Red eared slider turtles are one of the most popular aquatic pet turtles in the world. They are found for sale in local pet stores across the U.S. and overseas. The red-eared slider gets its name from the small red stripes on both sides of the head and from the ability to quickly slide off rocks into the water when sensing danger. If you’re a turtle owner you’re probably wondering what should I feed my red eared slider turtle? You’ve definitely come to the right place. This article will walk you through the different types of food you can feed your red-eared slider turtle.
Red Eared Slider Turtle Food
Red eared slider turtles are omnivores, meaning they eat both animals and plants. When living in the wild, they eat a variety of things including aquatic vegetation, worms, small fish, frogs and insects.
Red-eared slider babies need a diet that is different than an adult slider. Baby sliders should start with a diet that is on the carnivorous side for the first few months of their life, and then they become more omnivorous as they grow older.
While we can’t exactly mimic the food red eared sliders eat in the wild, here are some of the food options you can feed your turtle to reproduce a natural diet and make your turtle happier and healthier:
- Protein: crickets, waxworms, mealworms, silkworms, earthworms, krill, and shrimp. For all small red-eared slider turtles, it’s recommended to cut the prey into small pieces to make it easier to consume. This protein diet can be fed to your turtle few times a week. Make sure to place the meal on the land area, not in the water.
- Vegetables: You can feed your turtle leafy greens such as kale, collards, mustard, bok choy. You can also feed them carrots, squash, and green beans. It’s recommended to serve your turtle these kinds of vegetables 2 to 3 times a week and make sure to remove any uneaten portions within three hours.
- Fruits: You can feed your turtle fruits like apples, grapes, kiwi, berries, cantaloupe, bananas, and tomatoes. Limit the amount of fruits you give to your turtle as it might cause diarrhea since fruits are not a staple died for read eared sliders.
- Commercial turtle food: Pet stores offer a variety of food products in pellets for your red-eared turtle pet. This kind of food contains vitamins and minerals to provide a balanced nutrition for your turtle. However, the same balanced nutrition can be offered to your turtle in fresh foods. It can be healthier and less expensive to offer your turtle a range of fresh foods mentioned in this article.
Nutritional Supplements for Red-Eared Sliders
Providing your red-eared slider turtle with the correct amount of vitamins and supplements is essential to keep your turtle healthy and happy. You should consider adding a good reptile multivitamin with D3 and calcium to your turtle’s diet.
We recommend that you sprinkle these vitamins on your turtle’s food once or twice a week. Also, you can provide your red-eared slider with additional calcium by placing a cuttlebone inside the tank or a calcium block that it can nibble on.
These products are often available at your local pet store. Below, I will talk about each of the vitamins and supplements to ensure you are properly educated to give your turtle the best care.
- Calcium: It is the most recommended supplement for your turtle. It providers your turtle with the proper bone and shell development and it keeps the shell hard and healthy. It is very important not to add excessive amount of calcium to your turtle’s diet, as it can be harmful.
- Vitamin D3: Is another important vitamin for your turtle. This vitamin helps your red-eared slider to use the calcium in its body to develop strong bones and a hard shell. A deficiency of vitamin D3 in your turtle’s diet may cause it to develop bone disease.
No matter what we do, it’s impossible to 100% reproduce the slider’s natural habitat. So, it’s your job to keep your red-eared turtle healthy and happy by providing the proper vitamins and supplements with the recommend food mentioned in this article.
Red-eared Slider Turtle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Now we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions that we get about red-eared slider turtles:
#1) How often should I feed my red-eared slider turtle?
Red-eared sliders don’t need to be fed daily, but their feeding requirements depend on their age and size. Smaller and juvenile turtles need to be fed at least once a day. They are usually most active during the morning and afternoon, so that would be the perfect time to offer them food. Turtles are not considered adults before the age of seven. Adult turtles should be fed every other day.
#2) What Should You Not Feed Red-Eared Slider Turtles?
Avoid feeding your turtle any dairy products, breads, chocolates, and any other processed food-like products. It is best to feed your turtle with the food we recommended in this article.
#3) How Fast do Red Eared Sliders Grow?
The growth rate of a Red Eared Slider depends on the quality of the food, environmental conditions, and the rest depends on genetics. In general, if you provide a large enough tank, with the proper lighting, proper diet and vitamins, your turtle pet will grow healthy for it’s entire life. Usually they grow about 3 inches during the first year, and then about 1 inch each per year. A well-cared-for Red Eared slider can live between 20 and 50 years and can grow up to 12 inches.
Red Eared Slider Turtle Diet Conclusion
Red Eared Sliders are easy to care for and they make great pets. Hopefully this article helped you figure out the best things to feed your read eared slider turtle. We covered the red eared slider turtle diet to mimic its diet in the wild as closely as possible to keep your turtle as happy as possible. Also, we made a list of foods that are great for your red eared slider turtle. If you have any more questions on what to feed your red eared slider, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.