Food for baby sulcata tortoise

Sulcata Tortoise Background and Care Recommendations

Natural History of Sulcata Tortoises

Sulcata tortoises are native to more northern parts of Africa, ranging from the southern edge of the Sahara down through the arid countries, including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, and Ethiopia, up through the dry, hot Massaua coast bordering the Red Sea.

Captive bred and imported Sulcatas can be found increasingly found in the pet trade. The sulcata is the largest of the African mainland tortoise, with specimens easily reaching 24-30 inches (60-75 cm) in carapace length and 80-110 pounds (36-50 kg). The largest on record was a male resident of the Giza Zoological Gardens (Egypt) who weighed in at 232 lb (105.5 kg) and measured 41.6 inches (104 cm) over the carapace (Flower, 1925, in Stearns). The oldest recorded specimen in captivity, also at the Giza Zoological Gardens, was 54 years of age.

Sulcatas come from some of the Sahel, the hottest, driest area in Africa. Some regions may not get rain for years. To make the most of available moisture, their skin is resistant to fluid loss but, when exposed to moisture, may become highly permeable. Towards this end, they will excavate pallets or burrows in the ground to get to areas with higher moisture levels; in the wild, they may spend the hottest part of the day in these microhabitats. Burrows may average 30 inches in depth; some dig tunnel systems extending 10 feet or more underground. Sulcatas are, like most turtles and tortoises native to dry areas, extremely efficient in their use of water.

In captivity, a similarly hot and dry environment must be provided year round. Unlike the California desert tortoises, the sulcatas do not hibernate. While they can tolerate some surprisingly low temperatures, they cannot be allowed to get both chilled and wet or kept outdoors in chill, damp weather.

Behavior of Sulcata Tortoises

Sulcatas like to move around and are very strong — they must have a large area in which to freely and widely roam. Sulcatas also need to burrow away from the heat and do so by retreating to their pallets or into muddy wallows where they will stay for hours, flipping cool mud up onto their backs.

Whether housed indoors or out, Sulcatas roam about and are voracious eaters. Like many tortoises, they are also climbers. Care must be taken to assure they are not given the opportunity to climb things that are too steep resulting in their toppling over. If they flip onto their backs and are not able to right themselves, they may die.  Sulcatas also need to burrow away from the heat and do so by retreating to their pallets or into muddy wallows where they will stay for hours, flipping cool mud up onto their backs.

Keep dangerous objects out of their area. Steps, dogs, raccoons and children are among some of the dangers that must be guarded against. Sulcatas are voracious, if not always smart, eaters and will ingest anything small enough and colorful enough.  Provide variety and security. Tortoises do not bask on the bare open ground. Provide a cluster of sturdy, low growing plants they can crowd in amongst. Provide an interesting terrain by leaving (or building) some low hummocks, smooth rocks, pieces of wood, clumps of weeds and edible plants.

Diet of Sulcata Tortoises

The phrase used most commonly by sulcata owners to describe their tortoises is “eating machine.” Sulcatas graze and forage for hours during the day. In captivity, they need to be able to graze on pesticide- and herbicide-free grasses and weeds.

  • Grasses and hay: Sulcata tortoises NEED access to grasses and hay on which to graze.  This is the bulk of their diet (90%) and should be from pesticide- and herbicide-free grass and grass cuttings, cheat grass, clover, edible flowers (nasturtium, geraniums, hibiscus, rose petals) and shrubs.
    • Avoid feeding predominately alfalfa hay, as this is high in oxalates and can cause stone formation within the bladder, kidney failure and decrease life-span.
    • Grass hays to offer include: Timothy, meadow grass, oat hay, orchard grass.
  • Greens and vegetables:
    • Greens to offer include: collard greens, kale, mustard, turnip and dandelion greens. Limit greens that are high in oxalates, such as: parsley, spinach, rhubarb, beet greens and collard greens.
    • Vegetables should be about 10-15% of the diet. These can include: grated raw carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, corn on the cob; greens such as collards, dandelions, escarole, romaine, kale.
  • Fruits:
    • Fruits should be fed sparingly, as a treat. These tend to be high in sugar and water content, both of which sulcatas are not accustomed to receiving in the wild.  Fruits that are appropriate to offer as treats include: strawberries, chunks of organically grown bananas with skin, cantaloupe with rind attached, berries; peaches (no pits), apricots (no pits), pears, apples
  • Supplementation:
    • At MedVet Hilliard, we recommend using a multivitamin supplement (such as Zoo-med’s Reptivit), twice weekly.

Sulcatas respond to bright colors, so always include at least one vividly colored food in your selection. This also means that you must keep inedible brightly colored things away from them!

Housing Sulcata Tortoises

Due to the tremendous amount of room these tortoises need to roam and graze, keeping them indoors year round is not advised.  Temporary indoor housing should be provided when the weather is cold/damp.

