Can Turtles Eat Ants? – Are they a healthy treat?
Many turtle owners frequently wonder, “What can my turtle eat?” “Is this food suitable for my turtle?” Turtles are omnivorous, meaning they may consume both plants and animals. However, a turtle’s diet depends on its species and age.
Can turtles eat ants? Yes, turtles eat ants in the wild, and pet owners can also provide them with ants. However, ants do not supply many nutrients to turtles, so it is not a primary concern if they do not eat them.
Even if turtles ingest ants, certain ants are harmful to turtles. In this article, we’ll examine whether different species can eat ants and the dangers of eating ants.
Can You Feed Ants To Your Pet Turtles?
In their natural environment, turtles eat ants just like any other insect. Ants are a source of protein and a delight for turtles on occasion. However, they provide no additional nutritional benefits to turtles and are unnecessary in a turtle’s diet.
If your turtle spends time in the wild, you should be careful about which type of ant it feeds on. For example, red fire ants and big-headed ants can harm your turtle. Their armies can attack and eat smaller animals.
Pet owners should, therefore, not feed ants to their turtles; instead, they should provide the turtles with other sources of protein, such as pellets or bugs such as crickets.
It is best to look for ant nests and eradicate them or proof the area from ants. Either by;
- Ensuring all leftover food is removed from the turtle’s habitat. This is because ants tend to accumulate on food particles and devour them.
- Using chemicals to eradicate the ants; ensure you first remove the turtle from its tank/pen because chemicals can be harmful to your turtle’s health. Ensure you do not put the chemicals in the turtle’s enclosure; instead, put them outside of the enclosure.
- Use natural measures like lemons, cinnamon, and pepper. They act as ant repellants.
- Using cornstarch helps in starving the ants to death since it is indigestible.
If that is not possible, avoid keeping your turtle outdoors where you cannot monitor it. Turtles can be fed ants, but they represent too many risks, so the disadvantage outweighs the benefits.
Do Turtles Like Ants?
Some turtle species enjoy eating ants, while others dislike them. Turtles consume ants as a snack while they are out and about. Ants have nutrients such as proteins but no major nutritional value to ants; therefore, whether the turtles ingest them or not is irrelevant. They can be substituted with other high-level proteins e.g. dried crickets.
Why You Shouldn’t Feed Ants To Turtles
Ants pose a considerable risk to turtles’ health. Here is why you should not feed ants to turtles.
- Eating ants includes consuming their digestive bacteria, which results in parasite absorption. This may be harmful to your turtle’s health.
- Some ants, such as fire and jack jumper ants, contain poisonous organs. Although the poison can be broken down in the turtle’s stomach, some of the toxins may be left in the mouth while chewing, and they can cause allergic reactions such as swelling of the turtle’s mouth, eyes, or limbs.
- Ants bite when feeling threatened, and if they attack a turtle, it can be life-threatening, especially if the ants are in large numbers. Even a single bite or sting is still uncomfortable for your pet turtle.
- Some species of ant sting. And an ant’s sting injects poison into the predator’s body. The venom could be mild or fatal for the turtle, depending on the ant’s species.
- A colony of red fire ants can attack and eat baby turtles and turtle eggs. Check for these ant nests and take the necessary steps to eliminate them.
How Much Ants Should Turtles Eat?
Pet turtles should not be fed ants; ants have no major significant nutritional value other than proteins. If an owner insists on feeding ants to the turtles ensure it is done occasionally due to the high chances of your turtle ingesting parasites from the ants.
Can You Feed Ants To Baby Turtles? If So, How?
It is not advisable to feed baby turtles ants. Why? Ants tend to attack smaller animals, in this case, baby turtles. They may attack and entirely devour or injure the baby turtle.
Secondly, ants carry parasites and diseases, and this might cause actual harm to your baby turtle. Owners should look for alternative sources of more hygienic proteins and of higher nutritional value.
Video Of A Turtle Eating Ants
Here is a video of a turtle eating an ant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Box turtles eat a lot of vegetables and animal diets, but ants are not a part of this diet. Ants can be dangerous to box turtles and should be avoided.
No, red-eared slider turtles do not like ants. They prefer other bugs with higher nutritional content, such as grasshoppers and crickets.
Painted turtles often eat ants in the wild; however, ants do not provide additional nutrients to the turtles’ bodies. A painted turtle owner should give it the required diet, which should be balanced.
Turtles can consume ants, but owners should not give them ants since ants present health dangers to turtles. To summarize, turtles should not consume ants and would not be losing out on anything because ants provide no nutritional benefit to a turtle’s diet.
Do you want to know if turtles eat peanuts or blackberries? Read our articles about it to learn more.