When you bring home a new turtle, or your turtle gets finicky in his diet, it’s time to find the right choice in food. But if you’re not sure what turtles need to eat, or you’re not sure if the brand you’ve been using is optimal, you’ll want to do some research.
To make that task easier for you, we’ve put together a list of questions and answers on caring for your turtle in the eating arena. We’ve also looked into dozens of turtle foods and found the information on the best turtle food options on the market.
What Do Turtles Eat?
If you’re newer to turtle care, you might not be sure what to feed that little critter who looks to you for pretty much everything now.
And what you feed him will be determined by the variety of turtle that he is. Some turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat. Some turtles are herbivores, and that means they only want fruits and vegetables.
One of the most common pet turtles is the Red-Eared Slider. These little guys are omnivores, so they want to nom on both meat, and veggies and fruits. Generally, other aquatic turtles are also omnivores.
If, however, you’ve got a land turtle, like a Box Turtle, your little guy is an herbivore, and he needs fruits and vegetables. Generally, 20% fruits and 80% vegetables are ideal for your tortoise.
Pellet Food – For Aquatic Turtles
You want to make sure you’re giving your turtle pellet food, making up about 25 percent of his diet. These are commercially made, and designed specifically for turtles, so make sure you don’t purchase generic “reptile” pellets.
Turtle pellets will float on the surface of the water, which is the most natural and comfortable place for your turtle to dine.
Live Food – For Aquatic Turtles
Aquatic turtles also need some live food in their diets. They like living fish like comet goldfish, which provide some solid protein. They also like crickets, worms, snails, and similar feeder animals.
Live food should make up about 25 percent of your turtle’s diet.
Fruits and Vegetables – For Both Land and Aquatic Turtles
The rest of your turtle’s diet should be made up of fruits and vegetables. These choices should be fresh produce options that are chopped up into fairly small pieces.
The best options include:
Vitamins and Calcium – For Both Land and Aquatic Turtles
You also need to make sure that you’re supplying your shelly buddy with some reptile calcium and vitamin powders. These help make sure that his diet is fully rounded out, and he won’t be deficient in anything.
Be sure to give only the recommended dosage to your turtle, based upon type and weight, as should be listed on the packaging of the minerals and vitamins.
Foods for Baby Turtles
You should also remember that baby turtles, like all young animals, require slightly different diets than adults. Baby turtles need more protein in their diets than older turtles do. That means more pellets and/or live food relative to fruits and veggies.
Where to Buy Turtle Food
Turtle food pellets may be purchased at a variety of large or small pet stores, and may be found online at various retailers like Amazon, Chewy.com, and Petflow. Live food may be found at pet stores as well.
Fresh fruits and vegetables for turtles may be purchased where you purchase your own, at local grocery stores, as no special items are necessary.
Feeding Frequency for Turtles
Juvenile turtles eat every day. Adult turtles, which are about seven years old, usually eat every other day – which works out to about four or five times per week.
Is it Okay for Turtles to Eat Human Food?
While turtles need fruits and vegetables – which are the same ones you eat – turtles should not eat other human food offerings. You technically may offer meat to your turtles on the rare occasion, but they will receive the nutrients needed from live feeder fish and crickets or snails. These nutrients are not available in the majority of meat items that humans eat.
You should also never feed canned or dried dog or cat food to your turtle. These foods contain too high a protein content for your turtle, and may cause him harm.
The Best Turtle Food Options
If you go looking online, you’ll find tons of options for turtle food. But it’s hard to know which ones are a good choice for your little shell-backed friend. To make that easier, we’ve pulled together a list of our best and most popular pet turtle foods.
How We Reviewed the Turtle Foods
To determine which of our turtle food options are the best, we looked for reviews by turtle enthusiasts of all levels across the web. We looked to thoughts from real life pet turtle owners, and viewed their reviews.
We took the best options from these reviews, and looked for other reviews for the same product on various other websites. As we read the reviews, we eliminated turtle foods that didn’t meet the standard across multiple websites. We kept the best of the best, as reviewed by real pet owners.
Below, you’ll find the results of our search, and have a list of great options for feeding your turtle.
- The #1 Aquatic turtle food has gone "natural" and is now available in 3 pellet sizes and protein levels (Hatchling, Growth and Maintenance Formulas).
- Each has been scientifically formulated to meet the dietary requirements of aquatic turtles at each of their life stages.
- The Hatchling formula is higher in protein to accommodate the rapid growth rates of hatchling and juvenile aquatic turtles.
- The Growth and Maintenance formulas meet the dietary requirements of growing and adult aquatic turtles.
