Red Eared Slider Diet

Turtles are wonderful pets. They are lovely, simple to care for, and unlikely to attack you and kill you (in their own way, of course).

When deciding whether to adopt a turtle, many individuals, however, only examine the pros and fail to take into account a few significant drawbacks. The major one is that a lot of people don’t know how to take care of a turtle.

Knowing what to feed them is a part of it. Here, we examine the ideal diet for the red-eared slider, one of the most well-known turtle species, so you can start feeding them the appropriate things as soon as you get them home.

Where Do Red-Eared Sliders Live?

The Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf of Mexico are the main distribution areas for these turtles, which have their origins in the southeastern United States.

They often live in ponds and other bodies of water with mostly calm water because they enjoy warm weather. Since they can’t efficiently swim against strong currents, this helps them to exit the water swiftly in the event of danger or when they need to elevate their body temperature.

Even if their natural home may be in the Southeast, people are primarily to fault for the fact that they are today not exclusively found there. The species is frequently maintained as a pet, however regrettably not all keepers are ethical.

Red-eared slider turtles are today regarded as one of the most invasive animals on the globe because many people became bored of keeping them as pets and released them in areas where they are not native.

These animals will seek out slow-moving bodies of water even when they are residing in regions where they have no business being. Again, because of careless owners who will release them into the wild close to their house, they are multiplying in urban aquatic areas.

What Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

Omnivores include red-eared sliders. They consume a variety of algae, aquatic plants, and tiny animals including fish and insects. As pets, they consume commercial turtle food, live insects, and leafy greens.

This popular kind of pet turtle is an opportunistic omnivore, which means they consume almost anything in their path.

What Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat in the Wild?

As omnivores, red eared sliders will consume whatever plant or animal they come upon, including fish, snails, insects, vegetables, and leaves. If they are unsuccessful in capturing their own prey, they will scavenge sometimes from dead animals.

Red eared sliders have a variable diet in the wild depending on what is available in their surroundings. They could swing between eating largely plants one day and mostly animal prey the next.

It is crucial to attempt to replicate this variation as closely as possible while they are in captivity since it is crucial for their general health. Adult sliders’ meals were discovered to predominantly consist of green algae in a dissertation from Missouri State University, albeit this varied according on the season and the availability of the food.

How Do Red-Eared Sliders Find Food?

They are opportunistic omnivores, red-eared sliders. They seek and forage in their environment in search of readily available food.

The availability of food varies in red-eared sliders’ habitat. Turtles consume food whenever the chance arises. They take these actions to protect themselves. They cannot afford the luxury of choosing when or what they eat.

In watery areas, red-eared sliders will graze on seasonal foliage and hunt surrounding insects and small animals like fish. Throughout the year, the number of prey animals changes based on the species’ reproductive cycle.

In general, food is easiest to come by during the hotter spring and summer months. Red-eared sliders are prompted to aggressively search for food by these consistent food sources and warm temperatures for thermoregulation.

What Do Red-Eared Sliders Eat In Captivity?

The nutrition in a red-eared slider’s food in captivity is equivalent to that found in the wild. This contains 50% vegetable matter, 25% commercial turtle pellets, and 25% protein for an adult slider.

Owners of red-eared slider turtles can use this fundamental diet formula as a starting point to create a balanced food for their pet.

A healthy diet offers turtles the energy they need to operate properly and engage in normal behaviors when they have the right habitat.

Plant-Based Matter. An adult slider consumes half of its food as plants. As they do in their natural diet, appropriate aquatic plants like duckweed, water lilies, and water lettuce are the most nutrient-dense.

These leafy green veggies have a high nutritional value while being low in calories.

Shells of turtles. Red-eared sliders kept in captivity are fed only on commercially produced turtle pellets. They need to account for 25% of their diet.

When compared to other protein sources, these pellets provide a balanced supply of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The size and age of your turtle will determine which pellet to give it. Larger adult turtles may fit inside of them since they float in the water. Comparatively, smaller juveniles may more easily obtain little pellets since they frequently sink.

Protein. The remaining 25% of the slider’s diet is made up of various types of protein. In order to avoid boredom and decreased appetite, these foods should be constantly rotated.

Instead of obtaining live fish or insects from the wild, buy them from a reliable source. The parasites and dangerous germs carried by wild animals can spread to your red-eared slider.

The amount of live food provided should be appropriate for the turtle’s size. Never feed a turtle anything bigger than the area between its eyes, as a general rule. Large food items may induce digestive system impaction. [3]

A turtle’s mental health benefits from live feeding since it stimulates active hunting.

Supplements. In captivity, red-eared sliders benefit from some dietary supplements. Adding a reptile multivitamin with calcium and vitamin D3 to the meal of the turtle two or three times a week can improve nutrition and guarantee that other nutritional elements are absorbed.

Best turtle food for red eared slider

I’ve had turtles in the past that wouldn’t touch fresh vegetables. The Zilla vegetable and fruit mix was the greatest substitute for fresh veggies, in my opinion.

Fresh fruit may be given to red-eared sliders, but it shouldn’t be done every day.

Your main source of protein should be an aquatic pellet, as this will guarantee that your turtle receives a proper quantity of protein as well as other minerals and vitamins. In reality, many additional forms of protein are nutrient-free.

Feeding a red-eared slider foods high in calcium is crucial. Red eared slider shell rot may be avoided by doing this.

What Do Baby Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat?

Baby red-eared sliders consume snails, vegetables like carrots, and insects.

Red-eared sliders are the most common species of pet turtle in the United States, as we already said. Thus,

Given that a red-eared slider baby’s diet might vary from an adult’s, learning how to care for one is crucial (as we noted above, studies have shown adults can survive on a significantly more herbivorous diet). Here are some essential guidelines for raising a young red-eared slider.

