What Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat?

Red-eared slider turtles are a few of the hottest pets on this planet. They’re small, cute, and straightforward to look after—however one query that many pet homeowners have is “What do red-eared slider turtles eat?” It seems that red-eared sliders are omnivores, to allow them to get pleasure from a balanced food regimen of each plant and animal matter. In this text, we’ll discover what red-eared slider turtles eat and learn how to feed them correctly.

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What Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat in The Wild?

Red-eared sliders have a diversified food regimen, relying on their age – adults selecting to feast largely upon aquatic vegetation and smaller specimens favoring the protein from meaty choices. Adults will complement their plant consumption with small fish, bugs, earthworms, and different invertebrates if there isn’t a greenery close by. On high of this vegetarian fare, they might additionally bask in snails or frogs if obtainable!

Young turtles however are significantly keen on extra carnivorous snacks resembling feeder fish and worms for an additional increase in growing vitality ranges throughout development intervals inside their shell growth cycle.

Red-eared sliders within the wild additionally eat much more, both they sit motionlessly ready for his or her prey to return by and snap them up, or they enterprise out a number of occasions a day to feed on bugs that they will discover.

At residence, they want solely be fed each two or three days as their foraging doesn’t require excessive ranges of protein that may trigger “shell pyramiding”. It is a typical food regimen downside the place the shell turns into more and more triangular with age because of heavy layers of keratin from having an excessive amount of protein. Pet homeowners ought to guarantee vegetation and bugs kind a part of an grownup turtle’s food regimen alongside aquatic vegetation like algae so it stays wholesome and comfortable!

Types of Food Red-Eared Slider Turtles Enjoy as pets

Red-eared slider turtles are omnivorous animals, which implies they may eat each vegetation and animals. Generally talking, an grownup red-eared slider turtle’s food regimen must be made up of roughly 50% plant matter and 50% animal matter. And a child red-eared slider turtle’s food regimen must be at the very least 30% plant-based and 70% protein.

Red-eared sliders are recognized to have an urge for food for quite a lot of sustenance! They can simply change into tired of their meals, so hold issues recent by offering quite a lot of meals of their food regimen. Diversity is important for encouraging good urge for food and general well being!

So with that in thoughts, listed below are some frequent meals you could feed your red-eared slider turtle:

Plant Matter and greens

Red-eared sliders love veggies like darkish leafy greens (spinach, kale), squash, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, bell peppers, and tomatoes. They additionally get pleasure from fruits resembling apples (with out seeds), melons (with out seeds), and grapes (with out seeds). You ought to keep away from giving your turtle any citrus fruits as they are often too acidic for them to digest correctly.

To guarantee your pet is receiving the proper vitamin, we’ve compiled a complete checklist of their most popular greens:

  • Bell pepper
  • Cactus
  • Carrot tops
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Duckweed
  • Elodea
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Romaine lettuce (in small quantities)
  • Squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Water ferns
  • Zucchini

As a warning, consuming broccoli, peas, cabbage, and brussels sprouts could induce gout – therefore it’s best to keep away from these particular greens in your turtles.

Protein and meat

Red-eared sliders additionally love protein and can fortunately munch on earthworms, crickets, mealworms, waxworms, or aquatic snails. You may also give them cooked eggs or cooked rooster if you happen to want to not purchase dwell bugs.

Here is a listing of proteins appropriate in your pet red-eared slider turtle:

  • Aquatic snails
  • Bloodworms
  • Commercial fish meals
  • Commercial turtle meals
  • Crickets
  • Daphnia
  • Earthworms
  • Feeder goldfish
  • Frogs
  • Mealworms
  • Minnows
  • Redworms
  • Shrimp
  • Tadpoles
  • Waxworms

What about fruits? What fruits can turtles eat?

Red-eared sliders ought to get pleasure from a balanced food regimen, with out relying too closely on fruit. Despite wild varieties not naturally consuming a lot of it within the wild, an occasional juicy deal with is completely advantageous in your pet slider – simply hold one or two items per week to be protected! Fruits have a excessive sugar content material which may result in digestive points like diarrhea if consumed excessively by these shelled buddies.

