Feeding Tips for Turtles

Turtles are voracious feeders. They will attempt to eat nearly anything, and consume everything from insects to fish, small crustaceans, small animals and plant matter. Here are some ideas to help you feed them at home.

Underwater feeding
Turtles do not have 'peristalsis' muscle control above the stomach. In other words, they can't swallow. Instead they gulp their food. This requires them to feed under water, and so all feeding of your pet turtle should occur in the water.

Frozen Bloodworms are a great food, and turtles love them. Thawing some bloodworms in a dish and adding other foods, like pellets or another frozen food is a great way to introduce new foods if your turtle has become fussy. A diet of straight bloodworms is not a complete diet though.

Live fish
A supplement to your turtle’s diet, a few small live feeder-fish are a great idea, especially when the turtle is more than 10cm carapace length. Be very careful to check the inhabitants of the tank where the fish came from, to ensure there are no disease issues that could be introduced to your tank, and ask your fish supplier if any chemicals have been used for disease prevention - these chemicals could still be in the meat of the fish, and over time, build up in your turtle’s body until they become toxic to your turtle.

Pinkie mice
Small turtles will really get into eating a chopped up frozen pinkie. Placing the diced sections in a ceramic dish on the bottom of the tank (underwater) and see what happens. Larger turtles will often take a pinkie straight from your hand. Some Turtles at DoLittle Farm will launch themselves half out of the water to grab pinkies from the hand (much like a crocodile in a wildlife park).
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