  • Outdoor housing:
    • Must be provided a dry, heating housing unit to which they will return to at night and during inclement weather. If they will not go in and out of this housing on their own, they need to be physically moved.
    • Daytime temperatures during much of the year should range from 85F-105 F (29-40 C) during the day. At night, temperatures can drop into the 70s F (21-26 C) in their enclosure.
    • It is recommended that fencing not be see-through, as many owners report their sulcatas trying to climb or push over/through these barriers to get to the other side.
    • Sulcatas enjoy burrowing and are very good at doing so. They should be provided material in which to dig and burrow.  Ideas for burrowing material include hay, leaves, grasses or straw.
      • When placing fencing, keep in mind that sulcatas will dig/burrow and could dig out of their enclosure. Be sure fencing is not only tall enough, but deep enough to keep your sulcata from escaping either by charging through or digging underneath any fencing.
    • Sulcatas need to be kept dry. Provisions need to be taken to keep their enclosure free of damp materials and excess moisture.
    • A shallow water bowl, with sides low enough for the tortoise to reach into, should be available at all times if there is no wallow available. Tortoises do not swim, and can drown easily. You need to make sure they can easily access the water but that it is not any deeper than the tortoise’s bridge, the section of shell that joins the carapace (top shell) and plastron (bottom shell).
      • This should be changed daily.
  • Indoor housing
    • Due to the tremendous amount of space a sulcata needs, indoor housing should be temporary during times of cold/damp weather.
    • Indoor housing must include both basking and cooler retreat areas, and a den box in which to burrow. An area for feeding and a shallow water dish must also be provided. Ultraviolet B lighting must be provided as well as suitable temperature ranges during both the day (80 F, 27 C) with a basking area (100 F, 39 C) and night (72 F, 22 C).

Health Problems of Sulcata Tortoises
  • The most commonly encountered health problems are a result of poor diet and/or husbandry (environment and living conditions).
    • Calcium deficiency: This can manifest in several different ways; including shell softening and metabolic bone disease.
      • This is prevented by making sure you are feeding an appropriate diet and that your sulcata has access to natural sunlight or a full spectrum UVA/UVB light source.
    • High protein: This can manifest in several different ways: including pyramiding of the shell and uric acid build up in the bladder causing a life threatening urinary obstruction.
      • This is prevented by feeding an appropriate diet.
    • Respiratory disease: This is characterized by discharge from the eyes or nose and possibly noisy/raspy breathing.
      • This is prevented by feeding an appropriate diet and living conditions.
    • If at any time your tortoise is overly lethargic, not eating or displaying other signs of illness, it is important to have him/her evaluated by a veterinarian with experience treating reptiles. If they are sick for an extended period of time, many reptiles will develop liver and kidney damage that is irreversible, so they should be evaluated sooner rather than later.
      • Tests that may be recommended include radiographs and/or bloodwork to assess overall health and help direct treatment.

We hope this article gives you the tips you need to keep your of Sulcata Tortoises healthy.

Additional Information about of Sulcata Tortoises
  • Kaplan’s Herp Care Collection:
  • com:
  • Veterinary Partner:
By MedVet's Avian and Exotic Service  |  Posted InPet Owners | TaggedAvian & Exotics

Baby Tortoise Diet & Feeding Guide For Beginners – The Turtle Hub

Have you just bought a baby tortoise? Congratulations and welcome to the club. I know as a loving owner, you will do everything to ensure healthy growth for your pet. Do you know what is more important for a baby tortoise besides a proper habitat? Yes, food.

Each tortoise species has its own preferences when it comes to the diet. Generally, the baby tortoises are herbivorous and eat green leafy vegetables. Food supplements along with natural growing vegetables make the perfect diet for your pet tortoise.

What do baby tortoises eat? How often should you feed them? I know you have more questions like these on your mind. Follow this article to get the complete baby tortoise diet guide for beginners.

Table of Contents

What Does A Baby Tortoise Eat?

The baby tortoises have a different appetite than the adult ones. They prefer munching on the leafy vegetables, plant leaves, stems, flowers with occasional fruit treats.

In general, a baby tortoise’s diet can contain the following items,
  1. Safe plant stems, leaves, or flowers
  2. Grasses and hays
  3. Leafy green vegetables
  4. Fruits
  5. Supplements

In each meal for the baby tortoise, you should give priority to the greens. The fruits should be an occasional treat for the babies.

Here is a list of safe plants and weeds for your baby tortoise diet:
  1. Aloe vera
  2. Bindweed
  3. Bramble (Tender leaf, fruits, shoots)
  4. Boston fern
  5. Cactus
  6. Chickweed
  7. Dandelion (Stem, leaf, flower)
  8. Greater plantain
  9. Hebe
  10. Henbit 
  11. Honeysuckle
  12. Milk thistle
  13. Mallows
  14. Pricky sow thistle
  15. Ribgrass plantain
  16. Red clover (Stem, leaf, flower)
  17. Red dead nettle
  18. Smooth sow thistle (Stem, leaf, flower)
  19. Smooth hawks bread (Leaf, flower)
  20. Vetches
  21. White clover (Stem, leaf, flower)
  22. White dead nettle
  23. Young hedge mustard plant

Tortoises are land dwellers and graze on the grasslands. Experts suggest that eating grasses or hays have benefits for the baby tortoises. The grasses can provide the little creatures with nutrition and fiber.

