What do you feed a baby tortoise

Complete List of Foods That Baby Tortoises Eat (+Tips) – Mercury Pets

So, you’ve brought home your very first adorable baby tortoise, but you’re stumped at what to feed it. Should it eat mostly lettuce, or can I give it vegetable scraps from the kitchen? Am I supposed to buy special food for it? Hundreds have asked these questions of tortoise owners before you, and thankfully there are relatively definitive answers.

Tortoises are vegetarians. A baby tortoise’s diet should consist primarily of leafy plants and green vegetables, although they can eat some flowers and fruits. You should provide a baby tortoise with a balanced diet of grass, hay, and nutrient-dense leafy greens.

This article lists all the best foods to give your baby tortoise, how much and how often to feed them, whether or not different tortoises have different food preferences, and what types of food you should never give them.

Tortoises are Vegetarians

All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Confused yet? Well, tortoises are simply a subgroup of turtles, the same way chocolate ice cream is a subgroup of ice cream in general.

Now, turtles are mostly omnivores and will feed on both plants and other animals.

Tortoises, on the other hand, are complete herbivores. Their diet consists only of plants, vegetables, and fruits.

Baby tortoises should, therefore, be fed an exclusively vegetarian diet.

What Type of Food Should I Feed My Baby Tortoise?

When deciding what to feed your baby tortoise, keep in mind what its diet would have been like in the wild.

This would mean the majority of your pet tortoise’s meals should consist of grasses and hay, a small part of fresh green vegetables, and occasional fruit.

Below is a list of all the types of fresh produce that will provide your baby tortoise with a well-rounded, healthy diet.


Almost 70% of a tortoise’s diet will consist of plants, including grasses, hay, flowers, and weeds. In most cases, the whole plant excluding the roots will be safe, but there are some exceptions. If you feed these plants to your baby tortoise, always make sure the majority of it is leaves with only a few flowers.

It is also important to shred the plants into smaller pieces to prevent choking.

The most beneficial plants include:

  • Dandelion – A favorite with most tortoises, it should be offered as part of a varied meal as the plant may have a slight diuretic effect which may lead to dehydration.
  • Clover – High in protein, red and white clover are great additions to a baby tortoise’s diet when offered in moderation.
  • Ribgrass Plantain – A great bulk ingredient in any salad offered to a baby tortoise.
  • Sow Thistle – Although they may look a bit prickly, they can’t hurt your tortoise and might become a firm favorite once first introduced into their diet.
  • Red Deadnettle – Most nettles are suitable food for baby tortoises as long as they are picked and allowed to wilt before serving.
  • Hedge mustard – Despite adding a variety of flavor to a baby tortoise’s diet, it should not be provided often as it contains chemicals that may damage the thyroid.
  • Bramble – A perfectly safe plant, brambles might not be your baby tortoise’s favorite as they might not like the taste all that much.
  • Alfalfa hay – The hay to beat all hays, alfalfa is a perfect filler plant and can be eaten in large quantities without issue. Most baby tortoises love the taste more than any other plant on this list.
  • Hibiscus flower – A favorite of many tortoises, hibiscus flowers make a delicious occasional snack. Check out this video of baby tortoises trying hibiscus flowers.
  • Parsley – A great treat; it should be given in moderation due to its diuretic properties.
  • Geranium – The flowers of all geranium plants are a particular favorite amongst tortoises. They may not be all that interested in the rest of the plant, though.
  • Plantain lily – Suitable to be fed in moderation.
  • Aloe Vera – A great plant to ensure your baby turtle remains hydrated, as long as it is cut into small enough pieces to prevent choking.
  • Pansy – The flowers are an excellent option to provide some variety in your baby tortoise’s diet.

Some plants like chickweed and lemon balm can still be added to a baby tortoise’s diet, but in extreme moderation as chemicals found in them may prevent nutrient absorption and damage essential organs. [Source]


Second to plants and grasses, vegetables should form the most significant part of your baby tortoise’s diet.

A good rule to go by is to stick to mostly green, leafy vegetables with occasional exceptions. Vegetables are only recommended to add variety to your baby tortoise’s meals.

