What Do Painted Turtles Eat

What Do Turtles Like To Eat

What to Feed Painted Turtles

The preferences in food of a turtle greatly differ from species to species and the habitat that they live in. Most omnivorous species usually prefer meat over vegetation, most of them are actually omnivorous because they cant obtain enough meat so they resort to eating vegetation to survive.

When turtles are in the wild and they have to choose between one type of meat and another they will go after the one that is most easily obtainable. Other than that preferences in food depends on each turtle, just like us each turtle has its own likes and dislikes when it comes to food.

I also did my experiment with one of my turtles. I presented him with 7 different types of food simultaneously, the foods were pellets, insects, different types of meats, fruit, and vegetables. The food portions were relatively small so that I didnt overfeed him, and they were also placed at an equal distance from him. I did this experiment for 10 consecutive days. And the results were exactly what I expected. My turtle showed no preference between the meat and insects, the pellets seemed to be the most popular second choice and at the end were the fruits and vegetables in no particular order.

If you have the time you should also do this experiment, it can be really fun to see how your turtle reacts and you will also learn more about your turtle. If you want to do this experiment please share the results in the comment section.

Foods Baby Painted Turtles Should Avoid

Baby painted turtles will try eating any food you give them. They do not care how the food affects them. So, you have to be extra careful about what you are feeding your baby painted turtles.

You should buy the foods from a reputed pet store. The food should be chemical-free and fresh. Avoid feeding the baby turtles foods from unknown sources.

Besides, some foods are not healthy for baby turtles, especially fatty fish. Here is a list of fish you must not feed your baby painted turtles:

Also, do not throw in just any vegetables and fruits in your turtles diet plan. The oxalates in some fruits can affect the calcium absorption process of turtles. So, you must avoid feeding these veggies. Then there are fruits that contain citric acid and potassium that are harmful to painted turtles.

Never include these vegetables and fruits in your baby painted turtles food list:

Food Avoid To Feed Painted Turtles

You should be careful when feeding your baby or adult Painted turtle since this species shouldnt consume some ingredients harmful to their bodies.

Painted turtles living in nature will eat small fish they catch, regardless of their type. On the other hand, you shouldnt feed your pet with fish coming from a body of water but only the one from a pet store.

Only that way, you can ensure that this food doesnt contain harmful bacteria your turtle is not used to. Always avoid offering Painted turtle the following food:

  • Amaranth and fruit seed

Keep in mind that baby Painted turtles are carnivores that need more proteins and enjoy consuming meat. These turtles will start eating vegetables and fruits once they turn seven years old.

That is a period when you should avoid feeding it daily and provide food once in two or three days. Plus, you should avoid some groceries, including:

  • Canned and processed food with preservatives and high salt and sugar levels

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Seasonal Routine And Hibernation

In the spring, when the water reaches 1518 °C , the turtle begins actively foraging. However, if the water temperature exceeds 30 °C , the turtle will not feed. In fall, the turtle stops foraging when temperatures drop below the spring set-point.

During the winter, the turtle hibernates. In the north, the inactive season may be as long as from October to March, while the southernmost populations may not hibernate at all. While hibernating, the body temperature of the painted turtle averages 6 °C . Periods of warm weather bring the turtle out of hibernation, and even in the north, individuals have been seen basking in February.

The painted turtle hibernates by burying itself, either on the bottom of a body of water, near water in the shore-bank or the burrow of a muskrat, or in woods or pastures. When hibernating underwater, the turtle prefers shallow depths, no more than 2 m . Within the mud, it may dig down an additional 1 m . In this state, the turtle does not breathe, although if surroundings allow, it may get some oxygen through its skin. The species is one of the best-studied vertebrates able to survive long periods without oxygen. Adaptations of its blood chemistry, brain, heart, and particularly its shell allow the turtle to survive extreme lactic acid buildup while oxygen-deprived.

Painted Turtle And Human Interaction


Humans do have an impact on these turtles, but they are widespread and numerous enough that it typically doesnt impact their population. Most conflicts cause harm to turtles, with habitat destruction and road kills being the most impactful. Thankfully, this species is able to easily adapt and can even live in man-made lakes and ponds, allowing it to continue thriving.

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What Kind Of Food Painted Turtles Prefer

With so many choices available its hard to know what turtles actually prefer. So I decided to set up a little experiment to see which food my painted turtle prefers.

I created 7 small piles, each one containing a different type of food. One had one type of pellets, another had another type of pellets, one had Insects, one had cooked chicken, the other raw chicken, one had vegetables, and another had fruits.

