what do freshwater turtles eat

What Do Freshwater Turtles Eat?

Freshwater turtles are one of the oldest surviving species on Earth. As such, they have many special adaptations for survival, one of which includes the ability to eat a wide variety of food. Wild freshwater turtles are omnivorous, meaning they eat both animal and plant matter. Keep reading to learn more about what to feed your freshwater turtle.

Animal Ingredients

Most of the protein and fat a freshwater turtle eats comes from animal sources. Common foods include:

  • Insects
  • Worms and other small invertebrates
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Mollusks

Plant Ingredients

Freshwater turtles need a balance of animal and plant-based ingredients in their diet. Fruits, vegetables, and even a few grains can make a nutritious diet for your pet turtle.

  • Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and parsley
  • Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries
  • Vegetables such as squash, carrots, peas, corn, and potatoes
  • Grains such as oats, wheat, and barley

Supplemental Foods

In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also give your freshwater turtle prepared foods that have the essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins they need. Commercial turtle foods come in both pellet and stick forms, and are an easy way to ensure your turtle is getting the nutrients it needs. Your turtle should also get occasional treats of Earthworms, slugs, crickets or shrimp to keep its diet varied and interesting.


Not all foods are healthy for your freshwater turtle. Anything with too much sugar or fat can be unhealthy and make your turtle sick, so make sure to avoid these items:

  • Ice Cream
  • Fried Foods
  • Chips and Crackers
  • Grapes
  • Candy

In conclusion, freswater turtles can be fed a variety of foods including leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, grains, prepared foods, and occasionally some animal-based treats. Avoid sugary and fatty human food as much as possible. With a balanced diet, your turtle will be healthy and happy.

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