Suitable veggies include:

  • Collard
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Endive
  • Carrot tops
  • Radish tops
  • Sprouts
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Celery


Fruit should only be seen as a treat, not as part of your baby tortoise’s regular diet.

In most cases, one or two pieces of fruit every other day provide essential nutrients but should not be relied on to form the bulk of the food your tortoise eats.

Good fruit choices include:

  • Papaya
  • Fig
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Melon – All melons are suitable
  • Strawberry – Other berries are also acceptable, although they should be offered in extreme moderation
  • Cherry
  • Tomato – The fruit only, never feed tortoises tomato leaves or any other part of the plant
  • Apple


If a balanced diet is provided, it is very rarely necessary to supplement it with store-bought food. However, commercial tortoise food can be a good staple if it is difficult to source fresh produce. Just ensure the food you buy is made with baby tortoises in mind.

What Shouldn’t I Feed My Baby Tortoise?

There are many foods that may be detrimental to your baby tortoise’s health. Do not feed them to your pet under any circumstances.

These include:

  • Hot peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dairy products
  • Soybeans
  • Avocados
  • Most root vegetables, other than sweet potatoes and carrots

Some plants are toxic to tortoises and should also be avoided.

They include:

  • Avocado leaves and seeds
  • Begonia
  • Calla lily
  • Daffodil
  • Ficus
  • Foxglove
  • Gardenia
  • Hyacinth
  • Ivy
  • Periwinkle
  • Primrose
  • Tomato leaves and vines

You must educate yourself on the plants in the tortoise no-go list and ensure your baby tortoise does not have access to them at any time.

How Much Should I Feed My Baby Tortoise?

Each meal should be about the size of your tortoise’s shell and should not be made up of only one plant or vegetable but a variety. A tortoise salad, if you please.

Allow your baby tortoise around four hours to eat its fill, then remove remaining food scraps from its enclosure. Eating old produce may cause your tortoise to become sick.

How Often Should I Feed My Baby Tortoise?

Baby tortoises should be fed once a day.

As they grow older, this should change to 5 days a week, with two fasting days at any point and in any order.

The fasting days provide their digestive system with a break as its work is done rather slowly.

What Should I Feed a Baby Desert Tortoise?

Desert tortoises include those native to the USA and Mexico and the Sulcata Tortoise originating in the arid regions of Africa.

Desert tortoises are specially adapted to dry, hot living conditions. They may not respond well to fruits and should be provided with mostly grasses and weeds, similar to what they would have eaten in the wild.

What Should I Feed a Baby Grassland Tortoise?

The most popular grassland tortoise is the Hermann’s Tortoise. Replicating their wild diet would mean providing mainly grasses and hays, with the occasional vegetable like broccoli or zucchini. They may enjoy a fruit now and then, too.

What Should I Feed a Baby Tropical Tortoise?

These include Yellowfoot, Bell’s hinge-back, cherry-head red foot, and Aldabra tortoises. They may show a much greater affinity for fruits and vegetables, although these should still only be supplied in moderation. Their natural environment caters to a much wider variety in their diet, which should be kept in mind when deciding what to feed them.

Should I Give My Baby Tortoise Supplements?

Food supplements are essential for baby tortoises. The two most important being vitamin D3 and Calcium. Reptile multivitamins could also come in useful but aren’t necessities.

Vitamin D3

As tortoises spend most of their lives outdoors, they can usually synthesize their own vitamin D3. In the case of baby tortoises or tortoises kept indoors, a powder supplement is vital.

Without it, a baby tortoise may become very ill, and not grow properly. [Source]

The easiest way to administer vitamin D3 to a baby tortoise is to brush its food with the powdered form of the vitamin. Another option is to set up a UV light source in your tortoise’s enclosure, although this will have to be replaced every year.

Vitamin D3 is necessary to allow normal absorption of minerals like calcium and phosphorus by a tortoise’s body.


Dandelions are one of the most calcium-rich plants available to tortoises. This may not, however, be enough to fulfill a baby tortoise’s demand for the mineral.

Luckily, calcium powder is also available and should be dusted onto your baby tortoise’s food two to three times a week.

