When your kids ask for a pet, one of the most easy-going ones you can find is a turtle. But as uncomplicated as they may appear to be, taking care of them requires attention to the needs of this species.
Your kids are excited when you bring home their first pet – a turtle. Turtles are small and don’t do a whole lot that requires a lot of your time. They don’t play catch or need to be walked each day. A child can learn to be responsible for them with a little direction.
But what do they eat?
You may think that you know what to feed your turtle because it is a reptile and it is so small. It couldn’t eat much right? Feeding your pet the wrong foods can ruin their health and make them sick. Read about their nutritional requirements here so you are prepared before you bring your turtle home.
Your turtle needs a well-balanced diet. This does not include feeding them stuff leftover from your dinner. They need meat and vegetables but those made for turtles and not for people.
As a young reptile, turtles eat more often because they are growing. Check with your pet store to see what food they stock for your pet. Their diet generally consists of one quarter meat, one quarter specialized turtle food and two quarters vegetables.
Turtle food can be purchased at pet stores. Try to incorporate it into their meals every day. The meat they eat is not what you would put on your plate. Turtles love to eat mealworms, goldfish, other worms and even small bugs. These can also be found in pet stores if you are not too keen on catching their food yourself.
Use raw greens to round out your turtle’s diet. Try dark green lettuce, dandelion greens, spinach or others that you like.
Don’t forget to give your turtle fresh water. They will have water in their habitat but that is mostly used for getting exercise (swimming). Also, they are also known to urinate and/or defecate in their swim water.
One way to avoid this is to prepare a separate place for your turtle to eat away from where they live. They can be messy when they eat. Sometimes they want to spread it around. They usually go to the bathroom afterwards too, so a second habitat avoids contamination in their swim water.
Be sure to cut up the turtle food as small as possible. They won’t be able to eat large pieces and can end up under-nourished. Use this rule of thumb: If the pieces of food are larger than the turtle’s head, it is too big.
Turtles make great pets for young children who aren’t ready for the responsibility of a bigger animal or those who want a quiet pet in their home.