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REPTILE / nutrition

What Do I Feed My New Turtle or Tortoise?

Tortoises are vegetarians. Turtles are omnivores

Overview

Feeding your turtle

Turtles are generally omnivores, eating a mixed diet that includes:

  • Protein: Feed turtles crickets, mealworms, waxworms or comet goldfish a few times a week. Place insects on the land area of the habitat, not in the water.
  • Vegetables: Three or four times a week, serve 1 to 2 teaspoons of dark, leafy greens such as kale, collards or mustard greens. Remove any greens they don’t eat within four hours.
  • Commercial turtle food: Turtles also like canned turtle food, turtle pellets and frozen or freeze-dried fish food.

Start turtles on about a quarter-cup of food daily and adjust the portion according to how quickly (relatively speaking for a turtle) they eat it.

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Feeding your tortoise

Tortoises like a variety of plant-based foods, says Dr. Jaynes.

Produce: About 80% of your pet tortoise’s daily diet should be fresh vegetables like kale, dandelions and collard greens. For fun, toss in a little green or yellow bell pepper, sweet potato, squash or cauliflower. It’s good to provide powdered calcium and vitamin D3 to the salad around 3 times a week, which strengthen a tortoise’s shell.

Fruit: Apples, melon and grapes should make up no more than 20% of a tortoise’s diet. Offer your tortoise fruit every third or fourth feeding.

Other: Tortoises also like Timothy and alfalfa hay and commercial tortoise food.

Vitamins & supplements

Calcium is important for both turtles and tortoises. Dust your pet’s food with a calcium powder twice a week. You can also find other turtle and tortoise supplements at PetSmart, including multivitamins, vitamin D3 powder and more.

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