Do Turtles Eat Fish? Know Your Pet Turtle Food Better! | Kidadl


Do Turtles Eat Fish? Know Your Pet Turtle Food Better!

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Almost all species of turtles are omnivores and feed on aquatic animals.

Turtles and tortoises are frequently misidentified as animal species, this includes their diet food. Turtles and tortoises have different features along with their habitat.

Turtles are aquatic reptile species that are known for being cold-blooded animal species. Turtles are from the order of Testudines and the clade of Perichelydia. There are two subgroups named Cryptodira and Pleurodira, while Paracryptodira is an extinct subgroup of turtles. Most aquatic turtles are opportunistic predators and feed themselves on different freshwater fish species. Most land turtles, or terrestrial turtles, are herbivorous, while the ones living in freshwater are carnivorous as well as omnivorous. Many turtles are even known to feed on dead animals or aquatic insects. Aquatic turtles are known to improve water quality compared to land turtles or terrestrial turtles. Apart from aquatic insects and plants, they also feed themselves on a variety of small fish species such as comet goldfish, minnows, baby koi fish, and guppies. But what if the same tank or pond has fish and turtles, whether they are adult turtles, young turtles, or baby turtles? So, some of the research done on turtle food or turtle diet found that turtles are slow in their movements. They mostly rely on dead fish, this essentially helps to maintain the water quality by removing the dead particles from the turtle's tank or pond. But that does not mean turtles are not able to eat the meat of live fish.

All the fish species, specifically the small fish, are majorly targeted by the aquatic turtles, be they dead or alive. But this also varies from turtle to turtle species. The fish diet aids in a turtle's health a lot, specifically in providing them with calcium. The freshwater turtle's diet mostly varies from seagrasses to small crustaceans and invertebrates. Musk turtles, pitted shell turtles, map turtles, snapping turtles, painted turtles, and softshell turtles are some of the aquatic turtle species, while Asian box turtles, wood turtles, and spotted turtles are some of the land turtle species. If you want to own an aquatic pet turtle, then red-eared sliders, eastern box turtles, and musk turtles are considered to be some of the best pet turtles. At the same time, if you're wondering if you can keep any live fish with them, the answer is yes. The Pictus catfish would be one of the ideal fish species that can be kept easily with freshwater turtles, either in a turtle tank or pond. The smaller turtles are ideal for turtle tank size, while ponds or lakes are ideal and better living conditions for the bigger turtles. You can easily feed fish pelleted foods to your freshwater aquatic turtles. As many of the turtle species have gone extinct and are in the conservation category of either Vulnerable or Endangered, CITES has banned the purchase of pet turtles that are on the list of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

If you enjoy reading this article about species of turtles that eat fish, then do read some other interesting and surprising fun facts about turtles and whether turtles have ears.

What kind of fish do turtles eat?

Turtles eat a variety of fish species, such as comet goldfish, jellyfish, baby koi fish, and many others. It depends upon the kind of turtle species.

The turtle species are mostly omnivorous and feed on both kinds of food, be it aquatic plants, insects, or fish. The land turtle's diet is different from the freshwater turtles' diet, which is majorly due to the kind of evolution they have gone through. Land turtles basically rely more on plants, while aquatic or sea turtles eat both plant and meat. Red-eared sliders are a type of turtle species that feed on both plants and meat as they are omnivorous. But at the same time, land turtles can also rely on insects such as snails and beetles.

When it comes to that turtles feed on, they can eat meat, zooplanktons, seagrass, and jellyfish. The turtle's diet basically depends upon their kind and the environment in which they live. If you own a pet turtle, then you might be wondering what kind of fish you should feed your pet. You can feed them fish pellets, which contain comet goldfish, baby koi fish, and many more. Along with that, they even rely on aquatic insects, seagrass, small crustaceans, and worms.

For example, snapping turtles feed on smaller turtles, frogs, snakes, and fish, but they are not limited to it. Both land turtles and freshwater aquatic turtles are scavengers that eat the meat of dead animals, be it a dead small fish or any other dead sea animal flesh. Feeding a small fish to the pet turtle promotes healthy growth. The size of the turtle also affects the turtle's diet. In the wild, baby turtles require more protein and calcium to grow, which they get from the fish, compared to other foods they feed upon.

The shell of the turtles needs calcium, and this they basically get from the fish as their food. Fruits and vegetables are also other options that can be included in the diet food of a turtle apart from fish. When a turtle is in a pond, it relies on insects, worms, krill, and crabs. Worms such as mealworms, bloodworms, silkworms, and earthworms are some of the worm species eaten by them when they live in the pond. A wild turtle will end up eating anything.

