How Many Pellets Should I Feed My Turtle?

turtle swimming in tank

Feeding your turtle the appropriate amount of pellets is crucial to maintaining its health and well-being. Turtles have specific dietary requirements; overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to various health issues. That is the reason many turtle pet owners want to do proper research regarding a turtle’s diet. One common question they have trouble solving is how many pellets they should feed their turtle. 

There are many factors you have to consider when feeding your turtle, and they are crucial ones. When feeding your turtle pellets, the quantity must be approximately the size of your turtle’s head.   

In this article, we will be talking about how many pellets you must feed and how to feed your pet turtle. Read till the end to know about everything. 

Do Turtles Love Pellets?

It is indeed hard to tell if all turtles love pellets. Looking at your pet turtle’s eating habits, you can tell if your pet has a preference for something. You can notice your pet turtle’s preferences by noticing how they want food. For example, if your pet turtle loves or likes pellets, your pet will beg for them and want more. 

Many turtles enjoy eating pellets because of their taste and texture. Pellets are mostly made with elements or ingredients that turtles like and find tasty. 

That being said, just because your turtle likes pellets, it does not mean you overfeed your pet or just provide pellets in the diet. It is essential to provide a balanced diet, as too many pellets can lead to health issues and obesity. Too many pellets can also lead to organ failure or reduced lifespan.  

Check out this video of a turtle enjoying pellet soup.

Can All Turtles Have Pellets? 

Aquatic and terrestrial turtles eat pellets. They are liked by many, but there are a few turtles that consume pellets and are available in the market:

  • Painted Turtles
  • Read-eared Slider
  • Box Turtles
  • Aquatic Turtles (Map, Snapping, and Musk Turtles)

How Many Pellets Should You Feed Your Pet Turtle?

You can consider a few key features while deciding how many pellets to feed your pet turtle.

  • Age and Size 

The age and size of your turtle can play an essential role in determining the pellet quantity. Usually, young turtles have higher growth rates and require more food than adult turtles. 

You can adjust the pellet portion size based on your turtle’s current size and age, ensuring your pet turtle receives adequate nutrition without excessive caloric intake.

  • Physical Activeness 

The activity level of your pet turtle can influence the food requirements. For example, if your pet turtle is more active or engages in vigorous swimming and exploration, it may require slightly larger portions to meet its energy needs. 

On the other hand, sedentary turtles may need smaller portions to prevent overfeeding.

  • Other Food Intakes

While pellets can be a staple part of your turtle’s diet, it is essential to provide a varied and balanced diet by incorporating other foods. 

Besides pellets, you must add fresh vegetables, fruits, and occasionally small amounts of protein sources like insects or fish to your pet turtles diet. Think of it like how humans need a balanced diet; even turtles need it. 

  • Frequency of Feeding in the Routine 

Establish a regular feeding schedule for your turtle. The frequency of feeding depends on the turtle’s age and species. It is known that young turtles usually require daily feedings, while adult turtles can be fed every other day or every few days. 

You can adjust the pellet quantity accordingly.

Rule of Thumb for Feeding Pellets to Turtles 

There is a rule of thumb for feeding your pet turtles pellets. The rule is to offer your pet turtle a number of pellets roughly the size of your turtle’s head. 

Now, you can start with an amount equal to the size of your turtle’s head and then increase it if your turtle likes the pellets you are serving. 

Here is what you can do:

  1. Start by offering your pet turtle small portions of pellets (the size of the head). 
  2. Keep track of how your pet turtle is consuming pellets and how long your pet is taking to consume them. 
  3. If you notice your pet turtle finishing the pellets quickly and your pet is still looking for food hungrily, you can increase the number of pellets in the diet. Now, if you notice that your pet is not devouring pellets and there are leftovers, it is better to reduce the number of pellets next time. 
  4. You must also regularly monitor your pet turtle’s weight. When you assess your turtle’s weight regularly, you will have an understanding of its overall health. You will understand if your pet turtle is gaining more weight or showing signs of undernutrition. According to that, you can reduce or increase the amount of pellets you are feeding your pet turtle. 

Important: You must consider your turtle’s age and adjust the number of pellets you are feeding. 

How Many Pellets Should I Feed My Baby Turtle?

If you have a baby turtle, you must be extra careful and attentive when feeding pellets. The number of pellets will vary from an adult turtle to a baby turtle, and feeding a baby turtle extra food can be dangerous. 

Again, you must remember that the number of pellets you feel will depend on the size of your baby turtle and species. 

Here is what you can do:

  1. Similar to adult turtles, start by feeding your baby turtle small portions and feed your pet frequently. This is because baby turtles have a high metabolic rate. Due to this, baby turtles need frequent feeding. Baby turtles need to be fed almost every day or other day. This calculation depends on the species. You can consult your vet to know how frequently you must feed your baby turtle. Remember to feed frequently while ensuring you are not overfeeding your baby turtle.
  2. You can offer your baby turtle pellets amounting to the size of its head. You can even start by offering 3 to 5 pellets per feeding. 
  3. Keep monitoring your baby turtles eating habits and time. If your baby turtle finishes its pellets fast and is still hungry, you can offer more but in moderation. If your baby turtle takes more time to eat and leaves some, it is better to offer less next time or think of a substitute. 
  4. Remember to keep track of your baby turtles weight at any cost. You do not want your pet to become obese or reduce weight. Adjust the amount you are offering accordingly.

Note: You must consider the size of the pellets you are offering your baby turtle. It is essential to buy or select pellet sizes that are baby turtle friendly. This means you must opt for small-size pellets. Big ones can choke your baby turtle or make it difficult for your pet to consume them. 


Turtles need to be fed the amount of pellets equal to their head size. Remember you should not overfeed your turtles as it is dangerous for your pet turtle’s health.

Remember to provide your turtle with a balanced diet. Your pet’s diet must not only contain pellets. The diet must be healthy and balanced. 

Always consult your vet to be safer, and you can ask your vet to create a diet chart for your pet.

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