Turtles are part of the reptile family and are ectothermic (cold-blooded) meaning that they regulate their body temperature by using external factors such as sunlight and water. There are many different species of turtle that live all over the world. There is estimated to be 300 different species of turtle. Many turtles spend time both on land and in the water but will return to land to lay their eggs.
What Do Turtles eat in their Natural habitats?
Due to the variety of habitats that different species of turtles inhabit, it is difficult to give one answer to the question, what do turtles eat? Turtles in general are omnivorous meaning that they eat both animal and plant matter. Their diet is largely determined by their natural habitat. Most turtle species start their lives as carnivores, eating insects, small fish, worms and shell fish. As they mature most turtles will change their diet to include plant matter such as seaweed, grasses, flowers, leaves and aquatic plants. There are some turtle species that are completely herbivorous such as the green sea turtle. While they are younger however they will eat small invertebrates such as fish. There are also some species of turtle that will eat only meat such as the Florida Soft shell Turtle. Most turtle species however will eat a variety of foods and adapt their diet depending on seasons and availability.
What Do Turtles Eat in Captivity?
When turtles are kept as pets or in a reptile facility it is important to feed them a diet that is as close as possible to their natural diet. Once again what to feed the turtle depends on its age, what species it is and it natural habitat. Most turtles kept in captivity will survive well on a variety of foods such as they would have in the wild. It is important that the turtle has a diet that contains protein and calcium. Pet shops can provide you with turtle food in the form of frozen cubes that contain fish and plant matter. Another alternative turtle food is turtle pellets which also contain fish and plant matter. Turtles in captivity can also be fed foods such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, aquatic plant life, insects, small fish and egg.