What Do Animals Eat?

What Do Turtles Eat?

Posted In: Reptiles.

Turtles have a fascinating diet for those that study it. With so many different species of turtle on both land and sea, it would take quite a while to discuss each type of diet for each species. Turtles started out as carnivores, but then later on they changed to become omnivores. A few species are kept as pets and they have choices in the diet that they are fed when captive. Most will feed on plants while others will feed on small creatures. So let’s get right to the diet of a turtle species.

A sea turtle eating a jellyfishA sea turtle eating a jellyfish. Photo by ya.iriska18.

Captive or pet turtles such as terrapin

These types of turtles, like terrapins, in captivity require protein such as chicken, fish, turkeys and boiled eggs. Other items will include snails, shrimp, crickets, slugs and silkworms. For vegetables, corn, water lettuce, red clove, okra, turnip greens and collards are ok. Some fruits can be given to turtles, such as blueberries, mango, cantaloupe, blackberries and kiwi. For flowers, roses, borage, lilies, carnations and hyssop are also good to give a captive turtle.

Eastern box turtle

This type of turtle has a diet that includes flowers, grasses, earthworms, fallen fruit, berries, snails, caterpillars, slugs, bread, carrion and flowers. Also included in this diet would be beetles, grubs, live birds, duck weed and mushrooms. So this turtle has a wide and varied diet to choose from in the wild.

A green sea turtle grazing seagrass at Akumal bayGreen sea turtle grazing seagrass at Akumal bay. Pic by P.Lindgren.

Sea turtles

Many different species of turtle fall under this classification. They can be either carnivorous or omnivorous depending on the species. Greens will eat algae and grasses while the loggerhead will eat jellyfish, shrimp and crabs. Leatherbacks will eat soft bodied animals such as tunicates and jellyfish. The diets will be varied.

Black marsh turtle

When it comes to this resident of Southeast Asia, you’ll see that its diet consists of small fish, fruits, carcasses, frogs and worms. They will also occasionally scavenge on rotten fruits, plants and animal carcasses in the water. This species is considered to be vulnerable in the area.

More on Turtles

  1. A tortoise’s diet
  2. A terrapin’s diet