Calcium promotes healthy bone development and, since a tortoise’s shell is actually part bone, it is vital to letting your baby tortoise grow and develop properly.


Although some tortoise owners refuse to give their pets multivitamins, others swear by them. It can be challenging to provide the exact combination and quantity of food to ensure your baby tortoise is getting all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs.

If you suspect your baby tortoise may be developing a deficiency, a synthetic vitamin and mineral source may be necessary.

This can come in the following forms:

Multivitamin Powders

Besides calcium and vitamin D3, multivitamin powders may also contain minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and iron.

If you are worried your baby tortoise is not getting enough protein, many multivitamin powders also contain essential amino acids, which may supplement a protein deficiency. Vitamins included in these powders may also include niacin, folic acid, and a variety of B-vitamins necessary to maintain normal bodily functions.

Fortified Feed

Produced by vets and zoos, fortified food pellets can be form part of your tortoise’s diet to ensure it gets the full range of minerals and vitamins it requires.

You should consult your vet before giving your baby tortoise fortified food, as it should be done in the right quantities and with the correct frequency.

Whenever evaluating whether or not your baby tortoise needs supplements outside of the recommended calcium and vitamin D3, it is essential to consult with a vet first as excesses of some of these substances may be more detrimental to the health of your pet than helpful.


It can seem tricky to choose the right diet for your baby tortoise, but as long as the ratio of 75:20:5 of plants : vegetables : fruits is maintained, they should have access to most of their needs.

Since a tortoise’s health relies heavily on its nutrition, if you suspect something may be missing from its diet, or being given in excess, consult with an exotics vet to ensure you are on the right track so that you and your new pet can spend a long, happy time together.

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 

Need To Talk With A Turtle Vet Right Now?

Ask a question, get an answer ASAP!

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.

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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!

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  • 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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How and what to feed red-eared, marsh and other aquatic turtles

Aquatic ornamental turtles are frequent inhabitants of home aquariums. These cute reptiles are very fond of children and adults. In order for the turtle to live a long and fulfilling life in a closed tank, you need to create appropriate living conditions for it and pay special attention to the right diet.

In this article, we will look at popular brands of complete food and treats for aquatic turtles, how many times a day, at what time and how to feed them correctly, whether turtles need mineral and vitamin supplements, differences in the diet of adults and small pets, as well as depending on from the type of turtle.

Features of feeding aquatic turtles

Aquatic turtles eat plant and animal food. During the period of growth and formation of the body, turtles need food rich in protein. Natural products can be added to the diet in combination with ready-made dry food designed specifically for aquatic turtles.

Natural products are served to turtles in small pieces. A single portion is determined so that in a 30-minute snack, the turtle can completely eat the entire piece of food served. For young reptiles, 2-3 pieces of 1 cm3 are usually enough, and for feeding adult turtles, the size of the pieces should be slightly increased. If after a snack there is a half-eaten piece in the aquarium, the portion can be reduced at the next feeding.

A few more important rules for feeding aquatic turtles:

  • natural food should be thermally processed before feeding the reptile;
  • food served must be at room temperature;
  • food can be placed in the aquarium in a special feeder located on the ground in order not to pollute the water;
  • feeding with tweezers is allowed;
  • To create a balanced diet, you can combine prepared food with natural food.

Overview of artificial food for turtles

Dry food is recommended not as a main food for aquatic turtles, but as a complementary food that goes well with natural food.

The range of dry food for aquatic turtles includes a large selection of products from different world manufacturers. We will briefly review the types of artificial food and other healthy treats for pet reptiles.

Complete dry food

Complete dry food can be given to baby and adult turtles every day. The composition of such a product includes useful components of plant and animal origin, selected taking into account all the requirements of the reptile's body.

Popular brands:

  • Sera;
  • Zoomir;
  • Tetra ReptoMin;
  • Dajana.


Non-complete feeds are classified as Treats. They can only be given to adult turtles and no more than once a week.

Popular treats:

  • JBL Tortil;
  • Tetra ReptoDelica Snack;
  • Sera Raffy Royal;
  • Zoomir "Tortila M" Strong shell, etc.

