How Often Do You Feed A Map Turtle?

How Often Do You Feed A Map Turtle

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

The heath of a map turtle depends not only on its diet but also on how often or how much you are feeding it. I have been keeping map turtles for years, and many people come to me for suggestions. I have observed that the most common disease among map turtles is pyramiding, which occurs due to overfeeding of high protein.

The diet routine of your map turtle totally depends on its age and size. Such as:

  • If you have a map turtle hatchling, you have to feed it once every day.
  • If you are raising an adult map turtle, feeding it 4 or 5 times a week will be enough.

This diet routine can be modified on the basis of some factors. In this article, I will discuss how often and how much you should feed your map turtle. So, read until the end to get all the tips to keep your map turtle healthy.

How Often Should You Feed Your Map Turtle?

I have mentioned earlier that the diet routine depends on the age of your pet turtle. For your convenience, I am subcategorizing them into 3 sections: Baby map turtles/ hatchling, young map turtle, and adult map turtle.

Baby Map Turtle or Hatchling

The map turtles grow the most at an early age. For average growth and healthy bone structure, they need foods that contain calcium, vitamin D3, vitamin A, vitamin E, and other minerals. If there is a lack of any nutrients, the pet turtle may end up being fragile.

However, at the early stage, they need more food and nutrition. To fulfill their appetite and keep them healthy, you have to feed the hatchlings daily. Most of the map turtle hatchlings prefer eating in the morning than in the evening. You can also feed them twice a day, in the morning and the evening, if you half the entire meal.

You have to make sure that the food items are high in protein and contain all necessary nutritions. Feed them pallet each day and sprinkle calcium and vitamin supplements on each meal. You can also provide protein snacks like a worm, shrimp, cricket, eggs, etc., once a week.

You have to follow this diet routine for 6 months to 1 year or as long as the turtle does not reach 3 inches in carapace length. Many owners provide a little amount of vegetation with pellets, though I do not suggest that.

Young Map Turtle

The diet routine of a young map turtle is similar to a hatchling with some significant modifications. You need to feed the young turtles daily, but make sure the pellets are low in protein. If you feed them an excessive amount of hight protein, the pets can suffer from rapid growth, obesity, pyramiding, organ issues, and so on.

At that age, you can add vegetables to the diet chart. Provide them romaine lettuce, green leafy vegetables with the pellets. Vegetables benefit the map turtles in 3 different ways. Such as:

  1. The green veggies help turtles to keep the hunger at a minimum level.
  2. The vegetables are the natural sources of vitamins A and E.
  3. These food items bring variety to the daily meal and make it more appealing to the map turtles.

And also, feed them calcium and vitamin supplements 3 or 4 times a week.

Adult Map Turtle

Most of the map turtle species are not considered adults as long as they do not reach 5 to 7 years. As the map turtles lose appetites with their growing age, you have to change the diet routine.

You do not need to feed an adult map turtle every day. Instead, feeding it every two or three days will be enough. You have to make sure the pallet and vegetable proportion is perfect in its meals. Though map turtles are omnivorous, throughout their life, they prefer eating proteins.

You have to provide high protein pellets, a small portion of vegetables with vitamin D3 and calcium sprinkled on them.

How Much Should You Feed Your Map Turtle?

Most beginners and even the turtle owners often get confused about how much food to offer to the map turtles. The map turtles are voracious animal, and it never refuses food. It is because of its wild instincts. In the wild, the map turtles do not get food every day. So, whenever they get any food, they just eat as much as they can.

In this section, I will try to clear the concept as much as I can. You can follow two main methods to determine how much to feed the turtle. Such as:

  1. The 5 minutes method
  2. The head method

The 5 Minutes Method

This method refers that you have to provide the amount of food that the map turtle can finish in 5 minutes. At first, put a large portion of pellets and veggies in the enclosure. Let the pet eat for that range of time and remove the extra foods.

This method works perfectly for the young and adult map turtles.

The Head Method

You need to own a good assumption skill to apply this method. Try imagining an empty pot, just the size of the map turtle’s head. Now provide that amount of food you will need to fill the pot. This method is accurate for all category map turtles.

Try to stick to the methods I have mentioned. Feeding extra protein and food leads to map turtle to rapid growth, which can cause shedding, pyramiding, and other shell diseases. Click here to learn more about the shell diseases of a map turtle.

How Can You Feed Your Map Turtle?

Map turtles are semi aquatic species and spend most of their time swimming underwater. So, the best way to feed them is to provide the foods in the water. Or providing the food items in the basking dock also seems to be a good plan. Many turtle owners prefer keeping food items in different places.

I have met some owners who use separate enclosure just for feeding. Well, that is indeed a good idea if you want to avoid a mess. Do you know what else can be amazing? Setting up an automatic map turtle feeder in the tank may help you a lot.

Click here to get a clear idea of map turtle auto feeders. Also, learn which one is the best feeder that comes with all the features and a reasonable price.

Map Turtle Diet

Map turtles are omnivorous species. But they prefer eating more protein and a small portion of vegetation. Here are some food items that you can offer to your map turtle:

  • Snail
  • Worms
  • Cricket
  • Crayfish
  • Fiddlers
  • Squash
  • Endive
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Commercial foods

No matter what you are feeding the pet, make sure the meal is well-rounded for the map turtle. Also, sprinkle calcium and vitamin D3 on each meal. If you want to know more about a map turtle’s proper diet plan, click here.

Additional Information

  • The diet routine I have discussed is only for regular time. If you put your map turtle in hibernation, the method will be invalid.
  • Map turtles spend their time in the water, and so you do not have to provide extra drinking water. But make sure the tank water is fresh and hygienic. Always set up a good quality water filter in the habitat. Click here and get to know the best tank filter for map turtles.
  • Underfeeding the map turtles can be less harmful than overfeeding.
  • If you want to feed the pets more frequently, divide the meals into small portions. For example, you have to feed the hatchlings once a day. If you want to feed them twice, half the total quantity.


Feeding the map turtle or determining the food amount is not hard if you know the proper technique. In this article, I have discussed the appropriate way of feeding your pet turtle. I hope you will find this helpful.

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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