Do sea turtles eat jellyfish?

Yes, most kinds of jellyfish are known to be eaten by sea turtles. Sea turtles such as leatherback sea turtles are among the apex predators of jellyfish.

These jelly sea critters are also known to be eaten by humans, primarily in Asia. The venomous sting of these jellies, known as papillae, does not affect sea turtles. They ingest jellyfish, which may startle and astonish you. In comparison to a human's mouth, sea turtles' throats feature an inward thorny protrusion. From their mouths to their stomachs, these spines protect the animal's esophagus from the venom. Molecules comparable to those found in human nails and hair make up each spine.

They also aid metabolism by digesting food and expelling seawater which is not required by their bodies. Sea turtle species such as leatherback sea turtles feed on jellyfish because they have protective protein spines in their esophagus and they digest the jellyfish with ease. Jellyfish is a favorite food of leatherback sea turtles. The leatherback sea turtles are also one of the biggest turtle species among sea turtles, which allows them to feed on jellyfish.

At the same time, sea turtles eating jellyfish make them more likely to consume anything floating around them that resembles jellyfish, including plastic. There have been many cases of leatherback sea turtles feeding on bags of plastic that have been disposed of by different human activities. So, it is advised to throw garbage, especially plastic, in the places where it needs to be thrown away, like garbage bins, as this could be life-threatening for many of the sea turtle species or any other aquatic creature. Many deaths in a similar context have been reported. So, it is in your hands to save the lives of living things around you. 

The size and species of turtles majorly impact their diet.

What foods are poisonous to turtles?

Cat food, dog food, and many kinds of different human foods with high fat and calorie content should be avoided for your turtles. Apart from that, oily fish such as mackerel and smelt should be avoided in the diet food of your turtle.

The turtle species need food that is higher in calcium with a lower amount of phosphorus. Apart from that, they should also be given food that is lower in fat. Fatty and oily food can be life-threatening to turtles. Even so, avoid feeding turtles food that is high in protein. Foods high in fat and carbohydrates might make your turtles fat, making them suffer from obesity. The turtle might also develop kidney problems.

Protein is no doubt very much required for the turtles to grow, but too much protein might make their shell grow too fast. So, everything given to the turtles should be balanced. Anything in excess might make them suffer. Always try to feed your turtle a bit of cooked food, as raw food might contain some parasites. When they are in the wild, they manage to do well eating in a natural way, but when it comes to you as a feeder, the raw food goes through many different food processing steps which might make the raw meat or fish or other animals infectious.

Feeder fish such as comet goldfish and baby koi fish will do good for the turtles. But feeder fish should only be fed once or twice in one month. Before you feed the turtle with fruits, try to look up information about that particular turtle species. In particular, aquatic turtles should not be given fruits. A box turtle can be given fruits such as melons, mangoes, and guavas in moderation. At the same time, they should not be fed rhubarb, avocado, leaves, seeds, potatoes, and tobacco plant leaves. In this way, different turtle species have different likes and dislikes, along with the level of danger they have to them.

Do aquatic turtles eat fish?

Yes, aquatic turtles eat fish such as guppies, platies, bass and comet goldfish according to their size.

There is no doubt that an aquatic turtle eats fish meat. Additionally, aquatic turtles are more cannibalistic in comparison to land turtles. Land turtles are also scavengers, but comparatively less than aquatic turtles. Apart from fish food, aquatic turtles can also be fed with leafy green foods such as spinach, kale, parsley, and broccoli. While swampy turtles are known to feed themselves on flowers, berries, mushrooms, grasses, and weeds. Crayfish can also be eaten by aquatic turtle species. It just depends on their size and where they live.

Aquatic turtles, along with other turtles, get their food by swallowing it directly after having it in their mouth, and later the food swallowed is digested in their stomachs. The aquatic turtles use their tongues as bait to take in food. You should avoid keeping small fish in the same tank as the turtle. The turtle might see them as their food and end up eating them. Fish that can be considered to keep with the turtles would be adult koi fish, Pictus catfish and neon tetra, but these fish might also vary for each type of aquatic turtle species.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for whether turtles eat fish, then why not take a look at facts about Robert Wadlow's height or whether fish are mammals?

Isn’t it great to have someone on the team who is always ready to learn and a great mentor? Meet Anamika, an aspiring educator and a learner who makes the best of her skills and potential to make her team and organization grow. She has finished her graduation and post-graduation in English and even earned a Bachelor’s of Education from Amity University, Noida. Because of her constant urge to learn and grow, she has been a part of many projects and programs, which have helped her hone her writing and editing skills.

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