How often should you feed your turtle at home?

The turtle is an interesting pet that is famous for its ease of care. In reality, the reptile requires compliance with strict conditions of detention, which most owners cannot provide. For example, a turtle should not be kept on the floor, and it should not be fed every day, as some owners do. How to calculate feeding frequency? Public news service I found out how often you need to feed a turtle at home.

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Instructions: How to care for a land turtle at home

How often to feed

The frequency of feeding depends on the age and size of the turtle. Young turtles up to two years old, whose shell is less than 7 cm, need daily feeding. At the same time, their food should be based on calcium. Adults over 2 years old, whose size exceeds 7 cm, need to be fed 2-3 times a week and once every 3-4 days in winter.

Land turtle eats grass

Some owners offer food to adult turtles every day or even twice a day. This diet can cause obesity and increased growth in the reptile, which will negatively affect the health of the animal.

Food volume

Another popular question on turtle forums is related to the size of the food portion. The amount of food can be calculated based on the turtle’s shell – the volume of one serving should be about half of the shell. During one feeding, reptiles consume from 1% (in large individuals) to 4% (in turtles) of their body weight per day. There are also additional rules for calculating the amount of food at one time, depending on the type of turtle:

  • Aquatic.

To calculate the amount of food for an aquatic turtle, leave the animal and plenty of food in the hatchery for half an hour. Next, calculate how much the reptile ate during these 30 minutes, and next time give it this portion. The food must be cut into pieces, but there is no point in making it too small – aquatic turtles tear food apart with their claws.

  • Land.

You can leave the food for the dry dog ​​all day, and remove the leftovers before going to bed. And if these are leaves or hay, then you can remove them only after a couple of days. If we are talking about vegetables, they should be cut into pieces the size of half a turtle’s head.

When to feed

Most turtles are diurnal animals, so it is common to feed them in the morning or afternoon. It is still advisable to prefer the morning. The fact is that in nature the biorhythm of reptiles looks like this: woke up – warmed up – ate – started the digestion process before the onset of the evening cold.

Red-eared turtle basking on a rock

If you feed the turtle several hours before turning off the lamps, then it is possible that the food will become a dead weight in the stomach, and the necessary nutrients will not be absorbed. That is, the metabolic rate of most turtles depends on temperature. These include land and freshwater species. But silt, trionics or two-clawed turtles can be fed in the evening, but they are less often found in home terrariums.

What to feed

The diet depends on the type of turtle. Let’s look at the main popular varieties:

  • Land.

These include Central Asian, Mediterranean, Egyptian species. All of these turtles are herbivores, and only a few species can be omnivores. They are fed the following foods:

  • meadow grasses, flowers and leaves of bushes and trees;
  • indoor plants, succulents and cacti;
  • different types of salads, but not cabbage;
  • vegetables (1-2 times a week);
  • leaves and flowers of berries and fruits;
  • dry food as an additional food source;
  • meadow hay.
  • Aquatic.

Freshwater species include red-eared turtles, geographic turtles, musk turtles, and marsh turtles. These are mainly predators, but the plant foods mentioned above should also be in their diet. Especially in adult turtles. They can be fed the following food:

  • fish;
  • terrestrial insects;
  • dry complete food for aquatic turtles from a trusted manufacturer;
  • snails;
  • tadpoles;
  • aquarium shrimp;
  • feed mice;
  • meat by-products.

What not to feed turtles

The following types of food, which owners often pamper their pets with, are prohibited for turtles:

  • canned and dry food for cats and dogs;
  • meat from large animals, such as lamb or pork;
  • fatty fish;
  • crab sticks;
  • squid;
  • nuts;
  • fruit seeds and seeds;
  • cereal grains;
  • cabbage;
  • citrus fruit;
  • legumes
  • tomatoes;
  • avocado.


A few more recommendations will help you establish the correct feeding regime for your turtle so that the animal will please you for many years to come:

  • Feed your turtle a variety of foods. If you offer an animal 1-2 types of food, the pet will experience a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, which will provoke the development of diseases;
  • If the food is removed from the refrigerator, first warm it to room temperature;
  • do not heat-treat the food; it should only be offered to the turtle in its raw form;
  • For land turtles, food is placed in a feeder, and for freshwater turtles, food is placed with tweezers, in a hatchery or on the shore near the water, so as not to pollute the aquarium;
  • if a landlubber eats grass soil, sawdust or paper in a terrarium, then this indicates a lack of fiber. If an aquatic turtle eats sand or rocks from the bottom, then it does not have enough calcium. Increase the amount of missing substances in the turtles’ diet.

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