Can Turtles Eat Worms? [Safe Worms List]

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Abundant in amino acids, protein, and iron. Involved in digestion and tissue healing. There’s talk that worms may soon become the trendy new superfood on the market. Worms are a staple meal for many different animals. How about our reptile pets, though? Can worms be a healthy part of a turtle’s diet?

Turtles can eat worms. Some of the healthiest meals a turtle may discover in the wild include worms. They provide the essential protein that hatchling turtles need. Since most turtles are omnivores, they like to eat worms along with a broad variety of other insects.

So, do turtles eat worms as part of their diet? If so, how many worms would they consume, and what kind are we talking about, exactly? It is crucial to know and trust the origin of the worms used in any product containing worms as a turtle would consume anything if given the chance.

This article explores the question of whether or not worms are safe for turtles to consume. We’ll discuss things like the nutritional value of worms for turtles and whether or not they should be fed to turtles. Let’s go in and get to the bottom of these questions.

Are Worms Safe For Turtles?

Eating worms is a normal and beneficial part of a turtle’s diet. Worms are a great source of protein, fat, and other nutrients that turtles need to thrive.

Many different kinds of insects, including worms, are tasty snacks for wild turtles. There are a number of good reasons why turtles should eat worms.

Mealworms are an excellent source of amino acids, protein, and iron. They aid in digestion and tissue regeneration for turtles.

The worms that wild turtles encounter in the environment are some of the healthiest meals they can eat.

When it comes to protein, turtles really benefit from worms. They serve a specific purpose in the initial phases of a turtle’s life when the animal is still developing and needs a lot more protein.

Which Worms Are Safe For Turtles To Eat?

Most turtles will eat just about everything. Any worm they could receive in their environment. When fed  moderately, the following worms are good for turtles:

  1. Earthworms
  2. Bloodworms
  3. Mealworms
  4. Waxworms
  5. Red Wigglers
  6. Grubs
  7. Butterworms
  8. Silkworms
  9. Hornworms
  10. Superworms
  11. American Nightcrawler
  12. Red Worms

This prehistoric reptile has more than 300 recognized species. One thing that unites all species is that they each have their own favorite food.

How to Feed Your Turtle Worms?

Handpick worms out of their soil cocoons with care. You should probably use protective gloves (unless you don’t mind getting your hands dirty). 

It’s important to choose the healthiest, biggest worms you may get since they’ll be able to carry more nutrients for your pet.

Do not put ammonia-smelling worms inside your turtle’s aquarium, since this might be a sign that you need to clean up quite often.

Either dry earthworms may be put on the ground in the container, or they could be drenched in water beforehand. Earthworms may scurry off from their desired location if placed immediately.

they can settle near the aquarium’s bottom rather than in the sight of your pet. Your turtle will be able to receive the protein he needs more quickly and with less mess if you soak the food beforehand.

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What To Consider While Feeding Worms To Your Turtles?

The answer to the question “do turtles eat worms?” should be obvious at this point. Still, several exceptions will come back to harm you and your turtle if you don’t limit their intake.

It’s important to remember that turtles shouldn’t be overfed worms. Too many worms in your turtle’s diet may lead to obesity, pyramiding, and worm infestations.

Below are the things you should consider before feeding your turtle worms:

1.     Pyramiding

Turtles can’t survive without protein. However, you should be aware that eating an excessive amount of protein might cause the shell to produce thick layers of keratin.

This may have a permanent impact on a turtle’s development and growth. Scute growth is abnormally elongated upward. Each scute thus takes on a pyramidal, elongated form.

You also presumably already know that worms are a great source of protein. Therefore, controlling the number of worms eaten is essential.

When pyramiding occurs, the results are irreversible. So, watch your pet’s protein intake closely.

2.     Obesity And Selective Eating

Despite the stereotype, turtles may be trained to prefer certain foods by providing them with a steady supply of delectable animal protein.

Too many worms are not excellent for your turtle’s health since they are high in carbohydrates and fat. As a result, your turtle might become obese.

And there are other problems associated with turtle obesity. Your turtle will also have trouble doing things like reversing inside its shell or bearing its own weight.

3.     Incorrect Calcium To Phosphate Balance

In general, worms have a lower calcium concentration and greater phosphorus. However, a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus is considered optimal.  The same caution applies to the quantity of worms you feed your turtles.

