red ear slider turtle opening mouth

red ear slider turtle opening mouth

Pet turtles can be fed a variety of foods, from plant matter to animal matter, home made to commercial bought, processed to live food. Some pet turtle owners feed only processed food to avoid bacteria and disease from improperly housed feeder food – others keep a constant supply of feeders for additional turtle stimulation.

How to you fit into all this? Do give live food/prey to your pet turtles?

Based on 103 votes at the time of this writing, the following are the survey results for the question “Do you feed your pet turtle/s live food?” Generally, pet turtles are:

  • 48.54% Yes, fed live food
  • 51.46% No, not fed live food

I’m surprised that pet turtle owners are almost 50 / 50 with this question. I was expecting more people to give their pet turtles live food.

I am supposing that live food is given more often when a pet turtle is new, then – in the mind of the owner – the novelty/entertainment value/work-convenience factor – the giving of live food dwindles down with time. At least that’s how it happened with me.

There are plenty of valid reasons not to give a pet turtle live food, such as:

  • health concerns (the food should be bacteria/fungus/parasite/diseases free and not infect pet turtles)
  • improper nutritional content (such as goldfish and thiaminase)
  • cost per feeding
  • convenience
  • and etc….

Usually, the only real pluses for giving live food are for the stimulation/exercise that live feeder food provides.

Have any thoughts on this topic? Let us know in the comments.

Want to put your vote in? Any thoughts on live food for turtles? Let us know in the comments.


    1. pet turtles can eat cucumbers! Whether they should though is another story – there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer out there that I know of

  1. RES need are omnivous, while young – protein (meet) is then main diet. as the get older they become more of a vegiteran. I have all my (16) RES in a back yard pond. I have a had time keeping the plant life available to them as they eat it faster then it grows.

    1. yes, many turtle species are omnivorous and start out being more carnivorous and turn more and more herbivorous as they get older

      – although the poll question was more about what the pet turtles are fed as opposed to how old the turtles were and what they preferred. A majority of pet turtles (from another poll) are on the younger side, which would also help explain why live food fed pet turtles are about 50-50 with non-live food fed turtles.

      16 red ear slider turtles? Wow, how big is your pond??

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