In my experience, a turtle that wont eat isnt always something to worry about and there are multiple reasons why it may be happening. However, youll need to make sure nothings wrong before moving on, especially if its a baby turtle youre dealing with.
Another factor that may play a role in your pet turtles lack of appetite is a stressful change to its habitat. If the turtle has been introduced to its new tank just recently it may be that the animal is too stressed to eat and it needs some time to settle.
Turtles need daily access to UVA light because it stimulates their appetite, activity, territorial and mating behavior. The lack of daily exposure to this type of light may suppress your pet turtles desire to eat by slowing its metabolism, while also making it lethargic. Your turtle tank should have a properly set basking area with bulbs that provide all the right light to your reptiles.
Ask yourself the following questions to figure out whether your turtle refuses to eat due to lack of proper lighting: Does the basking area include bulbs that provide heat, UVA, and UVB light? You can learn pretty much everything there is to setting up the proper lighting in my article on heat and UVB lamps for turtle tanks .
Visit the link to read the guide, and make sure to skim through the following product recommendations to spare yourself some time for research. Authors note: Backyards and balconies are fine as long as the turtle has access to both sunny and shady spots. If your aquatic turtle is new to its tank, and you made sure you set everything properly from the start, then it may be that it refuses to eat due to stress.
Turtles are very hardy creatures and dont have a problem going for up to 2 weeks without eating, even in their most active periods. The temperatures drop slightly, but enough for our aquatic turtles to become sluggish and lose a big portion of their appetite. Typically, all aquatic turtles will slow down during winter, even if your tank has the perfect water temperature.
To prepare for it, your turtle will slow down its metabolism in which case it needs to pass most of the food in its intestines. The specific diet of a baby turtle will depend on its species, but should largely consist of small worms, bugs, shrimp, and feeder fish. Bloodworms, crickets, nightcrawlers, steamed chicken, or fish (no spices) can all contribute to a varied meat diet.
Earthworms, crickets, feeder guppies, and quality meat pellets are all good choices to supply the baby with protein. Red Eared Slider babies should be fed quality pellets with high protein content supplemented with earthworms, crickets or fish, and the occasional romaine lettuce. African Sideneck turtle hatchlings will likely prefer nightcrawlers, small feeder fish, and shrimp as a large majority of their diet.
Baby Painted turtles are attracted to wiggling foods such as small fish and insects, but will also benefit from algae and leafy vegetables. Luckily, this type of turtle accepts pellets from a very young age, which could be a good staple diet, along with the greens. Map turtle hatchlings need a diet of pellets and live foods such as worms, small insects, or fish.
Aside from quality carnivore pellets, Baby Snapping turtles should eat primarily worms, bugs, feeder fish, snails. The higher protein content is exactly what a turtle hatchling needs and the vitamins are crucial to the healthy development of the shell and bones. This is because aquatic turtles do not produce saliva and need the help of water to ingest foods.
If your pet turtle isnt eating and all else fails then the animal may be sick and in need of veterinary care. Most of the time the lack of appetite would stem from what Ive listed above, but in some cases, it could be a symptom of sickness. Gasping for air when above water; Lopsided swimming; Bubbles coming out of the turtles nose; Not being able to dive and just floating; Sneezing; Excessive basking.
Another trick to encourage your baby turtle to switch to pellets is to keep them in his favorite food so that they acquire the smell. It is also important to remember that a turtle wont let itself starve if food is present and it can physically eat. Ive found that rotating different brands of good quality foods helps with the growth and health of my pet turtles.
I feed a different type of pellet every meal; I leave fresh leafy vegetables such as Romaine Lettuce in the tank at all times; Once a week I offer live or freeze-dried foods soaked in vitamins. Authors note: Once your pet turtle learns that youre the Food God it will become a real beggar. The good thing about having a pet turtle is that these creatures are hardy and, usually, youll have enough time to figure out why yours has stopped eating.
With time and experience, youll learn to spot issues at a glance and fix them quickly. Leave me a comment below if you need additional guidance or just want to share your success with getting your pet turtle back on track.
Is it normal for baby turtles to not eat?
Although it may concern you as a first-time turtle owner, it’s actually normal for a turtle to not eat for a few days. If he or she has stopped eating for several days, it’s time to look at what’s going on his environment to see if there’s a problem.
How long can baby pet turtles go without eating?
However, young turtles, and baby ones in specific, usually didn’t develop their hibernation abilities properly, as they’re still in the building stage where they need a lot of proteins. That’s why juvenile turtles are only able to last for about a week or two at maximum without food.
Over the past few years, I have seen many pet owners asking, Why is my baby turtle is not eating? Almost every turtle owner has to deal with a similar situation at some point.
