Ultimate Guide: How Much Food Should I Feed My Turtle?

 So, you've decided to get yourself a pet turtle, or maybe you just got back from the pet store with your new pet. What your turtle should and shouldn't consume is probably well known to you. But how much food should you feed your turtle each day?

How Much Food Should I Feed My Turtle?
How Much Food Should I Feed My Turtle? 

Overfeeding or underfeeding your turtle can lead to serious health issues and have a big impact on its lifespan. We've put together this guide for new turtle owners like you. When a turtle is in the wild, it searches for food when hungry. But, of course, in your home, your turtle can't just walk around the closet and get a snack. So, you need to know when your turtle will be hungry, how much to feed it, how often to feed it, and what to feed it.

So, to make sure your turtle gets all the food it needs, here's our guide to feeding your turtle the right way.

How much to feed your turtle?

The amount of food you feed your turtle will depend on its age, size, and species. In general, a turtle will need more food as it becomes bigger. How much they eat also depends on what exactly you give them.

Now, somewhat frustratingly, there are two opinions on how much food you should feed your turtle. One argument is that you should feed your turtle as much as it can eat in 15 minutes. With this method, you only have to do it once or twice. Then you will have a good idea of how much to give them each time.

The other argument is that you should give your turtle as much food as possible in its head. So if you give your turtles pellets, take a few in your hand and compare their size with your turtle's head. Despite the fact that it is not an exact science, it will offer you a good idea.

These two methods are not significantly superior to one another. But, if you give your turtle a decent amount of food, set a timer for 15 minutes, and then see how much it eats, you'll get a good idea of its appetite.

Although there is a general amount of food that certain turtle species eat, turtles have individual characteristics and appetites. So while a turtle may eat a handful of leaves, yours may have a smaller appetite and eat much less. It's just trial and error.

However, if you are concerned about this method, the second will also work well. Overfeeding a turtle is very dangerous to its health. So if you don't want to risk overfeeding, just hold a few pellets against your turtle's head. That said, if you don't want to feed your turtle pellets, the first option is always good.

How often to feed your turtle?

Once you have figured out how much food you need to feed your turtle, then you need to figure out how often it needs to be fed. It's a good idea to set up a regular eating routine. It's best to mark exactly when, what, and how much you feed your turtle, even if it doesn't need to eat oftenly. Even if it is only in the Notes app on your phone. This will prevent you from forgetting the last time you fed your turtle. Otherwise, you may find yourself overfeeding or underfeeding your turtle.

Turtles are opportunistic eaters and therefore eat as much as they can, whenever they can. Their diet must therefore be controlled and monitored. Since most turtles are very docile and don't make much noise, it can be hard to tell when they are hungry. Not like other animals, they won't beg you. Juvenile turtles should be fed once a day. Once they reach maturity (which is around 7 years, depending on the species), turtles should be fed every other day.

What to feed your turtle?

If you go to your local pet store, you will find different pellets to feed your turtle. These are fine, but you should also feed your turtle fresh food. Just like in humans, some ready-made and processed foods are suitable. But we all need to eat our greens and consume fresh fruits and vegetables regularly.

What your turtle should eat depends on its species. Some will be omnivores while others will be herbivores. If they are herbivorous, general leafy greens are the best options. Even the strange strawberry as a treat. If they are omnivores, of course they can eat most things. This can contain worms and tiny shrimp in addition to leafy greens, which ought to make up the majority of their diet.

These are often sold in pet stores. But they're hard to store (plus, they might gross you out). This is where turtle food pellets come in handy. If your turtle is an omnivore, a combination of pellets and leafy greens is a good idea. But, if that's what you choose, it's still important to make sure you don't overfeed your turtle.

If you chose to give your turtle as many pellets as it could fit in its head, it should only have a small amount of leafy greens. But, this method of course doesn't work with a lettuce leaf that could be as big as your whole turtle. As the amount of food you give your turtle will vary depending on its size, try to compose its diet with proportions.

