Red Eared Sliders Care (Ultimate Feeding Guide)

Copyright: samum

Red-eared sliders are hardy creatures yet they have a friendly demeanor. That’s why these aquatic turtles have been the favorite pets of turtle hobbyists. They are the type of resilient creatures that can tolerate harsh environments. That includes the water quality like the temperature, pH levels, and hardness.

These turtle species are used to humans and will even try to ask for food. It’s the best option for those who want to start taking care of a turtle. I’m the wild, the red-eared slider turtles survive eating the vegetation, small fish, and more. These turtles are omnivores which makes their diet diverse.

Red-Eared Sliders Food Guide

Generally, turtles are opportunistic feeders and will take every chance they get. They are carnivorous while they are young. But once they become adults, they will be omnivorous. Adult turtles don’t need as much protein anymore compared to juveniles. They also don’t require daily feeding once they grow.

The red-eared slider turtles usually eat different food in the wild. If you have a pet turtle it’s not easy to copy their feeding time while in nature. The best thing to do is to feed your turtle a variety of food instead. Turtle pellets can be their staple but you also need to feed them other food items. 

1. Small Animals

It includes crickets, earthworms, waxworms, blood worms, silkworms, shrimp, aquatic snails, krill, mealworms, and daphnia. If you have a small red-eared slider turtle, make sure to make it bite-sized. If you have an adult slider, you can feed tadpoles or feeder fish. Feeder fish may have parasites and it’s too fatty for your pet.

2. Leafy Green Vegetables

The red-eared slider turtles also need to be fed with leafy greens. Some examples are kale, bok choy, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and college greens. However, iceberg lettuce is not recommended for turtles. This doesn’t contain essential nutrients for turtles.

3. Aquatic Plants

Add some aquatic plants in the tank for your turtle to have some snacks. They like nibbling and eating vegetation in the wild. It should be similar when the red-eared slider is in captivity. Add nontoxic aquatic plants such as anacharis, water hyacinth, duckweed, water lettuce, frog but, and fairy moss.

4. More Vegetables

Turtles should eat vegetables regularly to maintain their health. Carrots, squash, and green beans will be good for them too. Offer these vegetables to your pet. This will create a variety in their diet so the turtle stays healthy even in the tank.

What is the Ideal Feeding Schedule for Red-Eared Sliders?

It depends on the age of your red-eared slider turtle. If you have a young turtle, it needs to be fed daily. These turtle species are carnivorous when they are young. Make sure to provide them with some good protein sources. It’s essential for their growth and development. Let the juvenile red-eared slider eat as much as it can for a few minutes.

Many turtle owners feed the adult turtles once every 2 to 3 days. Others go for daily feeding instead but only provide a small amount of food. Whatever feeding schedule you want to do, avoid overfeeding your turtle. Food items with high protein content and fat should be avoided. As turtles grow, it doesn’t require as much as when they are still younger.

How frequently you have to feed your red-eared slider is up to you. Just make sure to monitor its condition. They are aquatic turtles and need to swim from time to time. Making the turtle fat may compromise its safety. When they gain weight, folds of skin will develop around the leg area. It can make it hard for the turtle to retract themselves.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Strawberries?

Yes, the red-eared slider turtles can eat strawberries. But be careful with smaller turtles when feeding them. Make sure that you clean the strawberries and slice them into small pieces. It will make it easy for them to feed on strawberries that way. Turtles can eat strawberries but just give it to them sparingly.

Strawberries contain high amounts of vitamin C and manganese. It means that it’s not the primary nutrients the red-eared slider needs. If you bought it from the supermarket, they have preservatives. Wash them thoroughly before feeding them to your turtle.

1. Do Red-Eared Turtles Like Strawberries?

Yes, red-eared turtles like strawberries like other species. They don’t forage like other animals but they can enjoy eating them. But same as with other fruits, strawberries are not for everyone. The turtle may like the taste or not depending on if they acquire a taste for strawberries or not.

