Like all newly born creatures, a baby turtle requires nutrients to survive.
During the first week of his life, he won’t need you to feed him. Instead, he’ll gather nutrients from his yolk sack, which is located along the bottom of his shell. Once the yolk sac disappears inside of him, you will need to begin a diet specially formulated for his age and species.
Baby Turtles Eat Commercial Turtle Food
Both water and land turtles thrive when fed commercial turtle food, a vitamin and nutrient rich flaked food that is readily available at most pet food stores. Sometimes, this food is sold as sticks or pellets.
Just make sure the food is small enough to be eaten comfortably. Baby turtles do not have large mouths, so only choose turtle flakes specifically designed for baby turtles. If the flakes are still too big, cut them into smaller pieces.
Not all turtle foods are created equal because some contain filler foods, such as dried ants and flies. Avoid these. They aren’t good for him.
As a baby, your turtle will eat once per day, but as he grows you can reduce the frequency that you’re feeding him. In general, large turtles should be fed three times a week, according to the MSU Critter Guy.
Fresh Options and Supplements
Turtles are omnivores, meaning they prefer both meat and vegetables. As he grows, your turtle will become predominately vegetarian, but he’ll need meat while he is young. Chopped, lean meats are best, and they should be served raw.
If your turtle flakes are very high in protein, you may want to ask your veterinarian before providing additional proteins. Earthworms, brine shrimp, and fish are great examples of lean meats that are appropriate for baby turtles. Mix in some occasional greens, such as spinach, and supplement his diet with vitamins, bone meal, and calcium.
Feeding Baby Water Turtles
Water turtles, such as spotted turtles and semi-aquatic painted turtles, must be fed in water. Place him in a container that features enough water to cover him, and make sure the water’s temperature is the same temperature as the water in his standard enclosure.
Allow him to stay in his feeding enclosure for a couple hours to ensure he’s completely fed. Once feeding has ended, throw away the water and leftover food.
Feeding Baby Land Turtles
Baby land turtles, such as box turtles, should be moved to a separate enclosure that is dampened with water. Place their food in the enclosure, and give them plenty of time to eat it. Like water turtles, it may take baby land turtles a couple hours to finish eating.
Land turtles are not public eaters, so don’t expect a show. He’s going to run for cover, but he’ll bring his snacks with him so he doesn’t go hungry.
If you have more questions about the feeding habits of baby turtles, please leave a comment.