Turtles are a symbol of longevity and nobility. They are very calm animals and when you have decided to incorporate one of these pets into your life, you know it will be for many years. Feeding, for your turtles, as it is for all of us and any living being, is one of the most important daily activities to maintain their well-being.
Therefore, in the following lines you will be able to learn what types of food are best for your turtle, whether it is freshwater or land. And also, we hope to answer any questions that may arise about living with these adorable pets, who give so little work and so common have become as pets.
The most important
- The nutrients that a water turtle requires are not the same as those that a land turtle needs, so you should buy them food based on this essential characteristic.
- Before deciding what food to offer your turtle, you should know what its species is, since, depending on this, the food it needs will vary greatly. Semi-aquatic turtles need high levels of protein, while land turtles are herbivorous and require practically no animal products.
- A well-cared for turtle can last dozens of years, always depending on its species. In addition to the special feed, you can supplement their diet with human products.
The best turtle food on the market: our recommendations
In this section, you will see a compilation of the five most popular turtle food products that you can find this year in the market. The list is accompanied by a detailed explanation of each of the products so that you know if it may be the best food to keep your little pet in shape. Do not miss it:
- The best food for water turtles
- The best food for adult turtles
- The most natural food for turtles
- The most complete food for turtles
- The best food for tortoises
The best food for water turtles
This food is intended for water turtles and therefore can float. It is available in packs of four sizes and different prices. According to the manufacturing company, 35.4% of the product is protein. Among the ingredients we find fish meal, cornstarch, gluten and wheat flour, beer yeast, egg, fish oil, garlic or seaweed.
Fats represent 5.9% of the total product, fibers 4.6% and humidity 4.2%. The colorants are allowed by the European Union regulations. Some buyers note that the leftovers don’t make their water very dirty and generally say their pets like the taste. It contains vitamins A, D3, E, B1, B2 and C. It also has ash, calcium and phosphorus.
The best food for adult turtles
This product is a 270 gram jar for water turtles. Consumers report that their pets have quickly adapted to the taste of this food. They are small red sticks with 33% protein, 4% fat, 4% crude fiber and 5% ash. In addition, it has vitamins A, D3 and E.
According to the product label, it contains cereals, vegetable derivatives, fish and fish by-products, mollusks, crustaceans and algae. It is recommended for turtles that are in their development stages or for adults. It comes in a round jar with a lid that helps to preserve it after the product has been opened.
The most natural food for turtles
Natural food for tortoises. The manufacturers explain that it provides the correct supply of fibers and proteins for normal growth and for the correct development of the tortoise shell. It contains chopped vegetables, oats, mousetail and alfalfa, all of them with a lot of fiber, something important for these animals. Contains live microorganisms.
It is recommended to mix with water to make it more tasty. In addition, it contains dandelion, yucca and other plants. It comes in a plastic and transparent bottle closed with a screw cap. It has 29% oatmeal. It also has whole ground wheat, endive, endive, and baking soda. In addition to nutritional supplements such as vitamin A, D3 or zinc oxide.
The most complete food for turtles
It contains more than 55% shrimp and is therefore rich in Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids, which are a high quality energy source. Manufacturers say the product is 47% crude protein. In addition, it has 7% oils and fats, 4% fibers and 9% humidity. It is for water animals and the product floats on water.
Among its ingredients, this food contains extracts of vegetable proteins, by-products of vegetable origin, fish and fish by-products, yeasts, oils, fats, mineral substances and algae. Buyers say that their pets adapt quickly to the taste of this food, although its remains can make the water dirty. There are for babies and for adults.
The best food for tortoises
This is a product intended for tortoises, especially designed for Mediterranean and Russian land tortoises. It has cereals, legumes, glycerin, by-products of vegetable origin, fish and fish by-products, mineral substances, oils and fats, fruit, yeast extract 1% and lecithins. It is available in two sizes.
