protein also forms a regular part of your turtles'
diet. Meat, chicken, fish, prawns, shrimp and
boiled egg whites are all rich in animal proteins
and trace elements. Your
turtle will absolutely adore most of them, and it
will be hard not giving him these as a dominant food
in its diet.
But, non-vegetarian foods should not form
more than 25-35% of mature turtles' diet.
This amount might be as high as 60-70% in young turtles,
but should be decreased to the recommended levels
over a period of time.
Never feed any raw non-vegetarian foods
your turtles - the risks are too great! All non-vegetarian
food should always be served cooked (boiled without
any salt and spices). While red meats (goat, beef,
etc.) can be given once in a while as a treat these
have a very high fat content, and should be avoided.
The best choice therefore is cooked chicken. Cooked
fish can also be given, but it is preferable to restrict
it to fresh-water fish and avoid ocean fish. Frozen
fish is to be strictly avoided. (Hard) Boiled egg
whites can also be given, but again as an occasional
treat because they have an extremely high protein
Fresh liver is an excellent source of vitamin A, and
should be given frequently as part of the non-vegetarian
diet. For convenience, fresh liver can be chopped
it into small pieces and frozen with a little bit
of water in an ice-tray. This keeps it fresh, and
all you need to do is drop a cube into the water when
Dog & Cat food can also be occasionally given,
but these tend to have extremely high protein/ fat
levels and should not form the staple non-vegetarian
component of the diet.
need veggies & fruits, but the young ones (just
like kids) will be brats! And refuse to eat them,
preferring non-vegetarian treats. However, tantrums
of all ages MUST be provided vegetables & fruits
as a staple food item, because they contain fiber,
essential vitamins, nutrients and trace elements that
your turtle requires.
Vegetables & fruits should form between
50 - 70% of mature turtles' diet.
But, don't get worried if the diet
of your young turtle (due to its choice - not yours!)
turns out to be 70% non-vegetarian! Just try to shift
to a more vegetarian diet over the next 4-6 weeks.
pet shops will tell you that Red-Eared Sliders are
carnivorous animals. Yes, they prefer to eat insects
than plants, but that doesn't mean that they don't
need to eat some veggies! They don't get enough Vitamin
A from just insects or commercial foods. You need
to give it veggies with high Vitamin A content, like
carrots. Some turtles will also accept: lettuce, tomatoes,
papaya, cantaloupe or bananas. Do not
give them spinach since they might
cause him/her some digestive complications. If your
turtle totally refuses to touch fruits and vegetables,
then you have two options:
1. You have to absolutely give him/her vitamin supplements
with high Vitamin A content.
2. Force your turtle to eat vegetables.
While most vegetables & fruits that
you consume will be fine for your turtles too, based
on the vitamin (important ones are A, B types, D)
and nutrient content the following are recommended:
Spinach - not to be used as a regular green
Leaves of Radish - Spring Onion, Turnip
Sweet Potato [cooked - boiled/ steamed/baked]
Vegetables & fruits should be shredded or cut
into small sized chunks (less than your turtles' mouth)
and given. Where possible serve with skins. Make sure
your vegetables have been washed properly. We recommend
that you boil some water, add turmeric (hindi : haldi)
and dip the uncut vegetable or fruit in this boiling
water for 10-30 seconds, and rinse with clean cool
water. This helps in removing any sort of pests, insecticides,
etc. on the skin of the vegetable or fruit.
If your turtle refuses to eat vegetables & fruits,
cheat it! Mix some minced chicken or chicken broth
with the shredded/cut vegetables & fruits. Mix
well so that the smell and taste of chicken smears
on to the fruit & vegetables. Start with a mix
of 50% chicken & 50% vegetables & fruits,
slowly increasing the vegetables & fruits share
over a few weeks.
you should avoid feeding
like lettuce and celery. They provide very little
useful nutrition or fiber. Only use it to entertain
a turtle that is already well fed.
high in oxalic acid
like spinach, chard and rhubarb. Oxalic acid blocks
the absorption of calcium. These foods cause the turtle
to become calcium deficient even if a good source
of calcium is provided.
purine foods which include peas, beans, mushrooms
should be used sparingly because they can contribute
to gout if overused.
avoid cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok-choi,
and kohlrabi (brassica family). In excessive amounts
of these plants contribute to kidney disease and goiter.
Turnips, soybeans, radishes, rapeseed, and mustard
also contain goitrogens. These should be used rarely.
