Turtle Eating Plants

What Do Turtles Eat? Turtles eat a variety of foods, including plants, insects, and small aquatic animals, depending on their species and natural habitat.

Types of Turtles and Their Diets

Herbivorous Turtles

Herbivorous turtles primarily eat plants. Some common foods include:

  • Leafy Greens: Romaine lettuce, kale, and dandelion greens are favorites.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, squash, and bell peppers provide essential nutrients.
  • Fruits: Apples, berries, and melons can be offered occasionally as treats.

Carnivorous Turtles

Carnivorous turtles mainly consume animal-based foods. Their diet often includes:

  • Insects: Crickets, mealworms, and beetles.
  • Fish: Small fish or fish fillets, ensuring they are free of bones.
  • Aquatic Invertebrates: Snails, shrimp, and crayfish.

Omnivorous Turtles

Omnivorous turtles eat both plant and animal matter, providing a balanced diet. They typically eat:

  • Leafy Greens and Vegetables: Similar to herbivorous turtles.
  • Insects and Small Fish: Commonly found in carnivorous diets.

Feeding Guidelines for Pet Turtles

The feeding frequency and portion size for turtles depend on their age and species.

Juvenile turtles require daily feeding, with an emphasis on protein-rich foods to support their rapid growth and development.

In contrast, adult turtles should be fed every other day, receiving a balanced diet that includes both plants and proteins to maintain their health.

Adjusting the diet according to the turtle’s specific needs ensures optimal nutrition and well-being throughout their different life stages.

Important considerations include offering a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet, providing calcium supplements like cuttlebone to prevent shell deformities, and maintaining clean, contaminant-free water for the turtle.

For more information on taking care of turtles and turtle wellness, check out our related articles.

Specific Foods for Different Turtle Species

Red-Eared Sliders

Red-eared sliders are omnivores and enjoy a variety of foods, such as:

  • Aquatic Plants: Duckweed and water lettuce.
  • Insects and Fish: Earthworms, feeder fish, and shrimp.
  • Commercial Pellets: Formulated turtle pellets can be a staple part of their diet.

Box Turtles

Box turtles are also omnivores but lean more towards a herbivorous diet:

  • Fruits: Berries, bananas, and tomatoes.
  • Vegetables: Squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans.
  • Insects: Caterpillars and grasshoppers.

For more detailed information on turtle species and their diets, refer to Wikipedia.

Foods to Avoid

Turtle on the grass eating some leafy food

Avoid certain foods that can harm turtles, such as dairy products (since turtles cannot digest lactose), processed foods like chips, bread, and candy, and toxic plants such as rhubarb, avocado, and certain mushrooms.

Watch for signs of nutritional deficiencies, including a soft shell indicating a lack of calcium, lethargy which could signal a vitamin deficiency, and swollen eyes often caused by a lack of vitamin A.

For more on turtle health can turtle eat grapes , check out our comprehensive articles.


Understanding what turtles eat is crucial for their health and well-being.

By providing a balanced diet that suits their species-specific needs, you can ensure your turtle lives a long and healthy life.