Do Turtles Eat Tadpoles?

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

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I often get emails saying whether tadpoles suit the turtle’s diet. In this article, I will address exactly this question.

Tadpoles are rich in protein and have a high nutritional profile. Hence, these amphibian hatchlings can be a high-protein source for carnivorous turtles. Usually, the predacious turtles use their sharp jaws to pierce through the tadpole flesh.

But aren’t tadpoles poisonous? Well, not all species. Keep reading to find more details.

Can I Feed My Turtles Tadpoles?

Tadpoles, or amphibian fish-like hatchlings, are the perfect protein for pet turtles. In fact, turtles, both captive and wild, love preying on these larvae. But yes, using tadpoles as a diet comes with certain risks.

You may be familiar with tadpoles’ toxicity. If you feed your turtles poisonous tadpoles by mistake, you can even lose them.

So, provide the turtle tadpole only if you have hand-caught it and know the species well. Pet stores also sell tadpoles, but they can be as expensive as regular feeding.

Do Turtles Eat Frogs?

As you know, most turtles are omnivorous. In the wild, they prey on worms, insects, tadpoles, toads, frogs, and fish to fulfill their protein requirements.

Even the captive turtles prefer preying on frogs in the tank. Frogs are tricky and hard to catch, making hunting more interesting for the turtles and giving them the same wild survival vibe.

Usually, turtles hunt on small frogs that are easier to tackle. You can also offer your pet turtles toads or tadpoles in the enclosure as live prey. However, some frogs and toads carry toxic substances that may kill the turtles.

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One tip to differentiate the poisonous frogs is to look at their skin. Generally, toxic frogs have eye-catching color combinations.

I suggest you avoid feeding your turtles any wild-caught frogs. Instead, buy the prey from a pet store.

One more thing. Owners often wish to raise both frogs and turtles in the same pen. Well, you can house both animals in a single tank with proper space, diet, and environmental management.

You also need to consider the turtles’ size and food preferences. For example, if you put frogs and snapping turtles in the same pond, be prepared to say goodbye to the frogs soon.

What Else Do Turtles Eat?

Well, though rich in protein and nutrition, both tadpoles and frogs can carry toxic stains. If you do not want your turtle to be at a health risk, look for other meal options.

Generally, a turtle’s diet includes,

  • Plant matter
  • Animal protein
  • Pellet 
  • Fruits 
  • Supplements 

The safe and nutritious items for turtles are,

1. Plant Matter

  • Kale 
  • Zucchini 
  • Escarole 
  • Water lily 
  • Water hyacinth 
  • Duckweed
  • Chickweed
  • Bell pepper
  • Romaine lettuce 
  • Squash
  • Okra 
  • Green beans 
  • Turnip greens 
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato 
  • Beet
  • Corn 
  • Clover 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Spinach 
  • Butternut 
  • Cauliflower
  • Beet top 
  • Endive 
  • Watercress 
  • Parsley 
  • Cabbage, etc.

2. Animal Protein

  • Cricket 
  • Grasshopper 
  • Beetles 
  • Earthworm 
  • Mealworm 
  • Waxworm 
  • Bloodworm 
  • Slug 
  • Snail 
  • Minnows 
  • Crayfish 
  • Small feeder fish 
  • Caterpillar 
  • Chopped chicken, beef, or pork 
  • Liver, etc.

3. Fruits

  • Banana 
  • Apple 
  • Melon 
  • Pineapple 
  • Orange 
  • Berries 
  • Fig 
  • Apricot 
  • Kiwi 
  • Papaya 
  • Cherry 
  • Pulm, etc. 

N.B. Turtle diet habits can vary depending on the species and age group. For example, yellow-bellied turtles are carnivorous in the beginning, omnivorous during their young age, and herbivorous when they are old.

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Before You Go

Turtles are big fans of fruits. Yet, you can not offer them this treat every day. But why? The article below discusses the benefits and drawbacks of feeding turtles fruits.

Can Turtles Eat Fruits? [Safe List]

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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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