Vitamin-mineral complexes

At home, turtles cannot get all the trace elements necessary for their body, which they extract in the natural environment. So that the reptile does not get sick and feels good, it must be periodically fed with special vitamin and mineral supplements. You can buy ready-made complexes in pet supply stores.

Vitamin and mineral supplements for turtles:

  • MIX – mineral supplement with calcium;
  • MIX - general strengthening supplement;
  • mineral block "Tortila";
  • Beaphar Turtle Vitamin - vitamin complex;
  • FIORY Tarta Vigor - feed supplement with vitamins;
  • mineral block Ca+D3 "Tortila M";
  • Sera vitamins;
  • Dajana – mineral stone for aquatic turtles.

Adult tortoise and small pet diet

The diet of aquatic turtles must be combined - natural food in combination with artificial food. Consider what foods can and cannot be given to aquarium reptiles.

Useful and harmful natural products for aquatic turtles:

  1. You can give low-fat river fish in crushed form with chopped bones. You can not feed turtles with bony and oily fish.
  2. May be fed with live gammarus and small crustaceans.
  3. Raw shrimp and crabs are allowed.
  4. Turtles should not be fed squid, although they love them very much.
  5. It is strictly forbidden to give reptiles the meat of terrestrial animals and factory meat products (sausages, canned food, etc.). The digestive system of reptiles does not absorb such food.
  6. Occasionally, you can treat the turtle with pieces of beef heart and liver. These products feed the body with vitamin A.
  7. It is allowed to feed the reptile with food mice and frogs.
  8. Turtles can be given natural plant foods such as carrots, lettuce, apple pulp, herbs, sprouted oats and barley.
  9. Non-poisonous grassland plants, as well as algae and some types of aquatic plants, can be included in the diet.
  10. Limited pieces of pear, watermelon, melon, banana, apricot and raspberry are served.
  11. Do not give turtles citrus fruits, nuts, soybeans, beans, cabbage, bread, flour products, cereals, fish waste, dairy products, chicken eggs.
  12. Foods high in phosphorus, stromagenic substances and oxalates are harmful to reptiles.
  13. With pleasure and benefit, turtles eat various insects and larvae living in the water. They can be fed with coretra, bloodworms, locusts, crickets, fly larvae, earthworms and moths. The insect must first be decapitated. Can be given dried, frozen, or live.
  14. Live and thawed mollusks, land snails, snails, marizas, etc. are well absorbed by the reptile organism. But it is better not to treat a turtle with slugs without shells.

Turtle menu specifics depending on their species

Water turtles are more often predators, so the basis of their diet is food of animal origin. If your aquarium has a semiaquatic or swamp reptile that prefers vegetarian food, the diet will be based on plant foods. In any case, the nutrition for the turtle must be balanced and varied so that the body of the domestic reptile fully receives all the necessary substances and trace elements.

Features of the diet of turtles of different species:

  1. The red-eared turtle prefers fry, small fish with bones, insect larvae, chicken fillet, gammarus and shrimp. From plant foods, you can give apples, lettuce and slices of fresh cucumber.
  2. Chinese amphibian Trionix enjoys beef liver, heart, lean fish, fry and small frogs. From plant foods, she will like fresh herbs and slices of tomato.
  3. The European bog turtle loves lean meats, fish with small bones, and plant foods.
  4. Musk turtle prefers to feed on algae, fish and aquatic insects.

How often and at what time to feed the turtles

It is recommended to feed the turtle at the same time. The first three years of life they are fed once a day, mainly food of animal origin. As they grow, the need for such food is lost, so plant foods and dry food become the main part of the diet.

Adult turtles are fed once every 2-3 days. In summer, turtles eat more often, but in small portions, and in winter they may not eat for several days, and then gladly absorb the increased portion. In the cold season, it is recommended to add vitamin and mineral supplements to the turtle's diet.

After the turtle has been fed, the remains of food are removed from the aquarium. In the subsequent feeding, fresh food is served. You can not feed the reptile with spoiled foods, they can cause poisoning of the body.

Major Owner Mistakes

Beginning pet turtle owners often make feeding and diet mistakes that can cause serious health problems for the reptile.