After placing my turtle at an equal distance from each pile, I watched to see in which order he will go after each. After running this experiment for 10 consecutive days I had the results.

My painted turtle always went after the different types of meat, and the insects first. Those three were very closely tied so I placed all of them in the first place. The most popular second choice was the pellets. And finally the fruits and the vegetables in no particular order.

I also did this experiment with other turtle species and the results were mostly the same.

Painted Turtle Care Level

Painted turtles make excellent pets for beginners to advanced hobbyists due to their docile nature. But, because they are more care-intensive than pet mammals, and due to their lengthy lifespans, youll want to give it some consideration before making the purchase. Another aspect to note when considering any type of pet turtle is that most reptiles carry salmonella, so proper hand washing and hygiene must be exercised at all times.

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Are Painted Turtles Legal As Pets

Painted turtles are legal to own as pets in the United States, although specific regulations may vary from state to state. Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, New York, and Rhode Island have restrictions on painted turtle ownership or sale of these turtles. Local jurisdictions may also have restrictions, so be sure to check at the county and city level to see if there are any prohibitions on owning this species in your area.

Also, the size of the turtle impacts whether you can legally purchase it or not. You cannot buy a painted turtle that is 4-inches long or smaller under federal law. This law was enacted because these smaller turtles are more likely to spread salmonella than larger ones.

How To Take Care Of A Wild Painted Turtle

The BEST Pet Turtle!? Painted Turtles, info and care video

The wild painted turtle exists in almost every area of the United States, parts of Canada and some parts of Mexico. The turtle measures 4 to 10 inches when completely grown-up and has an average lifetime of twenty years. Wild painted turtles predominantly live in freshwater ponds, streams, creeks and lakes. The turtles usually live in large group. A lot of people keep wild painted turtles and enjoy caring for them in their backyard ponds, fishponds and aquariums.

If you are planning to keep a wild painted turtle the first thing to do is to check your country or state regulations as it is illegal to keep wild turtles in certain countries and states. Once you are clear about the laws and make up your mind to pet a turtle, be well informed about the animal because a lot of care goes into owning one. Turtles need a lot of care and resources including large enough aquarium, having heat lamps, a water filter and many other accessories.

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Foods Baby Or Adult Painted Turtles Should Avoid

Painted turtles will usually eat any fish they can catch, not caring what type it is. In general, they will eat small fish that are easier to catch and will not resist too much.

If keeping a painted turtle as a pet, keep in mind when feeding your turtle that any fish you feed them should always come from a pet store and not from a body of water. Wild fish contain bacteria that the turtle is not used to, and health problems can develop.

Here are some fish that should not be fed to your baby or adult painted turtle.

Can Painted Turtles Eat Strawberries

Yes, Painted Turtles can eat strawberries. They can eat the berry but also eat the tops of the strawberries. Its a fun dark leafy green for them to munch on.

However, most fruits arent nutritious for turtles. So, if you give them strawberries at a young age, youll only want to provide them with one small strawberry once in a while. It can be a great snack or extra flavor to their meal, but it shouldnt be given to them all the time.

Also, if you feed them strawberries, be sure to cut them up into smaller pieces so that your Painted Turtle can eat them easily.

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Do Painted Turtles Need Water

Painted turtles can stay out of the water for many hours, but ideally, they should not be out of the water for more than eight hours. Painted turtles need water because their natural habitat is always in or near rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. Therefore, if you want to keep a turtle you must provide water to it. To have an adequate amount of water you should follow the rule of thumb which says water should be at least the width of your turtles carapace doubled. For example, for a turtle that has a four-inch carapace, you should keep the depth of water at least 8 inches. More importantly, you should also have a good filter system for the water so that it is kept clean.

How Much Should Painted Turtles Eat

Turtle Conservancy

Apart from feeding your painted turtle the correct food, you will also need to consider how much to feed them throughout the week.

In most cases, we would recommend feeding your painted turtle plants and vegetables every day. If you do not want to feed your turtle these types of foods, then you should feed them twice per week.

However, if you want to keep your turtle happy and healthy, then you should try to feed them once per day.

We also advise feeding your turtle protein 2 3 times a week, whether that be through animal matter or turtle pellets.

When it comes to using pellets, you will need to provide your turtle with at least 2 heaping tablespoons to maintain their balanced diet. If this doesnt seem enough, then theres nothing to worry about.

In the wild, turtles will get their protein from insects, which means they will get plenty of nutrition from their pellets or turtle food.

It is also important not to overindulge your painted turtle, as this could have a negative impact on their diet.

For example, treats and extras should only be provided once a week, or once every other week depending on the size of the portion.

