(Red-Eared Sliders)

  Variety of diet

It is very important to vary the diet of the turtle to assure its overall health.  Do not feed it just one sort of food!  You can feed her a variety of life foods (crickets, earthworms, aquatic snails, mosquito fish), fruits and vegetables, one commercial food, and vitamin supplements.

   How often to feed

Your turtle will always be begging for food.  Red-Eared sliders have a voracious appetite.  Most turtle keepers feed their turtles one good size meal every two days.  How much is a good size meal?  until your turtle stops eating.  Other keepers feed them twice a week.  I personally prefer to feed them one small meal everyday.  If your turtle is fat (skin overlaps on its legs when she tucks them in), you might want to examine what you are feeding it (if it has too much of a fat content) or you might start feeding it  less often.

  Commercial foods

There is a wide variety of commercial foods for turtles.  You can feed her with commercial foods but you must vary the diet.  Do not feed her ONLY commercial foods.  Check the nutritional contents of the food.  It should have less than 35% protein and the best commercial foods for the turtle are those that have both calcium and vitamin A.  I personally like Tropical Magic from  L&M Farms, but there are other good ones like Reptomin.

  Vitamin supplements

You can give her some vitamin supplements twice a week.  In most pet shops you can find a variety of powder or liquid vitamins specially made for reptiles.  Make sure it has vitamin A, this is essential for they eye health of the sliders.

  Fruits and vegetables

Most pet shops will tell you that sliders are carnivorous animals.  Yes, they prefer to eat insects than plants, but that doesn't mean that they do not need to eat some veggies!  They don't get enough vitamin A from just insects or commercial foods.  You need to give it veggies with high vitamin A content (like carrots).  Some turtles will also accept: lettuce, tomatoes, papaya, cantaloupe or bananas.  Do not give her spinach or collard greens since they might cause her some digestive complications.  If your turtle totally refuses to touch fruits and vegetables then you have two options:  you have to absolutely give her vitamin supplements with high vitamin A content, or force your turtle to eat vegetables!

  Aquatic plants

Some turtles will eat aquatic plants, then if you want to decorate your tank with them, make sure that those plants are not poisonous!  Among the plants that the turtles will eat we find:  water hyacinth, water lilies, elodia, duckweed.  Feeding your turtles with aquatic plants is an excellent idea because they  have a high content of vitamin A and also provide cover to your turtle.


Crickets are an excellent food for turtles.  They are a complete meal and it is so much fun to watch the chase!  Most reptile stores carry crickets and they are relatively inexpensive.  They can also be bought at bate shops.  You can also try to raise the crickets yourself!


These are also very good for the turtle and very easy to raise.  The only problem is... if your turtle is a baby, you might have to chop them up before feeding them to the turtle!

  Aquatic snails

Nice natural meal that functions both as a meal and as a filter helper!  The snails will eat some of the food your turtle doesn't eat! You don't need a big filtered tank to raise them!
  Raw meat, fish or  
Your turtle adores them... but they are not good for the turtle.  Raw meat has too much fat and will cause obesity in the turtle.  Besides, it doesn't provide the turtle with the nutrients it needs so much.  Raw chicken.... beware of salmonella!  you can give her occasionally a piece of  COOKED chicken (with no spices at all).   About fish, I would suggest feeding it with mosquito fish or guppies.  You can occasionally give her other types of fish but try to avoid sea fish.  You should totally avoid giving your turtle fish that has been previously frozen.  This fish will inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients and might cause her long term problems.

  Cuttle bones

They are just excellent!  They are a good source of calcium to the turtle and at the same time it helps it sharpen its beak!  Cuttle bones can be attached to the aquarium or just be left floating to let the turtle chase them!  You can buy them at most pet shops since they are the same used by birds.
  Your turtle refuses to eat
If your turtle refuses to eat an item that she previously enjoyed eating, don't worry.  Sliders are finicky eaters and sometimes just want something different.  Sometimes the problem is that you gave her something that she liked better and then she holds on until you give her again what she liked.  If she refuses to eat one item, offer her different items.  As far as she is eating 'something' there is no health problem to worry about.  Suspect sickness only when she refuses to eat ALL food items that you have offered.
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Email:  reslider@guatemala.crosswinds.net