Feed a primarily carnivorous diet to your young red-eared slider: Infant red-eared sliders will consume almost any prey they can catch, including worms, insects, and tadpoles. You can make sure that young red-eared turtles are well nourished by giving them a meal full of insects like crickets.

While vegetables shouldn’t make up the majority of a newborn red-eared slider’s food, they do appreciate carrots and greens. Vegetables may also supplement a diet. To make veggies simpler to eat, you might need to chop them into smaller amounts.

Use pellets sparingly: While they can be a great way to supplement protein in your red-eared slider’s diet, pellets shouldn’t make up the majority of their food.

Red-Eared Slider Feeding Tips

After feeding, empty the tank of all leftover food and waste within 15 to 20 minutes. By doing this, you lower the chance that your turtle would overeat or develop hazardous germs from stale food.

To prevent the water in their primary tank from being spoiled, some owners opt to temporarily transfer their turtle to a different feeding tank.

This strategy also keeps an eye on how quickly and how much your turtle consumes.

Since red-eared sliders are opportunistic feeders, they consume as much food as they can without knowing when their next meal will come. Because of this, pet sliders constantly look hungry. They frequently flail at the water’s surface and desperately grasp for food in response to their owners.

Do not overfeed your turtle if you think it is truly hungry since this opportunistic behavior might lead to unhealthful weight growth. If you want to make sure they’re full, up the vegetable portion since it has less calories.

Why Is My Turtle Always Hungry?

Your turtle always seems to be hungry for a reason.

The explanation is because a red-eared slider is an opportunistic feeder in the wild. They are unable to enjoy the luxury of feeding on mealworms, dried shrimp, or pellets in a tiny tank where their prey is unable to rapidly flee.

They are mostly left with aquatic flora, insects, stray fish that chance to wander close, and decomposing organic materials from dead fish or frogs in the wild.

Your turtle won’t ever eat if it doesn’t consume what is in front of it.

It is crucial that you disregard your turtle’s cries for food. It is simply being who it is and has no idea better.

You may feed your red-eared slider every single day or on most days of the week, as I mentioned above, but what you feed it will depend on how old your turtle is.

This is problematic because, unless you have raised your red-eared slider since it was born, you are unlikely to know its precise age, even if you purchased it from someone else or a pet store.

That’s okay because all you need is a ballpark figure.

I suggest taking a look at this Buffet Blend Turtle Food if you want to save money on turtle food.

How Often Does a Red-Eared Slider Eat?

The quantity of protein that juvenile red-eared sliders consume daily depends on their age and developmental stage. A slider eats once every two to three days.

The metabolic needs of this turtle species determine how much and how frequently they consume. Because babies develop quickly, they require frequent feedings of a high protein diet.

Slider juveniles seldom ever overeat. Offer them as much as they can finish twice daily in 15 minutes. Long stretches of time without nourishment may be harmful to their development.

Red-eared sliders in their adult stages require less feedings. They can support themselves every two to three days. It is also fine to keep giving them lesser servings of food each day.

Each individual turtle has different nutritional requirements. Feed them as much as they can consume in 15 minutes while keeping an eye on their physical state.

If they gain weight, lower the quantity. The skin around the neck and legs will sag, and you’ll be able to tell by that.

Is There Anything That Eats Red-Eared Sliders?

The lack of many natural predators is one of the factors contributing to the red-eared slider’s success as an invasive species. Their tough exteriors shield them from the majority of possible dangers, and their vicious bite scares away anybody who approaches too closely.

That defense, meanwhile, doesn’t kick in until the turtle is fully grown. Skunks, birds, snakes, raccoons, otters, coyotes, and frogs are just a few of the predators that prey on young red-eared sliders. Alligators and crocodiles are the only creatures that can harm adult red-eared sliders, yet they frequently choose not to consume these crunchy treats.

Humans are the primary natural hazard to these turtles. One of the main reasons why people hunt them is to try to reduce the population of them in non-native places.

They also mistakenly kill a lot of these turtles; automobile tires and boat propellers have also killed a lot of red-eared sliders.

Ironically, it’s considered that human activity has had such a detrimental effect on the red-eared slider’s natural habitat that the species may really be threatened there, despite how well it does elsewhere.

How Old Is My Red-Eared Slider Turtle?

The truth is that unless you have raised your red-eared slider since it was a baby, you won’t be able to tell its exact age.

However, this isn’t an issue at all because all we need to do is come up with an accurate estimate.

Some claim that you may determine a turtle’s age by counting the rings on its scutes, however red-eared sliders are difficult to notice, thus this approach is ineffective. Additionally, the approach itself has a lot of issues. Here’s what I’d recommend.

Based on the size of its turtle shell and, to a lesser extent, the colour, you may roughly estimate the age of your turtle.

Take some measuring tape or a ruler, and measure the length of its shell from the top, right below its head, to the center of the bottom. Here, you are gauging its length rather than its breadth.

The Role That Red-Eared Sliders Play in Their Ecosystem

Red-eared sliders have a number of crucial functions in their natural habitats that support the preservation of the ecosystem’s health.

They assist in removing the carcasses of dead fish, frogs, and other aquatic species as scavengers, and their hunting practices assist in maintaining healthy populations of local fish and insects.

They aid in limiting the growth of some aquatic grasses by eating them, and their feces aid in redistributing seeds in places with weak currents.

But becoming prey for other animals is one of their most significant ecological responsibilities. The extinction of these turtles would have a catastrophic impact on the food chain of their native environments since several species rely on young red-eared sliders or turtle eggs for nourishment.