The most common owner mistakes are:

  • feeding the turtle food from his table - salty, fried, smoked and seasoned dishes are very dangerous for the body of turtles;
  • regular feeding with vitamin and mineral supplements - such complexes should not be given to turtles more than once a week;
  • make up an unbalanced diet, for example, they regularly treat a reptile with fish, forgetting about the need to feed other healthy foods, which leads to an excess of vitamin B and a lack of other trace elements in the body.

These are the most common mistakes in feeding domestic aquatic turtles, as a result of which reptiles develop various health problems.

The following symptoms testify to improper feeding of the tortoise: coordination of the movement of the reptile is disturbed, it refuses to eat, shows lethargy, and motor activity decreases. An unbalanced diet of small turtles leads to improper development of the body and growth retardation. To eliminate such health problems for the turtle, make up a healthy and balanced diet for it!

Never try to treat a water turtle yourself. If there are certain symptoms that indicate an unhealthy condition, seek the help of a veterinarian specializing in the treatment of domestic reptiles. An experienced specialist will also tell you in detail how and what to properly feed waterfowl aquarium turtles.

Proper nutrition is the key to a healthy and long life of a domestic reptile!

Rules for feeding land and aquatic turtles - Turtles.


Answers to the basic questions that arise when feeding turtles: the size of the food, its amount, temperature, what kind of 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.

Amount of food for the turtle

Give the predatory turtle as much food as it can eat in half an hour. Remember this amount and give her that much each time. Approximately the amount of food for one feeding should be no more than half the tortoise shell.

Food temperature and condition

Room temperature (do not give food directly from the refrigerator or not completely thawed), feed only raw (heat treatment is not allowed).

Frequency of feeding turtles

Young turtles up to 2 years old (or up to 7 cm long) are fed every day with a large amount of calcium in the food, and adult turtles - 2-3 times a week. Perishable food can be left in the terrarium for no more than 2-3 hours.

What to feed your turtle

Do not feed turtles only one kind of food! Mixes only! Do not spoil turtles - do not give them the most delicious and what they love the most. If the turtle eats only one type of food and refuses another, offer it a mixture of "favorite" and "unliked" foods, or let it starve for a while (usually a few days is enough).

Even if a turtle eats something with appetite, it does not mean that it can be given to eat (milk, bread, cheese).

How to give vitamins and calcium

Aquatic turtles should receive vitamins and calcium from a wholesome diet, tortoises and tortoises should be given vitamins and calcium powder. In the form of a liquid or tablets, vitamins and calcium should not be given. Vitamins and calcium are mixed with food and given to the turtle by hand or in a bowl. It is recommended to put a cuttlefish bone (sepia) in an aquarium or terrarium, then turtles with a lack of calcium will gnaw off a piece of it, replenishing the balance.

Food colors and palatability

Food color can also play a role: turtles are good at seeing colors and prefer yellow, orange and red. If pumpkin, mango, oranges, melon, tomatoes, red pepper are added to the feed mixture (provided that the turtles are satisfied with the smell), the mixture will look more appetizing for them (sweet fruits can only be given to tropical turtles, not steppe ones).

Where to feed the turtle

For terrestrial turtles, food is placed in the feeder; Freshwater turtles should be taught to take food from the shore. Then it will pollute the water less and it will be possible to add vitamins and calcium to it. You can also feed turtles in a separate jig, basin or in the bathroom, dropping them out of the aquarium for 1-2 hours. Then the water stays longer clean.


In addition to vegetable food, tortoises can be given grass meal from alfalfa. How to use: pour drinking water at room temperature, mix with the main food (salad, fresh vegetables). It contains calcium, vitamins A, D, E, B1, B2, as well as various trace elements.

To prevent the water in the aquarium from spoiling

Place aquatic turtles in a separate container with aquarium water (sump) where you feed them. After feeding, the turtles should be placed back in their home aquarium, and the water from the feeder should be poured into the toilet.

What time of day should you feed your turtle?

