Because of the variety of pet turtles, knowing what to feed one can be confusing. Pet Supermarket associates can answer your turtle questions, but it helps to research the dietary needs of your specific turtle as well. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Variety is key
Whether your turtle is a carnivore or eats a little of everything (omnivore), a varied diet is crucial. For omnivores, offer 50% meat or protein and 50% plant-based food.

Turtles need calcium
Since calcium is vital to healthy bones and turtle shells, a calcium supplement is recommended. Just make sure it doesn’t include phosphorous in it as turtles get enough of that in their diets. Make sure your calcium supplement contains vitamin D3, which aides in calcium absorption. Also, dairy products should not be fed to turtles as a source of calcium.

What’s on the menu
Depending on the species, turtles can be fed commercial turtle food and a combination of protein, vegetables and fruit. Start with fish, insects, crickets and worms. Add plant-based food with vegetables like chopped squash, grated carrots and green beans. Dark, leafy greens like romaine, collard greens, dandelion greens or radicchio are also healthy. Fruit should be treated as dessert and can include grapes, apples, bananas and cantaloupe.

Feeding time
Unlike other pets, daily feeding isn’t necessary, except for baby turtles. Once they reach eight months of age, feed turtles every two or three days.

Turtle Don’ts
Plants or insects from your backyard may have pesticides or parasites, so don’t use them as food. Also avoid raw meat, which may contain salmonella. Dairy is best avoided as well, since turtles don’t have the enzymes to break down lactose. Turtles can live 20 years or more with good care. Visit Pet Supermarket for the food and supplements that can lead to a long, healthy life for your turtle.