Vitamins and dietary supplements

In addition to their common meals sources listed above, you can even complement their food regimen with extra nutritional vitamins and dietary supplements. But perceive that almost all of the nutritional vitamins your red-eared slider wants must be sourced from a balanced, diversified food regimen.

Nevertheless, Vitamins A and D are two main dietary supplements that you shouldn’t overlook when caring for one of these turtle. Additionally, different supplementary nutritional vitamins could should be included into their vitamin plan in response to veterinary steering. For instance, there are calcium powders or pellets particularly designed for turtles. Calcium helps hold their shells wholesome and prevents any potential shell deformities from growing over time. Doing so will guarantee optimum well being and well-being in your reptilian buddy!

Here are the particular nutritional vitamins which can be important in your pet turtle’s well-being:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D3
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus

Vitamin A

Nutritional deficiencies is usually a looming risk for pet red-eared slider turtles, as sure nutritional vitamins and minerals could not all the time seem of their diets. The most infamous of those is vitamin A – its absence from turtle meals may lead to imaginative and prescient issues, hypovitaminosis A (an imbalance between calcium & phosphorous), higher respiratory illness, ear abscesses and even squamous metaplasia which thickens the duct lining of great organs such because the pancreas and kidney! Whether it’s by means of dietary supplements or different means to make sure your loved one reptile buddy retains wholesome with sufficient Vitamin A consumption – common checkups are beneficial so any well being points associated to this deficiency may be recognized early on.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3, or just vitamin D, performs an necessary function within the well being of your red-eared slider. The turtle naturally produces this nutrient from pigment cells situated on its pores and skin and shell when uncovered to UV mild – each pure and synthetic. This important vitamin helps wholesome bones, shells in addition to skins for these turtles! However, it’s not essential to complement with Vitamin D day-after-day; as an alternative offering entry to unfiltered daylight will be sure that they get loads of this invaluable nutrient which helps them metabolize calcium effectively. Failure to take action could lead them down a path towards bone ailments because of poor digestion of vitamins.

Take care of your pet red-eared slider by offering it with sunbathing periods twice to thrice per week for as much as 40 minutes. Make certain the realm round is safe and free from predators. Although, if you happen to’re unable to supply common solar publicity throughout winter days then some occasional D3 vitamin dietary supplements are okay too!


Keeping your red-eared slider wholesome requires extra than simply offering correct meals. Did you understand that calcium deficiency is among the commonest points plaguing captive sliders? Without an sufficient quantity of this necessary mineral, turtles can expertise wobbly strolling or swimming and lack urge for food. Additionally, a turtle’s shell could change into rubbery from softening and in some instances become pyramidal scutes resembling pyramid shapes! If any lumps are seen on their head or physique contact your vet instantly for assist with restoring healthful stability to their food regimen

Red-eared sliders might also develop anorexia if their food regimen isn’t balanced. Calcium is important for greater than robust shells and bones — it has a significant impression on digestive muscle mass as effectively. If your turtle’s consumption of calcium stays low or can’t be metabolized successfully because of a scarcity of Vitamin D3 together with the inaccurate ratio of calcium to phosphorus, then severe well being issues can come up from poor urge for food. Make certain you give your red-eared slider what they should keep wholesome!


Calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D3 all play important roles in serving to your turtle construct its bones, muscle mass, and shell – so sustaining a great Ca:P (Calcium to Phosphorus) ratio is of utmost significance! Aim for at the very least 1:1 as much as 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ranges when contemplating meals. The excellent news? Most objects you feed your slider are naturally wealthy in phosphorous, so make sure that their dietary consumption focuses primarily on extra sources of calcium!

How To Feed Your Pet Red-eared Slider Turtles

There are 2 frequent methods to measure the quantity of meals in your pet turtles. Some will advocate offering pet turtles with as a lot meals to eat inside 15mins. Others will let you know to measure the amount of meals roughly across the dimension of their head. Lets overview each strategies beneath:

15 minutes methodology

For these searching for one of the best methodology to feed their pet turtle, it’s necessary to keep in mind that these little creatures are hardwired by nature as opportunistic eaters. With this in thoughts, one thing just like the 15-minute feeding plan is just not very best – even if you happen to present common meals your turtles gained’t cease cramming meals into each obtainable second they will get! To guarantee a balanced food regimen and wholesome habits strive breaking apart bigger parts so every snack session doesn’t change into an excessive amount of of an all-you-can-eat buffet. This methodology may also danger overfeeding in the long term.