However, the addition of kelp to the diet may reverse
the goitrogenic effect of the brassicas.
this section we will discuss basically about live
creatures that can serve as food for your turtle.
This includes - feeder fish (goldfish & guppies),
earthworms, mealworms, mosquito larvae, crickets,
cockroaches, snails. You
can either keep these along with your turtle in its
habitat or culture them separately to give during
The primary source is 'feeder fish'. Feeder fish are
generally 'guppies' or 'small goldfish'. Like
we said earlier, they can either be introduced into
the tank or reared separately.
The benefits of providing live food are
The bones/shells provide extra
calcium. In case you are culturing your own you can
calcium and vitamin content
by dosing the food you give them with calcium powder
Another key benefit of providing live food
- especially fishes is exercise! Your turtle WILL
these fishes and burn some
thus reducing chances of obesity
And last but not the least, you and the turtle
will both get some entertainment!
When keeping fish make sure you don't introduce too
many. 4-8 fishes in a medium sized tank at any point
of time are more than enough. Make sure you provide
enough vegetation cover or 'turtle-proof' corners
or they will be eaten too soon!
case you are introducing live feed into the habitat,
keep a careful check on their number, and reduce the
turtles' regular diet if it has consumed more of the
Other live food that is popularly given includes -
snails, earthworms, mosquito larvae, crickets &
cockroaches. While these can be cultured, we don't
know too many who are culturing crickets and cockroaches.
On the other hand snails and earthworms like fishes
are relatively easy to culture. In fact you can buy
snails and introduce them into you habitat just like
Mosquito Larvae and Earthworms should be given a quick
rinse before they are given as food. For younger turtles
you might need to chop up the earthworms into small
you can feed
fish like guppies
kinds of worms
Quite often one is tempted to catch some
live prey and feed to the turtle. This is a strict NO, because:
Not all prey is safe to eat
Live prey might harbor parasites that are
alien to your turtle, and it might get infected
Live feed might be contaminated with toxins,
So avoid feeding, wild prey to your turtles. You can
do so only if you disinfect them, but that would again
take care of only the surface parasites/chemicals.
Some turtles will eat aquatic plants, then if you
want to decorate your tank with them, make sure that
those plants are not poisonous! Among the plants that
the turtles will eat we find: water hyacinth, water
lilies, elodia, duckweed. Feeding your turtles with
aquatic plants is an excellent idea because they have
a high content of Vitamin A, and also provide cover
to your turtle.
plants serve as excellent decorations and also mid-meal
snacks for your turtles. There are many more benefits
of having plants in your tank, which we will not elaborate
here. The best part of keeping aquatic plants is that
your turtles can feed on them at their own discretion.
(which is also quite unfortunate as they tend to eat
them more often than not - and you will end up replacing
your plants quite frequently!)
We personally recommend that you float some water lettuce on top of the water -
it looks extremely dainty, and is available with most
nurseries. Some other water plants that are safe for
the turtle, and you can float in the habitat are -
Lily, Duckweed, and Water Hyacinth.
Most aquarium plants are safe for your turtles.
It is important to vary the diet of the turtle to
assure its overall health. Do not feed it just one
sort of food! You can feed them a variety of life
food like crickets, earthworms, aquatic snail, mosquito
fish, fruits and vegetables, one commercial food,
and Vitamin supplements.
a combination of the following foods
diets (No more than 25% of the total diet)
Protein (No more than 25% of the total diet)
matter (50% or more of the total diet)
often to feed
Your turtle(s) will always be begging for food, the
Red-Eared Sliders have a voracious appetite.
So how much is a good meal? Well, until your turtle(s)
stops eating. Some keepers feed them twice a week.You
should feed as much food as fits in his head and neck.
The turtle should be able to eat this in about 5 to
10 minutes. Juveniles must be fed every day, while
adults can be fed once every two or three days. If
your turtle(s) is fat, when the skin overlaps on its
legs when he/she tucks them in.
Overfeeding will cause the turtle to grow too fast
and die when he is 10 till 15 years old because of
kidney failure. You might want to examine what your
are feeding it, for instance the fat content or might
start feeding it less often.
Give vitamin supplements twice a week.
is a wide variety of commercial foods for turtles.
