Turtles living at home need a balanced diet, including all the substances they need. In nature, the animal can independently find sources of vitamins and minerals for itself, but at home, the owners of the turtle should take care of this.
It is necessary to feed turtles during the day, as they are most active during daylight hours, despite the fact that for a long time they were considered nocturnal animals.
Giving animals food is recommended after they have warmed up enough; after all, turtles that have been cool for a long time lose their appetite. If it is not possible to feed the turtle during the day, it is best to give it food in the evening, a few hours before bedtime.
Turtles are animals that can go without food for a very long time, several days or even weeks, but you can not starve them. It is possible to determine whether the turtle wants to eat according to several signs: land turtles begin to move uneasily along the corral or apartment, and approach the place where they are usually fed. Turtles constantly inspect the bottom of the aquarium or terrarium in search of food, but, being hungry, do it restlessly, randomly moving in the water.
The foods you feed the turtle must be fresh and thoroughly washed. It is necessary to give the animal only those fruits and vegetables, the cultivation of which did not use any chemicals. If you do not have the opportunity to feed the turtle with fruits from your own garden, then you should pay special attention to this when buying products.
If the animal refuses food for a long time, it must be shown to the veterinarian, as this may be a sign of illness. Often the turtle just brought into the house does not eat because it cannot get used to the new environment and unfamiliar conditions. In this case, the animal needs to be given rest and for some time not to touch it and not to make noise in the room where it is located. Often the turtle’s lack of appetite is due to the fact that it cannot get used to the new diet. You need to find out what the tortoise was eating before it appeared with you, and gradually accustom it to new food. If you have other turtles, it’s best to plant a new animal right away, then it will start to feed with them.
When keeping several turtles in the terrarium, care must be taken that larger and stronger individuals do not oppress the weaker ones and allow them to approach the feeding trough.
When choosing food for turtles, one should take into account whether they are aquatic or terrestrial, features of various species, as well as the region in which they live in nature.
Land turtles feed mainly on plant foods. They can be given leaves of cabbage, dandelion, lettuce, stalks and leaves of peas, clover, plantain. Some eat fresh buds and dandelion flowers well. These plants are useful for the digestion of turtles, as their leaves contain a lot of fiber. Before giving the leaves to the animal, it is advisable to sprinkle them lightly with water. It is useful to give these animals finely chopped nettle leaves, sprouted oats. Nettles can be dried and fed with turtles in the winter.
Land turtles are advised to give fresh vegetables. carrots, beets, which contain a large amount of the nutrients they need. Vegetables should be finely chopped or grated, as they are quite stiff and turtles cannot chop large pieces on their own. Turtles are happy to eat young cucumbers and tomatoes. Tomatoes need to be cut, because eating them whole animal is uncomfortable. In order for the animal to eat diverse, it is useful to give him a mixture of different leaves and chopped vegetables. Some turtles eat mashed boiled potatoes and rice.
In addition to vegetables, the turtle can also be given fruits. pears, apples, plums, apricots, peaches. This animal also eats berries (raspberries, strawberries, currants, etc.) with pleasure. Large fruits need to be cut into several parts or knead with a fork. Turtles eagerly eat watermelons and melons, as well as citrus fruits. Some species of turtles enjoy bananas with pleasure.
Young turtles under the age of two are recommended to be fed daily, as they need regular food for normal growth and development. Adults can be fed less often. 2-3 times a week, if they are healthy, gain good weight and do not need to be prepared for hibernation.
Despite the fact that the basis of the diet of land turtles is plant food, they also need animal products. In the process of observing the behavior of these animals in natural conditions, it turned out that they feed on small insects, chicks of birds whose nests are on the ground, snails, worms, etc. Therefore, turtles should sometimes be given some minced meat, flour worms, bloodworms, crickets or garden snails (water can not be given).
Many turtles love rustic cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, boiled fish. All boiled food must be allowed to cool before being given to turtles.
A small land tortoise needs 30–40 g of feed daily. Most of it, about 80%, is made up of greens, chopped vegetables and fruits, and the remaining 20% is cereals and animal products. It is useful to add crushed egg shells to the food of turtles, which contain a large percentage of calcium.
Turtles do not eat very carefully and scatter a significant part of the food and trample it in the ground, so the remnants of food should not be left in the corral or terrarium for a long time. So that food does not spoil, you need to try to give the animal as much as it can eat.
When feeding, it is necessary to remember that, having finished eating, after a while the turtle can return to the feeder, so you should not immediately remove the food.
Contrary to popular belief that the best food for land turtles is soaked bread with milk, you can feed them with these products only as a last resort.
It is believed that land turtles do not drink at all, that they have enough fluid contained in plants, but this is not so. It is not necessary to put a drinker with water in the terrarium, because turtles will definitely turn it over; it is best to drink them while swimming.
Water turtles are fed mainly animal food. Small young turtles can be given bloodworms, tubule makers, dried daphnia, earthworms, concentrates intended for aquarium fish, dried or live gammarus (water crustaceans).
Large adult water turtles, in addition to the above feeds, can be given raw or boiled chicken, beef. It is occasionally recommended that you feed them raw fish. It is advisable to hold the fish for 1 minute in boiling water before giving it to the turtle, since it contains the enzyme thiaminase.
In the diet of water turtles, it is necessary to include insects: mealyworm larvae, cockroaches, various beetles, etc.
With age, water turtles begin to eat not only animal, but also plant foods, mainly algae, so growing algae to decorate an aquarium or terrarium is pointless. For turtles, plants can be grown in a separate aquarium. Almost all algae can be given to turtles, with the exception of elodea and limnophiles, since they are poisonous.
If it is not possible to feed animals with algae, you can give them dandelion leaves or lettuce. some water turtles eat them with pleasure. If there is a pond near your home, you can collect duckweed from its surface and occasionally give it to turtles.
Both animal and vegetable feeds of tortoises are poured directly into the water. Despite the fact that water turtles eat fast, pieces of meat or fish left in the water begin to rot and become unfit for food. Therefore, animals need to be fed exactly as much as they can eat in 15–20 minutes, otherwise after each feeding it will be necessary to change the water in the aquarium.
Unlike adult water turtles, which eagerly eat aquarium plants, young turtles are indifferent to them, therefore, before they grow, they can well be kept in aquariums and aquaterrariums decorated with algae. It looks very beautiful, and in addition, growing turtles often use algae overgrowth as a shelter.
If possible, you can give turtles live aquarium fish (guppies, swordsmen, goldfish). This will allow water turtles to show their hunting instincts at home.
Both land and water turtles need to be fed sparingly, because overeating them can only hurt. If the tortoise is full, it is not necessary to give it additional food. Young growing turtles should be fed 1-2 times a day, adults. 1 time per day, and preferably 1 day per week should not be fed.