What to Feed Your Box Turtle


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What fruits and vegetables can box turtles eat?

Box turtles are omnivorous, which means they will eat a variety of plant and animal foods. The animal-to-plant food ratios will depend on both the age and the species of box turtle you are feeding.

Generally, hatchlings and juvenile box turtles are more carnivorous than adults, which tend to be more herbivorous.

Vegetables and fruits to feed box turtles

A wide variety of fruits and vegetables should be offered to your box turtle every day to provide a balanced diet.

Items must be clean and pesticide-free, and some people strongly recommend feeding them only organic items.

Particular attention should be paid to the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the elements of the diet to prevent metabolic bone diseases.

Try to have at least a 1.5: 1 calcium to phosphorus ratio (2: 1 is better), but the importance of this ratio in each individual item is not as important as the overall balance.

The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to feed a wide variety of items with an emphasis on those with a good ratio of calcium to phosphorus.

Consulting a table of calcium to phosphorus ratios of vegetables and fruits makes it easy to know what the ratios are in what you are feeding. Items with calcium greater than 1.0 are those with a good proportion and should be emphasized in the diet.

As an example, bananas (a favorite of many turtles) have a 0.3: 1 ratio (which is low), so this means they should be fed in moderation.

The following list is a variety of fruits and vegetables (listed in no particular order) that have good calcium to phosphorus ratios and are suitable for box turtles to include in their diets.

  • Dark leafy greens, such as collard greens, mustard greens, parsley, endive/endive, dandelion greens, beet greens, spinach, and kale (but be aware of oxalates in the type of veggies you're feeding, since that foods high in oxalates can bind calcium in your box turtle, making feeding them counterproductive)
  • Chinese and green cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Apples (with the skin but without seeds)
  • Papaya
  • Butternut squash
  • Romaine lettuce (but it's not very nutritionally dense and can cause diarrhea, so limit how much you feed)

It is acceptable to include other vegetables and fruits in your diet, but they should not make up the majority of your daily meals.

  • Broccoli
  • Cherries
  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Insects and natural preys 

A variety of fresh, natural prey is the best type of insect for your box turtle. These insects can be obtained from pet stores and bait stores.

If you choose to feed items caught outdoors, be very careful about possible pesticide exposure. Box turtles that are kept outdoors will likely hunt wild insects and other invertebrates on their own as well.

Super worms
Red worms

Other animal-based items may include minnows, small pieces of cooked meats such as chicken and beef heart (raw meats offer too much chance of bacterial contamination), and occasionally high-quality, low-fat, moistened dog food.

Commercial diets for box turtles
There are commercial box turtle diets available that are marketed as nutritionally complete, but you must also supplement them with a variety of fresh foods.

Vitamin and mineral supplements for box turtles
The need to add vitamins and supplements depends on diet and housing (outdoors or indoors). However, it is probably wise to sprinkle your turtle food with a balanced supplement of calcium and reptile multivitamins at least a couple of times a week.

Turtles kept outdoors in natural sunlight will produce their own vitamin D3 and will not need vitamin D3 supplements, but calcium is still beneficial in preventing metabolic bone disease if you do not provide them with a complete diet.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about Box Turtle Diet Info

Source: Steff J

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