Gathering Supplies for a Baby Turtle
1Know the eating habits of your turtle.Depending on the type of turtle, its eating habits will vary. Turtles are generally omnivorous, meaning their diet consists of both plants and animals, but some turtles' eating habits change over time.
- Many types of turtles change their diet as they grow. A variety of breeds, such as red-eared sliders and green sea turtles, start off as mostly carnivores and transition to more plant-based diets as they mature.
- Other types of turtles remain strictly carnivores or strictly omnivores their whole life. Snapping turtles, for example, will always need a primarily carnivorous diet while loggerhead turtles will always need a combination of meat and plants.
- Figure out what kind of turtle you have. This may be quite obvious if, for example, you hatched the turtles yourself. If you bought it at a pet store, however, the species might not have been specified. Take your baby turtle to a vet with experience handling turtles to help with the identification process.
2Administer the food properly.A high-quality turtle pebble can be the base of a healthy diet. But other foods might also be options, depending on your turtle's specific needs. If so, be sure to expose your turtle to these other food sources. A diverse diet is important for turtles and their varied nutritional needs.
- Purina produces a type of turtle pellet through their Mazuri branch with different lines for specific types of turtle and their unique dietary needs. Rep-Cal also provides a range of pellet types catering to carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. Other pellet brands include ReptoMin, ZooMed, Pretty Pets, and Wardley's Reptile Pellets. You can find pellets at pet stores or order them online.
- If your turtle is a herbivore or omnivore, you should provide a variety of fruits and veggies in addition to pellets. Lettuce, kale, carrots, melon, and strawberries are all turtle friendly foods. Consider aquatic plants that would be part of a turtle's regular diet, including duckweed, water lettuce, and water hyacinth.
- If your turtle needs a meat-based diet, you can feed it mealworms, earthworms, crayfish, minnows, snails, slugs, and wax worms. These can be purchased at pet shops that sell turtles and other reptiles. Do not try to find worms yourself or go to a tackle shop for supplies. You want to verify that the worms are safe for turtle consumption.
3Create a food-friendly environment.Turtles need to feel comfortable to eat. In order to make sure your turtle will eat in its tank, create a food-friendly environment. To keep a clean home for your turtle you will typically want to feed it in a separate cage. This is not as imperative for baby turtles. Although it is not ideal, you might want to consider feeding a baby turtle in its regular cage if it will not eat otherwise. In that case, however, you will need to clean its tank more frequently.
- Much like type of food, how you set food up in a cage is breed specific. Research how your turtle eats in their natural habitat and try to mimic this in the cage. For example, if your turtle is a carnivore it might prefer to catch prey itself, so releasing minnows in a small pool of water might be ideal.
- Is your turtle a freshwater turtle or a land turtle? Freshwater turtles prefer to be submerged in water when they eat, so have a small pool of water in the tank where you feed it. The depth of water should be very shallow for baby turtles to prevent drowning. Keep the depth under two inches.
- If you are feeding your turtle insects, place the insects on land. If the insects make it into the water, they can increase the level of ammonia in the water. This would be bad for your turtle's skin and shell.
- Fresh foods will spoil. Place all fresh food in a separate dish, so that it will not contaminate other food items. After fresh food has been out for several hours, throw it away.