this easily, this might be a choking hazard for a younger turtle.
Also, it is important that you don’t feed your turtle too many worms at once. This is because they are high in fat, so eating too much could lead to health problems. It can also lead to digestion issues.
To learn more, check out my guide on can you feed your turtle worms.
Bugs are also another insect that you can feed your turtle. Some good bug options include beetles, caterpillars, and cockroaches.
All of these are relatively safe for you turtle, and they provide a lot of protein.
What insects should you not feed your turtle?
There are a couple types of insects that you shouldn’t feed your turtle:
Flies: Flies are a bit difficult to feed to turtles because they are hard for your turtle to catch. You can feed your turtle dead flies, but even then there is a chance that the fly will spread a disease to your turtle.
Mosquitos: While turtle certainly eat mosquitos in the wild, it is risky to feed it to them in captivity. Since mosquitos carry the blood from other animals, it is easy for them to transmit diseases to your turtle.
Slugs: While slugs can also be fed to your turtle, they are known for carrying parasites, which can cause a plethora of issues for your turtle and their tank.
Snails: They are technically gastropods and not insects, but I still thought they were important to mention. Snails can be fed to your turtle, but their hard shells can cause digestion issue for your turtle if they don’t break it down properly. Additionally, snails can carry pesticides into your tank.
Tips for feeding your turtle insects
There are a couple things you should keep in mind when feeding your turtle insects. For starters, make sure that you put the insects in water. Not only will this help prevent the insect from escaping, but it will also make it easier for your turtle to digest the insect. The only exception here is for box turtles, who can eat insects out of water.
Secondly, since insects contain a lot of protein, it is important that you don’t feed them too much. Insects should be fed as a treat, so no more than once a week. Feeding your turtle too many insects can cause shell pyramiding as well as digestive issues.
Lastly, if this is the first time feeding your turtle insects, you should start out with very small amounts. This will help your turtle’s digestive system adapt to the new food.
Can you feed your turtle wild insects?
Yes, you can feed your turtle wild insects. However, there are a couple of safety precautions you should take.
When catching insects for your turtles, make sure you don’t take insect from anywhere that has herbicides or pesticides in the ground.
Also, make sure that you never feed your turtle an insect that can sting. Not only can this be painful, but it can cause intestinal damage.
It is also important to give the insects a rinse before you put them in your tank, since this can help wash away any harmful chemicals or parasites.
I always suggest that you order insects from a pet store, since these are typically disease and pesticide free. They are also very cheap.