What does a pet turtle eat?

Turtles make great pets for every type of family. They are fascinating to watch as they swim through the water, but you can still take them out of their enclosures to touch and play.

Keeping a pet turtle can come with its challenges, such as providing the right kinds of environments and learning what does a pet turtle eat. However, many different types of turtles eat different types of foods. Each type of turtle will have its own specific diet.

Many types of food that you can feed to turtles are common foods that can probably be found in your cupboards right now.

For Herbivores

Herbivores are animals that eat only plants. Many turtles are herbivores and eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.

Bunches of Leafy Greens

Leafy greens provide crunchy nutrition for turtles of all sizes. As a common household good, they are a great snack or can be provided for a day-to-day meal. Kale is especially nutritious, but other dark leafy greens provide excellent nutrition as well.

A Variety of Vegetables

You can also feed your pet turtle a variety of vegetables such as carrots or green beans. These vegetables help to provide a range of important vitamins. Leafy greens and vegetables should make up the majority of your turtle’s diet if they are herbivorous.

Take It Easy On Fruits

Fruits such as berries or apples are tasty treats for pet turtles. They are full of different vitamins that might not be present in veggies or leafy greens. Be sure to only provide your turtle with a balanced amount of fruits, as they tend to be high in sugar and lack many of the vitamins that vegetables carry.

Add-In Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants are food that turtles eat naturally in the wild. They can be purchased at the store and placed in the tank for a meal. Additionally, they can be grown naturally for a turtle to graze on. Aquatic plants tend to be higher in protein than fruits and have many vitamins required for turtles to survive.

Turtle Food or Supplements

In order to keep your pet turtle healthy and well-fed, it’s important to make sure they are getting the protein, vitamins, and minerals that they need. As a result, many turtle owners choose to supplement a “natural” diet of fruits and vegetables with store-bought turtle food and supplements.

These supplements and food are designed specifically for a pet turtle’s diet and can help fill in the gaps where your turtle isn’t getting enough nutrition. For example, with herbivores, it can be difficult to get them to eat enough protein as the foods they typically eat are lower in protein.

Many turtle food supplements or manufactured foods contain high-protein ingredients to make sure your turtle is getting what he or she needs.

For Omnivores

Pet turtle eating food

Turtles that are omnivores will eat both plants and meats. While it is still important to feed omnivorous turtles a variety of fruits and vegetables, they also tend to get protein through animals such as snails, crickets, earthworms, or moths.

Insects or worms

Insects or worms are a popular choice in both the wild and captivity. Turtles will eat crickets, moths or worms to add some protein to their diet. You can even purchase live insects or worms at the store to feed to your turtle as an extra treat.

It can be a good experience for young children to see the processes of nature at work. Understanding how the food chain works may seem cruel at first glance but is a way to help your children learn outside of the classroom.


Some turtles will also eat a variety of snails. Although slimy and squishy to us, to a turtle, a juicy snail looks like a delicious treat. Snails are also full of protein as an added benefit.


Different types of meat, such as cooked chicken, cooked beef, or fish can be a valuable source of nutrition as well. While fish is a naturally occurring food for turtles in the wild, cooked chicken and beef are not. Still, they can be a good meal packed with protein for a pet turtle.

With cooked chicken and beef, it is important to be cautious about how much you feed your turtle. Chicken and beef tend to be higher in fat than many of their other naturally occurring foods such as fruits or vegetables. You should limit the amount of chicken and beef you feed to your turtle.

Turtle Food or Supplements

Just as with herbivorous turtles, omnivorous turtles don’t always get the nutrition they need while in captivity. These manufactured foods and supplements are similar to the food and supplements for turtles on an herbivore’s diet.

Packed with valuable vitamins, minerals, and protein, store-bought foods and supplements are meant to give turtles what they need. These foods and supplements can supplement a meal or substitute it entirely.

Feeding Your Pet What They Need, Not What They Want

When feeding your pet turtle, it’s important to feed them only what they need and not what they want. Just as with any other animal, nutrition is essential to their health and wellness.

Even if a turtle is partial to eating only berries, feeding them only berries will make them deficient in several vitamins and proteins found in other foods. If your turtle is partial to one type of food, consider making it a treat rather than the main dish.

The important thing is to keep a well-balanced diet for your pet. If you’re unsure if they’re getting enough vitamins or protein, consider a store-bought supplement to ensure health. If you’re still unsure if you’re feeding your turtle the correct thing, a local pet store or veterinarian will be able to provide you with helpful information about appropriate diets.