What do you feed a baby water turtle

What Do Baby Water Turtles Eat?

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A Wild Water Turtle

If you’re thinking about adopting or buying a baby turtle, it’s important to understand how to properly care for one until it reaches maturity. A proper diet is an essential aspect of the baby turtle’s upkeep. Let us determine which foods are best for tiny turtles.

Slow-going turtles that may be just as entertaining to watch as cats and dogs may live in an aquarium. They are rather easy to keep, especially compared to most reptiles. They can survive a long time, especially if you feed them properly.

You could also want to make sure your baby turtle is eating the correct kinds of food or raise them on a diet as close to a wild turtle as possible, being a turtle parent. We’ll go through what baby and adult turtles eat in the wild, as well as what you can feed them if they’re kept as pets.

It is very simple to acquire a baby turtle from a pet shop. However, caring for a newborn turtle is a demanding task that must be handled with great attention because it depends on the requirements and desires of each individual. Adult tortoises are more susceptible to external factors and strains than juvenile turtles, which is why it’s critical to provide them with extra attention. They’re also prone to a variety of illnesses and contain germs that can cause disease. As a result, you must provide adult turtles with customized care in order for them to reach adulthood.

Baby turtles need to be fed on a regular basis. They will not grow into robust and healthy turtles if they are not fed properly. We’ll go through how to feed a newborn turtle as well as the best food options.

What Do Baby Water Turtles Eat? Baby Water Turtles Can Be Fed Vegetables

To ensure that your baby turtle grows and develops properly, you must feed it healthily. Flakes are one of the greatest diets for juvenile turtles. Baby turtles may be fed with tiny fish, food sticks, and pellets. Fortunately, these foods are available in a range of sizes, ranging from jumbo to medium to small.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to get baby water turtles to eat. Depending on the temperature outside, they will eat their yolks for the first few weeks. The hotter it is outside, the more they’ll feed on their yolk. Immediately after, you may feed your baby turtles live insects and worms, such as wax worms, bloodworms, mealworms, or blackworms. Try feeding your newborn turtle with commercial foodstuffs as well as veggies and fruits once it has gotten used to the former.

The secret to giving your baby turtles moving foods is to start feeding them as soon upon birth as possible. If there are no live, frozen, or freeze-dried animal-based meals available, you can offer lunch meat to your hatchling in an emergency. Turtles will eat it, but don’t offer them lunch meat if you have other options. The more pure and organic the meat is, the better for your baby turtle. Chicken or turkey flesh is preferable since ground beef becomes mushy in water and creates a mess.

Chicken Meat Can Be Given To Baby Water Turtles

When they’re a few months old, they can eat diets. Commercial turtle pellets or flakes, tiny live bugs like roaches and crickets, small fish such as baby minnows, mollies, and guppies, tiny live shrimp, vegetables, and fruits should all be added first. The type of food you feed your infant turtle is determined by its species, water temperature, and size.

Water turtles are omnivorous, consuming both animal and vegetable foods. They are primarily carnivorous as youngsters but become increasingly omnivorous as they grow older.

Aquatic turtles eat and swallow with their heads submerged, so they won’t eat out of the water. Aquatic turtles may be fed in a separate, tiny aquarium of warm water to help ensure the cleanliness of their tanks. This way, the turtles will defecate in this water rather than their main aquarium. When feeding turtles, it’s important to give them a range of foods. Feeding turtle food in different forms on a regular basis helps encourage them to eat and provides nutritional balance.

 What Do Baby Water Turtles Eat in The Wild? Baby Water Turtles Eat Slugs in The Wild

Wild aquatic turtles eat fish, and pet turtles may be fed with feeder fish from pet shops or bait stores. Goldfish, minnows, and guppies are some examples of fish that may be offered to the turtle depending on its size.

Live fish may provide your turtle with mental stimulation and exercise, as well as the thrill of catching and eating its food. Fish is also a good source of calcium for turtles if they consume the entire fish, bones, and all.

Feeder Fish Can Also Be Given To Baby Water Turtles

Feeder fish, on the other hand, have been shown to carry parasites and germs that can infect pet turtles if they eat them. As a result, feeder fish should be fed only rarely if given to turtles. Feeding oily fish such as mackerel, smelt, and other fatty fish in large quantities or at all may cause vitamin E deficiencies. A thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency may result from a mostly fish diet, so aquatic turtles should only be fed in tiny amounts.

Turtles, earthworms, and frogs can all be fed to baby turtles as well. Snails, beetles, slugs, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, waxworms, mealworms, and other insects may also be offered. Feeding flesh from wild-caught fish and amphibians is not suggested because parasites and other potential infections may infect the turtle.