There are a long list of reasons that could explain why your baby turtle isnt eating. Tetra Tetrafauna Pro Turtle Food Price: ~$10 Nutrition: High Protein and Vitamin D3
Check Price On Amazon If you have just adopted a baby turtle, the new environmental settings might be unsettling for him/her. Baby turtles are not accustomed to changing homes, being handled frequently or living in poor quality aquarium water. Baby turtles require several temperature areas within the tank so that they can swim happily.
Look for his feces at the bottom of the tank, no excretion means constipation Worms attached to the feces indicate a parasitic infection Discoloration on the shell refers to a deficiency of Vitamin A Female turtles often deal with dystocia, a condition in which it is difficult to pass eggs. Moreover, some species also require UVB lighting for optimal performance, like swimming, moving, respiring and even eating. You can try live animals, bright-colored fruits and vegetables or anything your baby turtle likes.
You can add earthworms, mealworms, small fish or snails to the feeding areas. Foods you can try include small pieces of tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, spinach and other leafy vegetables. Fresh fruits including watermelon, papaya, raspberries, strawberries, bananas also serve as good options.
Tip: If live animals are unavailable, go for canned worms, insects, or egg whites. If you have been offering foods in the evening, try changing the feeding schedule, and you will see a spark in your turtles appetite.
Youve bought a baby red-eared slider. The excitement is real. You are happy and you will do everything it is in your power to make sure that your little pal will live a healthy and long life. But the excitement slowly fades away when you notice that your turtle is refusing to eat. You are starting to worry about your turtle health.
In addition, well talk about what you, as responsible turtle owners, can do to solve this situation. Its pretty normal for baby red-eared slider turtles to stop eating if they changed their usual environment.
Its not advisable for baby red-eared slider turtles to stay in colder temperatures for a prolonged time. Red-eared slider turtles require approximately 12 hours of a day-night cycle to function normally as they do in their natural habitats. If your turtle doesnt have a normal biorhythm, it may show signs of losing appetite.
If all of the factors that Ive mentioned in this article are on point, and the baby red-eared slider turtle is still refusing to eat, then it might have some kind of health problems. Discoloration of their shells Difficulty of breathing Swollen, Irritated and infected eyes Constipation Red-eared slider turtles are attracted to movement and will love to see some live creatures in their tank.
Smaller live feeder fish are also a great choice if your turtle is big enough to consume them. One trick that Ive learned and read about, its to soak the pellets in canned tuna water. Never leave your baby red eared sliders in a cold environment for a prolonged period.
Frequent feedings in their early stages are crucial for them to grow up and become a healthy and fully functional adult red-eared slider.
Every turtle owner will face this problem at some point, your turtle will stop eating for no apparent reason. Ive also been faced with this problem multiple times with different turtles. So I decided to write this short guide to help other people that have this problem.
If you keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees, then your turtles should start eating again in no time. A loud stereos system that is placed right near the tank can cause a lot of stress for a turtle.
The tank has to be cleaned every week, and if you dont do it your turtle will stop eating, and can also develop a lot of other health problems. Filters are usually rated for those volumes with fishes in mind, but turtles are a lot messier. There you will find my recommendations, from personal experience, for water filters, different types of food, heat lamps and many more.
From what I observed in my turtles they will always prefer live prey over anything else, then comes meat, then pellets, then fruits and vegetables. If you feed your turtle only live prey and meat for a couple of months, then you expect them to eat pellets, you are very wrong. You should feed your turtle a mix of live prey, meat, pellets, fruits, and vegetables.
And this can lead to health problems, fruits and vegetables have a very important role in the diet of a turtle, and they should eat them regularly. If you feed your turtle only meat for a long period of time it will be hard to get them to eat anything else, but it can be done. Then place some food pellets inside the can and leave them there for a while to soak up all the juices left in the can.
The basking area is where turtles get most of the heat for their bodies, as well as the UVB rays that are essential for them.
Why is my turtle not eating?
The first time my turtle stopped eating I felt helpless and desperate.
There are a couple of reasons why your pet turtle won’t try to eat:
Sometimes turtles naturally slow down their metabolism during certain periods of the year.However, the wrong lighting setup can make a turtle inactive and potentially sick.Another factor that may play a role in your pet turtle’s lack of appetite is a stressful change to its habitat.If the turtle has been introduced to its new tank just recently it may be that the animal is too stressed to eat and it needs some time to settle.Rarely a change in diet may be needed to encourage the eating habits of your pet. For example, most baby turtles need a different type of food compared to when they mature.Let me explain each of the aforementioned causes in detail.
Dropping water temperatures
by BrittanyWinchesterWhen temperatures drop turtles limit their movement and may even stop eating completely.