Here are some safe grass options for your baby tortoise:
  1. Ryegrass
  2. Pampas grass
  3. Couch grass
  4. Alfalfa 
  5. Cat grass
  6. Bermuda grass
  7. Oat grass
  8. Wheatgrass
  9. Kentucky bluegrass
  10. Fescue grass
  11. Barley grass
  12. Timothy grass
  13. Fountain grass
  14. Orchardgrass
Selected vegetable list for your baby tortoise:
  1. Kale
  2. Pumpkin
  3. Collard greens
  4. Cucumber
  5. Broccoli
  6. Cabbage
  7. Spinach
  8. Romaine lettuce
  9. Chicory
  10. Endive
  11. Fennel
  12. Arugula 
  13. Turnip greens
  14. Carrot
  15. Radicchio
  16. Cauliflower
  17. Escarole
  18. Squash
  19. Grape leaf
  20. Parsnip 
  21. Sweet potato
  22. Bell pepper
  23. Tomato
  24. Mesclun lettuce
  25. Red leaf lettuce
  26. Oakleaf
  27. Spring mix lettuce
  28. Watercress 

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Fruits options for your baby tortoise:
  1. Grape
  2. Pear 
  3. Blackberries
  4. Mulberry
  5. Raspberry
  6. Strawberry
  7. Apple
  8. Melon
  9. Pear
  10. Kiwi
  11. Apricot
  12. Plum
  13. Orange
  14. Banana 

It is better to keep your baby tortoise on natural food items instead of canned ones. In the wild, the species graze around and feed on the weeds, stems, and vegetables. However, make sure any item you purchase for the little tortoise must be pesticide-free and non-toxic. 

Some tortoise owners prefer feeding commercial foods or pellets to baby tortoises. In a sense, it is okay if you do not have an idea about the greens and grasses.

From the above list, which items should you add to your baby tortoise’s diet? It totally depends on the species of the tortoise. Hence, identify the baby before preparing the meal plant for it.

The Best Place To Buy Pet Tortoise!

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What Can Baby Sulcata Tortoise Eat?

The eating habit of a baby Sulcata tortoise is similar to most other species. The diet consists of greens and vegetables, grasses and hays, and fruits. To cover up the lackings of any minerals or vitamins, you need to add pellets, multivitamins, cuttlebones, or supplements to the meal chart of the baby Sulcata tortoise.

Here is a food chart for a baby Sulcata tortoise:

Safe Grasses For Sulcata TortoiseSafe Weeds For Sulcata TortoiseSafe Green Vegetables For Sulcata TortoiseSafe Fruits For Sulcata Tortoise
Alfalfa Ryegrass Bermuda grass Oat grass Barley grass Wheatgrass Kentucky bluegrass Fescue grass Timothy grass Orchardgrass  Chickweed Dandelion Nettle Clover Milk thistle Mallow Pricky sow thistle Smooth sow thistle Henbit Honeysuckle Greater plantain Ribgrass plantain  Kale Spring mix lettuce Romaine lettuce Red leaf lettuce Arugula Pumpkin Broccoli Grape leaf Oakleaf Mesclun lettuce Radicchio Watercress Endive Chicory Fennel Escarole  Pears Banana Strawberry Apple Melon

Besides these items, you can choose any food from the diet lists given in the previous subsection.

You can include commercial pellets in your baby Sulcata tortoise diet chart. But make sure you are not overfeeding the turtle with cuttlebones or pellets. Adding the supplements twice or thrice a week is enough for these little buddies.

Also, do not add fruits to the everyday meal of the baby Sulcata tortoise. A Fruit treat every once or twice a month will bring a variety in the meals for the tortoise.

Do you know a Sulcata tortoise can live up to 150 years? Providing a balanced diet from the beginning will surely help your baby pet live to its fullest. Check out what other factors affect a baby Sulcata tortoise’s lifespan from this article.

Foods To Avoid Feeding A Baby Tortoise

Baby tortoises are always sensitive. You have to properly plan through their meals so that they get the required nutrition.

The most common mistake here is that many owners do not have any idea about the forbidden food list of the baby tortoises. The myth here is, a tortoise would consume anything.

But that is not the truth. If you feed anything outside the baby tortoise’s comfort zone, the pet will have an upset stomach. In the case of toxic plants, the babies might choke and fall severely ill.

To stay aware, take a quick look at the foods given below and never enlist them in your baby tortoise’s diet:

  • Meat
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Candies and sweets
  • Sodium rich foods
  • Bread
  • Celery
  • Junk foods
  • Avocado
  • Juniper
  • Ivy
  • Asparagus fern
  • Iris
  • Calla lily
  • Daffodil
  • Amaryllis
  • Holly
  • Azalea
  • Ficus
  • Buttercup
  • Poinsettia
  • Primrose
  • Boxwood

You can click right here to get a full list of the poisonous plants to baby tortoises.

