What to do about a turtle that is a picky eater?

“A while back I had emailed you on a couple of red eared sliders I have that weren’t eating. They have grown some and I am pleased with their progress up to now.

The problem is the first one seems to be bored with the green sticks they sell for the turtles. It seems bored and doesn’t want to eat them anymore. If you put some krill in there it still eats that but my wife says that is only a treat and the green sticks are the nutrition they need.

What do you suggest now that it has lost interest in the sticks and only eats the krill? It doesn’t act sick or anything nor does it have any deformities. I just worry because it has become a picky eater and it used to be a better eater. I need your advice and await your answers.”

I’m glad to hear that the other turtle started eating. Sometimes they can be a bit picky though. Turtles can go for quite a while (weeks) without food so long as they are healthy, but it is important you find a new food the turtle will eat other than just the krill.

First, try multiple brands of turtle pellets. Sometimes aquatic turtles seem to get tired of one and need variation. In addition to new kinds of turtle pellets try offering live earth worms, feeder guppies/fathead minnows, mustard greens, romain lettuce, anachr (aquatic plants available in the fish section of pet stores), and occasional sliced yam can all be offered. The more variation the better.

The shrimp or krill that the turtle is eating is best as an occasional treat. I would recommend to stop feeding the krill for a few weeks and see if you can switch it over to a pellet. If it doesn’t eat other kinds of prepared diets, try earthworms. Few turtles can resist a worm.

Also, check the water temperature. If the water temperature is below 70-75F the turtle may not eat as much or be less interested in other types of food. Good luck.

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