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Quick Tips For Caring For A Baby Painted Turtle

While getting a baby painted turtles diet right is an essential part of keeping them alive, there are a few other things that you need to do to keep your turtle alive and healthy.

For starters, you need a 15- to 30-gallon aquarium for them to roam. They need a dry area to bask in and an area with plenty of water for swimming. The water needs to stay between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit and plenty of filtration, so youll need to invest in a quality filtration system and a water heater.

Youll also need a heat lamp that gets the basking area between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit because turtles cant regulate their own body temperatures.

Finally, while feeding them once a day is the bare minimum that you need to do, its better to feed them several small meals throughout the day. This is even more important when your turtle is younger. As they age, you can increase the size of the meals and spread out the time between meals.

Can Painted Turtles Eat Cucumbers

Painted turtles will occasionally eat plant matter in the wild. Usually, this is not a large part of their diet. Baby turtles will hardly eat any plants, and some turtles may never prefer them at all.

In the wild, they will eat whatever plant matter they can find. This usually involves water plants and similar items. When domesticated, they can eat nearly any vegetable. However, veggies that are high in phosphorus and of little nutritional value should be avoided.

Some veggies that you should avoid include cucumbers, eggplants, mushrooms, and iceberg lettuce. They dont do much for the turtles health and are primarily empty calories. There are better options out there.

Turtles can also eat a variety of fruits, though many people focus on veggies. For turtles, fruits are not necessarily less nutritious than vegetables.

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What Do Painted Turtles Eat In Captivity

As we mentioned above, painted turtles have a very different diet when kept in captivity. They tend to prefer foods that are higher in calories and protein than those offered by nature.

However, there are some things that you can still offer your turtle to make sure they stay healthy.

A balanced diet should include plants and vegetables, as well as animal products. However, you should only feed your turtle protein 2 3 times a week.

When it comes to plants and vegetables, the following foods remain a popular staple among turtle owners:

In terms of protein, you will need to feed your painted turtle a branded turtle food, such as Reptomin or Mazuri. However, we would recommend using the products we have listed below:

  • Omega One This is one of the best turtle foods on the market, as it contains salmon and whole herring. Because of this, the pellets are bursting with delicious protein and make a wonderful addition to your turtles diet.
  • Mazuri This turtle food is commonly used in zoos and is known for its high-quality protein. The meat is sourced from wild-caught fish, which makes it perfect for reptiles.

If you want to treat your painted turtle from time to time, we recommend crickets, mealworms, or feeder fish. These treats should only be given on certain occasions, as too much could upset your turtles diet.

What Do Wild Turtles Eat

The Eastern Painted Turtle!

This depends on the habitat they are in and their species, remember that not all turtles are the same. Since most turtle species are omnivores they will eat anything that is at their disposal.

They will usually be able to eat all of the plants that grow in the area that they live in, most turtles know how to differentiate poisonous or otherwise dangerous plants from the edible ones.

As for meat, they will eat anything they are able to find. Their main source of meat in the wild is usually insects, worms, and mollusks, but they will also eat fish if they have the chance to catch one or find a dead one. In general, they will eat any kind of meat as long as its safe for them. So even if a turtle has never seen a bison in its entire life but by chance will find one on the ground that recently passed away, the turtle will eat it without any problem.

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What Live Food Can Turtles Eat

Live food is important to provide protein for both carnivorous and omnivorous aquatic turtles. Carnivorous turtles will eat a higher percentage of live protein in addition to a variety of pellets. Dead fish should be removed from the aquarium immediately, as they can spread disease. Feeder fish should be the primary live food offered, but others can be used occasionally. Common live prey items include:

  • Feeder fish, such as goldfish, guppies, bait minnows, and smelt

  • Insects, such as earthworms, waxworms, mealworms, and bee moth larvae

Is It Safe To Keep Wild Painted Turtle

It may not be physically and emotionally safe for the turtle itself if the level of care and quality of care is missing. If you ask a reptile expert or enthusiast, they would suggest you to not have a wild painted turtle as your pet. That is mainly because of the reason that animals having lived in the open in wild are not familiar with living in an indoor pond or water tank. They arent familiar with food from humans, let alone the commercial food sold in pet stores. Moreover, wild painted turtles are not accustomed to being touched or cared by human beings and to be kept in captivity. They only know freedom and they only know survival in the wild.

Also, wild turtles are known to carry parasites such as tapeworm. They are also known to carry salmonella bacteria. People can catch salmonella by touching turtles and carelessly washing their hands after contact. While taking care of your own health is easy, taking care of the turtles health may not be that easy. They can be temperamental and may need excessive level of care and resources.

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