Measuring primarily based on the scale of its head

This methodology is simply as straightforward and quick because the 15-minute possibility, however a bit totally different. Instead of measuring out meals primarily based on time spent consuming, measure it by filling their heads with sufficient to fulfill them!

You can measure simply the correct amount of meals by utilizing a small container. Simply choose one which’s roughly head-sized and fill it up – no want for measuring! Variations in parts are completely advantageous, so that you don’t have to fret in the event that they get barely an excessive amount of or lower than wanted on totally different days. This straightforward method ensures your pet all the time has a great meal ready – all whereas taking its dimension into consideration!

Out of each strategies, measuring the ‘dimension of the pinnacle’ methodology is a wonderful alternative for a surefire option to keep away from overfeeding. Its comfort and pace make it the best answer for comfortable and wholesome turtles.

Feeding Schedules for Adult Turtles

For grownup turtles, it’s beneficial to supply them with nutritious meals each different day or as soon as each 3 days – together with loads of leafy greens, turtle pellets, and small bugs or worms. Also, be certain to incorporate meals sources excessive in protein resembling fish and invertebrates into their food regimen as soon as per week for selection!

Vegetables ought to first be boiled till they’re mushy sufficient earlier than providing; you might select to grate these greens prior in order that items is not going to change into caught of their shell crevices.

Lastly, don’t overlook about eradicating any uneaten meals after quarter-hour – this helps keep tank cleanliness whereas preserving your pet comfortable & contented!

Feeding Schedules for Baby Turtles

Baby red-eared sliders have to eat frequently and protein must be a key part of their food regimen for correct development. To hold them wholesome, supply them every day meals made up of 30% plant-based objects like boiled greens chopped into items sufficiently small to slot in the turtle’s mouth, together with 70% meat. As for juvenile turtles, feeding them as soon as each different day is right. Regardless of age, contemplate giving your little buddy quarter-hour per feeding session – after they’re accomplished consuming be sure you take away any leftovers from the water!

Hand feeding

For turtles that aren’t consuming or are chubby, contemplate hand-feeding. This means that you can intently monitor the quantity of meals they’re consuming, in addition to guarantee that it’s a balanced food regimen. When hand-feeding, place items of meals immediately into the turtle’s mouth with tweezers or forceps, one piece at a time. For bigger turtles, you possibly can chop up bigger items of meals into smaller bites which can be simpler for them to eat. Be cautious to not overfeed your turtle, and all the time take away any uneaten meals from their tank afterward because it may contaminate the water and trigger sickness.

How To Feed Them Properly

When it involves feeding your red-eared slider turtle it’s necessary to keep in mind that these reptiles are used to consuming quite a lot of totally different meals within the wild so it’s necessary to supply a balanced food regimen when feeding them at residence as effectively.

This means providing a mixture of each plant and animal matter at every mealtime relatively than counting on only one kind of meals supply on a regular basis. When feeding your turtle it’s necessary to keep away from overfeeding as this will result in weight problems which might trigger well being issues in turtles in a while in life.

As a rule of thumb, you must solely supply meals as soon as every day and solely sufficient meals that your turtle will eat inside 5 minutes or much less—this manner you understand they’re getting sufficient however not an excessive amount of!            

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of pet you personal—from cats and canines to fish or reptiles—it’s all the time necessary to feed them correctly in order that they keep comfortable and wholesome. If you personal a red-eared slider turtle then you understand it’s important that they get a stability between veggies in addition to proteins like worms and bugs day-after-day to ensure that them to remain at their greatest! Just bear in mind to not overfeed them as this will trigger weight problems which is detrimental to the long-term well being of your reptile buddy! With correct vitamin and loads of love, your pet turtle shall be round for a few years forward!

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