It has vitamins, minerals and amino acids so that nutritional supplements are not required. It is recommended to always accompany fresh water nearby so that the animal is hydrated. It has vitamins A 20 IU and D3 10 IU, iron, iodine, cobalt, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium among others. Buyers say their animals adapted to food very quickly.
Shopping Guide: What You Should Know About Turtle Food
To have a reptile at home like a turtle and grow healthy and strong and have a good life, it is necessary that you understand it and meet its basic needs. An animal like this, out of its habitat, will only have you to put within reach certain tools that it needs in its day to day life. Here we solve common doubts of people who live with turtles.
How many times a day should I feed my turtle?
It is important to bear in mind that a turtle will not overeat even if you add a lot of food, unlike other animals. And the frequency to offer food should vary depending on the age of your pet.
When they are adults, feed them about three times a week. It is calculated, although it varies according to the species, that in very general terms they are adults from six years of age. But to know these data, better find out according to the species you have as a pet. It is important to remove the excess food so as not to make the water more dirty.
Does food and care vary according to the species of turtle?
Yes. Assuming that a water turtle will need much more protein than a land turtle, which will require a greater amount of vegetables. There are a wide variety of species of these animals that can live with people in a home. And here we are going to know the main characteristics of some of them:
Japanese or red-eared tortoise
- Habitat: Semi-aquatic (spends a lot of time in the water, but needs moments outside).
- Characteristics and care: They are green with certain yellow spots on the body and two red spots on the sides of their face. They generally live between 20 and 30 years and when they hibernate they need little water. It requires the sun to shine in its resting area. If not, you can buy him a heat lamp.
- Food you need: They are omnivorous animals, they consume both vegetables and animal matter. You can feed him his feed and supplement it with meat, fish, vegetables and a supplement rich in calcium.
- Habitat: Semi-aquatic.
- Characteristics and care: They can reach 50 years of life and are very popular as pets. They have a green shell and on their belly and head you will find many yellow spots. The temperature of your water should be between 25 and 30 ºC. To keep it constant, a water heater can be incorporated. You need access to direct sunlight.
- Food you need: They are omnivorous and it is recommended to use the feed as a base and also give it meat and fish, vegetables and fruit and some insects or larvae.
Yellow eared turtle
- Habitat: Semi-aquatic.
- Characteristics and care: They have a very dark green flattened carapace and on the belly it has a pale yellow color with dark spots. They live about 40 years old. They need an aquarium or a terrarium as long as they have two areas: a dry one for sunbathing during the day (which is around 30 degrees) and another for water at night.
- Food you need: The basis of the diet should be feed for turtles, in addition you should give food of animal origin, such as all kinds of insects, snails, tadpoles, fish, and also meat, such as fat, and fish. They can also be given some type of fruit and vegetables, but this species of turtle usually avoids eating it. Lettuce or duckweed can be incorporated into your aquarium so that they consume something vegetable when they are hungry.
- Habitat: Earth
- Characteristics and care: They stand out for being very small: they can only measure 15 to 18 centimeters in length. They look for vegetation if they can. Unlike other species, these are very active and playful and like to play hide and seek. Therefore, they need ample space to move.
- Food you need: They are mostly herbivorous and can usually only be fed with fruits and vegetables. It does not support many proteins. To keep its shell strong it requires a lot of calcium and little phosphorus. In addition to their feed, they will love green leaves and flowers, such as clover, hibiscus, endive, lettuce, dandelion, among others.
Moorish Tortoise (has many subspecies)
- Habitat: Earth.
- Characteristics and care: Very long-lived. Some have reached 100 years. They usually reach 20 centimeters long, although some can grow up to 30 cm. They are from dry climates, so they do not seek vegetation. They like areas of high and arid temperatures. They are quite shy turtles, so it is recommended that you provide them with the option of having spaces to shelter and hide for hours.
- Food You Need: When it comes to food, your body needs it to be high in fiber, low in protein, and rich in calcium. In addition to his feed, he will love mixed vegetable salads, but he should not be offered a lot of meat. Give him little fruit. You can offer him some fruit with lots of water, such as melon. They can only be fed fruit every two weeks or more. The cuttlebone helps this spice maintain its calcium levels.
