Most people know what turtles are. Little shell backed reptiles that often live in lakes, streams and dank vegetation. When asked what do turtles eat and drink these same people are far less knowledgeable.
Turtles are kind of an exotic pet. They are not as widely understood as dogs, cats and other more common house pets. Turtles eat different kinds of foods than the main stream pets, but they require a balanced diet none the less.
What Do Turtles Eat?
For proteins turtles will eat just about anything they can catch and subdue. Good examples are insects, like worms, slugs, certain spiders and flying insects.
Depending on the size of the turtle it may even go for larger prey. Some land turtles have been known to eat small mice and frogs. Turtles will eat just about anything that is edible.
Most turtles prefer to eat in water. This is not only because they feel more at home, but the water aids their oral digestion. Turtles do not produce saliva, so the water acts as a way of breaking food up easier for digestion.
Aquatics are often known to hunt small fish. Minnows, crayfish, goldfish and anything else in the “feeder fish” section of the pet store make tasty protein packed turtle treats.
All turtles need a lot of vegetation for essential vitamins and minerals. With the exception of baby turtles most adults have at least 60% of their diet as plant life. Adolescent turtles are mostly carnivorous. It is believed that they are stock piling protein for growth production and shell development.
Most people who own pet turtles feed them a variety of vegetables. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, collard greens, green beans and most other vegetables.
Fruits such as bananas, apples, berries and peaches can make great snacks. These should only be served as treats due to the high levels of natural sugar. Stick to a high vegetable diet.
What Do turtles drink?
Turtles drink the very water they swim in. While swimming or wading they simply drink in a gulp. In nature, all the good bacteria in the water naturally filters out most toxins produced by animal waste. However, in a home tank, a turtle owner must make sure the water is cleaned regularly.
Even if you only own one turtle in a large tank, turtles make a mess with their waste. They usually defecate while eating and they eat in the water. This means that they are defecating in their water frequently.
Once feces and urine are broken down in water they create ammonia, a toxic substance that can cause skin irritation, illness and even death. If the water is not changed a few times a week this could have your pet drinking and swimming in toxic waste.
This is a very broad outline. Turtles are rather versatile animals as far as their diet is concerned. The simplest answer to what do turtles eat and drink would be what ever is around them. In nature turtles can turn just about anything edible into a meal. As a pet a turtle must be provided the same varied diet they would find in nature.