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Turtles/Feeding my turtle


Hi Jeannie i recently adopted a painted turtle. I have got him a new tank filter water heater etc but i am a little unsure about the amount of food to give him and how often i have been giving him the dried pellets and some fruit. I don't want to do the wrong thing so would appreciate a little guidance from you. thanks

Hi Katrina,

Some of it depends on how old/big your turtle is.  If an adult, you can feed every other day, or however you like as long as the turtle is fasted about three days a week..  An adult painted turtle should be encouraged to eat greens as well as a good pelleted diet and whole animal protein.  It's important to provide as much variety as possible, so if you've been relying primarily on pellets you do need to expand his diet.  I'll provide some links below that will give you some ideas.  

Turtles can be beggars, and it's very possible for them to get too fat (with serious health rammifications), so it's important not to feed too much.  For protein, give a small amount roughly the size of the turtle's head, and then give some greens along with it.  It's a good idea to have a digital scale so you can weigh your turtle once a month to monitor his weight.  The bigger his tank, the more exercise he will be able to get, so that's another consideration. (you can also check out this site for detailed information on housing, water quality, etc.)


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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