What to Feed Turtles in a Pond?

Pond turtles are omnivores, meaning they consume both both plants and animals. In today’s article, we are going to get into the specifics, and explain exactly what pond turtles eat.

What do pond turtles eat?

Pond turtle sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) are one of the most common turtles kept as pets. They are tough turtles that live for a very long time, sometimes up to 70 years.

In the wild, pond turtles eat a range of foods, and while we can’t necessarily replicate these foods for our pets, we can offer them some similar choices.

Though turtles are not endangered, FDA regulation title 21 bans the purchase of turtle eggs and turtles with shells less than 4 inches in length. The prohibition was enacted in 1975 to address the issue of Salmonella infections in children. With this in mind, it is important to always wash your hands after coming in contact with a turtle, especially those in the wild.

What to Feed Turtles in a Pond?

Pellets are one of the most important things you should feed a pond turtle. Aquatic turtle pellets are an essential part of your pet turtle’s diet, but they also shouldn’t be the only thing they eat. Always place the food in the pond, and don’t try to hand feed them directly. With pellets accounting for around 25% of the diet, the remainder of the diet should include some of the following things below:

  • Earthworms, crickets, waxworms, silkworms, aquatic snails, bloodworms, daphnia, crabs, krill, and mealworms are some of their favorite prey.
  • Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, kale, and bok choy are examples of leafy greens.
  • You can put aquatic plants in an aquarium or a pond, and turtles love to eat them. Carrots (tops are fine), squash, and green beans are examples of other vegetables.

Here is my favorite pellets from amazon. They only cost $10 and I am certain your pond turtle will love them.

Pond turtles are omnivores that eat a wide variety of wild animals and plants. Red ear sliders will most likely eat the following items, but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Fish
  • Tadpoles
  • Various Plants
  • Crayfish
  • Flies
  • Wax Worms
  • Insects
  • Slugs
  • Crickets
  • Meal Worms

Pond turtles are freshwater turtles that live in small rivers or ponds and will eat almost anything they can find or scavenge in the water that fits into their mouth.

Here is a list of what I have regularly fed pond turtles in the past:

  • Small fish from a store
  • Fresh, cooked, unseasoned meat (stick with chicken and shrimp)
  • Chopped vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, etc)
  • Water vegetation
  • Dead insects

If you need something more stable for your pet turtle, you can also purchase store-bought turtle diets, which can be excellent nutrition choices.

If you want ideas for a pond, check out my article on the perfect outdoor pond for a red eared slider.

Turtles have different tastes!

Whatever you think is best for your turtle, keep in mind that it, like every other species, has tastes and preferences.

You shouldn’t be disappointed if the turtle doesn’t instantly take to your provided meal. Be patient, and if they still aren’t interested after a few days, consider coming up with a different option for them.

To learn more, check out my article on red eared slider food.

What Things to Avoid When Feeding Turtles in a Pond?

While pond turtles will likely eat anything, it is important to avoid certain foods that can be toxic to them.

Here are a few tips for balancing the best of both worlds.

No Oily Food:
Do not feed your turtle any greasy foods. There will be no French fries, donuts, onion rings, or other similar foods.

No Dairy Foods:
Including milk, cheese, butter, etc. Turtles don’t have the necessary enzymes to correctly digest lactose.

Sugary Foods:
No candy, chocolate, or other sugary foods are allowed. Not only is it bad for a turtle’s wellbeing, but these foods are usually hard and pose a choking danger to your pet.

Food Sharing Is Not Permitted:
Do not share meals or snacks with your turtle. Salmonella bacteria are carried by many turtles, as well as other marine animals. They are not affected by Salmonella in the same way humans are.

No Kissing:
Please, no kissing your turtle. Although they are adorable when young or little, they bear salmonella, and the last thing you want is to become ill because of your turtle.

No Dirty Hands:
When handling your turtle, make sure to thoroughly wash both hands with antibacterial soap.

You can now clearly explain how to raise a happy and safe pond turtle. When properly cared for, pond turtles, like all pets, make excellent companions.