How To Feed A Turtle When On Vacation?


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

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The inevitable time comes for anybody who lives with a turtle when circumstances call for leaving these intriguing reptiles alone at home. Owners of turtles often face the problem of caring for their shelled friends during shorter absences, whether it is a quick weekend getaway or the pressures of a hectic schedule.

As long as they have access to clean water, a sufficient amount of food, and a suitable basking location, turtles may be left alone. Since these needs are met and turtles are often very self-sufficient, they may usually be left alone for a few days.

Now, let’s look at each of these three requirements in further depth to comprehend the procedures that must be taken.

Additionally, information on how to leave instructions for anybody who could be assigned with caring for your turtle while you are away will be supplied. But let’s start by talking about the vital things you have to consider for the time being.

read all our guides on Turtle dietary pattern & metabolism!

Key Takeaways

  • Identify your turtle’s species to understand its specific dietary needs.
  • Consider the duration of your absence – leaving enough food for a few days is fine, but longer trips require a feeding plan.
  • Maintain proper temperature and humidity conditions for your turtle’s health and comfort.
  • Turtles can survive without food for short periods, but it’s not recommended to leave them without sustenance.
  • Have a friend or family member feed your turtle at least twice a week.
  • Automatic food dispensers, like the Eheim Turtle Feeder, can help with consistent feedings.
  • Basking area: leave the lamp on for shorter absences, but use timers to control lighting for longer periods.
  • Water: Fill the tank before leaving. Consider water evaporation, especially in hot conditions.
  • Precise measurements and schedules help caregivers feed accurately.
  • Weight loss, decreased shell development, and other health issues can result from a lack of proper care.

What Things To Consider When Feeding Turtle While On A Vacation?

There are a few important details to remember while planning your turtle’s food while you’re away.

1. Species Of Your Turtle

The first step is identifying the species of your turtle since various turtles have varied nutritional needs. If you understand your turtle’s specific dietary requirements, you can provide it the care it needs even when you’re not there.

2. Time Of Your Vacation

The timeframe during which you will be absent is also an important consideration. Leaving enough food for your turtle for a few days is adequate.

However, if your trip will last for a longer period of time, you’ll need to make plans for a trusted someone to handle the feedings.

This person might be a trusted friend, relative, or professional pet sitter. It is crucial to provide them with thorough instructions for feeding and any other care requirements.

3. Temperature And Humidity

In addition, your turtle’s health is heavily influenced by the circumstances in which it is kept. Temperature and humidity requirements for turtle survival are rather strict.

Maintaining these conditions in the turtle’s environment is crucial while you’re gone. This requires keeping the air at the ideal temperature and humidity to forestall thirst and make sure they feel at ease.

4. Type Of Food

Finally, you should give some thought to the kind of food you provide your turtle. When compared to processed foods, the nutritional content of fresh food is always superior.

If you decide to go with fresh food, stock up before you go and maybe even use a different container so it stays fresh while you’re gone.

Leaving enough processed food in a well-sealed container is essential for keeping it from spoiling as time passes.

How To Feed A Turtle When On Vacation?

1. Food

One of the first things you should know is that turtles may survive for a very long period without eating. It is not uncommon for a turtle to spend up to three weeks without eating in the wild. Not that you should intentionally starve your turtle, but a few days without food shouldn’t kill it.

If you’re just going away for the weekend, you can relax about consuming completely. The day without meals won’t even register in your turtle’s mind. There is no need to worry.

Leaving your turtle at home for a week without worrying about what to feed it is doable. Even though the turtle won’t be physically harmed, I don’t think it’s a good idea to let it go so long without sustenance.

The best course of action is to have a friend or family member drop over at least two times per week to feed your turtle.

All should be OK so long as they just visit once a week in the middle of the week to feed your turtle. If no one is available to come over and feed your turtles, you still have options.

However, if you’re having trouble convincing anybody to stop by, you may want to investigate the following alternatives.

