Having a pet painted turtle is a lifelong commitment as you have to take care of it, clean it and most importantly feed it regularly. In today’s article, I will focus on the feeding habit of painted turtles, how often they eat and what they eat.
The feeding schedule actually differs from turtle to turtle with size, age and season etc. For example, juvenile or baby painted turtles need to be fed daily, whereas adult turtles are well off with being fed every alternate day or more.
Painted turtles are omnivorous in nature. That means they eat a wide range of food item from plant to animal. They enjoy eating plants, vegetables, fish, meat, etc. As an owner, you should be able to provide a variety of foods even they like only one item. Otherwise, they’ll lack important nutrients and vitamins.
How often painted turtles eat?
As we said, the schedule of eating is different in different ages and seasons. It depends on the surrounded ambiance also. Let’s check out how often different painted turtles eat.
Juvenile painted turtles:
Baby painted turtles are frequent eaters and they need to be fed every now and then. They need to eat every day and also take vitamin and calcium supplements every alternate day. Baby painted turtles are very active and love to play around and this is the right time to feed when they are playing.
The more they grow as an adult, the less they eat. You will have to understand the pattern and change the frequency of feeding. But consult your vet at least once before changing.
Adult painted turtles:
Adult painted turtles eat less than the juveniles. Usually, a 7 year old turtle will be considered an adult. They eat every other day, sometimes, even in a 3 days gap. Feed according to their need, otherwise, food will be wasted as well as the tank will get dirty too.
During the hibernation period, painted turtles show different eating behavior. Painted turtles sleep through the winter. So, they won’t eat anything. Although this is optional, but if your turtle is preparing to hibernate, stop feeding him by the end of the fall. But offer him water so he can bathe or drink.
What do painted turtles actually eat?
Almost everything. Starting from fruits, green leafy vegetables, aquatic plants to meat, fish, worms and other kind of live or frozen animal particle. You can feed them with live animals or homemade fillets, plants or you can buy canned foods.
Nowadays there are a variety of canned foods that are available in the market for painted turtles. They are designed in such a way that they provide all kinds of balanced diet for painted turtles of all ages. An ideal meal should contain high protein (30-40%), low fat, vitamin D and high calcium for their shell and bone development.
Another thing to remember is that they need supplements. In captivity, painted turtles cannot get every nutrition from regular food. So provide supplements like Calcium block with the regular food.
How do you know if your painted turtles are hungry or not?
There is no such way to tell. Painted turtles are opportunistic. They will eat anything and everything in front of them. But this can be harmful to their health. Overeating can result in overweight or shell deformities. So a strict feeding schedule is needed. It is up to you to make a routine and feed the painted turtles.
What to do if your painted turtles are not eating for a long time?
Well, as I said earlier, baby turtles eat once a day and adult painted turtles eat every alternate day. When they are growing towards adulthood they will eat less and less. So, if adult painted turtles do not eat for 2, even 3 days in a row, don’t worry. They are probably not hungry. But if it exceeds more than that and if it happens more frequently you should probably consult a vet as soon as possible.
Things to consider when feeding a painted turtle:
- No matter how often your painted turtles eat, it is you who has to keep track and make a routine. Make a schedule and give them food timely.
- It will be really clever if you feed your painted turtles in a different container. Only in case of live fish, feed them in their tank. But for everything else, use a separate container. By doing this you don’t have to clean the habitat every time you feed. Because, turtles are very messy when it comes to eating.
- Painted turtles typically eat and swim together. So if it is not possible to arrange a separate container to feed, it will be appropriate if you clip the food items on the wall of the tank. Floating food items are also easy for the painted turtles to eat.
- The leafy plants or vegetables can be placed on a suction cup clip. By this method, the leaves will not spread in the water.
- Do not feed the turtles more frequently than they need. Otherwise, they can be overweight and unhealthy.
- Never try to feed them with hand. They can bite. Turtle bites are very painful.
- Calcium dust powder or calcium block- calcium supplements are available in both forms. Give anyone 3 times a week.
Feeding your painted turtles properly is your responsibility. So it is crucial to learn their food habit, schedule, and like-dislikes.