Worms Can Be Given To Baby Water Turtles

Meat, chicken, or fish obtained from the supermarket does not have a proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus for a turtle and should not be fed to turtles. The carnivorous component of a turtle’s diet should make up no more than two-thirds of the diet of juvenile turtles and about half of the adult turtles’ diets.

How To Feed Baby Water Turtles? A Water Turtle in The Sea

In the wild, young turtles obtain their nutrients from traveling about in the woods, walking about in shaded areas, and swimming in deep swimming pools. They consume everything from insects to tiny fish to aquatic plants and grasses to fruits on rare occasions. At their age, they prefer a diet that is more omnivorous since they like to eat a diverse range of animals and plants.

Land baby turtles may eat different things than aquatic baby turtles. Land turtle food, for example, is more vegetable-based than that of water-dwelling creatures. As a result, you must offer land baby turtles a balanced diet that includes both fresh leafy greens and commercial foods. To make meals simpler to digest, try feeding them in tiny pieces. Aquatic baby turtles are picky eaters who frequently defecate in the middle of their meals, therefore they should be fed in smaller tanks. As a result, if they feed in their aquarium, it will become filthy.

Baby turtles generally require a gel capsule or pellet supplement that you can buy from a pet store or online. However, keep in mind that the species, age, and nutritional demands of your turtle will have an impact on its diet. It is also well-known that adolescent turtles should consume more proteins than mature ones since it aids in the growth of their bones.

Feed your turtle on a regular basis, at least twice a day. Overfeeding them may cause them to overgrow their shell and become unsightly, so keep an eye on how much they’re eating. Local pet shops typically sell most turtle diets. However, you should double-check the labels to ensure that your baby turtle is eating the best diet possible. For the greatest outcome, pick a formula that has been authorized for your newborn turtle by its manufacturer.

It’s crucial to provide mineral and vitamin supplements, particularly Vitamin D and C, to your turtle hatchlings since they need them for healthy shell development. It also aids in the assimilation of vitamin D, which is required for the formation of strong as well as healthy shells and bones.

What Are The Natural Predators of Baby Water Turtles?

Turtles, including saltwater sea turtles, coastal brackish terrapins, and terrestrials tortoises, have been on Earth for a long time. They even interacted with the dinosaurs!

These extraordinary creatures can thank one of the most efficient natural defenses in existence: hard, boney shells.

Turtles, like many other reptiles and amphibians, are susceptible to a variety of predators. While their defensive anatomy may protect them from most attackers, you might be surprised to learn that turtles are frequently preyed upon by a variety of determined hunters. Adult turtles have few predators, but turtle eggs and emerging youngsters are extremely vulnerable.


Raccoons, in particular, enjoy the opportunity to ransack a turtle nest or devour newly hatched turtles. They’ll actively seek and dig up potential nest sites. Raccoon predation is actually the greatest cause of sea turtle fatalities in Florida.


Another common omnivore is the opossum, which will often consume hatchling turtles and turtle eggs. Because opossums get most of their nutrition from insects and invertebrates, these encounters are mostly random in nature.


All mustelids, including skunks, fishers, weasels, badgers, mink, and other species in the Mustelidae family are able to and eager to consume a turtle egg meal. There’s also no doubt that they have the jaw strength needed to break into a hatchling turtle’s shell!

Foxes & Other Canines

Turtles, being reptiles, are easy prey for dogs and cats. Foxes, wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs will feed on turtle hatchlings and eggs when they occur by chance. Foxes are well-known for detecting buried food, such as turtle nests.


Turtles and turtle eggs aren’t much of a meal for felines, since they are predators that are drawn to movement. They may see a small, active turtle as more of a toy than a food source, especially in tiny house cats.

Bobcats have been known to attack and consume sea turtle eggs, despite their reputation as egg-eaters.


All voracious lizards, as a rule, consume turtle eggs or any other prey as soon as they become accessible. Monitor lizards and tegus, in particular, are expert nest-raiders and egg-eaters.

Although crocodilians are one of the few predators that can and frequently do consume even fully grown turtles, they aren’t the only ones. Their strong, snapping jaws are capable of crushing the largest aquatic turtles into tiny pieces.


People have reported seeing snakes eating turtle eggs and tiny turtles! Rat snakes are notorious for attacking chicken nests, but they’ll eat eggs from any species, including turtles. The Formosa kukri snake has adapted to eat only reptile eggs, and sea turtle eggs are among its favorite foods.

Snakes will consume anything that they can swallow, whether it’s a hatchling turtle or an adult. With their unhinging jaws, smaller turtles aren’t safe from snakes, especially large snake species like the anaconda.

Other Species of Turtles

Cannibalism does occur, as evidenced by the fact that adult turtles have been observed to consume their own species’ hatchlings. Snapping turtles snap off the heads of other turtles before eating them. It’s unclear if this behavior is territorial or strictly predatory in nature.

