Can Turtles Eat Meat

Can Turtles Eat Meat? Is meat good for baby turtles?

Wild turtles are omnivorous and eat whatever they can find to meet their nutritional needs. To give your pet turtle proper nutrition, mimic its wild diet. 

Can turtles eat meat? Yes, turtles can eat meat. Meat contains minerals and nutrients that are good for turtles. Meat is especially good for young turtles because the protein and minerals promote growth. However, since some turtle species are herbivorous, not all turtles can eat meat. 

Before you feed your pet turtle, it’s prudent to know how to prepare the meat, how much to feed it, and the risks involved.

Can You Feed Meat To Your Pet Turtles?


Yes, you can feed meat to your pet turtles. Most wild turtles enjoy eating fish that are small in size, as well as insects, and even snails, so your turtle will enjoy some meat. Meat contains proteins and minerals that are good for turtles, making it a great addition to a balanced diet.

The proteins contained in meat provide energy, promote wound healing, and facilitate growth and development. Proteins also play an integral part in immune response and the work of enzymes and hormones. 

Can You Feed Meat To Your Pet Turtles

Meat also contains several minerals and micronutrients that confer various benefits to a turtle, as shown below. 

IronIron is used to form hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen around the body. 
ZincZinc supports your turtle’s immune system and helps develop its reproductive system.
Vitamin B12Vitamin B12 is used in the synthesis and multiplication of DNA. Hence, the vitamin is essential for growth. 
RiboflavinRiboflavin or vitamin B2 helps convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. 
MagnesiumMagnesium regulates blood pressure, helps form strong bones, and regulates metabolism.

Various sources in your turtle’s diet like vegetables, grains, and fresh fruits can provide some B-vitamins, but meat is the best source of the B-complex vitamins. Because of its benefits, it is prudent to periodically add some traces of meat to the diet, even for herbivorous turtles.

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Vitamin B12 is crucial to growth because of its role in DNA synthesis. Since meat is the best source of vitamin B12, you should feed young turtles a meat-rich diet to meet their needs.

Do Turtles Like Meat?

Yes, most turtles like meat. Turtles eat what they can find in their habitat. Aquatic turtles enjoy eating mollusks, tiny fish, and crustaceans. Land turtles eat insects, worms, snails, and other small animals. Hence, most turtles will enjoy eating any type of meat. 

Turtles Like Meat

Risks Of Turtles Eating Meat

Meat has many nutritional benefits, but there are a few risks when you feed it to turtles. 


Meat that contains too much fat, like steak, can cause health issues for your pet turtle. 


This condition causes a turtle’s shell to have triangular outgrowths on the scutes. It is caused by too much protein in the diet. Change your turtle’s diet as soon as you see any symptoms because the disease isn’t treatable. 

How Much Meat Should Turtles Eat?

A turtle’s meat requirement is determined by age and size. A young turtle’s diet should consist of a lot of meat, as much as two-thirds of the diet. For mature turtles, meat shouldn’t make up more than half of the diet. 

How Much Meat Should Turtles Eat

How Do You Prepare Meat For Turtles?

Turtles can eat meat either raw or cooked. However, it is better to cook meat before feeding your turtles since raw red meat may cause digestive issues and has some harmful bacteria. 

Cut the meat into sizable pieces. Turtles like to bite and chew on big chunks of meat, so don’t make the pieces too small. Don’t feed your turtle meat that’s too spicy or fatty.

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Can You Feed Meat To Baby Turtles? How?

Baby turtles can eat meat. Cook the meat until it’s tender, then cut it into small pieces so the baby turtle can bite and swallow easily. Since salmonella is harmful, wash your hands before feeding the baby after handling meat.

Here’s an example of a pet turtle enjoying meat. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can Box Turtles Eat Meat?

Yes, box turtles can eat meat since they are omnivorous. They eat all types of meat, including fish, chicken, worms, insects, and snails. The meat should be part of a varied, balanced diet to provide proper nutrition. Size and age should determine the amount of meat they consume and how regularly.

2. Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Eat Meat?

Red-eared slider turtles can eat meat. Wild red-eared slider turtles live in ponds and lakes, eating anything they can. They enjoy eating small aquatic animals like frogs, fish, tadpoles, and even snails.

Although adult red-eared slider turtles are mainly herbivorous, they will eat meat if it’s served.

3. Can Painted Turtles Eat Meat?

Yes, painted turtles can eat meat. Wild painted turtles are omnivorous, and they eat whatever they can find. Painted turtles struggle to bite and swallow food outside the water, so you should feed them within the aquarium. Young painted turtles require more meat in their diet than mature ones.

Painted Turtles Eat Meat


Though adult turtles generally settle for a primarily herbivorous diet, they can eat meat when available. Young turtles, on the other hand, require a lot of meat because it facilitates growth. So, if you can find some, don’t fear to add it in their diet.

Do you want to know if turtles eat mealworms or bananas? Read our articles about it to learn more.

Can Turtles Eat Meat

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