HomeTurtle CareWhat Do Painted Turtles Eat?

What Do Painted Turtles Eat?

What is the recommended amount of food for a painted turtle? And, What Do Painted Turtles Eat? If so, how often can you feed them? If you are here to find an answer to these questions, then you have come to the right place.

The Painted Turtle Species are very hardy, resistant to sickness & disease, and love to be in the water.

Despite the fact that they are frequently used as pet turtles in North America, many people do not know what kind of food to feed them to ensure that they remain healthy and happy.

What Do Painted Turtles Eat?


There are three basic foods that a painted turtle will eat:

  • An occasional treat.
  • A protein source is like a pellet fed twice a week.
  • A vegetable or plant that’s provided five to six times per week.

Painting turtles might look like they are big fans of eating and catching fish in the wild, but that isn’t the case at all.

There is a large amount of insect and plant matter in the diet of painted turtles in the wild as they graze food by skimming slow-moving rivers or ponds and consuming little pieces of insects that happen to be there already.

In an article published in the Herpetological Review in 2000, it was found that 35 of the 48 midland Painted Turtles caught in the year 2000 had insects in their flushed stomachs.

Ingestion of larvae, dragonflies, and beetles is the most common prey item consumed by these turtles.

A majority of the turtles’ stomachs contained both plant and animal material; however, a few had only animal matter, with others containing both.

Painted Turtles Diet In Captivity


The diet of captive painted turtles differs drastically from that of their wild counterparts, as they feed primarily on insects and plants.

The painted turtle is an omnivore that prefers meat over plants in an aquarium. Even so, you should restrict the quantity of protein your painted turtle consumes.

It is recommended to offer them a well-balanced diet that is primarily comprised of plants and vegetables, with meat or a protein source brought into the diet twice a week or even more often.

As staple vegetables and plants for painted turtles, the following foods are highly sought after: 

  • Red-leaf lettuce, 
  • Duckweed, 
  • Water lilies,
  • Kale, and
  • Anacharis 

These provide a healthy and balanced diet for painted turtles, which includes essential nutrients and vitamins for their growth and development.

My recommendation to give to the Painted Turtles for protein is one of the following:

Omega One: This is the best among all aquatic turtle pellets available today. It is the salmon and the whole herring that are the first two ingredients in this. As opposed to other turtle pellets on the market, Omega One is the only turtle pellet that possesses as much raw seafood as it does.

For a safe and enjoyable treat for painted turtles, consider incorporating crickets, mealworms, or feeder fish into their diet.

Painted Turtle Feeding: Quantity and Frequency

It is important not only to feed your painted turtle the right kinds of foods but also to make sure that you give them enough food every day.

Provide a handful of vegetables or plants for your painted turtle to graze daily as a general guideline to ensure a balanced diet. You can supplement their protein and other nutritional requirements with turtle pellets twice a week.

Additionally, providing a treat such as crickets or mealworms every week or two is an excellent way to ensure that your turtle gets a well-rounded diet and enrichment.

It is essential to exercise moderation when feeding your painted turtle protein-rich food, as overeating or overconsumption can result in obesity and kidney issues.

In order to prevent any health complications associated with your turtle, it is recommended to avoid giving them a protein source every day and make sure that their portions are appropriate.

It is important not only to feed your painted turtle the right foods but also to make sure that you give them enough food every day.

A general guideline would be to feed your painted turtle as many pellets as possible during a 10-15 minute period. This would be equivalent to the size of its head or as much as it can consume in one sitting.


A turtle should not be overfed, as they would naturally eat insects in the wild, and you are providing them with sufficient nutrition with the turtle pellets, which will help them grow.

The turtle’s health and well-being are guaranteed by the proportion size that has been established to ensure the turtle’s well-being and health.

In the same way, you should also avoid overdoing the treats.

In addition, it is worth noting that adult painted turtles do not uncommonly abstain from feeding for upwards of two weeks at a time. There are times throughout the year when this can happen, including during the winter.

The important thing is to remain calm and assess any visible signs of illness if your turtle stops eating for an extended period of time.

The turtle may take a break from food and resume normal eating patterns once it has been cured. There may not be any such indicators, so it simply takes a break from its usual feeding habits.

Raising Baby Painted Turtles: What to Feed Them


A combination of vegetables and turtle pellets should be fed to baby-painted turtles as they grow.

It is recommended that you feed turtle pellets to your baby painted turtle every day, or at least 5 to 6 times a week, while they are still growing. Ideally, the amount of pellets should be the same as the size of the head or about the same.

When it comes to vegetables and plants, you can expect your baby painted turtles not to consume them, which is normal.

At least once or twice a week, the best thing is that you provide them with different types of plants & vegetables as they will grow into eating them as it grows older.

Do Painted Turtles Eat Fruit?


It is not generally advised to feed fruits to painted turtles, but in general, we recommend limiting their inclusion in their diet as they do not eat them in the wild.

While it is accurate that painted turtles do not inherently consume turtle pellets, they are specifically developed to satisfy the turtles’ nutritious requirements. Therefore, presenting alternative food choices would be more beneficial.

Additionally, fruits can present a practical challenge when feeding painted turtles because they typically do not float on the surface of the water and can easily dissolve and break apart.

As a result, fruits should not be included in turtle’s diets to prevent mess and maintenance issues.

It is possible to give painted turtles fruits as treats, but it is important to do so carefully. In order to avoid mess and maintenance issues, the fruits should be chopped into small pieces. Diced melon, shredded apples and cut berries are some fruit treats that are suitable for occasional use.

Fishkeeping Expert
Fishkeeping Expert
With years of collective fishkeeping knowledge, we are pleased to share the tank maintenance tips and fish care advice we've picked up along the way. Fishkeeping Expert is home to all fishkeeping tutorials and guides that will help you keep your fish healthy.


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