Pellets should then only be a small part of your turtle's diet, as was already said. Try to keep the pellet ratio below 25%. If your turtle is a herbivore, the rest of its diet should consist of leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables. If they are omnivores, fruits and vegetables should make up about 50% of their diet. The remaining 25% should be made up of worms, shrimp and aquatic insects. These can be purchased dried at your local pet food store.

How to feed your turtle?

One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't simply leave food in your turtle's enclosure. Especially if you don't know yet how much they should eat. Your turtle will eat anything it can. So if you just leave a bunch of pellets or greens for them to munch on, they'll eat it until they're full. However, be sure to only feed your turtle the amount of food it needs for one meal. Otherwise, you will find all the food of the week disappeared in a few minutes.

Where you feed your turtle is also important. For example, if you have an aquatic turtle, you must feed it while it is in the water. This is because they naturally feed in water in the wild. Aquatic turtles feed on small fish and aquatic insects that live in the water. Therefore, feeding in the water is crucial for them. When choosing food for your aquatic turtle, try to use floating vegetables and pellets. Your turtle will have too much trouble getting food that sinks to the bottom.

If you have an aquatic turtle, it's a good idea to have a separate feeding tank. This will prevent leftover food from rotting in the water. The water will become dangerous for your turtle if it swims in it. If you can't have two tanks, it's important to make sure you choose any uneaten food as soon as your turtle has finished eating.

How to know whether you are feeding your turtle too much?

Your turtle eats well if you give it the right amount of food regularly. But it is possible to overfeed your turtle and this is very unhealthy for him. It's easy to overfeed your turtle because it always wants to eat. If you offer your turtle food, it will likely eat it. It might even seem like your turtle is always hungry. But that's definitely not the case.

Overfeeding is one of the worst things you can do to your turtle. As mentioned many times before, turtles are opportunistic eaters. So if you just leave them a bunch of food to eat, they'll eat it all nonstop. This is similar to puppies eating until they are sick. Overfeeding your turtle can cause it to gain weight and become obese. For a creature living in a shell, this is not a comfortable experience. Overfeeding can also lead to the formation of shell pyramids.

The pyramid, as you might have guessed, is when a turtle's shell begins to grow upwards at one point. When the turtle's shell grows too quickly, this occurs. Rather than a large pyramid, each scale develops a kind of bump. Depending on the severity of the pyramid, it can be mild and even go unnoticed or it can be life threatening.

The pyramid isn't always obvious, so be sure to keep an eye out for your turtle's shell. It's a good idea to keep a general eye on your turtle's shell and general shape. This will provide you with a clear picture of their health. There are a few easy ways to spot if your turtle is eating too much. These are:

  • Folds of fat, especially when the legs are retracted. If their legs are not retracted and they have fat around their legs, they are especially overweight.
  • If the lines around their scales seem wider. Scales are the shapes on your turtle's shell. These are the sections that rise when their pyramidal shells.
  • The edges of the shell often lift when your turtle is overweight. This is due to the increase in fat under the shell.


Although the quantity and amount of food you give your turtle is extremely important, you must not forget that they need water to drink. Turtles should only drink water and nothing else.

Although you should be strict with the feeding schedule, your turtle needs a constant supply of water. Make sure there is always enough water for your turtle in its enclosure. It needs to be easily accessible, but also somewhere where it won't be easily knocked over.


So, one of the most important things to remember about feeding your turtle is that it feeds opportunistically. This has already been pointed up multiple times in the article. But it bears repeating.

Providing a balanced diet for your turtle is also crucial. Just like you, your turtle should only have small amounts of processed foods, such as pellets. Their diet should mainly consist of leafy greens and vegetables. The amount of food you give your turtle is just as important as what you give it. If you overfeed your turtle, it will become overweight and not feel well. It is therefore important to monitor your turtle's eating habits.

You should also only give your turtle the amount of food it needs. Otherwise, chances are they are overeating. Feeding your turtle properly is not very difficult. But it's important to make sure you give them the right amount and stick to a schedule. If you do, your turtle will be happy and healthy.

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