Anyone who has owned a turtle will tell you this much: they don’t ask a lot from their owners. These pets are super easy to take care of; they don’t demand a lot and will not cling to you without giving you room to breathe.
Rather having a turtle is like entering into a commitment without having any major commitment. And the best thing about having a turtle is knowing that they will be lifelong companions with their long life span. They might even outlive you! So, you’re definitely in it with them for the long haul.
However, good things don’t all come easy in life, and where turtles are concerned, they do have one major requirement that will require effort on your part, which is to ensure that their diet is well taken care of.
Ensuring that your turtle has a well-balanced meal requires an effort on your behalf for two reasons. Firstly, turtles are rare pets to keep, and so when it comes to feeding them, there aren’t a lot of commercially available food options available. So you’ll need to do proper research about the food you have around at home as to whether it is safe to be offered. Secondly, turtles crave variety in their food, and if you don’t give it to them, they might get bored with their meals and might end up refusing to eat.
To keep your turtle happy with their food, you need to get creative. And getting creative might involve getting your hands a bit dirty!
What do turtles eat for food?
What makes up a turtle’s diet can be divided into three major categories:
The easiest and also the most important food option to give to your turtle is the commercially available turtle pellets. These pellets have been made especially for your turtle, keeping in mind all of their health requirements, and so they are turtle-specific nutrient-rich food.
They make up a good 25% of your turtles’ diet. An example of how turtle-centric they are is the fact, considering the environment that turtles live in, the pellets don’t easily become soggy and don’t break apart too easily. Rather they’ll be found floating in your turtle reach! Pellets are easily available in pet stores.
The second category is pretty diverse to choose from. Fruit and vegetables are also extremely important for your turtle’s health and thus make up a large portion of your pet’s diet. The good news is that nearly all fruits and vegetables are safe for turtle consumption and so if you mix up the options frequently, your turtle won’t get tired of eating the same thing over and over again.
The final category is feeder fish and/or insects. Turtles have an instinct to want to eat constantly, and it can get frustrating because they never seem to be full. This stems from their instinct in the wild because they never know when their next meal will be so they gobble up whatever they can and fast! Although your turtle is domesticated, the instinct remains. This is why this filler food group is an important food for your turtle. Similarly, this food group is also rich in protein.
Is protein good for turtles?
Protein is essential to your turtle’s health. If it is missing from their food, they can suffer from a range of issues such as poor vision, respiratory diseases, skin issues, ulcers, and the thickening of their kidney or pancreas duct lining. This goes to show just how important this food group is and should not be skipped. However, it might be a bit more complicated since, unlike fruits and vegetables, all fish and insects might not be safe for your turtle’s consumption.
Let’s look at one insect in particular. Are crickets safe to be offered to your turtle?? And if so, what form should they be given to our turtles, dead or alive? We have all the answers related to your questions.
Can Turtles Eat Crickets?
Before you offer your turtle crickets, you need to know exactly what species your turtle is. Turtles can be herbivores, and that means they will only eat plants, and thus, crickets cannot be included in their diets. If they are carnivores or omnivores, they have tolerance for animal products and are safe to offer.
Feeding crickets comes down to the size of your turtle as well. Bigger turtles can eat crickets whole, while smaller turtles might need them to be given in pieces to prevent choking risks.
Crickets can be fed to turtles, either dead or alive. Feeding live crickets, though, comes with some added benefits. To start with, turtles are natural hunters, and so allowing them to chase the insect will not only keep them entertained, it will polish in their instincts, and that does wonder for their brain development.
Also, when the crickets are fed life, you can do what is known as gut feeding. This is basically when you keep crickets (or any other insect or fish) for a day longer and feed it cricket food, which is rich in calcium, or give them a protein supplement before feeding them to your turtle. Thus when your turtle ends up eating the crickets, they can reap extra nutrients through their meal.
However, there is a downside when it comes to crickets. Crickets tend to become pests, and so if you don’t keep them in a secure jar or box, they might multiply in your garden, and that’s the last thing you want!
So, yes, crickets are a great option to include in your turtles’ diet. However, they should be treated as filler food. Since crickets can only be fed in a limited amount, you can’t rely solely on them or other insects being the sole source of protein. Turtle pellets have protein as well and should be counted on as the staple food. Nevertheless, your turtle will enjoy this snack when offered to them.