Birds of Prey

Hatchling turtles are frequently preyed upon by predatory wading birds and water birds while foraging for fish, amphibians, and aquatic vegetation. Crows and other similar species are aware of any adult turtles that appear to be nesting. They’ll either observe and wait or return later to consume the freshly laid eggs.

Birds of prey, such as eagles and hawks, will pick up small to medium-sized turtles and carry them high into the air before releasing them to the ground, where the hard shell will shatter and the flesh will be exposed.


Gar, largemouth bass, catfish, and other big, carnivorous fish species consume hatchling turtles in freshwater settings. Adult sea turtles are preyed upon by a variety of the world’s largest fish, including sharks! Adult sea turtle adults are the only natural predators of adult sea turtles.

Are Baby Water Turtles Healthy To Eat?

Eating sea turtles isn’t as pleasurable as those who advocate for it would have you believe. Turtles are hazardous meals due to the fact that they include a slew of disease-producing chemicals, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants. A turtle meal might swiftly return to haunt its consumer with severe consequences that necessitate rapid medical treatment.

If the biological hazards aren’t enough to deter you from eating turtle meat and eggs, consider the microbiological risk. Sea turtles host a diverse range of germs. They are completely safe for animals but can be extremely dangerous to humans.

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What Do Baby Turtles Eat in the Wild and As Pets?

Slow-going turtles that live in an aquarium and can be just as fun to watch as cats and dogs. Like most reptiles, they are fairly easy to maintain. They live for a long time, especially when you feed them right.

As a turtle mom or dad, you may want to make sure your baby turtle is eating the right kinds of food, or feed them a diet as similar to a wild turtle as possible. We’re going to cover what baby and adult turtles eat in the wild and also what you can feed them as pets, depending on your preferences.

What Wild Turtles Eat

Image Credit: Nature_Blossom, Pixabay

Turtles are found on every continent in the world except Antarctica. You will likely spot a turtle along the bank of a small pond, stream, or lake. They love damp areas with lots of rocks or spaces they can hide. This means that they like to eat things you can find in these areas.

Wild turtles eat a variety of things in nature. When they are babies, they mostly eat meat because they need the protein to keep growing. Types of protein they like to eat include small insects, snails, worms, and fish. When they get bigger, they can start eating more and more plant-like substances.

What Pet Turtles Eat

What your pet turtle needs for nutrition depends on the species and age of your turtle.

Omnivorous vs Carnivorous vs Herbivorious Turtles

There are three kinds of turtles; carnivorous turtles are rarer and eat only meat, omnivorous turtles are more common and eat meat and vegetation, and herbivorous turtles eat only vegetation. Box turtles, Mississippi maps, and red-eared sliders are omnivorous and common pet turtle breeds. Musk turtles are carnivorous.

What Do Adult Pet Turtles Eat?

Image Credit: SeaReeds, Pixabay

Just like in the wild, a turtle’s diet needs to change as they age. It’s important to know how old (approximately) your turtle is so you know what to feed him.

Pet turtles that are mature and omnivorous can eat pelleted food specifically made for turtles. You can find this kind of food at most pet stores. Again, check the species to make sure you are giving your turtle the right diet.

Most turtles do well on pellet food containing between 40-45% protein and 6-8% percent fat. The moisture content counts too: the higher moisture content in the food, usually the higher percentage of protein and fat inside the food. Look for “fish meal” towards the top of the ingredients list.

Turtle-specific pellets should make up at least 25% of your turtle’s diet. It’s important to get food specific for turtles as it stays intact more easily when it contacts water, and it also floats.

The rest of your turtle’s diet should be 25% from a protein source, like a comet goldfish, which also provides essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus.

The final 50% can be made up of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables should be rich with colors, such as dark, leafy greens, shredded squash, and carrots. You could also opt to feed your turtle aquatic plants like duckweed.

Occasionally you can offer meat, but this is not always beneficial. Turtles benefit most from the nutrient livers of feeder fish, and won’t get much of what they need from the kind of meat we normally eat.

Herbivorous turtles, like land turtles or tortoises, can be fed only fruits and vegetables. Aim for 20% fruits and 80% vegetables total.

Related Read: 10 Best Turtle Foods 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

What Baby Pet Turtles Eat

Image Credit: Pixabay

Baby turtles in the wild eat from different food sources sometimes because they are growing. In general, you should feed a baby turtle a little more protein than you would an adult turtle. You can replace some fruits and veggies with a little more pellets and feeder fish if your turtle is still growing.

Pellets are a great option here, but you could opt to feed him live food instead. Baby turtles can eat the same kinds of proteins adults can: earthworms, snails, slugs, grasshoppers, beetles, and crayfish. Ask your local pet store if they have live food for reptiles, and this is where you can buy it.