- Habitat: Earth.
- Characteristics and care: A physical peculiarity is that it has four nails per leg while other species have five. They come from arid and not very hot areas. Your terrarium can be at most 30 degrees during the day and 20 degrees at night. You must allow them to live as freely as possible. The length of this animal is between 13 and 25 centimeters, depending on whether they are male or female. They can live more than 50 years.
- Food it needs: This turtle is strictly herbivorous. Eat a variety of vegetables without overdoing cabbages and spinach. Never give him fruit, as it can cause diarrhea. Do not give him meat or fish. It should get little protein and it should be from plant-based products. Very good foods, apart from the feed created for this species, which includes dandelion, chicory, alfalfa, clover, iceberg lettuce, endive, Chinese cabbage or endive
- Habitat: Earth.
- Characteristics and care: Its shell is convex in shape, very domed and black with stripes, like stars, yellow, this being its great physical peculiarity. In the first months of life they have a high mortality rate and require a lot of attention. They come from places where dry and rainy seasons alternate and tend to behave according to these stages.
- Food it needs: It is herbivorous, it feeds mainly on flowers, leaves and fruits. You need a lot of vegetables and leafy greens, but you should eat little cabbage and spinach. They need high amounts of fiber and cactus as part of their diet will be very healthy. Do not give him protein and do offer him a supplement that provides him with a lot of calcium.
Can food make a turtle obese?
Yes it can and, in fact, in this case, you should reduce their food consumption for a few days by up to 30 or 40%, according to veterinarians. You should not worry about starving, as your body will consume its fat stores. If they can’t get their limbs into the shell or they wrinkle as they do so, that’s a sign that your pet is overweight.
If you notice that his head is extremely wide in proportion to his body, it may also be due to obesity. In addition to reducing the amount of food you feed her for a time, you can encourage her to move. Put more water in his aquarium so that he is deep enough to swim. Or create a comfortable room that encourages tortoises to walk.
Does a turtle need water to drink in addition to food?
All species need water to drink. Even the species typical of desert areas consume large amounts of water daily. It is recommended to change it every day or at least often. Aquatic turtles will drink the same water in which they bathe and feed. It must always be fresh and without chlorine.
Land turtles can drink from a shallow bowl or plate that you can put on the ground. It should be deep enough so that the turtle can enter the plate and drink with its head down, but without its body being submerged. Always try to have clean and available water for your animals.
Why is calcium very important for the food of any turtle?
While nutrient levels vary according to species, all turtles require calcium. Freshwater turtles in the wild obtain calcium naturally, so their bodies are made for it and, even if they are at home, you should give them the opportunity to consume it. There are many calcium supplements that these animals also like very much.
The lack of this element in turtles can lead to malformations in the skeleton, weakness in their shell and cases of rickets. But this problem is easy to eradicate and prevent by supplying the ideal dose of calcium you need. Better still if it comes with vitamin D3 or if your pet receives a lot of sunlight, since they facilitate its absorption by its body.
In addition to food cans, does a turtle need food supplements?
For sea turtles, even if you buy foods with high percentages of protein, it is recommended that 25% of the daily food you give them is composed only of animal proteins. You can also buy crickets, worms, larvae and other insects created to feed reptiles as a way to keep your tortoise strong.
In addition, both for those that need to live in water and for those on land, it is also recommended to add a calcium and vitamin supplement for reptiles twice a week. The ground ones also need an extra phosphorus and you can give them small amounts of larvae or insects. To a lesser extent than those of water, since these are herbivorous.
Can a turtle eat human food?
Yes it can and is, in fact, recommended. Experts say that the animal should be fed with adequate feed according to the type of turtle it is and supplemented with human food. As we have already seen, they should always be based on the species of turtle that resides in your home. Thus, when you have a sea turtle you can give it raw fish but not a land one.
