What do slider turtles eat?

In this article, we will answer what slider turtles eat, what slider turtles are, can slider turtles be pets, what is the risk of having slider turtles as pets, and how to take care of a slider turtle.

What do slider turtles eat?

Slider turtles living in the wild and free are omnivores and can eat a huge range of food. They can eat plant matter, insects, fish, and worms. When they are kept as pets, their diet can change a little bit. Slider turtles as pets can eat

  • Commercial pellets are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for slider turtles but do not offer just commercial pellets, a varied diet is better.
  • Prey insects such as earthworms, crickets, waxworms, aquatic snails, bloodworms, shrimp, krill, and mealworms. Depending on the size of the turtle is the size of the insects you can give. 
  • Leafy Greens are an excellent option to give more vitamins and minerals. You can feed them with greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, kale, spinach, and bok choy. 
  • Avoid lettuce because it has almost no vitamins and minerals. 
  • Plants that are commonly found in the water such as water hyacinth, duckweed, Azolla, or frogbit.

It is very important to give slider turtles, any species of them, calcium and vitamin D3 as supplements to prevent them from having a deficiency. 

What are slider turtles?

The slider turtle is the most common in North America. They can be normally found in the southern United States and Central America. Several species of slider turtles get the name slider because of the habit of sliding off their basking spot into the water to escape from predators. 

The 3 most common species of slider turtles are:

  • Red Eared Slider
  • Cumberland Slider
  • Yellow-Bellied Slider

Slider turtles can live both in water and land making them semi aquatic turtles but some species are almost 90% aquatic. They can be found in a range of places such as rivers, lakes, swamps, ponds, or streams. They have been considered an invasive species, especially in ponds or places where people let them out when they dont longer want them as pets. 

Slider turtles can put some species in danger, especially those that are already endangered. 

Slider turtles are also the most common turtle used as a pet especially in the United States because they do not require too much care. But it is very important to take into account that they can live up to 40 years and can grow up to 4-8’’. 

Can slider turtles be pets?

Yes, slider turtles are one the most common pets. Red-eared sliders that measure less than 4 inches are illegal in the United States because they can harbor salmonella and the risk of catching salmonella, especially in young children, when having them as pets is too high.

Red-eared sliders that measure more than 4 inches are good pets but if you want to take care of them correctly, it won’t be cheap.  

What is the risk of having slider turtles as pets?

The risk of having slider turtles as pets is salmonellosis. Slider turtles, especially red slider turtles that measure less than 4 inches, can harbor salmonella in their shells. According to the CDC, if a turtle has salmonella it can quickly spread to the whole tank and water. If a person touches a turtle, they can get infected with salmonella. 

If you have a slider turtle as a pet you need to have some precautions to prevent you from having salmonella.

  • Wash your hands before and after touching anything related to the turtle. An adult should supervise that children wash their hands
  • Slider turtles should not be kissed and should never be left outside their tank. They should never be left in the kitchen because they can contaminate food areas. 
  • Clean their tank and pet supplies in a specific place away from the kitchen. 
  • If there are children under 5, adults aged 65 or older, people with weakened immune systems, or pregnant women, slider turtles should not be kept as pets. 

How to take care of a slider turtle?

Slider turtles are best kept in 20 gallons tanks or bigger with enough water to swim and it is best if you install a filter and clean it regularly to prevent salmonella outbreaks. 

They need a dry area that simulates land and might need UV reptile light that provides them with enough heat and helps them with vitamin D production. 

Follow this link for more information on how to take care of a red-eared slider turtle. 


This article answered what slider turtles eat, what slider turtles are, can slider turtles be pets, what is the risk of having slider turtles as pets, and how to take care of a slider turtle.





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