While there are advantages to be had from phosphorus, too much of it may prevent the body from absorbing calcium because it causes insoluble calcium phosphates to be formed. High phosphorus content has been linked to decreased calcium absorption.

Providing the worms with a diet high in calcium may help to restore a more normal proportion.

4.     Pathogens And Parasites

To begin, your turtle might become ill from eating wild earthworms since they may have parasites. Even though it’s uncommon, it does occur in worms in the wild.

For this reason, it’s probably best to only give your turtle captive-reared earthworms rather than those you find in the yard.

The following are examples of worm parasites that turtles may contract:

  • flukes
  • creatures with flagella
  • nematodes
  • tapeworms
  • roundworm
  • pinworms/threadworms

You should immediately get a good over-the-counter wormer if you think your turtle has worms. Diarrhea and weight loss are possible side effects of a severe parasitic worm infection.

And must remember to deworm it frequently. Every six months, take a feces sample to the vet for analysis.

5.     Toxins

Both the environment and their diets may contribute to this. Jumping worms, which are a common source of poisonous metals, are one such example. High levels of hazardous metals have been linked to renal damage in turtles.

If you don’t know for sure that the soil your turtles are being fed from is low in these metals, you should not give them this kind of worm. All sorts of different things may provide the nutrients they need.

6.     Pesticides

Second, never give your turtle any kind of pesticide-treated earthworms. It’s not good for your turtle if it ingests any of those substances.

Do not feed your turtle any earthworms from your yard if you are unclear as to whether or not they have been treated.

Can Worms Be Fed To Baby Turtles?

A moderate amount of worms is healthy for newborn turtles. Especially throughout their growing years, they need a high-protein diet.

Though, relying excessively on worms isn’t desirable. Mealworms and waxworms are good choices for feeding newborn turtles because of their tiny size. This facilitates their chewing and swallowing.

Introduce little worms to your newborn turtle if you can. If you can only find large worms, you can split them in half and use them as smaller meals.

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Should Worms Be Fed To A Pet Turtle?

Of course! It is okay to give worms to pet turtles, but only in moderation. To offer that additional load of nutrients, it is ideal to administer gut-loaded worms.

First, feed the worms some cooked vegetables to make sure they’re nice and plump before turning them into a tasty treat for your turtles. When gut-loading, the ratio of calcium and phosphorus has to be adjusted to 2:1.

You should wait 12 to 24 hours after giving your turtles healthy food like collard greens, papaya, carrots, and squashes. This will guarantee that your reptile receives the nourishment it needs.

Live worms allow you to maximize their dietary intake since you may feed them directly. Excited turtles making a mess of the water in their pursuit of wriggling worms are always entertaining to see.

What Is The Daily Worm Intake For Turtles?

The ideal way to feed turtles is to offer two or three (2 or 3) at a time once a week since turtles in captivity don’t receive the same amount of activity as their wild counterparts.

Be careful not to go excessive with feeding your turtle. They have a tendency of asking for food. However, dietary and activity requirements vary greatly across turtle species.

Their diet is also affected by factors like their age and species. You are the best person to care for your turtle.

Some people feed earthworms as a regular meal for pet turtles, while others adhere to a rigorous diet of 2 worms every week.

You are the expert on your turtles and their requirements, so you can adjust the amount according to what’s best for your turtle.

Can You Give Your Turtle Live Worms?

Live worms are an excellent choice for your turtle’s diet. These worms are equally as nutritious as freeze-dried ones.

The one and only drawback are that they are usually more costly and difficult to get independently. You must also take measures to ensure their survival.

However, there are advantages to feeding live worms to your turtle. Your turtle will have a blast racing after the worms throughout the aquarium.

As a bonus, it will pique your turtle’s innate predatory drive. To a juvenile turtle, nothing is more exciting than a live worm. Your turtle will benefit from the exercise it receives while out on its worm-hunting adventures.

Most pet shops will sell live worms for your aquarium. If you don’t have any luck there, try looking for them in your neighborhood bait and tackle store.

You may also give your turtle a live worm that you locate in the dirt. The only time this is not the case is if the worms are discovered in a fertilized grassy area.

 Fertilizers are harmful to turtles and might have fatal consequences if they were to get into this.

Can Turtles Eat Caterpillars?

Most caterpillars can hurt your pet if offered to your turtle. So it’s better not to. Be wary of the caterpillar, especially if it is vividly colored or has spiked hair as it can be poisonous.