The same happens with fruits, vegetable leaves or meat. Some of the animal species need the contributions of a particular nutrient and it can lead to others to suffer some kind of ailment or disease. Therefore, it is important that you inform yourself specifically according to the nutritional needs of the animal that lives with you.
Should I give my tortoise some food during hibernation?
When the cold season arrives, a turtle needs to hibernate and, in fact, it does so at low temperatures. Depending on the species you have as a pet and its age, the hibernation period will vary between 2 and 4 months a year. If it takes longer to return to active life, he may have a metabolic problem and you should speak to a vet. When it hibernates, it does not eat, urinate or defecate.
If you have read this guide you already know that feeding a turtle is not that simple. Their organism has nothing to do with ours and between the different species of turtles the needs vary considerably. Therefore, in the following lines we specify what you should observe when you go to buy food for your pet so that you make an optimal purchase.
- Types of turtle
- Nutrients for water turtle
- Nutrients for tortoise
Types of turtle
As we have already seen, there is a big difference between the food that the various species of turtles must eat. There are two large groups, those of land and those of water. And within these there are other species. There are differences in all to take into account, but in general, water turtles require high levels of protein, although they also accept some vegetables.
For their part, tortoises are herbivorous and require many green leaves, very few products of animal origin and, if they consume some protein, the one of vegetable origin will be better. To know if they can eat fruit, you have to look at the characteristics of the subspecies. Both, those of water and those of land, usually need calcium for their shell.
Nutrients for water turtle
Water turtles are omnivorous animals and need a variety of products, proteins being very important for semi-aquatic turtles. Depending on the species, they need between 35 and 42% animal protein. Also, to be healthy, your food should be between 5 and 10% fat and as much moisture and between 2 and 5% fiber.
Their food must have fish or meat, as a priority, and by-products of these, in addition to being supplemented with cereals, mollusks, crustaceans and algae. Vegetables and fruits and their derivatives should also be part of the food, although to a much lesser extent than when we talk about terrestrial reptiles.
Nutrients for tortoise
Tortoises are herbivores, which means that they consume a lot of vegetables and very little protein of animal origin. For tortoises it is very important to eat large amounts of fiber, so their food should have very fibrous plants and a lot of green leafy vegetables, although little spinach.
Tortoises need vegetables that are high in calcium, such as arugula. Also vegetables, fruits rich in vitamins (not all species), foods low in phosphorus to maintain a balance and little fat and oil intake. Meat and fish should be a tiny part of these foods.
Taking into account that each species of turtles requires different nutrients, it is best to add supplements to the base feed. There are a wide variety of these extras on the market. Therefore, in addition to choosing the feed according to whether your tortoise is land or water, you must buy supplements according to the specific need of your pet.
The supplements can be pure animal protein, rich in fiber or with vegetable protein. There are also calcium supplements required for all turtles or some vitamins, D3 being the most common. There are aspects such as iron, iodine, cobalt, copper, manganese or zinc that are good for the health of certain turtles.
Turtle food does not have a specific color. It is usually the tone of the original ingredient. Although it may also be that they put food coloring. In that case, make sure it is one that is accepted by European regulations, which will make it non-toxic and, therefore, does not harm the health of your pet. Although if it does not have coloring it is better.
There are different forms that turtle food can take. The optimum is that they can float when they are intended for water turtles and that they fit in the animal’s mouth according to their size. Most commonly they come in the form of round granules, pellets or elongated sticks, or flat, dehydrated flakes. Sometimes they are shaped like little prawns for marketing purposes.
Turtles that live at home can live many more years than those that are in the wild. And proper nutrition will make these years healthy for one of these reptiles. These are animals that give very little work. Noble, calm, independent and who also do not tend to overeat until they get sick, as happens to other pets.
If you have decided that a turtle, whether aquatic or terrestrial, is part of your life, you should inform yourself well to buy its ideal food. Different species of turtle have very different needs and their food should be based on these. Hopefully you have learned a lot about your turtle and its habits.