You can feed her with commercial foods but you must
vary the diet. Do not feed her
ONLY commercial foods. Check the nutritional
contents of the food. It should have less than 35%
protein and the best commercial foods for the turtle
are those that have both calcium and vitamin A. I
personally like Wardleys Reptile TEN, but there are
other good ones like Tropical Magic. I don't like
the Reptomin, but when it is all I can get I'll buy
than 35% protein
Crickets are an excellent food for turtles. They are
a complete meal, and it is also fun to watch the chase!
Most reptile stores carry crickets, and they are relatively
inexpensive. They can also be bought at bate shops.
You can try to raise the crickets yourself.
These are also very good for the turtles, and very
easy to raise. The only problem is. If your turtle
is a baby, you might have to chop them up before feeding
them to the turtle!
Nice natural meal that functions both as a meal, and
as filter helper. The snails will eat some of the
food your turtles doesn't eat. You don't need a big
filtered tank to raise them. You can raise them in
a plastic bottle. Remember to feed them.
meat, fish or chicken
Turtles adores them, but they are not good for the
turtle. Raw meat has too much fat, and will cause
obesity in the turtle. Besides, it doesn't provide
the turtle with the nutrients it needs so much. Raw
chicken, beware of salmonella! You can give your turtle
occasionally a piece of COOKED chicken, with no spices
at all. About fish, I would suggest feeding it with
mosquito fish or guppies. You can occasionally give
the turtle other types of fish, but try to avoid sea
fish. You should totally avoid giving your turtle
fish that has been previously frozen. This fish will
inhabit and might cause the turtle long term problems.
you can NOT feed
sea fish or fish that been previously frozen
fatty red meats
They are a good source of calcium to the turtle, and
at the same time it helps it sharpen its beak. Cuttle
bones can be left floating to let the turtle chase
them. You can buy them at most pet shops since they
are the same used by birds. More in VITAMINS
Dry cat feed is can also be used as meal for a turtle.
You might want to soak them for given them, which
makes eating them easier. It has all the nutrients
your turtle need but can be fat, salty and high in
protein and should not be used as the main source
turtle refuses to eat
If your turtle refuses to eaten item that he/she previously
enjoyed eating, don't worry.The Red-Eared Sliders
are finicky eaters and sometimes they just want something
different, and sometimes the problems is that you
gave the turtle something that he/she liked better,
and then he/she holds on until you give him/her different
items. As far as he/she is eating something, there
is nothing to worry about. Suspect sickness only when
he/she refuses to eat at all no matter what you offer
your turtle don't eat
- Is the turtle kept warm enough? If turtles get too
cool, they will stop eating.
- Does the turtle like the food you offer?? Try out
different foods. Some turtles can be very finicky
eaters, especially in the beginning. And they have
definite likes and dislikes. Most turtles will eventually
take small earthworms that are wiggling in front of
their nose. Start feeding favorite foods, then slowly
introduce other items.
- Is your turtle exposed to too much stresses? This
is often a cause in new animals. Stress can be caused
by handling, traveling, tank mates. New turtles will
often not eat properly for several weeks. Be patient
and keep trying.
- Is your turtle healthy? Not eating can be a symptom
of other problems. If your turtle has been eating
well and suddenly stops, a health problem is a likely
reason. Take a fecal sample to your veterinarian.
Fecal samples need to be no older than 4 hours, and
you need to store them in water in the refrigerator.
- Don't panic! A turtle can go without food for weeks,
even months, and when it feels well again, it will
eat again. See a veterinarian, if you thing you are
doing everything right, and the animal does not eat
for more than 2 weeks.
- Offer him different foods.
- It's still winter, and your turtle may just be taking
a break. If he has no other symptoms, this is a possibility.
- Is your turtle still producing poop? If not, he
may be severely constipated. He'll need a laxative,
and only a vet can calculate the right dosage. If
you want to try something on your own, dip a few of
his food pellets into mineral oil and feed it to him.
Don't overdo it, that can be bad, too.
- If you are ONLY feeding food sticks, what brand?,
your turtle may not be getting all he needs from food.
Offer some wiggly worms and change his diet as suggested
on the web site.
- Your turtle may be too cold. Check the web site
on heating. Also, it is always a good idea to keep
a turtle that is not eating very warm. Heat the water
to 30C (85F), and make sure the basking site is at
32C (90F). This will often help. Being warm also helps
the immune system.
- If the turtle has a distinct nasal discharge or
is swimming lopsided or gaping, it is likely he has
a respiratory infection.
In summary: Keep him warm if it is mild, if it does
not get better within a few days, you must see a vet,
because he'll need antibiotics. More in MEDICAL
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