How Many Pellets Should I Feed My Turtle?

how many pellets should I feed my turtle

Feeding your turtle the appropriate amount of pellets is crucial to maintaining its health and well-being. These reptiles have specific dietary requirements; overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to various health issues. That is the reason many 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 reptile. 

There are many factors you have to consider when feeding your pet, 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 reptile. 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’s eating habits, you can tell if your pet has a preference for something. You can notice your reptile’s preferences by noticing how they want food. For example, if your pet loves or likes pellets, they 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 these animals like and find tasty. 

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

Check out this video of a turtle enjoying pellet soup.

a pet turtle eating pellets in its enclosure

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 to feed them.

  • Age and Size 

The age and size of your pet 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 reptile’s current size and age, ensuring your pet receives adequate nutrition without excessive caloric intake.

  • Physical Activeness 

The activity level of your pet can influence the food requirements. For example, if your pet 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 reptile’s diet, it is essential to provide a varied and balanced diet by incorporating other foods. 

You must also add fresh vegetables, fruits, and occasionally small amounts of protein sources like insects or fish to your pet’s diet. Think of it like how humans need a balanced diet; even these reptiles need it. 

  • Frequency of Feeding in the Routine 

Establish a regular feeding schedule for your reptile. The frequency of feeding depends on their age and species. It is known that these young reptiles usually require daily feedings, while adult ones can be fed every other day or every few days. 

You can adjust the pellet quantity accordingly.

Rule of Thumb for Feeding 

There is a rule of thumb for feeding your reptile. The rule is to offer your pet a number of pellets roughly the size of their head. 

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

Here is what you can do:

  1. Start by offering your pet small portions (the size of the head). 
  2. Keep track of how your reptile is consuming these and how long your pet is taking to consume them. 
  3. If you notice they are finishing them 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 them and there are leftovers, it is better to reduce the number of pellets next time. 
  4. You must also regularly monitor their weight. When you assess their weight regularly, you will have an understanding of their overall health. You will understand if your pet is gaining more weight or showing signs of undernutrition. According to that, you can reduce or increase the amount of pellets you are feeding them. 

Important: You must consider their age and adjust the number of pellets you are feeding. 

turtle eating pellets out of its bowl

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 one, 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 these reptiles have a high metabolic rate. Due to this, baby turtles need frequent feeding. These reptiles 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 reptile.
  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 reptile’s eating habits and time. If your baby reptile finishes its pellets fast and is still hungry, you can offer more but in moderation. If your baby reptile 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 their 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 reptile. 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. 


These reptiles need to be fed the right amount equal to their head size. Remember you should not overfeed them as it is dangerous for their health.

Remember to provide these reptiles 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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