I have aquatic turtles, and I prefer to feed them non-commercial food as little as possible. Here's what I like to feed them!
Make Turtle Food at Home: Easy DIY Turtle Food Recipe
I prefer to feed my turtles non-commercial food, or at the least, do so as little as possible. A healthy turtle is an active and happy turtle. Using a blender, fresh foods, and a reptile-based gelatin powder, you can create your own concoction. This recipe is more of a guide, as the possibilities and combinations of foods are endless.
Ready? It is really easy; be prepared to be blown away.
- Reptile gelatin, available at most pet stores.
- Fruits of your choice; you can use apples, grapes, raspberries and strawberries; many melons are liked and bananas as well.
- Vegetables of your choice; you can use any dark leafy green such as bok choy, leaf lettuce, endive and kale, zucchini, broccoli carrots, tomatoes, sometimes squash or pumpkin.
- Meat (or substitute), or use worms, snails, or tuna water.
- Using a blender or knife, pulse or chop your chosen fruits and vegetables into very small pieces. I tend to use a lot of greens over fruit. Apples, grapes, cherry tomatoes and strawberries are enjoyed whole by my turtles, so I don't put those in this mix. You can also put water plants like duckweed and grasses in.
- Prepare the gelatin mix as instructed on the package. If you need a stronger gelatin, use less liquid. Reptile gelatin has vitamins and nutrients in it, I do not add more.
- Mix the chopped vegetables, fruits and choice of 'meat' or tuna water with the gelatin.
- Place mixture into ice cube trays, I use the mini-sized ones and not the large ones you commonly see. When I first started, I used fish-shaped ice cube trays, to add that extra little enticement.
- Freeze overnight in the freezer.
- Thaw and serve.
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When I am introducing new foods, I will entice them with some tuna water, but otherwise, my 'food cubes' are mainly dark leafy greens with broccoli, zucchini, carrot added. I keep live food in their tank, so for me, I do not have to include protein or meat.
Do turtles need special foods?
The biggest pro of being able to customize your food for your pet aquatic turtle is that you can introduce foods they may not otherwise try, control the portion sizes, and increase nutrient values. The main goal for many people making their own food for their turtles is to maximize and utilize a variety of foods. My turtles will not eat zucchini, but they do eat zucchini in tuna-flavoured cubes. Sshhh . . . don't tell.
Because I feed my pet turtles a lot of live foods, I do not overly worry about meat in my concoction, but as you will see, you can easily add protein to your mix or encourage the younger turtles a little tuna water, bugs, or worms can do the trick.
Should you feed turtles meat?
Many recipes you find say to use beef heart. I am not a fan of that, although I do try to feed what I call natural foods. I like knowing my turtles are hunting their food and getting the added bonus of exercise. Some recipes will also call for separating the meat and vegetables, but I toss it all together. I never use beef or chicken, raw or cooked, to feed my turtles. I keep live food in their tank, so for me, I do not have to include protein or meat.
What not to feed turtles:
I have seen a few YouTube videos calling for red dye . . . I don't think so.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.