Monday, May 3, 2010

Pet Turtle Care: What Do Baby Turtles Eat? - Turtle Feeding Strategies Made Simple

Turtles require a specific diet to ensure proper health and avoid early fatality. This is an all too common occurrence with pet turtles due to a lack of knowledge about turtle care. What do baby turtles eat? The short answer is protein.

Stock piling plenty of protein is the best way to build strong muscles and immune system. However with all turtles calcium is a must for strong bones and a durable shell. Feeding baby turtles does not have to be difficult, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Juvenile turtles, as pets or in the wild, are mostly carnivorous until they reach maturity. Once they become an adult most of their diet consists of leafy greens, fruits, vegetables and some protein as well. For all turtles young and old calcium is necessary for a nice strong shell and bones.

Fish Food

In captivity young turtles have been known to do well with fish foods. Fish foods are loaded with protein, nutrients and vegetation for an all in one diet. Pet stores sell baby turtle foods and things of this nature, but you can get the same results for much less money with a pond fish or goldfish food.

These specialized products cost quite a bit more and you will not get any better results. Another problem is that they contain more preservatives, which are not good for your baby turtle. They may not necessarily kill the turtle, but too many preservatives are not good for anyone.

Live Proteins

Live proteins are excellent for turtles of any age. Small worms, crickets and other insects will provide a tasty treat that is packed with protein. The fish food is to make sure your turtle gets some protein everyday. If there is a cricket that your turtle is unable to catch right away, you will know that protein has still been provided.

While browsing around your local pet store you may find freeze dried bugs. If you ask someone working there if these are good to feed your turtle they will probably say yes. Do not believe this! Freeze dried bugs lack nutrients and are there for useless. This is the same theory of why everyone will tell you not to feed your turtle iceberg lettuce, because there are very little nutrients. Make sure everything you feed your baby turtle serves a beneficial purpose to its diet and growth.

Turtle pellet and stick foods work as well. The fish food could form an every other feeding regimen, and on the off feeding you could throw in some pellets or a stick. Again lots of protein here. You can find these at your local pet store.

What do baby turtles eat in the wild to stay healthy? Being carnivorous by nature they eat bugs to get that protein boost they need. As your pet you can certainly feed them small worms and bugs, but do not make this the staple of the turtles diet. The fish foods and pellets have other nutrients with the protein to provide a more well balanced diet. With growing, shell production and day to day energy use your baby turtle needs to be eating all the good things it can.

One thing to point out is that if you have an aquatic turtle all food must be given in water. Turtles can not produce saliva, so eating in water aids in their oral digestion. Adults could eat out of water, though they prefer not to, but adolescent turtles need to eat in water. They have a hard time swallowing dry foods and could choke on them.

The quick answer to what to baby turtles eat is a lot of protein, with other essential nutrients thrown in for a balanced diet. Some people prefer buying specialized products for their pet, and that is certainly their right. However, you can save yourself some money and maybe some illnesses or cracked shells by sticking with a good fish food and pellet diet. Throw in some small bugs for a treat and you will have a healthy, happy baby turtle.