What is turtle food?

Some herbivorous and omnivorous turtles love vegetables.

Turtle food is specially formulated for turtles. Many pet stores stock this product, as do stores that cater to aquarists, and some people prefer to make their own turtle food at home. It is important to be aware that there are many different types of tortoises, all requiring unique diets, and that tortoises may be similar to tortoises but have very different dietary needs. For first-time tortoise owners, it’s a good idea to ask about what type of tortoise they’re buying, to ensure they get the right diet.

Some turtles like live food, such as crickets.

Some tortoises are strictly herbivores, meaning they only crave plant materials in their diets. Others are carnivores, preferring a diet consisting primarily of meat, while some are omnivores, enjoying a balance of food. In all cases, the important characteristic of a good diet is variety, with enough calcium to keep the turtle’s shell healthy. Many commercial tortoise foods provide basic nutrition, but can be very boring for the tortoise, so it’s a good idea to supplement.

A turtle.

Herbivores and omnivores love greens, vegetables, fruits and flowers of all kinds. Many people feel that some experimentation is necessary to find the food that the turtle prefers. Some, for example, go crazy for grapes but turn up their noses at strawberries. Plant foods should be as fresh as possible and should be washed to remove any herbicides or pesticides that may be present. If a turtle rejects food, it’s a good idea to write down what was offered so it won’t be tried again. Calcium supplements can be used to keep calcium levels high, or animals can be fed calcium-rich vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli.

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Some carnivorous turtles like to eat earthworms.

Carnivorous turtles cannot eat any kind of meat. Turtles often need lean meats, which makes things like hamburgers a poor choice. Some turtles like live food such as mealworms, earthworms, or crickets, while others are perfectly happy with pieces of chicken, beef, and other meat trimmed of their fat. Turtle food formulated for carnivores is often high in carbohydrates, so pet owners should be mindful of the health of their turtles when feeding packaged food.

Kale and other calcium-rich vegetables like Swiss chard and broccoli are good food for turtles.

There are some foods that turtles should not be given. Dairy products are not recommended, because turtles do not have enzymes to digest them, and poisonous plants like poinsettias and poison ivy should also be kept away from turtles, as animals can chew on plants when they get bored. Refined foods, including white bread and anything with sugar, are also a bad idea for turtles, as are high-grain diets. When preparing turtle food, it can help to think about what foods might be present in the animal’s natural environment: a carrot or two is plausible, for example, but a cupcake tree is unlikely.

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