2. Aquatic Plants

For a few weeks, water vegetation should provide sufficient nutrition for your omnivorous turtle. You can get them at almost any pet store, and they can spend a lot of time submerged without becoming wet.

There is no debate as to whether or not turtles like plants since they will always eat them regardless of how often you feed them.

It doesn’t matter how many plants you place in the tank, as long as they don’t crowd the water. If there are too many, the water becomes muddy quickly, and the turtle would have nowhere to swim.

Putting a few aquatic plants in the tank won’t prevent your turtle from eating, so feel free to do so even if friends are on the way.

The water will get unclean much more rapidly, but otherwise, those plants are great! It’s obvious that when turtles bite them, they’ll inevitably float about in pieces.

My advice is to not just depend on plants, but rather to use them in conjunction with other strategies.

3. Feeder Fish

Getting some feeder fish is the next best option. Pet fish of the feeder kind are the most common aquarium inhabitants. However, the turtle will be able to eat them here.

The staff at any pet store carrying fish should be able to provide you with a healthy selection of feeder fish for your turtle. Here are some ideas on what you need to buy just in case they don’t know what you’re talking about.

Your turtle will have no trouble eating and catching little feeder fish, and they don’t even have to be particularly plump. Goldfish are not a good choice since their excessive weight might cause health issues for your turtle. Some species that do well as feeders include as follows:

  • Killifish
  • Mosquitofish
  • Bluegills
  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Black Crappie Bass

You can acquire them at any pet shop, and when your turtle gets hungry it will attempt to catch them.

If your turtle is accustomed to eating mainly fish, or meat, it may stop eating pellets and other kinds of meals if you introduce too many fish to the tank.

There’s also the issue that the turtle’s digestion of them will cause a major mess in the tank. Don’t only depend on feeder fish, try a few other techniques.

4. Automatic Food Dispenser

Investing in an automated food dispenser is a simple way to solve the food shortage. It will be useful in situations when you’re at home with your turtle but don’t have much time to devote to its care due to other commitments.

In this case, we’ll be focusing on the Eheim Turtle Feeder.  the Eheim Turtle Feeder’s adaptable features stand out.

It’s notable because you can set it to release food automatically up to four times a day, and you can choose between double and ordinary portions.

It should be noted that the gadget has a limited food capacity. However, if your trip will last more than three months, it is recommended that you have a monthly feeder refill scheduled.

It is understood that the Eheim Turtle Feeder, for all its efficacy, will leave behind some trace amounts of food in the water. This is something that must be prepared for.

While it may be OK to use this strategy alone, it is suggested that it may be useful to combine it with other feeding strategies. it is recommended that a multi-pronged strategy that includes providing the turtle with a varied meal while the owner is away.

How Often Do You Feed A Map Turtle

What Are The Necessary Arrangements You Should Make Before A Vacation?

1. Basking Area

The key dilemma about the basking area is whether or not the light should be left on. The duration of your absence determines the appropriate response.

If you’re just going away for the weekend, leaving the basking area lit won’t be an issue.

But if you’ll be gone for a week or more, it’s not safe to keep it on continuously. It’s also not good to prevent your turtle access to a warm, sunny spot. Thankfully, the answer is as easy as setting a timer.

In this situation, you’ll want to use a timer to automatically turn on the lights at a particular moment and then switch them off again. All you need to do is set the timer and you’re good to go. It’s as easy as it gets. You may use them for other purposes, like activating the coffee machine in the morning, while you are at home and not using the basking area.

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2. Water

There are currently no automated water replacement systems on the market, as far as I am aware.

It is advised that you fill the tank as much as possible and do a full water change before leaving.

Water evaporation is an often-overlooked element that might prevent your turtle from reaching the basking area, particularly on really hot days.

You shouldn’t have to worry too much if you have to leave your turtle alone for up to two weeks. With less water being lost to evaporation, water quality should be more consistent.