2. Can You Give Strawberries to Red-Eared Turtle Hatchlings?

Hatchlings don’t prefer fruits and vegetables. They need more protein-rich foods such as meat or worms. It’s alright to feed the red-eared turtle hatchlings strawberries. But it’s not a requirement for their diet. They are still carnivorous during this stage.

If you decide to feed your red-eared slider hatchlings with strawberries, make sure to wash them. By doing this, it will take off the preservative that we’re usually added to fruits. That will increase their shelf life but it can have a bad effect on your turtle.

3. How Much Strawberry to Give for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

For red-eared slider turtles, you can feed them 100 grams of strawberries. It’s alright to do this every month. Just provide them a moderate amount and don’t make it as a replacement for their food. Strawberries don’t contain the right amount of vitamins and minerals turtles need.

4. What is the Calorie Count of Strawberries?

  • Calorie – 32
  • Water –  91%
  • Protein – 0.7%
  • Carbs – 7.7 grams
  • Sugar – 4.9 grams
  • Fiber – 2 grams
  • Fat – 0.3 grams

5. What are the vitamins and Minerals in Strawberries?

  • Vitamin C

Strawberries contain a good amount of vitamin C. It’s good for humans but it’s not significant for young turtles. They need more vitamin A and D to grow and develop healthily. Strawberries are only good for their snack.

  • Essential Minerals

Different essential minerals can be found in strawberries. They are manganese, folate, and potassium. Traces of iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, K, and E can also be found in this fruit. Although these are available for humans, it’s a different case for turtles.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Tomatoes?

The red earned slider turtles diet should be supplemented with fruits and vegetables. Although not many of them may not be available in the wild, they can still be given to turtles as a treat. But not all fruits and veggies can be beneficial to your red-eared slider. Some of them can even be poisonous to them.

Red-eared sliders can eat tomatoes as long as they are ripe. Green tomatoes as well as their leaves and vines are poisonous for them. Red tomatoes, on the other hand, are high in sugar. When the red-eared turtle eats a lot of rule tomatoes, they can have loose stools. It can also make them bloated.

1. Are Tomatoes Good for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Tomatoes are not bad for turtles but it doesn’t mean that it’s good for them. It’s like eating chips for humans. Although it’s alright to eat, it’s not beneficial for your health. That’s the same thing when it comes to tomatoes and turtles. It’s not nutritious for your red-red slider but it’s alright for them to taste it.

2. Why Are Tomatoes Good For Red-Slider Turtles?

The flesh of ripe tomatoes can provide the turtle with some essential minerals. It contains calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A. Calcium and vitamin A deficiency are common for pet reptiles. It includes red-eared slider turtles since they are common pets. Tomatoes don’t contain much fiber compared with other fruits and veggies.

Red-eared slider turtles will have a hard time digesting them thoroughly. Make sure to remove the skin from red tomatoes before feeding it with your turtle. Turtles can absorb the essential nutrients from juicy fruits such as tomatoes. But you have to choose the part of tomatoes to give your pet. Make sure it’s already ripe since it can be poisonous for them if not.

3. Why You Should or Not Feed Tomatoes for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

You should feed tomatoes for your red-eared slider because of two reasons. Tomatoes are tasty and they are a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and water. But there are other reasons why you have to avoid feeding your pet with tomatoes. Below are the reasons why tomatoes are not recommended for your turtle’s diet.

  • Non-organic tomatoes contain pesticides. It will be harmful to the red-eared slider turtles if they consume it.
  • Raw or green tomatoes are poisonous for turtles in general.
  • The leaves and stems of tomato plants see toxic for turtles.
  • Feeding a lot of tomatoes for your red-eared sliders is not good. It contains a lot of sugar since they are fruit. The high sugar content can make the turtles still become loose and have a bloated stomach.
  • Large quantities of tomatoes are toxic for turtles. Make sure to only feed them a moderate amount.
  • Tomatoes for sick turtles can be inflammatory so avoid getting it to your pet when it’s sick. It can make their condition worse.
  • Make sure to make ripe tomatoes as a treat for your turtle. It should not be a replacement for their usual diet.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Lettuce?