Perfect Wooden Tortoise House For Outdoor & Indoor!

To tell you the truth, I am not any good with wood working. So, making a house for my tortoise & box turtles myself was out of question. I was always on the lookout for a decent tortoise house at a cheap price.

Thanks to Aivituvin, I’ve found the perfect tortoise house that can be set up both in indoor and outdoor. Here’s why this wooden tortoise house rocks:

  • The house is made of 100% real Solid Wood. So there is no chance of rotting due to excessive moisture or tortoise waste.
  • You can monitor the tortoise both from the front and the top. The top has a meshed part for easy air circulation. So, temperature and humidity won’t sky rocket inside the house.
  • Private sleeping area, public viewing area
  • Dimension: 38.1″(L) x 22.4″(W) x 13.1″(H)

To put simply, I haven’t found any tortoise house better than this one in the market at this lucrative price range. Adding cherry to the top, the shipping is absolutely free!

So why wait? Check out the current price here on Aivituvin!

Do Baby Tortoises Drink Water?

Like all other animals, tortoises also need water to stay alive. But yes, the species do not drink much water.

To keep the bodies hydrated, the baby tortoises drink water from time to time. So, it is a good idea to provide a shallow water bowl in the enclosure. You need to fill the container with clean and fresh water regularly.

Never dig up a deep water source in a baby tortoise enclosure. Unlike turtles, tortoises can not swim.

How Much Food Does A Baby Tortoise Eat?

Determining the quantity of food for the baby tortoise is challenging for beginners. From 0 to 6 months, feed the baby pet a quarter cup of vegetables, grasses, leaves, and weeds. When it turns 6 months, increase the quantity from quarter to half cup. Continue the amount till the baby tortoise gets 12 months old.

Many tortoise owners prefer feeding the hatchlings commercial foods. In that case, offer the baby tortoises food that equals 1-4% of its body weight.

Depending on the species, the baby tortoise may have more hunger. If you find your pet devouring aggressively, provide it a little bit more greens or grasses. But do not overfeed the baby.

Usually, a baby tortoise acts like an eating machine. It is because, in the wild, they spend their time grazing here and there. However, overfeeding your baby tortoise can lead to accelerated growth and shell deformation or pyramiding.

How Often Should You Feed A Baby Tortoise?

The baby tortoises require more food than the adults. Generally, for the first 12 months, you should feed the baby pet once every day. After the 1st year, the feeding schedule will change.

Add vegetables, grasses, leaves, and stems to the diet chart of the baby tortoise. Do not feed it fruits every single day. Otherwise, the baby may have an upset tummy.

Some people think baby tortoises can not eat hard vegetables or fruits. Do not forget the tortoises have sharp jaws. They can easily crush carrots, potatoes, or other veggies and fruits like this.

Baby Tortoise And Supplements

When you are raising your baby tortoises in captivity, ensure that the pets are getting all the nutrition they need. You know, in an indoor habitat, the tortoises do not get the natural UV rays. Instead, the lack of UVA and UVB exposures are fulfilled through artificial lights.

Even with UV light, the baby tortoise can not grow stronger bones and shells if its food lacks minerals. To stay safe, vets suggest feeding the tortoise licensed calcium and vitamin D3 supplements. But the question is how much and how often to offer?

Experts believe the requirement for vitamins and calcium totally depends on the individual tortoise. You can sprinkle the supplement on each meal of the pet or try the thrice-a-week schedule.

Some people prefer leaving a small bowl of calcium powder in the baby tortoise habitat. However, in any situation, do not force your tortoise to eat any supplement.

I have encountered owners who feed their tortoises multi-vitamin. Those supplements, once or twice every week, may help the baby stay fit. But if your diet chart contains enough vegetables and grasses, there is no need for multi-vitamins for your baby tortoise.

My Baby Tortoise Is Not Eating Food: Why?

People often complain that their baby tortoise is refusing to eat. Well, there can be many reasons behind this behavior. The most common one is mental stress and anxiety.

When you bring the baby tortoise home, everything is new to it. The baby may need some time to adjust to its new home and lifestyle. Other reasons for the baby tortoises to refuse food are,

  • Low temperature
  • Dehydration
  • Sickness
  • Low-quality UV light
  • Food out of reach
  • Hibernation

Here are a few tips that may help you bring the lost appetite of your baby tortoise,

  1. Offer the baby a variety of food to find out its preferences. The pet might get bored by eating only one type of food every day.
  2. Make sure the enclosure temperature lies in the comfort zone of the baby tortoise. Generally, the preferred temperature for the tortoise is 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Keep a small water source in the enclosure so that the pets can drink water whenever they need it.
  4. The food bowl should not be out of reach of the baby tortoises.
  5. Install a quality UV light that provides both UVA and UVB exposures.
  6. You can try giving the baby tortoises a fruity treat to entice them to eat.


Generally, baby tortoises eat green vegetables, grasses, and fruits. The babies can not digest meat or insects, and it can upset their stomach. To ensure healthy growth, you need to add vitamin and calcium supplements to the baby tortoise’s diet.

