What do Terrapins Eat?


Terrapin FoodTerrapins need to be provided a nutritious well-balanced diet and not rely too much on a single food type.

Terrapins are omnivores and eat all types of plant and animal foods like fruits, vegetables, grasses, flowers, fishes, snails, worms, insects, etc.

Animal Foods

When in wild, terrapins feed almost only on live prey. When kept as a pet, it should be ensured that meat is not the only staple food, but a tasty part of a nutritious diet. As far as possible, low-fat animal meat should be provided. This may include fat-free pork or beef, chicken, and small fishes like shrimp and trout.

The meat chunks should be cut very short so that the terrapin is able to eat it as a whole or is able to tear the piece apart if it wants to. Terrapins also enjoy the taste of water snails and earthworms.

They normally don’t like the taste of cooked meat, though they eat it if they are very hungry. They love to eat oily fish like tuna, mackerel, shellfish, and sardines. These fishes are easily available, and they contain Vitamin D. Insides of the fish, such as liver and intestines, may be given.

Terrapins can also be fed whitebait, mussels, prawns, sprats, cockles, bloodworms, Tubifex worms, and beef heart.


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Plant Foods

Terrapins can also be fed with a few plant foods. They particularly relish lettuce, watercress, and some other green leafy vegetables.

Some terrapins also love fruits like apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and bananas. You can judge your terrapin’s preference by giving it a small bit of the vegetation—if it enjoys eating it, you may give some more.


Commercial Foods

Provision of commercial foods ensures a well-balanced diet. These foods should be given to provide a good base and not replace your terrapin’s diet. These foodstuffs are available in the local pet stores in the form of vegetable pellets, food sticks, etc.


Dietary Supplements

Supplements to diet are essential to provide minerals, such as calcium, an essential mineral for shell maintenance, and trace elements. Cuttlefish and ground eggshells are good sources of calcium.

Cuttlefish can be broken into bits and kept in the terrapinarium for the terrapin to nibble on as and when it wants to. One should ensure that the eggshells are ground fine, because any big pieces can cause injury. One can also provide dietary supplements prepared by some good pet stores, which are easy to feed.

For more advice on feeding terrapins check out my terrapin guide review.

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