Since most turtles are diurnal, they should be fed in the morning or afternoon. Better in the morning, because. the normal biorhythm of a reptile of temperate latitudes is as follows: warmed up - ate - started the process of digestion BEFORE the evening coolness sets in.
The metabolic rate of reptiles is directly related to temperature. And by feeding the turtle shortly before turning off the lamps, there is a risk of creating conditions for the food to settle in the stomach with dead weight, without full digestion by digestive enzymes.
This applies to land turtles and those freshwater turtles that are characterized by regular basking (red-eared and swamped among them). For the majority of silt, trionics, two-clawed, etc., predominantly aquatic species - at a stable water temperature during the day, the issue is unprincipled.

If the turtle refuses to eat

The turtle may not eat because it is cold, stressed or sick. If you only have her for a couple of hours or days, then she just needs time to get used to a new place. If she does not eat for more than 3 days, but is active and looks normal, check if you are observing the conditions for keeping her at home correctly. If the turtle is inactive, has a runny nose, swollen eyes, sneezes or blows bubbles through its nose, show it to a herpetologist veterinarian.

How long can a turtle not eat or drink?

A healthy adult tortoise may not eat for up to two weeks without significant health consequences. A young turtle (adolescent) may not eat for up to a week. Baby - from 3 days to a week. Therefore, nothing bad will happen if you leave an adult red-eared turtle for a week or 1.5 for a vacation. However, it is highly desirable to put live fish, snails and algae into her aquarium, so that if she becomes hungry, she herself can get her own food.
Aquatic turtles are more dependent on water than land turtles, but they can go without water for up to a week. Therefore, if you lost a turtle in an apartment or you are taking a turtle with you to another city by car, then the turtle will survive quite normally for several days. Completely aquatic turtles, for example, trionics, it is better not to leave without water for more than a couple of days.

Turtle eats too much

Turtles have different activity in different seasons, with the onset of spring and summer turtles begin to eat more to store fat for the winter, when they should have biological hibernation. However, overfeeding is fraught with obesity and health problems. So how do you tell if a turtle is eating too much?
Normally, a young tortoise (up to 10-12 cm) should receive food once a day. An adult turtle should receive food once every other day - every two. The approximate amount of food is half the size of a turtle shell. Aquatic turtles are given as much food as a turtle eats in an hour. The rest of the food is removed or the turtle is returned from the nursery where it was fed to its aquarium.
Emaciated turtles (the skin is far behind the paws) should be given food daily, bathed regularly (every day or every other day) and how much they eat, you can add more protein (for land turtles, this is beans). For tortoises that are fat (bulging out of the shell and unable to hide in it) - food should be given every other day and avoiding food rich in proteins.

The turtle eats soil

If the turtle eats grass soil, hay, paper, sawdust, then it lacks fiber. This can lead to intestinal blockage. If this has already happened, then we must wait until she poops out what she has eaten. If the turtle loses its appetite, you should show it to a herpetologist. To avoid repetition - give the turtle a supply of soft meadow grass hay. For more drastic measures, you can buy fiber in the diet department of supermarkets and add it to turtle food.

Turtle eats sand or stones if there is not enough mineral supplement, that is, calcium. For the same reason, turtles try to find and eat something white, similar to natural calcium. Stones and sand, not being calcium, will not dissolve in the turtle's stomach. Well, if they come out with feces, and if not, there will be a blockage of the intestines, which is very difficult to treat. If the turtle has eaten stones, just bathe more often in warm water and wait for the stones to come out on their own. But if she lost her appetite, you should take an x-ray and see if the eaten stones remained in the turtle. If yes, it is necessary to show the turtle to the veterinarian. You may need an enema or even surgery. To avoid a repeat of the situation - replace the soil in your terrarium with larger pebbles (the size of the pebbles should be 1.5-2.5 times the size of the turtle's head) and do not release the turtle into places where there is sand and small stones. Also start feeding reptile mineral supplements with food and put a cuttlefish bone in the terrarium. The tortoise will gnaw it on its own if it wants to. This applies to both aquatic turtles and land turtles.

Turtles in the wild often consume stones, but this is not a problem. Why? The fact is that the fiber content in the diet of wild turtles is so high that they safely pass through the digestive system without accumulating in it. This was confirmed by X-ray studies. However, if the diet of captive turtles is low in fiber, this transport mechanism is disrupted, and it is then possible that sand, gravel, or rocks may cause problems.

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