If you’ll be gone for more than two weeks, however, it’s smart to have someone else swap out the water or refill the tank.

3. If Someone Is Going To Take Care

If someone else is going to be caring for the turtle while you’re gone, make sure they have thorough and specific instructions. Your peace of mind depends on the efficiency of the caregiving procedure.

Providing precise measurements is essential for the feeding regimen. A daily feeding schedule may be communicated by placing a note beside the turtle’s food, such as “Feed the turtle 20 pellets.”

It might be easier on the carer if you either tell them how many pellets to give or use a measurement item like a spoon.

Due to the time and effort required, it is often preferable to do water changes independently if at all possible.

Water changes aren’t always needed, but if they are, you can make them go more smoothly by having everything you need handy and giving clear written instructions. Using this approach may improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.

A handy trick for making water maintenance easier is to mark the water quantity with a marker. This easy procedure lets the turtle’s caretaker know right away whether the water level has to be adjusted.

The well-being of the turtle and the ease of its caretaker may both be improved by following these practices.

How Much Should You Feed A Turtle

What Happens If You Leave A Turtle Alone For A Week?

Leaving a turtle alone for a week is highly discouraged. In spite of the fact that they may go without eating for weeks at a time, turtles still need our care and attention.

Some of the problems that might arise after a week of neglect include:

  • Health problems and even death may result from a lack of clean water.
  • A turtle’s health may be compromised by the development of microorganisms in contaminated water or an unsanitary environment.
  • Your turtle may be stressed out by its unclean cage.
  • The turtle’s weight and muscular mass will decrease if it is not fed properly.
  • The turtle’s shell development and perhaps its health depends on the turtle’s ability to metabolize calcium, which is inhibited without UVB radiation.

You should have someone come and check on your turtle once a week if you must leave it alone for that long.

This individual should know how to keep a turtle fed and watered, as well as how to keep the cage clean and undamaged. You might also think about getting a pet sitter or putting the animal in temporary boarding.

Can Turtles Go A Month Without Eating?

Although turtles can live without food for a long time without dying, you shouldn’t let them. There are a number of variables that determine how long a turtle may go without eating, including the species, the turtle’s age and health, and whether or not the turtle is hibernating.

If an adult turtle goes a month or more without eating, it will begin losing weight and muscular mass, but it will still be able to live.

Malnutrition and other health issues may result. However, juvenile turtles have a greater need for food than adults do and may start to show signs of illness after just a few weeks without it.

While in hibernation, turtles’ metabolisms drop to the point that they don’t need to eat for many months. Hibernation is a common practice among turtles, however, not all do so depending on species and climate.

Negative effects on the turtle’s health and well-being might result from going more than a week without feeding it. Maintaining a routine feeding schedule and not leaving your turtle without food for extended periods of time are essential care practices.

How Long Can a Pet Turtle Live Without Food

Do Turtles Need To Be Fed Every Day?

When feeding turtles, it’s important to consider both the species and the turtle’s age. In general, mature turtles may be fed every other day, or even every three days, and do not necessarily need to be fed daily.

However, different turtle species have different nutritional requirements, hence the frequency of feeding varies. Also, monitor your turtle’s growth and well-being so you may change its food schedule accordingly.

Your turtle’s weight growth may indicate that it needs fewer meals each week. You should feed your turtle more often if you see that it is losing weight.

Final Thoughts

Short lengths of time spent apart from your turtle at home need not be traumatic. Providing your turtle with food, drink, and a warm place to bask can allow it to thrive while you’re away.

Your turtle’s environment and health may be ensured by taking the time to properly prepare the tank and water and by giving explicit instructions to a carer, if necessary. Check also our linked article “How To Setup The Perfect Indoor Box Turtle Habitat?” for a more in-depth look at how to provide a stimulating habitat for your box turtle. Keeping your turtle healthy and happy while you’re away requires careful preparation and attention to detail.

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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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