This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. Muntaseer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, Tortoise Town, MyFahlo, Just Answer and few other sites. These affiliate advertising programs are designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the specific sites. This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.




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Visit any Black Sea resort, you will definitely find people involved in sale of red-eared turtles. Small moving reptiles swimming in beautiful pouches are so cute that it's hard to resist buying. To unfortunately, most of these merchants are deliberately silent about the features keeping red-eared turtles, claiming that the babies will not grow up, keep them you can almost in a three-liter jar, but feed it with lettuce leaves. Undoubtedly, this is not true, because red-eared turtles are large and predatory reptiles, for a comfortable life which requires a spacious terrarium and special equipment. In our article, we will tell you how to keep red-eared turtles at home.


General information

red-eared The turtle (Trachemys scripta) is a reptile from the American freshwater family. turtles. It is also found under the name "yellow-bellied". This is perhaps the most common reptile that can be found in amateur aquariums around the world. Its content is not complex, but has its own features that you need to be aware of before making a decision about purchasing this pet.

How as the name implies, the distinguishing feature of these turtles is the presence special red (in one of the subspecies - yellow) spots located next to eyes. In Western countries, red-eared turtles are often called "sliders" for their natural feature is to quickly slide off the coast into the water in case danger.

B sale most often you can find young turtles, the size of which is not exceeds 5-6 cm. They are kept in large groups, swim very actively in water, build living pyramids, climbing to each other on the shells. Of course, such individuals do not need a huge living space, but we must not forget that the fact that for several years the red-eared turtle can easily grow up to 20-30 cm, which will lead to the need to purchase a large terrarium.

Red-eared turtles love to create living pyramids

Water plays a huge role in the life of red-eared turtles, because here they get food, swim and breed. But reptiles are not constantly in the aquatic environment. can. Therefore, a special island of land is necessarily organized in the terrarium, where the turtles can dry off and bask under the lamp. Reptiles lead a predatory lifestyle, so feeding them only plant foods is unacceptable.

C a tortoise not accustomed to its owner must be handled with care. Bite reptiles can be very painful. Turtles are also able to make sounds in in case of stress: hiss or snort. Red-eared turtles have good eyesight and sense of smell, hearing is less developed.

At choosing a red-eared turtle in the store, be sure to pay attention to its appearance. An inactive reptile lying in a corner with its eyes closed should alert you. The shell should be solid, without dents, growths and scratches. All claws must be on the limbs, tumors are not allowed on the head, white spots. When in the water, the turtle should actively swim, not tumbling to the side.

External view

Basic part of the body of the red-eared turtle is occupied by a dense shell, consisting of horny plates. Its upper part is called the carapace, and the lower part is called the plastron. From under limbs, a head and a triangular tail peep out of the shell. In case of danger turtles can retract their heads and fold their legs compactly so that a predator does not could grasp soft tissue.

Red-eared tortoise. Appearance

Size an adult turtle can vary from 18 to 30 cm and depends on age, sex and subspecies. Females are noticeably larger than males. Growth rates vary periods of life: if young turtles can add 7-8 cm per year, then adults grow no more than 1.5 cm in 12 months until reached the maximum size.

Young red-eared turtles have a bright green carapace that becomes becomes olive or brown with patterns of yellow stripes. The head is located on a flexible neck, the pattern on its surface consists of green, black and yellow strips. Just behind the eyes are two almost oval red or yellow spots. The plastron is bright yellow with green spots.

The spot behind the eyes is the “visiting card” of the red-eared turtles

Limbs the reptiles are short, the fingers on each of them end in long claws. Webbed toes help turtles swim actively.

B Currently, scientists distinguish three subspecies of red-eared turtles, which have slight differences in appearance.

Red-eared turtles can be called centenarians. With proper care, reptiles can live 20-25 years, and some specimens even take the bar at 40 years.

Area Habitat

Historical The range of the red-eared turtle covers a wide area from the southern states of the United States to northern Colombia and Venezuela. Reptiles prefer shallow lakes, small ponds without steep banks. Turtles lead a sedentary lifestyle: either slowly looking for another prey, swimming in a pond, or, having had enough, crawl ashore and bask in the sun. If danger is detected turtles abruptly take off and dive into the water.

Red-eared turtle colony in a natural pond

High the hardiness of red-eared turtles has led them to be artificially brought to the countries of Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan, China, South Africa. In Australia reptiles are officially recognized as pests, as they successfully compete with local endemic reptofauna and push it out of their usual habitats. To Unfortunately, more and more often red-eared turtles can be found in the city ponds of our countries, most of them were issued by the owners.

Care and content

Long and a healthy life of the red-eared turtle is possible only when creating the most comfortable conditions. You need to start by choosing a terrarium. Considering the maximum size adults, the recommended volume is 100-120 liters per turtle. Myself the terrarium should have a maximum bottom area, a small height is recommended. The rear wall of the terrarium is often made higher than the front for ease of observation and equipment installation. The minimum water level must be such that the turtle could easily stick its head out of the water, standing on the task of the paw.