When fall comes it could affect our turtle tanks without us noticing.The temperatures drop slightly, but enough for our aquatic turtles to become sluggish and lose a big portion of their appetite.What I recommend is to get a separate water thermometer because the built-in ones some heaters have may be off.I have one in my turtle tank because I don’t want my turtle’s comfort and activity levels to be a guessing game.Anyway, both Chewy and Amazon offer a good digital one which you can see by clicking here and here, respectively.But why do turtles become lethargic when temperatures drop anyway?Let me explain in the next section.
Preparing for hibernation during winter
by N4ddTypically, all aquatic turtles will slow down during winter, even if your tank has the perfect water temperature.This is because turtles use both temperature and light as indicators for the coming of spring and winter.Experts have hypothesized that turtles may be able to see the different angle at which sunlight falls during winter.If your tank is near a window then your pet turtle may have recognized the indicators that winter is coming.To prepare for it, your turtle will slow down its metabolism in which case it needs to pass most of the food in its intestines.Its metabolism will slow down and so its energy levels and food requirements may decrease.
Being shy when feeding
by acdanaSome turtle species like the Box turtle don’t like being watched while they eat.This usually happens at an early age and could very well be the reason why your turtle refuses to eat with you around.If you suspect that you have a shy eater, then I recommend leaving the food in its enclosure and leaving the room for a couple of minutes.
Reasons why my baby turtle isn’t eating
There are a long list of reasons that could explain why your baby turtle isn’t eating. The most common reasons are
Best Food For Baby Turtles
If your baby turtle isn’t eating, I recommend trying one of these foods:
If you have just adopted a baby turtle, the new environmental settings might be unsettling for him/her. Baby turtles are not accustomed to changing homes, being handled frequently or living in poor quality aquarium water. Poor lighting can also cause stress in baby turtles, resulting in less or no appetite. Turtles do not like being touched every now and then. When shifted to a new place, aquatic turtles naturally slow down the intake of food.
The temperature requirements for baby turtles are slightly different from other marine animals. Too cold or too hot water can reduce the appetite. Baby turtles require several temperature areas within the tank so that they can swim happily. This temperature differs with the different turtle species:
Marine animals require adequate lightning for their bodies to work properly. 12-14 hour lightning during the day and 10-12 hour darkness create an ideal and healthy environment. Moreover, some species also require UVB lighting for optimal performance, like swimming, moving, respiring and even eating.Below are 3 essential products for a turtle basking platform.
Experts say if commercial turtle pellets are not working, try something else. You can try live animals, bright-colored fruits and vegetables or anything your baby turtle likes. You can add earthworms, mealworms, small fish or snails to the feeding areas. Shuffling the diet plan can also do the trick. You can check out this article to see how much should I feed my turtle?Foods you can try include small pieces of tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, spinach and other leafy vegetables. Fresh fruits including watermelon, papaya, raspberries, strawberries, bananas also serve as good options.
Time of Day
Baby turtles are most active in the first half of the day. If you have been offering foods in the evening, try changing the feeding schedule, and you will see a spark in your turtle’s appetite. In the morning, turtles tend to eat faster, with more energy and craving. The later part of the day is spent in sluggishness. So, this could be another reason why your baby turtle is not eating!
Turtles are cold-blooded animals, this means that they don’t produce any body heat, so they rely on the surrounding temperature to warm their bodies.If the temperature of the water is not warm enough, your turtle will stop eating because they can’t properly digest the food, and they can get sick.The exact water temperature varies from species to species. But in general, it’s between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit ( 24 and 27 degrees Celsius ). If you keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees, then your turtles should start eating again in no time.
Turtles get stressed very easily. They can get stressed by excessive noises, by other pets, by improper handling, and many other things.If your turtle gets stressed out, they will stop eating until they calm down. And they will also act a little stranger than they usually do, usually, this can be observed due to the lack of activity. When most turtles are stressed they are either trying to get out of the tank, or they stop doing anything.In this case, you have to eliminate all sources of stress. Let me give you a few examples of what could stress your turtle. A loud stereos system that is placed right near the tank can cause a lot of stress for a turtle. A cat or a dog that is always trying to get in the tank can also cause a lot of stress. Taking your turtle and trying to spin it on your finger like a basketball can cause a lot of stress. The best way to figure out if something is stressing the turtle is to try to put yourself in the turtle’s place. If you think that something would stress you, then it definitely stresses the turtle.After you eliminate the stress sources your turtle should start to eat again soon.
