Not Offering a Diverse Diet
In addition to setting up a turtle’s environment just right, these reptiles also need to be fed a variety of foods to stay happy and healthy. While commercial feeds are a good place to start, turtle parents should also strive to maintain a balanced diet consisting of additional protein sources and vegetables.
“For turtles, variety is key,” says Bauer. “It is important to match what the turtle would naturally eat.”
Experts recommend matching what your breed of turtle would eat in its natural habitat. Red eared sliders are omnivores. They can benefit from eating a balanced diet, which includes red bell peppers, freeze-dried shrimp, and leafy greens such as romaine. While some turtles are herbivorous, many common pet turtles will not eat fruits and would rather have frozen fish as a treat.
"Look up what your turtle would naturally eat," Bauer recommends. From there, pet owners can develop a balanced diet plan for their turtle based on dietary needs as well as the turtle’s preferences.
In addition, your turtle should never eat dog or cat food—not even as a treat. These foods do not address a turtle’s unique dietary needs and can create health complications.