B the terrarium needs an island of land with a sloping bridge, along which the turtles can get out of the water. It should occupy about a quarter of the turtle's home.

Red-eared sliders need a spacious terrarium with a land island

the bottom of the terrarium can be laid large stones. They must be larger than turtle heads to prevent accidental eating. Can decorate a terrarium artificial plants, living ones will be quickly destroyed by turtles.

IMPORTANT!!! Small plastic containers are completely unsuitable for the life of the red-eared turtles: they will not allow you to place the necessary equipment and will undoubtedly tight for reptiles.

What Do red-eared turtles need water? The main thing to pay attention to note, this is her temperature. Turtles, like other reptiles, are cold-blooded animals. This means that their body temperature depends on ambient temperature. If the water is cold, the turtle will become lethargic, but what is most dangerous, her metabolism will slow down, stop working digestion. Prolonged exposure to this condition can lead to death. pet, so it is very important to maintain the correct temperature. The water temperature should be 25-28°C, the air temperature on the island - 30-32°C. Modern thermostats are able to automatically maintain a given water temperature. They should be placed in a place inaccessible to turtles, especially if a glass bulb heater is used. large turtles can easily damage the device. Parameters such as hardness and acidity do not play a special role in the maintenance of turtles.

Red-eared turtles must be kept in warm water

Red-eared turtles turtles in the process of life greatly pollute the terrarium, therefore a number of measures should be taken to ensure the purity of the water. Primarily, it is necessary to organize powerful filtering. For this, they are used productive external or internal filters (it is also possible that they shared use). Care consists of a weekly change of 20% of the water in the terrarium to fresh. It is recommended to prepare tap water for changes using Tetra air conditioner ReptoSafe, which removes chlorine and heavy metals from water, enriches it with vitamins and natural colloids. The use of the tool helps to avoid laborious water retention procedures. Simultaneously with the change of water, a siphon is carried out soil.

After It is useful to add Tetra ReptoFresh conditioner to the water every change. He speeds up natural decomposition of waste, which makes the water cleaner and combats unpleasant odors resulting from the decomposition of excess organic matter.

Above an island of land where your pet will rest, two lamps. The first is necessary for heating: can be used with a conventional incandescent lamp or specialized for reptiles. The second lamp is ultraviolet. UV rays play a very important role in physiology of red-eared turtles, because without them, reptiles do not develop vitamin D necessary for the absorption of calcium by the body. Long stay in conditions in the absence of ultraviolet radiation leads to the development of rickets in turtles and softening of the shell. Typically, lamps with 5% or 10% UVB rays are used. Both lamps must be out of range turtle access so that the pet does not accidentally break them or get burned. Approximate the height to the island should be about 25 cm. Both thermal and UV lamps are turned off at night. Allowed during the warm season take red-eared turtles outside, the main thing is not to leave them in the open sun. The radiation of the sun will have a beneficial effect on the condition of the reptiles. True, the duration of "sunbathing" should increase gradually, starting with five minutes a day.

Exists the opinion that red-eared turtles hibernate in nature. Some scientists believe that at home it is also necessary to imitate this process. But this approach is controversial. Correctly introduce the animal into a state of light suspended animation, and then not every owner can properly bring it out. That's why At home, this is not necessary at all. turtle can live a beautiful and long life without falling into winter sleep, because this is only emergency device in nature.

Turtles kept without a UV lamp often suffer from rickets

For The red-eared slider has a regular molt. It lies in the fact that the upper layers of the shell flake off and die, they can be found at the bottom terrarium. You should not be afraid of such a process, it does not require additional intervention on the part of the owner, except that attention should be paid to the content of calcium and vitamins in the diet.

K Unfortunately, some diseases of the red-eared turtles can resemble a molt. If you notice ulcers on the body, severe peeling, pink sores, then the turtle must be shown to the veterinarian.


The ideal option for keeping red-eared turtles is a species terrarium. Despite the fact that there are cases of cohabitation of turtles and aquarium fish, this is more the exception than the rule. Of course, small turtles are not yet able to swallow large neighbors, so they can safely get along in an aquarium, for example, with cichlids. But time passes, the growth rate of the turtles is high, and the hunting instinct is very strong. One way or another, but in most cases everything will end with bitten fins, and subsequently with the death of fish in the mouth of a predator.

Red-eared turtles get along well with their relatives.

Any small fish, be it neons, guppies, tetras or barbs, will be perceived by turtles only as food. It is not recommended to plant red-eared turtles together with aquarium amphibians - axolotls, newts, frogs - such cohabitation will also not end in anything good for amphibians.

Tem however, keeping several red-eared turtles in one terrarium is not is forbidden, but only on the condition that in the future there is enough space for them to cohabitation.

Feeding red-eared turtle

If you want to have a red-eared turtle, which certainly raises the question: how feed this aquatic reptile?

