The Diet of Turtles

Most species of turtles are primarily herbivores, but meat (insects, fish, etc.) is also an important part of their diet. In order to feed turtles healthily, a balanced diet is immensely important. Deficiency symptoms, organ damage, and deformed armor are often the result of poor nutrition. Often times the reason for mistakes in feeding is that it is wrongly believed that turtles are pure carnivores.

Calcium and Vitamin D3 are Essential for Turtles: Rickets

The necessary supply of calcium and vitamin D3 is of great importance. Most of the time, animal foods such as earthworms, snails, shrimps, or even river fleas contain sufficient calcium and vitamin D3. Turtle species that mainly eat plant-based food have to be irradiated with UVB lamps, as there is no vitamin D3 in plant-based food. This is compensated for by UVB radiation.

Calcium and vitamin D3 are absolutely necessary for the formation of the shell and the structure of the bones of your turtles. Failure to receive one of these two substances can lead to rickets, which sometimes also leads to death. You can also add feed supplements to food. However, only ever feed as much as is eaten immediately so as not to unnecessarily pollute the water.

Vegetable Feed for Turtles: No Fruits and Vegetables

Not all turtles eat plants, but in most cases, they are still an important part of their diet. For some species, it is even essential to eat almost exclusively vegetable food. Aquatic turtles should be able to eat as much plant-based food as they want. Duckweed, water lettuce, water lilies, frog bites, pond liver moss, and dandelions are very popular. Some of them, like duckweed, should always be in your tank. However, you should definitely refrain from feeding fruit and vegetables. This often causes considerable digestive disorders.

Small Turtles: Great Hunters

Young turtles eat more animal foods. They enjoy hunting for prey and they really enjoy it! Therefore, for example, fleas, water fleas, mosquito larvae, or mayfly larvae are very suitable for feeding. You will see what an interesting spectacle then takes place! Make sure that both young and adult turtles have a balanced and varied diet. What insects and fish they need, you can also buy conveniently and specially prepared for turtles in cans.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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