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Turtle Nutrition

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When it comes to eating, turtles and tortoises have rather "exotic" tastes. Aquatic turtles enjoy munching on aquatic turtle pellets, leafy green vegetables like kale and collard greens as well as foods with a little more "kick" like live crickets, mealworms and waxworms. To help keep your omnivorous turtle healthy, Dr. Robyn Jaynes, PetSmart vet expert, suggests a balanced diet of both leafy greens, wriggly insects and prepared turtle foods. For tortoises, she suggests a varied diet of fresh vegetables, a little fruit and prepared tortoise foods.

 

What to feed your turtle

Crickets, worms & fish

Aquatic turtles eat crickets, mealworms, waxworms or comet goldfish. To keep their diet varied, consider adding insects to your turtle's menu a few times a week.

Vegetables

Offer 1-2 teaspoons of dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens or mustard greens 3-4 times a week.

Prepared food

Turtles will also eat canned or pelleted turtle food like HBH Turtle Bites Aquatic Turtle Food or Zilla Land Turtle & Tortoise Food and frozen/freeze-dried fish food. PetSmart carries a variety of turtle, tortoise and reptile food including formulated foods, freeze-dried mealworms and more.

What to feed your tortoise

Since tortoises are herbivores, feed them a mix of vegetables and fruit. About 80 percent of his diet should be fresh vegetables like dandelion greens, kale or collard greens along with green or yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, squash and cauliflower. About 20 percent or less should consist of fruit including apples, melons and grapes. Offer fruit only every third or fourth feeding. You can also add hay, both timothy and alfalfa, to their diet as well as high-fiber grasses and weeds. Try prepared foods for tortoises as well like Zilla Land Turtle & Tortoise Food.

Supplements

Calcium is important for both turtles and tortoises. To add calcium to your pet's diet, "dust" their food with a calcium supplement twice a week. Find a variety of supplements for your turtle or tortoise including multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D3 powder and more at PetSmart.

How often should I feed my turtle or tortoise?

Turtles: Young water turtles should be fed daily; adults 4-5 times a week.

Tortoises: Feed your tortoise 4-5 times a week. Start with one cup of food per day, then offer more or less based on feeding response.

Food safety

Insects (for aquatic turtles): Feed your aquatic turtle insects on the land, not in the water area to avoid increasing ammonia levels in the water which can be dangerous to a turtle's skin and shell.

Fruits and vegetables: Fresh foods require their own dish and should be removed from the habitat after several hours to prevent spoilage.

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