How it was noted earlier that red-eared turtles are predators, so their diet should consist of 2/3 animal products and 1/3 vegetable. This alignment is typical for young individuals, with age the amount of animal and vegetable proteins can be equalized.

B as a base food for turtles, it is best to use a quality dry Tetra food ReptoMin. It is fully balanced in terms of essential nutrients, contains a large the amount of high-quality proteins, as well as calcium and phosphorus in the optimal ratio for healthy growth and a strong shell. The feed is floating sticks that are convenient for turtles to swallow on the surface of the water. The size of the food is selected depending on the size of the turtles: Baby - for the smallest, Junior - for teenagers and Sticks - for adult turtles. Part food contains yucca extract, which reduces unpleasant odors in the terrarium with turtles.

High-quality dry food - the best choice for red-eared turtles

Red-eared sliders can be fed with pieces of low-fat marine fish and "sea cocktail" (pieces of shrimp, octopus, squid). Reptiles will not refuse weed aquarium snails - coils, melania, physical, mariz. Sometimes you can give live or canned insects.

We must not forget that plant foods, although in smaller quantities, are also important for the life of turtles. In the terrarium, you should keep a small number of unpretentious aquatic plants - duckweed, riccia, hornwort, which are eaten with pleasure by turtles. You can offer them scalded and chopped lettuce, dandelion, as well as slices of cucumber, pumpkin, tomato, apple.

For healthy growth and development of red-eared turtles, especially young ones, requires calcium, which goes to build bones and shells. Be sure to use special calcium blocks that are placed in water, or mineral additives such as Tetra ReptoCal.

Pamper turtle treats for your pets: Tetra ReptoDelica Snack (nutritious snacks with daphnia and vitamins in convenient individual servings), Tetra ReptoDelica Grasshoppers (dried grasshoppers) or Tetra Gammarus (dried gammarus).

times Add Tetra Liquid Vitamin Concentrate to your pet's diet weekly ReptoSol. The required dose is enough just to drip on the feed. Vitamins in composition of the product strengthens the immune system and improves processes vital activity.

Young red-eared turtles need daily feeding, as they grow, you can feed the reptiles every 2-3 days. You can feed as directly in the terrarium, and in a separate basin to reduce water pollution. Red-eared turtles quickly get used to the owners and allow even hand feed.

Reproduction and breeding

Breeding red-eared turtles at home is a rather laborious process that requires certain experience and special equipment (incubator).

Better only individuals at the age of 5 years are suitable for breeding. To form pair, a group of turtles are usually kept in one terrarium, while it is desirable so that there are two females per male. To distinguish turtles by sex, you need to look at the claws and tail (they are longer in the male), as well as plastron - in males, a slight depression is clearly felt (in females - convexity).

When turtles are ready to mate, you can watch the fights that suit males to attract the attention of females. If you find that a pair has formed, its must be deposited in a separate tank. The stimulus for reproduction is maintaining the temperature at a level of at least 26 ° C and gradually increasing daylight hours, and light intensity.

Juvenile red-eared turtle

Females red-eared turtles lay their eggs in wet sand, so in a terrarium it is necessary to provide in advance a container with sand or peat with a layer of at least 5 see In its absence, females can lay eggs directly on an island of land, and sometimes in the water. The number of eggs in a clade is usually 6-10 pieces. Turtles do not show concern for offspring, so they simply leave the clutch.

Eggs are transferred to an incubator where the temperature is maintained at 28-30°C. Interesting fact: if eggs are kept at temperatures below 27 ° C, then only males, if the thermometer shows more than 30 ° C, then females.

Incubation eggs takes three to five months, after which the young turtles break the shell their eggs and crawl out. They have a remnant of the yolk sac, which dissipates within a few days.

Newborns cubs are kept in a separate container, as adults can inflict on them damage.

Feeding - - all about turtles and for turtles

In nature, turtles themselves choose the right food for them in accordance with their habitat and region. Their diet includes both plant and animal food in different proportions, as well as minerals. At home, the owner of the turtle should provide proper nutrition, and the food should be as close to natural as possible.

Turtles are divided into approximately 3 groups according to the type of food, listed below. Each group corresponds to a certain ratio of plant and animal food, which must be given. Constant feeding of turtles with inappropriate food for a given species (for example, giving Central Asian turtles meat or feeding bog turtles only grass) is fraught with problems with digestion, metabolism and internal organs. Turtles also need to be given weekly VITAMINS and CALCIUM.

!!! Small aquatic red-eared turtles up to 300g are recommended to be fed only with Reptomin, Sera raffy P, Sera carnivor professional, river fish ground into minced meat with entrails and bones, a mixture of fish and feed. As an addition to the diet: aquarium and land snails, food insects (not dried).

  • Carnivores . These are almost all completely aquatic and all young aquatic species: trionics, young red-eared, marsh, caiman, musky, etc. With age, some of them become omnivores.
    Predatory turtles are fed with food insects, mollusks, fish, seafood, dry food... More →

  • Omnivorous are some adult aquatic turtles, secondary terrestrial turtles (adult red-eared, adult marsh, forest land turtles). The diet of omnivorous turtles is about half animal food and half plant food. In these turtles, the upper and lower intestines are approximately the same length.

