Why is my turtle not eating? For first-timers, this can be so terrifying. I have experienced several occasions when my turtle would refuse to eat. This gave me a headache as I know if I did not act fast, it would become a hazard.
After many years of experience and learning each day, I know exactly what to do if it happens. In this post, I will try to answer most of the questions asked, such as the reasons why a turtle refuses to eat, what to do if it happens, and some ways to get creative with a turtles diet to entice him to eat.
So why is my turtle not eating?
Well, there are some reasons why your turtle may refuse to eat. One of the reasons is that the turtle may be sick, or you provide him with a poor diet or environmental issues. You should check these three reasons. They are the most likely possibilities why your turtle may not be eating.
There are some different things you can put into action when your turtle refuses to eat. Try to determine why your turtle won’t eat; try to entice your turtle to eat and provide a healthy diet.
Determining Why Your Turtle Won’t Eat
The first thing you should do is to try and figure out why your turtle is not eating. Like I said earlier, the turtle may be sick, or the environment lacks some essential needs. Lack of some of the essentials may lead to a lack of appetite.
When it’s also very cold, the turtle will not eat. The temperatures in the tank should be close to room temperature. When it is very cold, turtles hibernate, and at this time they do not eat. They depend on the energy they have. You should also check on the lighting in the tank. UVB light is essential to a turtle’s health. Lack of this may be the cause of the turtle not eating.
Some turtle diseases may also be the cause. Some of these diseases include vitamin A deficiency, constipation, and respiratory problems. The symptoms of these diseases include white patches and discoloration on the turtle’s shell which is the symptom of vitamin A deficiency. Respiratory problems can be identified by noticing the turtle having trouble when breathing, whizzing, having a running nose, and swollen eyes.
When the turtle is constipated, he will not eat and will not relieve himself. If his eyes are blocked by debris, the turtle will not see the food, and this can be another reason why he does not eat.
Enticing Your Turtle To Eat
When the meals get boring, the turtle may refuse to eat. This is the point where you need to get creative with the meals. Provide a variety of meals and mix them up. That way, the turtle will not get used to only one type of food. This will also help the turtle to get different nutrients from the different meals, which in turn ensures excellent health for the turtle. If you notice that the turtle is not eating, try some of these methods. Read also about the best turtle food here.
Get live foods for the turtle
Most turtles will prefer live foods to already dead food. You should, therefore, be getting live insects from the store to feed your turtle. These insects may include crickets, worms, snails, slugs, grasshoppers, spiders, bloodworms, beetles, crayfish, flies, and grubs. Do not dig outside for these insects. They may not be healthy. I would recommend buying them from the store.
Combine pellets with other foods
Although pellets are considered to be the staple food for turtles, they may get bored with this food. To prevent this, you can try mixing these pellets with other foods like the fish. You can also soak the pellets in water or some fruit juice. This will bring in a different taste the turtle may like. Some turtles also prefer feeding in the water, and this means they prefer wet foods. Soak the food in water, and this may be what he needs to eat. Choose the best pellets or your turtle reading this guide.
Provide brightly colored foods
All turtles prefer brightly colored foods that are attractive to them. These foods include carrots, mangoes, tomatoes, papayas, watermelon, rose petals, strawberries, apples, and squash. These fruits can make your turtle eat once again. Vegetables are also crucial in their diet. You can try dipping the veggies in tuna water to entice them. To raise his appetite even much more, combine the pellets, with live foods and the brightly colored foods.
Switch up the diets
Switching up diets can also be very useful. This will help you understand some of the foods that your turtle loves. Your turtle prefers other foods to others. Being monotonous can lead to the baby turtle not eating. Try mixing these diets, and this will also help improve his health too. Switch the feeding areas also. Feed him in water and also on land and observe.
Check on the feeding time
The feeding time also matters a lot when it comes to the appetite of the turtle. Turtles prefer to eat when they are most active. When they are tired and bored, they will most likely not eat. To ensure that he is not tired, feed him before dawn. The time should be between 4:30, and 5:30 am.
Providing A Healthy Diet
When your turtle is not healthy, he may be at risk of losing appetite. The health of a turtle comes from their diet. A healthy diet ensures a healthy turtle. The food should have fruits, vegetables, and proteins. (find out which one here). The proteins should form a higher percentage of the overall diet of about 60 to 90 percent. The rest should be vegetables and fruits. The proteins include fish and insects. The vegetables include grapes, collard greens, cantaloupe, and mangoes. You should also keep in mind that when turtles are small, they feed on more proteins compared to the vegetables. As they grow, their preference leans more to the vegetables and less to the proteins. Ensure that the food you give to your turtle is always fresh.
A healthy turtle gets all the nutrients and vitamins they require in their body. Please read also what vitamins do turtles need. For additional nutrients, you can try supplements such as the calcium supplements which come from calcium blocks and cuttlefish bone. You should ensure they get the supplements at least once a week. You should also get vitamin D3 supplements. These supplements are essential in turtles’ health, and they may make your turtle enjoy their meals more. You can also powder the vegetables with cuttlefish bone for appetite.
In conclusion, we have learned some of the reasons why turtles may refuse to eat. If none of these tricks work, you should visit a vet to help. The turtle may be very sick, and he might also starve to death. Get a vet as soon as possible to check on your turtle. The vet will know what to do if he is sick. You should also check on the nature of the food. The food should be fresh to prevent food poisoning. To ensure that the turtle is healthy, provide a variety of different foods and combine the foods to get creative with the meals.