Tips on How To Feed a Baby Turtle That Won’t Eat and Reasons

Turtles are fascinating creatures in your aquarium. They are excellent pets and can enhance the beauty of your tank. You may consider getting some snails, koi fish, and even catfish with your turtles. Their wonderful color combination and nature will simply amaze you. 

But well, keeping turtles is not at all child’s play. 

You need to be responsible enough to keep it safe and secure. Speaking of which, you should know that turtles are pretty moody. Sometimes they eat, sometimes they don’t. But the problem arises the moment they start fasting for a long, long time. 

Confused, eh?

Don’t worry. Now, we will discuss how to feed a baby turtle that won’t eat. 

Tips on How To Feed a Baby Turtle That Won’t Eat and Reasons

We have already mentioned earlier that turtles are sometimes moody. They simply refuse to eat. If this happens for a long time, there are fair chances that your turtle might die, especially when it is a baby. 

Hence, knowing how to cope with these situations is necessary. Here’s how you can make your turtle eat.

I. Live Feeding

Sometimes the aquatic creatures, especially the captive ones, are simply bored with frozen food and pellets. Following their wild instinct, they will be desperate to chase and prey. For this reason, sometimes they refuse to eat frozen food.

What you can do here is to offer live feeding. For example, you may provide bloodworms. This helps in most cases. You may try your hands at it. 

II. Mixing the Food

Live feeding is undoubtedly a good option. But that might create issues. one thing here to remember is that these are imprisoned wild animals. Hence, instinct might drive them. But a continuous course might affect their health. So try mixing the live food with the frozen ones or with palettes. 

III. Bright coloured Food

This might sound a little weird. But trust me, this hack worked for me personally. Try offering bright-coloured food to your baby turtles.

Sometimes the colour attracts them, and they readily accept the food. For example, you might try strawberries.

IV. Feed a Healthy Diet

Just like all of us, turtles also need a healthy diet. This should be appropriately maintained. Your turtle’s diet should contain all the components in proper amounts. 

In case you didn’t know, here’s the thing in a nutshell: The diet should contain 65 to 90% of meat and 10 to 35% vegetables.

You might try blood worms, snails, and mice as the source of meat and carrots, green beans, berries as vegetables. 

V. Early Morning Feeding

Turtles are the most active in the early morning. And following their activity, they love to eat at that time.

This reason contributes to their moody food habit. Some turtles won’t accept food after their favourite activity time. Hence, try to provide food from 4.30 to 5 o’clock in the morning. 

List of Possible Reasons Why a Baby Turtle Won’t Eat

There can be multiple reasons for a baby turtle refusing to eat. Let us know them all. 

I. Temperature

Turtles are reptiles. The main feature of them is that they have cold blood. Hence, they won’t eat or feel comfortable in cold water. So you should always keep the water at the optimal temperature.

If you are petting an indoor box turtle, you should find a warm area for your pet. The temperature of those areas should be within 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So make sure you look at the temperature of the tank water. 

II. Illness

The most significant reason for your baby turtle’s refusal is that it is affected. Illnesses like constipation might create a hard time for your dear pet. So make sure you check the turtle. And let us say you have found some symptoms or abnormal conditions. It is always better to contact a vet immediately. 

Some health conditions like vitamin A deficiency, eye problems, or respiratory problems can also create a fuss for your little one. Therefore, check all the odds and take action immediately. 

III. Food Habit

Another reason for this issue might be food habits. Your pet might simply not like the daily food that you provide.

In that case, you might offer different food. Let’s say you might take live feeding as an option or maybe fresh vegetables someday. Change the feeding course and watch your turtle’s reaction. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Answer

How Long Can Baby Turtles Go Without Eating?

This is really tricky to answer. It all depends upon the size and type of the turtle. Some turtles can live up to 160 days without food. And some other turtles cannot live for more than a couple of days or a couple of weeks without food. So, you need to find out the requirements of your turtle to know the exact answer. 

However, we suggest you not wait more than a week. In general, a baby turtle will survive only that long without food. 

Can I Force-Feed my Baby Turtle?

In the worst-case scenario, yes, you may. However, trying the tricks will probably entice your baby turtle to eat. You can actually soak up the turtle food in tuna water and then offer it. This generally works because the smell of tuna water is exhilarating for turtles.

However, if you see none of the tricks working, there’s no other way left than force-feeding. So that means you should keep force-feeding as the last option in the list. 

How can You Say Whether your Amphibian Turtle is Hungry?

Most turtles, particularly the babies and the young ones, ought to be taken care of every day. For a grown-up box turtle, a day’s food would be three tablespoons of the vegetable combination and several nightcrawlers.

You realize your turtle is hungry when it starts to wander around its nook, checking where you feed it.


Turtles are excellent pets. They are interactive and fun to be around. But like every other creature in this world, they also have some conditions that may cause them to fuss about food. But you know what?

Patience is the key to everything. So be calm and patient. And try the above-mentioned hacks for feeding your turtle. If you find that none of these work, it is suggested to visit a vet. 

Good luck!

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