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» Red Slider Pet Turtle Feeding and Care

How Did I Do It? > Pets > Red Slider Pet Turtle Feeding and Care
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Learn what your pet turtle likes to eat!
Learn what your pet turtle likes to eat!
A pet turtle may be the ideal pet to have; a turtle makes few demands of you, makes very little fuss or noise unlike a cat or dog and loves a good meal at home! You don’t have to take him out on long walks or bathe and groom him. He is happy at home when you go to work or leave home for a little vacation time.

And, best of all, your pet turtle doesn’t leave any mess around the yard; looking after a pet turtle is about as easy as having a pet rock … Except that he does love to eat!

If you have a pet turtle you will know the truth to the saying, ‘the way to his heart, is through his stomach’. Red eared slider turtles are notorious for their appetites. These pets are known to beg and beg for food and are at high risk of being overfed.

There are a lot of misconceptions as to how much one can feed and what is safe to feed to one’s pet turtle. This simple guide will help you to discover what is essential in your turtle’s diet for its health and also some easy ideas to safely add variety to your turtle’s diet.

Red eared slider turtles start out mostly carnivorous and become more herbivorous as they grow in age and size. The protein intake of your pet turtle will be higher when it is younger. Calcium is essential throughout the red eared slider’s life to keep its shell hard and accommodate for growth.

Fundamentally, your turtle’s food should consist of commercial pellets and the appropriate vegetables and calcium. Turtle food needs to be presented to your pet inside water because turtles cannot produce saliva to swallow with. You can choose to feed your pet turtle inside a separate container from its tank, which will leave less waste and mess in your turtle tank.

So here are some turtle food ideas and guidelines broken into step by step instructions.

My Pet Turtle is a real show off, especially after a good meal!
My Pet Turtle is a real show off, especially after a good meal!

Pet Turtle Pellets

Pellets should make up most of your turtle’s diet. For hatchlings and under one year turtles, feed them daily as they need the food to grow! One yearling and older turtles should be fed every other day.

The guidelines on turtle food packets vary, so a standard you should apply for your pet turtle is one feeding in the size of your turtle’s head (excluding the neck). Red eared slider turtles always beg for more, but it is very dangerous to indulge them. It will create an excess of protein that will damage its growth and more waste in your turtle tank.

Greens and Vegetables For Pet Turtles

Vegetables have great offerings of calcium, vitamin k and a. As red eared sliders get older they should be offered more and more vegetables in their diet, 75% of its diet can be plant based. Here are suggested veggies and greens your pet turtle will like to eat:

  • These plants are beneficial and can be offered daily: dandelion leaves, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, turnip greens (the leaves only).
  • Other vegetables and greens can make up a moderate part of your pet turtle’s food: carrots, green bean, kale, celery, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, and zucchini.
  • And a rare part of your turtle’s food: iceberg lettuce, mustard greens, red pepper, and tomato.
  • And these foods should be avoided as they can be harmful to your pet turtle: amaranth, beet greens, bok choi, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery, chives, mushrooms, parsley, peas, rhubarb, spinach.

Always at home in the water, a pet turtle is about the best pet you can have in my opinion!
Always at home in the water, a pet turtle is about the best pet you can have in my opinion!
Feeding Live Prey to Your Pet Turtle

Red eared sliders love eating live prey. It can be a lot of fun for both owner and turtle, but this food doesn’t necessarily offer any nutritional benefits to your pet turtle and could harbor parasite or diseases. This section is best to make up a rare treat portions of your turtle’s diet.

This can introduce some interesting entertainment to your turtle tank, but should be kept to limited amounts. Be careful that what you offer won’t be difficult for your pet turtle to swallow. Also be aware of taking worms from a neighbor’s garden that may use herbicides, pesticides or chemicals.

  • Limited use live prey your pet turtle can eat include: apple snails, pond snails, guppies, red rose minnows, crickets, earthworms and silkworms.
  • Live prey you can feed your Red Slider turtle rarely: mosquito larvae, ghost shrimp, brine shrimp and waxworms.
  • Live prey not recommended for your pet turtle include: crayfish, goldfish, mealworms, slugs and tubifex worms.

Commercial Pet Turtle Treats (canned, processed, frozen)

  • Frozen foods are a fairly safe turtle food because they should be parasite free. They can be a good treat to entice your red eared slider to eat.
  • Moderate: bloodworms and crickets.
  • Use rarely: brine shrimp, feeder fish, gammarus (shrimp) and krill.
  • Frozen foods not recommended: mealworms, snails and tubifex worms.

So there you have a few ideas to keep your pet turtle happy through its stomach. Remember, feeding time is one of the most exciting times inside a turtle tank so a healthy variety will not only keep him healthy, but happy too. Follow these tips and your pet turtle will love you dearly for feeding him with an amphibian gourmet diet!

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