  • Herbivores . Land turtles of the genera Geochelone, Testudo, Gopgherus, Agrionemys (including Central Asian, Egyptian, radiant, star-shaped, Greek, flat, spider, etc.). They have a longer large intestine, which is designed to digest fibrous grasses. Herbivorous turtles are fed natural, dried or frozen (depending on the season) plants from the edible list. Occasionally, they can be given some vegetables and very little fruit (only those species that eat fruit in nature). Read more →
    Some of the herbivorous tortoises (for example, red-footed and Galapagos) can be given a snail, a mouse, or immobilized food insects once a month, but only those species that say in the description that they can be given occasional animal food.

What are the most common mistakes turtle owners make?

  • They give animal food to land herbivorous turtles, and only vegetable food to predatory aquatic turtles.
  • Feeding turtles too often or too infrequently leads to obesity and improper body and shell growth or malnutrition and death.
  • Vitamins and calcium are not given to turtles, as a result of which the turtles often have broken limbs, beriberi and crooked shells.
  • Aquatic turtles are fed exclusively with gammarus, bloodworms, or only one type of food, which in no case should be considered the main food

Hunger strike

summer hibernation, they are active only 3 months a year. Aquatic turtles may not eat for 6-7 months until it causes irreparable changes, also due in part to hibernation.

Answers to the basic questions that arise when feeding turtles: food size, amount, temperature, what food to give, where to feed, top dressing.

Food size

Depending on the size of the reptile, the food should be finely, medium or coarsely chopped. The size of one piece should be less than half the turtle's head. Aquatic turtles break large pieces with sharp claws, so they can be given larger food. Lettuce and weeds can not be cut.


Both aquatic and secondarily terrestrial turtles (species that live in moist forests near water bodies) are predatory. The most important rule when feeding turtles is to feed different types of food, not the same food (with the exception of balanced dry food, for example, Sera Carnivor, Tetra Reptomin). In nature, the main diet of turtles are mainly insects and various small amphibians, worms, snails, and small fish. Below in the article will be discussed about all the food options for predatory turtles.

The main food for any herbivorous turtles are various weeds . In summer, they can be collected on the street in the forest-park area and dried / frozen for the winter. This is an affordable, free food rich in vitamin A. You need to collect plants away from the road, because. otherwise, they may contain heavy metal salts and chemicals. Mammalian worms are not dangerous to turtles. In the absence of the possibility of collecting weeds, they are replaced with salads (but only as part of the diet).

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rarely. Below is a list of such products. If a certain product is not on the list of edible (for predatory turtles, for herbivorous turtles) and is not on the list of prohibited items (in this article), then it is better NOT to give it.

The main rule of feeding turtles is that the food should be close to that which the turtle constantly eats in nature. This means that if the turtle cannot get bread, milk, eggs, sausages, cat food, then they should not be given. If mangoes, papaya and kiwi do not grow in the turtle's habitat, then they should not be given either. Improper feeding of turtles leads to obesity (and as a result - curvature of the shell), problems with the gastrointestinal tract, food poisoning.



Turtles need calcium for the formation of the shell and bones of the body. As a result, due to a lack of calcium, the turtle shell becomes crooked, bumpy, claws are bent, limb fractures occur, and in the most advanced cases, the shell simply falls apart or becomes "cardboard". In nature, turtles find sources of calcium in the form of limestone, dolomite, oyster shells, corals, and animal bones. In a terrarium, turtles need to be provided with calcium, and the best option for this is ready-made calcium powder for reptiles. In addition to calcium, turtles need to be given powdered reptile vitamins. Supplement to natural feed (fish, insects, snails, worms). Although some feeds are positioned as complete feeds by manufacturers, not every feed can boast of a balanced composition, where there is everything necessary for turtles (animals, plant components, vitamins and calcium in the right quantities). Some types of food (food based on dry fish, shrimp, insects, gammarus) can only be given as a treat to adult turtles no more than once a week.

What you need to pay attention to when buying food for young aquatic turtles: it should not contain or should contain very little gammarus (turtles do not absorb it well) and there should be more animal component (fish, mussels, mollusks) than vegetable. Gammarus in young turtles leads to tympania.


Dry industrial food for tortoises can only be used as a additional food source , that is, it should be given no more than once a week. The rest of the diet should be weeds, fodder plants, salads, vegetables (minimum). In addition, many tortoises refuse dry food, both dry and soaked.

Below you can find a list of our most popular commercial tortoise foods:


To properly feed turtles, you need to study what they eat in nature. Even the diets of different species of land turtles vary greatly depending on their habitats. So, for example, steppe turtles eat more succulents and steppe plants in nature, but radiant and star-shaped turtles eat vegetables, fruits, and flowers more often. Aquatic turtles do not often eat fish, more often they are content with insects, snails, tadpoles.

The diet below is recommended by many turtle owners, but is not mandatory.

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