One thing you might want to consider adding to your pet baby turtle’s diet is a gel capsule supplement. You can find these at most pet stores. Just make sure the label indicates that it’s for your specific breed of turtle.

Ultimately, you want to make sure what you feed your baby turtle has variety. That way, you know he is getting all the nutrients and vitamins he needs.

Is It Okay to Keep a Wild Turtle?

Generally, no. For one, turtles in nature are wild animals. They are not used to human interaction, and will therefore not make very good pets. Wild turtles could carry diseases that captive-bred turtles don’t have (though both can carry some, which is why you should always wash your hands after handling). Lastly, some states ban captivating wild turtles. It’s frowned upon by conservationists, as well. These are all the reasons it’s not a good idea to keep a wild turtle.

  • Here’s another interesting read about turtles: 17 Turtles Found in Illinois

Baby Turtle Care Tips

Image Credit: Pixabay

Feed them in a separate aquarium to keep your main habitat clean. Alternatively, you can sprinkle pellet food on top of their water. Whatever you feed them, make sure it’s shredded into small pieces to make it the easiest to eat.

Turtles eat every day when they are young. Once they are about 7 years old, you can feed them once every 2 days. They can be fed 1 cup of turtle food per day, or whatever amount they can eat in around 20 minutes.

Never feed your turtle cat or dog food, as the protein content is too high and could harm your turtle.

  • Here’s another topic of interest: Can Turtles Eat Chicken? What You Need to Know!

Baby turtle’s diet needs differ slightly from adult turtles, just like in the wild. They require a little more protein and rely more on essential nutrients than full-grown adults, and that’s about the only difference. When it comes to feeding a baby turtle a pellet diet or live food, the choice is up to you.

Looking for more information on turtles? Take a look at:

  • How To Take Care Of A Turtle Egg: A Beginner’s Guide (with Pictures)
  • Do Turtles Need a Heat Lamp at Night? Lighting Guide For Your Pet Turtle
  • How Many Babies Do Turtles Have? How Many Eggs Do They Lay?

Featured Image Credit: Gauthier Pous, Pixabay

Feeding - Turtles.ru - all about turtles and for turtles

In nature, turtles themselves choose the right food for them in accordance with the place and region of habitat. 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 food groups, as 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, molluscs, 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 are described 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 abnormal 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.
  • They feed aquatic turtles exclusively with gammarus, bloodworms, or only one type of food, which in no case can 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.

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When purchasing a turtle, many are faced with the question of what to feed a land herbivorous turtle. Someone buys cabbage, someone buys dry food, and someone goes to the turtle.ru website and reads about how to properly feed turtles so that it does not harm their health.

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.

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In nature, turtles get the vitamins they need with their food. At home, it is very difficult for turtles to provide all the variety of what they eat in nature, so you have to give special vitamin supplements. Turtles must receive a full range of vitamins (A, D3, E, etc.) and minerals (calcium, etc.), otherwise they develop a whole range of diseases that can cause illness and even death. Commercial supplements of calcium and vitamins are usually produced separately, and both should be given in small quantities along with food once a week.

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We recommend not using any dry industrial food for aquatic turtles as the main food, but only as 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 content (fish, mussels, mollusks) than vegetable. Gammarus in young turtles leads to tympania.


Dry industrial food for tortoises can only be used as an 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 learn 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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What should baby red-eared turtles eat?

The main question that arises in the newly minted owner of the red-eared turtle: what to feed such an exotic pet? Providing a young individual with food requires a serious approach. From how correctly you make up the diet of your pet, its activity, health and life expectancy directly depend. Let's look at what you need to feed a small red-eared turtle at home.

Juveniles are usually given only food of animal origin. About 70%, the diet should consist of small low -fat fish and 30% of:

  • of offal
  • insects
  • Small Snails
  • rainworms
  • crap
  • 9001 ground beef.

If possible, treat your pet to live guppy aquarium fish. In general, fish is very useful for the growing organism of the red-eared.

What is the best fish to feed the little red-eared turtle?

As already mentioned, the fish should be lean. It can be pollock, blue whiting, hake, cod, navaga, perch and carp. Give the fish finely chopped and with small bones. For large fish, remove the costal bones. Raw or boiled fish to give reptiles? Here experts have not come to a consensus. Some believe that the fish should only be raw, while others insist that it should be boiled. In our opinion, it is not necessary to boil the fish. It is enough to pour boiling water over it.

It is recommended to add bone meal (available at the pet store) or crushed eggshells to the red-eared food twice a week.

Dry food for small red-eared sliders

Dry food for turtles cannot get enough nutrients. It can be given to turtles from time to time if it is not possible to organize a natural meal. But in no case should a reptile's diet consist of store-bought food alone. The red-eared must receive vitamins and microelements from natural food. Constant feeding of a pet with semi-finished products negatively affects digestion, metabolism, which can eventually lead to various diseases.

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