Just like we don’t like to eat at a table that is very dirty, turtles also don’t like to eat in dirty water.Dirty water is one of the biggest problems when it comes to turtles. The tank has to be cleaned every week, and if you don’t do it your turtle will stop eating, and can also develop a lot of other health problems.The only solution to this is to clean the tank, there is no other way around it.Even if there is no other solution, there are still a few things that you can like getting a more powerful water pump or feeding them food that they can eat only in one bite, or feeding them in a separate container.I tried many things, and in my opinion, feeding your turtles in a different container is the best method. To do this just take one of your turtles and put it in a different container that is filled with water, and feed them in that container. After they eat, let them stay there for 10 more minutes, and then put them back in the tank. If you have more turtles, you should remember to take them one by one, never all at once, if you take them all at once they might end up fighting over food.The only downside to this method is that you have to start doing it while your turtle is still young. Older turtles are already used to eating in the tank, and if you move them somewhere else they can get scared, and might not eat.The second best method, and also the more passive one is getting a better water filter. Water filters are usually rated for 30 gallons, 40 gallons, 60 gallons, etc. The thing about turtle tanks and water filters is that you want one with double the power that you need. So if you have a 30-gallon tank you will need a water filter that is rated for 60 gallons. If you have a 40-gallon tank, you will need an 80-gallon water filter.Filters are usually rated for those volumes with fishes in mind, but turtles are a lot messier. So you will need double the power. If you want to know my water filter recommendation, you should check the Recommended Gear Page. There you will find my recommendations, from personal experience, for water filters, different types of food, heat lamps and many more.
Feeding Your Turtle the Wrong Food
Turtles will eat a lot of different foods. But like every animal they prefer some foods over others.From what I observed in my turtles they will always prefer live prey over anything else, then comes meat, then pellets, then fruits and vegetables.If you feed your turtle only live prey and meat for a couple of months, then you expect them to eat pellets, you are very wrong.You should feed your turtle a mix of live prey, meat, pellets, fruits, and vegetables. If you only give them what they like the most they won’t eat anything else. And this can lead to health problems, fruits and vegetables have a very important role in the diet of a turtle, and they should eat them regularly.If you feed your turtle only meat for a long period of time it will be hard to get them to eat anything else, but it can be done.The best way you can solve this is by taking a tuna can and taking all the tuna out of it and leaving the oil, water, and juices from the fish inside the can. Then place some food pellets inside the can and leave them there for a while to soak up all the juices left in the can. After that, you should give them to your turtle. Due to the smells and oils from the fish, they will think that the pellets are meat. Keep doing this for a while and mix normal pellets that haven’t been in the tuna can with them. Occasionally try feeding your turtle only normal pellets, and see how it reacts. If your turtle eats them then you should be able to feed her a normal diet now. If she ignores them, keep repeating the thing with the tuna can until it works. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.After your turtle successfully starts eating pellets again, you should start giving her a more diversified diet, and only give your turtle live prey as treats only once or twice a month.
The basking area is where turtles get most of the heat for their bodies, as well as the UVB rays that are essential for them.If the temperature of the basking area is too low or too hot, your turtle will stop eating, and will probably develop health problems. But don’t worry, this problem is easy to fix. You just have to make a few changes to the basking area, so that it produces just the right amount of heat.Depending on the turtle species that you have, the basking area temperature will also differ. But if the temperature is between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit ( 29 and 32 degrees Celsius ), your turtle will be just fine.If you want to know more about heating and lighting for turtles, check out this article where you will find a complete guide: Guide for Lighting and Heating a Turtle Tank and Basking Area.
If you just got your turtle then it’s very normal for them to not eat during their first days in their new home.Moving to a new home can be very stressful for a turtle. They will go from a small cramped tank, that they share with multiple turtles, to a new spacious tank where they can live alone. And if they were sent through the mail, they will be even more scared.If this is the case for your turtle, you just have to leave your turtle to calm down a little. After about a week your turtle will get used to the new environment and will start eating. There is nothing you can do in this case, just make sure that you offer them food every day, in case they decide that it’s safe, and want to eat it.
A pregnant turtle will act very strange, she will stop eating, she will stop basking, she will try to dig everywhere, etc.If your turtle is pregnant there is nothing that you can do to make it eat. Just provide food for her, and if she wants to eat she will eat.The first thing you have to do if you want to know if your turtle is really pregnant is to find out if it’s a male or a female, so you should read this article that is going to tell you if that’s the case: How to Tell If Your Turtle Is Male or Female.And if your turtle is a female, and you want to know if she is pregnant, then you should read this article where you will find all the info you need: How to Tell if Your Turtle Is Pregnant.One important thing about turtles is that they can get pregnant even if there is no male around. The difference is that the eggs won’t be fertilized so no baby will come out of them. So even if you only have a female turtle she can still lay eggs.