- Our pellets float making it easier for aquatic turtles, who prefer eating at the water surface, to locate their food.
Zoo Med Natural Aquatic Turtle food is one of the absolutely highest ranking turtle food options available anywhere.
This all natural food pellet for aquatic turtles has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
This turtle food is made up 35 percent protein to help turtles grow and stay strong and healthy.
The pellets float, which is ideal for aquatic turtles, as they feed at the surface of the water.
These pellets from Zoo Med come recommended by various professionals, including zoo staff, vets, and turtle breeders.
There are three formulas available, to meet the various life stages of your pet turtle. That makes you can easily give this tasty, healthy food to your turtle at any age, depending on the formula needed.
If you hate dealing with live food – like crickets or worms – but want your turtle to enjoy the benefits of unprocessed, untouched meals, Zoo Med’s Can O’ Snails is a fantastic option for you and your pet.
You’ll get between 25 and 30 snails per can, and the can lasts for up to a week in the refrigerator after opening. The snails are packed in their natural juices, so no artificial stuff will make your turtle sick.
You can buy this turtle food in bulk, too, when they’re on sale, and store them on the shelf up to two years.
- A floating food stick for all aquatic turtles, newts, and frogs
- Vitamin and calcium enriched
- ReptoMin is a protein rich, scientifically formulated food
- ReptoMin is available in a variety of package sizes
This floating food from Tetra, is ideal for aquatic turtles, and rich in calcium and Vitamin C. Both of these nutrients are essential for turtles who cannot produce these themselves.
This turtle food is protein rich, and easily loved by a number of pet turtles. It’s scientifically formulated specifically for skeletal and shell development, and easy for aquatic turtles to consume.
One of the absolute top-rated turtle food options, this treat, which can serve as either a regular food or supplement to your turtle’s diet, is rich in protein, and ideal for larger aquatic turtles.
Zoo Med’s large sun-dried red shrimp turtle treats will give your turtle a nutritional boost and help his growth and increase in weight.
If you feed this particular option to your turtles, it’s best to offer these tasty treats to your turtle up to four times per week. And since turtles love the taste of shrimp, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting even finicky eaters to enjoy this dietary option.
This is a great option for turtles who have struggled to eat well. Most consumers report that their turtles have started to gain weight and size and had much better appetites within a matter of three or four days.
Another winner from Zoo Med, this natural food for aquatic turtle is one of the absolute top sellers across all pet suppliers. This is a maintenance formula designed for adult turtles or those over six inches long.
There are no artificial ingredients in this turtle food, including no colors or artificial flavors. Zoo Med’s formula includes 25 percent protein, which is what adult turtles need.
The pellets float, making it ideal for aquatic turtles who feed at the surface of the water. And these particular pellets come highly recommended by zoos, veterinarians, and professional breeders alike.
Designed for both box turtles and bearded dragons, Rep-Cal’s maintenance formula food with fruit is ideal for ensuring on-going growth for your reptilian friend.
The balanced nutrition in this formula comes from natural plants and fruit ingredients. This food is also fortified with the vitamins and minerals your turtle pal needs and comes recommended by veterinarians who specialize in care for reptiles.
These pellets provide the 100 percent nutrition necessary for your box turtle, with both the protein and the plants necessary for omnivores.
This turtle food from Omega One is a unique option in that it’s made completely of fresh seafood and one hundred percent meal free.
There’s elevated levels of calcium and Vitamin D3 in them, which are vital nutrients for your floating turtle friend. They help promote healthy shell and bone growth and maintenance.
It’s also super easy and quick to feed your turtle buddy with these sticks. You feed them to your turtle one to three times per day, using only as much food as your reptilian pal can eat in two minutes’ time.
This particular pellet food for turtles from Fluker’s is designed for either juvenile or adult turtles, and should be fed to your reptile buddy three to five times per week. For the best quality of the food, only give your turtle what he can eat in a single day.
This food from Fluker’s floats, which means it’s perfect for aquatic turtles who feed at the surface. After about twenty minutes, the remainder of the food will sink to the bottom, where your turtle may continue feeding later in the day, if he so desires.
This formula is complete balanced nutrition, enriched with necessary vitamins, and designed for both salt water and fresh water turtles.
The Turtle Food Selections for Your Turtle
If you love your pet turtle, and we’re sure you do, you’ll want to check out the above list of the best turtle food options. Each choice is highly rated among real users and is packed with nutrients that your reptile buddy needs.
Before purchasing any pet food, be sure to verify that the specific item is for the kind of turtle you have, whether land or aquatic, and be sure there are no warnings or issues that may affect your particular pet.