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What Do Baby Painted Turtles Eat? Feeding Guide And Tips

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Even after you have the tank and light source to house a painted turtle, the most important aspect of raising animals remains.

Pet parents all over the world would agree that the path towards a healthy pet went through acts of extensive study of what the animal should eat. Painted turtles and their pet parents are no exception.

While there are certain places around the world that consider having wild painted turtles as a pet to be illegal, there are still others where there are no such restrictions. Hence, turtle enthusiasts have always taken up such opportunities to include such a magnificent animal in their family. However, there remain some mysteries regarding the diet of wild painted turtles and what these animals should be eating when raised in captivity. Keep reading to find out!

If you enjoy this article, why not also check out what do pigs like and what do iguanas eat here at Kidadl?

How To Make Baby Painted Turtle Food

Painted turtles are rather beautiful creatures and they are also very hardy. This essentially means that taking care of a baby painted turtle or even an adult painted turtle is not much of a hassle. While it is not very common to have these animals as pets, and it is even illegal in some parts of the world to have a wild painted turtle at home, there are some people who are very drawn towards these aquatic animals and love to take care of them as a part of the family. If you have been considering going to the pet store to adopt a young painted turtle or if you already have a few and are wondering if there is any homemade food that you could interest the animal in, the simple answer to your queries would be a no. However, let's talk about why such an idea could prove to be detrimental to the health and diet of your dearest pets.

Wild painted turtles are loners, who are hardly seen to be interacting with other animals of the rivers or lakes. They spend most of their lives on the lookout for prey. Since these animals are largely omnivorous, you may have seen a painted turtle trying to eat a water hyacinth just as well as you may have noticed it to be munching on some worms or insects. The foods that a painted turtle would like to have when it is brought up in captivity also remain the same. While they do not require a high protein diet, some amounts of protein are required.

As is the case with all species of animals, the key to great health is to make sure that the creature has been eating well and that its natural habitat is replicated once they are removed from it. In the case of pet turtles, it would be a great idea to feed baby painted turtles every day. These meals would need to be small and frequent since that is what painted turtle parents would want for their children if they were to be brought up in the wild. Young turtles and even old ones tend to suffer greatly when subjected to human food. These animals and their bodies are not built in a way that they would be able to process or digest human food. Hence, any food that you prepare at home is likely to bring none of the nutrients that your pets would get if they ate some insects instead. Human food, when cooked, also loses a lot of the antioxidants and nutrients that the turtles would otherwise get if the food were to be uncooked. The bread and milk that we eat is not only of no use to turtles but can even cause distress in the form of an upset stomach or even graver issues that would require you to drive to the veterinarian at the earliest.

Hence, to 'prepare' food for baby turtles at home would mean that you first regulate the temperature of an adequately sized tank where the animal is kept, arrange a basking spot and a good filtration system and then enrich the diet with a variety of foods. There is a wide selection of items that a painted turtle's diet can accommodate. It should be very easy to ensure that your small turtle lives for years if you feed it the right foods in the right amounts. Such foods would include pellets, small fish, tadpoles, insects, and worms. Even some vegetables, fruits, and aquatic plants could make their way into your pet's diet depending upon its age and the frequency at which it needs its meals.

Suitable Food For Baby Painted Turtles

A painted turtle, in its wild habitat, is omnivorous, and it maintains the same diet when in captivity as well. In their natural habitat, they hardly feed on vegetables and so, that is an extra source of nutrition that turtles find when they are raised in captivity. This species of turtles are also aquatic, which means that they often feed on small fish and tadpoles that are found in the small creeks, lakes, and rivers that painted turtles inhabit. It would be best to provide live prey to them at least once a week so that the animal is healthy and does not start to miss its natural home. When in an aquarium or tank, turtle pellets form an excellent source of nutrition for these animals. You may wonder why pellets would be a good choice since they do not have access to such luxuries in ponds. However, pellets have the same nutrition index as what healthy painted turtles eat in ponds and will help your pet in being healthy and strong.

Frog meat, small fishes, worms, and insects would be a great addition to your turtle's diet. Turtles like some amount of vegetables in their diet in the form of water lettuce and red leaf lettuce. Such vegetables are great for you to be feeding your turtles since they act as a break from all the meat that these animals otherwise spend their lives eating. Additionally, turtles need to feed on some amount of roughage every day, which is also supplied by the vegetables.

While they are hardy creatures and make it very easy for pet parents to take care of them, there are certain fruits and vegetables that a painted turtle should be kept away from. Make sure to not feed a western painted turtle or midland painted turtle any spinach or chives. The calcium content in these leafy vegetables can create certain problems in the shell of the turtle and hence lessen its lifespan by a substantial amount. Painted turtles do not require any food that contains calcium in large amounts, since it inhibits normal bodily functions. They should not eat any dairy products either, since such food is not available in the animal's natural habitat, and hence, it does not have the organs to support the digestion thereof. Make sure to remove the seeds from any of the fruits that you may want to feed your turtles as a relief from all the pellets and worms. Seeds may create a choking hazard and subsequently, you may have to take your pet to the veterinarian.

Since this species of turtles also feeds on dead fish, a few chunks of different types of fish, along with edible aquatic plants would be excellent for feeding your pet and giving it all the protein that it requires!

A painted turtle can eat an array of aquatic plants such as water hyacinth.

What do baby painted turtles eat in the wild?

Baby painted turtles have the same diet as their adult counterparts. However, the frequency of the meals and the total time of every day that they spend eating is largely different. Feeding baby paint turtles several times every day and making sure that the temperature of the aquarium is maintained at all times becomes all the more important because they go through rapid growth at this point in life. Therefore, only a meat and protein-rich diet would be able to satisfy the animal and the needs of its growing body.

Painted turtles need protein in their diet, and hence, in their natural habitat, these animals often feed on a variety of fish. These fish may be both dead and alive, depending on the availability. They also eat shellfish such as shrimps if there happen to be any in the pond or river. Turtle food or pellets also contain the same amount of protein that your plant would otherwise be getting through aquatic plants and fish. Therefore, you can feel free to give your painted turtle a scoop of pellets every other day or every two days once it has grown up a little and no longer needs to eat every day.

How often to feed a baby painted turtle?

If the temperature of the aquarium is maintained in the correct fashion and there is sufficient light for basking in, it is likely that your pet turtle will be a happy child and want some food to eat several times a day. A baby wild painted turtle eats throughout the day and that is the amount of food that you would want your pet to have access to. Make sure to pour some pellets or a few mealybugs into the tank a few times during the day, so that all the nutrients required for proper growth are supplied in adequate amounts. It is unlikely that a wild painted turtle would have access to any vegetables, and hence, if you want to introduce any such foods in your pet's diet, make sure to begin slowly. The animal may refuse to feed on such food initially but it will soon acquire the taste and start enjoying some lettuce every other day.

Adult painted turtles eat only once every other day or once every two days. In such cases, giving the turtle protein at least two times a week and some plants and pellets on the other feeding days would be the best approach. However, one of the most important things that need to be kept in mind is to make sure that your pet does not eat too much. Turtles like meat and other tasty food and chances are that they won't stop eating if they have constant access to such luxuries, however, an adult painted turtle may soon become overweight - inviting an array of health issues and complications.

Feeding a painted turtle around four times a week should be more than sufficient, although, it is also important to know that wild painted turtles often stop eating. If your pet seems to be healthy and just does not want to eat, make sure to continue its feeding routine throughout the week so that there is always some food when your pet wants it!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do baby painted turtles eat, then why not take a look at what do box turtles eat, or painted turtle facts?

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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