Yes, red-eared sliders can eat lettuce since they are omnivores. They can feed in almost all food sources. Adult turtles like eating leafy vegetables. Lettuce is their favorite and it’s not harmful to the red-eared slider turtles. It’s a good source of nutrients for them and can be a part of their diet.

Hatchlings and juveniles might not appreciate veggies. They are carnivores while they are still young. Young turtles need to have more protein in their diet as they grow. But when they reached adulthood, they will like to eat more vegetables. Their taste for proteins will fade away since they need more fiber.

Aquatic turtles such as the red-eared slider turtles can eat lettuce. If you have an adult slider, you can offer it to them. Leafy greens are good for turtles. But iceberg lettuce is an exception. It contains more water than nutrients so it’s not an ideal food for them. Give them other leafy green vegetables instead.

If you want to feed your red-eared slider lettuce, choose the type with more nutrition. Red leaf or romaine lettuce is a better option. Iceberg lettuce is the least nutritious type of lettuce. It may also hurt turtles when they eat a big amount. Make sure to always provide nutritious food for your pet turtle all the time.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Watermelon?

Yes, watermelon is safe for the red-eared slider turtles. Although watermelon is not part of their diet in the wild, turtles can still eat them. Experts suggest that it’s good to add fruits such as watermelon for your turtle’s meal. But keep it in moderation to avoid issues.

Fresh fruits should not reach up to 10% of their diet. In tortoises, fruit should not exceed 20%. Feed your red-eared turtle a wide variety of fruit instead. That will help them to stay healthy than giving them a single type of fruit instead. It’s good for them but doesn’t overdo that and add other fruits.

Are Fruits Bad for Red-Eared Turtles?

No, fresh fruits are part of the turtle’s healthy diet. It means it’s good for them as long as it’s the right amount. That will be excellent for your pet as long as you don’t overdo their fruit intake. Remember that fruits contain high sugar content. It can cause digestive imbalance for turtles.

If you feed the turtle with fruits all the time. It can make them selective with their food. That will make their diet unbalanced. Make sure to feed them a variety of food since they are omnivores. They can eat almost anything around the environment.

Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat Fish?

Yes, the red-eared slider turtles can eat small fish. It’s part of their diet when they are in the wild. They are omnivores so they can eat plant-based foods and meat. These species ear on the vegetation, little fish, and more.

In captivity, they are comfortable with humans and even beg for food.

Juveniles are mainly carnivores and they turned to omnivores when they become adults. The red-eared sliders can be fed every day if they are hatchlings or juveniles. You have to reduce the frequency of feeding as they grow into adults. They dont need too much food so don’t overfeed your turtle.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Spinach?

Feeding your turtle vegetables is necessary for their health. Adult red-eared slider turtles are omnivores. They need to eat both meat and vegetables. Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables around the globe. But can red-eared turtles eat them?

Yes, spinach can be eaten by turtles but only for a small amount. But it’s rich in oxalates which can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients turtles need. Although it’s healthy for humans, it’s not recommended for the turtle’s daily food intake. Feed your turtle a variety of vegetables instead.

Spinach is a healthy type of vegetable since it contains many vitamins and minerals. The thing is, it’s also rich in oxalates. It can be found in almost every plant. It will bind other essential minerals such as calcium. That prevents the turtle’s body to absorb nutrients.

Why Feed Small Amount of Spinach for Red-Eared Slider Turtles?

Spinach is rich in nutrients but it also contains high amounts of oxalates. If the red-eared slider turtles eat spinach in large amounts, the oxalates can bind the calcium and other essential nutrients. It blocks the absorption of nutrients necessary for turtle’s health.

If turtles consume too many oxalates, they can’t absorb the nutrients they need. That will pass through their urine. Their kid eyes will also be unable to filter the locates that can result in kidney failure. It’s going to be detrimental to their health so better avoid it.

1. What are the Nutrition Facts Of Spinach?

Raw spinach has a high water content Same as other fruits and veggies. It also contains a high amount of fiber that can help your turtle to feel full longer. Grace’s of sugar can also be found in spinach.