Can Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Mealworms, the larvae stage of the mealworm beetle, are an excellent source of protein, fat, and other elements that reptiles like turtles need.

Mealworm larvae provide between 14 and 25 g of protein per 100 grams. They also contain sufficient amounts of essential nutrients including potassium, zinc, and iron.

Therefore, mealworms may be fed to turtles. However, they are best fed after being gut loaded.

Also, mealworms are simple to cultivate. They may multiply rapidly even in confined areas. They will eat everything, so feel free to stuff them with oats, potatoes, carrots, and apples.

If worm farming seems like too much trouble for you here’s a fantastic choice that you can employ: Downtown Pet Supply Dried Mealworms.

These mealworms, it is said, are grown using only the finest feed and are then quickly dried to preserve their crisp texture and fragrant flavor.

Can Turtles Eat Earthworms?

For turtles, earthworms are among the healthiest worm alternatives. Most earthworms have a protein content of 60-70 percent, a lipid content of 11 to 20 percent, mineral content of 2 to 3 percent, and a vitamin content of a broad range.

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There’s no denying that earthworms are a delicious snack. You may get live earthworms from a pet shop or purchase some dried earthworms online if you’d want to provide your pet with a healthy meal that also happens to be high in nutrients.

Do Turtles Eat Bloodworms?

Since wild bloodworms like to congregate near sources of fresh water, they are often preyed upon by larger turtles like snapping turtles or aquatic turtles.

However, bloodworms, whether frozen or dried, provide a healthy protein diet for turtles. Chopped bloodworms may be necessary for smaller turtles.

You may find bloodworms in the canned food section of most pet stores. If you have a pet turtle, you should never give it a live bloodworm.

You don’t want to put yourself and the turtle in danger of damage by doing this!

Do Turtles Eat Silkworms?

Additionally, turtles like silkworms (Bombyx mori). It’s a common misconception that these tiny worms would bite turtles and cause intestinal harm, but that’s not the case.

There is no need to fear since they will have been thoroughly digested long prior they enter the gut.

However, turtles like the taste of silk and are known to tear silkworms to shreds but this insect is a costly commodity. 

In addition, you’ll have to cultivate the silkworms yourself, despite the fact that they’re not too demanding. They are, nonetheless, considered to be among the best protein options for reptiles.

Do Turtles Eat Waxworms?

Waxworms are an excellent alternative diet for turtles. However, waxworms are high in fat and should be handled with caution.

Waxworms should be fed to the turtles sometimes as a special treat. Waxworm infestations are bad for your turtle’s health.

Since wax worms can be purchased from pet shops, they are far more accessible than silkworms. On the other hand, it’s not even close to being as nutritious.

Do Snapping Turtles Eat Worms?

Truly, worms are a favorite snack of snapping turtles. Worms aren’t the only thing that may whet their hunger, however. 

Snapping turtles are not limited to a diet of worms. They will also consume fish, frogs, snakes, and even ducks.

Feeding your snapping turtle worms may not be the most cost-effective solution. Nonetheless, they may always be eaten as snacks.

Do Painted Turtles Eat Worms?

In fact, worms are a favorite food of painted turtles. In the wild, they search for a broad variety of animals, including worms.

Protein should make up 30–45% of a painted turtle’s daily calorie intake. Don’t count on worms alone to do this.

If you feed them worms on a regular basis, they will quickly develop an aversion to the food. You can get part of their daily protein from vegetables and pellets.

Do Box Turtles Eat Worms?

In order to meet their protein requirements, box turtles may benefit from eating a few worms once a week.

Half of a box turtle’s food should come from plants and the other half from animals. Earthworms are a common prey item for terrestrial box turtles in the wild.

Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat Worms?

Indeed, worms are a favorite food of red-eared sliders. When sliders are fed worms, they always plead for just another worm.

Because of their size, red-eared sliders can easily devour any sort of worm.

Closing Remarks

Due to their omnivorous nature, turtles may get the necessary protein from worms. The majority of turtle breeds, both wild turtles as well as turtles kept as pets, consume worms as their primary food source.

In order to provide the best possible care for your turtle, you need to be familiar with the many worm species it may consume.

Dried turtles, along with other canned or commercially made varieties, are widely available at pet stores.

The protein content of live worms is always lower than that of professionally manufactured worms, and they also pose a greater health risk to your pet. Therefore, you should regularly deworm them.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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