  • Calories – 23
  • Water – 91%
  • Protein – 2.9 grams
  • Carbs – 3.6 grams
  • Sugar – 0.4 grams
  • Fiber – 2.2 grams
  • Fat – 0.4 grams

2. What Are the Essential Nutrients Found in Spinach?

Vitamins A, C, and K are the essential nutrients that can be found in spinach. The vitamin A in spinach can help with the turtle’s growth. It can also repair tissue damage. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of the development of illnesses.

3. What are the Minerals Found in Spinach?

Spinach has high amounts of calcium, folic acid, and iron. These are necessary for turtles to stay healthy. Calcium is the most important among them. It’s necessary for turtles to have healthy bones and shells. That will avoid the red-eared slider to develop shell rot.

What Fruits Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

There are other fruits that red-eared slider turtles can eat. Some fruits can be fed to turtles once in a while. The red-eared slider turtles can eat berries, grapes, bananas, and tomatoes. Its safe for them if given small amounts occasionally.

However, not all fruits can be fed to turtles. There are some fruits that you should avoid feeding your pet. Citrus fruits must be avoided feeding your turtle. They are very acidic and have high sugar content. It can have a bad effect on your red-eared slider

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Grapes?

Yes, grapes are alright for red-eared slider turtles. They are very fond of eating grapes if available. But even if they like it so much, it should not be given frequently. Grapes have high sugar content. It also only has a fewer amount of calcium than its phosphorus content.

The best thing to do is to limit the quantity and frequency. Just give the turtle grapes as a treat if possible. Calcium deficiency causes bone-related diseases. The red-eared slider turtles need calcium to maintain their health. Give a moderate amount of grapes once in a while to make your pet happy.

What Vegetables Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

The red-eared slider turtles can eat different kinds of vegetables. Avoid vegetables that have a high volume of phosphorus. It’s not recommended to feed your turtle food with little to no nutritional value as well. Choose the right vegetables to feed your turtle.

Most vegetables can provide health benefits for the red-eared slider turtles. But some of them may have little nutritional value. It’s not going to be beneficial for your turtle. Make sure to carefully choose the veggies that can be good for the red-eared slider turtles.

Vegetables Without Benefits for Red Eared Slider Turtles

Fortunately, there are only a few vegetables that don’t contain a nutritional value for the red-eared slider turtles. Vegetables are a good source of food for turtles and even other animals. It will help to maintain their health but not all vegetables can keep them healthy. Unlike humans, some food may not be beneficial for turtles like it is in humans.

The vegetables that are not good for turtles are iceberg lettuce, eggplants, mushrooms, and cucumbers. They are vegetables that can’t provide many benefits for turtles. It’s better to avoid feeding it to them. Feeding the vegetables that can’t give the right amount of nutrients may make your turtle sick. So it’s better to go for food that is good for them.

Although eating vegetables like iceberg lettuce can’t harm your turtle. It can fill their stomachs but not provide them with the nutrients it needs. Food with little to no nutrition will not go well in maintaining the turtle’s health. This food doesn’t have to make it to your turtle’s feeding time.

Instead of giving your red-eared turtle iceberg lettuce, give it some leafy greens. That contains more beneficial nutrients for your turtle. The green leafy vegetables are preferred by most turtles. But don’t feed your pet vegetables with less nutritional value. Your turtle will be fine but start eliminating those from their diet.

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Blueberries?

Yes, turtles can eat blueberries too. You can give it as a reward to your red-eared slider turtle. Even blueberries are healthy, they are also acidic and contain sugar. Turtles can’t have a berry-rich diet. They can experience kidney and digestive issues. It also includes weight and development issues in turtles.

In the wild, turtles don’t usually enjoy sweet and tangy fruits like blueberries. Their bodies are not used to digest these types of foods. In captivity, you can give blueberries to your red-eared slider turtle. Just make sure to keep it in moderation. It’s not a part of your turtle’s diet so make sure to just give it as a treat.

1. Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Blueberry Skin?

Yes, blueberry skin is safe for turtles. So make sure that it’s clean before feeding it to your turtle. Keep in mind that blueberry skin is usually exposed to pesticides. Wash it thoroughly so that you can remove the dirt and traces of pesticides from the fruit.

2. Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Blueberry Seeds?

Fruit seeds contain a small amount of cyanide. But blueberry seeds are very small. That means that it’s not going to cause issues for your turtle. If the red-eared slider eats the seeds, that will not harm your pet. You can cut the berry in half so you can remove the seeds if you are worried. That will avoid your turtle eating the blueberry seeds.

3. Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Frozen Blueberries?

Yes, your red-eared slider can eat frozen blueberries. You can thaw them before feeding your pet. Even if you freeze blueberries, their nutritional value is retained. The child can kill bacteria and pathogens as well. So it’s much safer for your turtle. Freeze the berries and thaw them first before feeding them to your pet.

4. What are the Nutrition Facts of Blueberries?

Blueberries are native to North America and are packed with nutrients. They are primarily made of water and carbs. They also have a good amount of fiber which is great for turtles. Blueberries contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential for the turtle’s bone health, blood pressure, and more. It’s best to give as a treat for the red-eared slider turtles.

Nutrition Chart Of Blueberries Per 100 grams of Blueberries

  • Protein   – 0.7 grams
  • Sugar – 10 grams
  • Potassium – 77 mg
  • Vitamin A – 1.1%
  • Vitamin C – 16%
  • Vitamin E – 0.57 mg
  • Vitamin K – 19.3mg
  • Iron – 1.6%
  • Calcium – 0.5%

The % values are derived based on a 2000 calorie diet for turtles.

What Foods Turtles Should Not Eat?

There are many types of food that turtles can eat to stay healthy. But not all foods can be consumed by these reptiles. There are also different foods that should be avoided. Below are the foods that you should not feed your red-eared slider turtles.

1. Dairy

Turtles are not mammals, therefore they can’t process the enzymes needed to break down dairy products. It means that giving your turtle dairy products can cause gastrointestinal distress. They can’t digest dairy properly so it’s better not to feed it to them. When turtles accidentally consume too much faith, it can cause severe health issues for them.

2. Raw Meat

Even turtles eat raw meat in the wild, it’s better not to give it to your pet turtle. Make sure to cook the meat thoroughly before feeding it to a red-eared slider. Raw meats may contain parasites. That can spoil easily and not be good to eat anymore. Cooking the meat first will provide the turtle with the nutrients from meat. Avoid putting seasonings since that will be a hazard for your turtle’s health.

3. Avocado

Avocado is also a fruit but it doesn’t mean that you should feed it to your turtle. It’s toxic for them and no part is safe. The flesh and pit can cause issues for turtles. Don’t add this to your turtle’s diet if you want to keep it alive and active. Although humans can eat avocados, it doesn’t mean turtles can.

4. Iceberg Lettuce

As already mentioned, iceberg lettuce is not an ideal vegetable for turtles. Although it’s not necessarily bad for them, it doesn’t provide the essential nutrients. It can be a huge problem when the turtle feels full of iceberg lettuce. That means the turtle will no longer be at causing them to miss on the necessary nutrients they should have.

What’s the Ideal Turtle Diet?

As a turtle owner, giving your pet healthy foods is important. But you don’t have to worry since it’s easy to do that. There are many different foods that turtles will love and also benefit from.

1. Turtle Pellets

You can find turtle pellets in different pet stores around. This contains every nutrient that your turtle needs. Thats why you need to offer this to them. Turtle pellets should be a quarter of the turtle’s diet. It will provide the nutrients lacking from other food sources.

2. Feeder Fish and Insects

Turtles like to have live prey that you can mix with their diet. Feeder fish, insects, or even both can fill in a quarter of their diet. It will allow the turtle to hunt for its prey. That’s fun to watch when they go after their food. It will help them to also have some exercise even if they have to stay in the turtle tank.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Don’t forget to always add fresh fruits and vegetables to your turtle’s diet. You can give your turtle 80% of vegetables and 20% of fruits. Give your bed-eared slider green leafy veggies as well ti keep them healthy. Shred some carrots, squash, zucchini, and more to provide a variety of healthy foods on their diet.

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