This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which turtle food and treats are best?

Curious, charming and generally more active than lizards and snakes, turtles are a popular choice for people interested in keeping a quiet, low-maintenance pet.

Like all reptiles and amphibians, however, turtles need special attention paid to their habitat and diet to remain healthy. Thankfully, many pet food companies offer quality turtle food and treats that make providing your pet with nutrition simple.

Omega One Adult Turtle Sticks include whole ingredients that give your pet the nutrition it needs to maintain bright colors, healthy skin and a strong shell.

What to know before you buy turtle food and treats

Aquatic or terrestrial

Turtles that live in the water have very different eating habits than those that stick to land. Aquatic turtles, such as sliders or softshells, consume their food underwater and therefore require a diet that won’t soil their environment or dissolve too quickly to be eaten. Box turtles and tortoises, however, can be fed from a dish that can be easily removed and cleaned. 

Your turtle’s natural diet

Most turtles are omnivores, which means their natural diet consists of a combination of both vegetable matter and meat. However, even some vegetarian turtles will snack on the occasional earthworm or grub if the opportunity presents itself. To complicate matters more, some tortoise species are omnivorous until adulthood before switching to an exclusively vegetarian diet. 

Be sure to understand your pet’s dietary requirements so you can select food and treats that will meet their nutritional demands. Feeding a vegetarian animal too much protein can result in health issues.

Your turtle’s habitat and lighting

A nutrient-rich diet will do a turtle no good if its body is unable to properly digest it. To ensure that your pet remains healthy, you need to install special UV lighting that mimics the radiation that it would naturally absorb from the sun. Reptiles need this UV light to absorb vitamins and minerals.

Soft food vs. pellets

Land-dwelling box turtles and tortoises are sometimes fed soft, canned food. Picky eaters are especially drawn to its smell and texture. However, it can be messy and has a short shelf life after opening. Use pellets whenever possible to cut down on cleanup. If your turtle prefers its food mushy, you can add some warm water to its food bowl to soften things up.

What to look for in quality turtle food and treats

Quality ingredients

Ingredients derived from wheat and corn are fillers and should not make up the bulk of what you feed your turtle. Select a food that lists a whole protein, such as salmon or herring, as a top ingredient. Other good sources of natural protein include shrimp and poultry. Vegetarian turtles should be fed food that includes kale, kelp and other nutritional greens.

Clean feeding

A turtle’s diet should be supplemented with live prey items and fresh fruits and vegetables, depending on the species. The majority of your pet’s food, however, will be pellets. When it comes to aquatic turtles, you want to select a pellet that softens in water but does not disintegrate faster than your turtle’s ability to eat it. Food that falls apart in the water will make your pet’s environment dirty.


The most important vitamins a turtle needs are vitamins A and D3. Vitamin A is easily provided via pellets or sticks, while vitamin D3 is produced via basking in UV light. Feeding your pet a premium food will ensure that it gets the full range of vitamins it requires.


Many captive turtles suffer from a calcium deficiency. This is usually due to a lack of UV rays. Supplements are available for those in need, but making sure that your pet’s primary food source has a high calcium content and that is has proper lighting should be a priority.

How much you can expect to spend on turtle food and treats

Depending on the size of the container, quality turtle food costs $8 to $15.

Turtle food and treats FAQ

Can I feed my turtle live food?

A. Yes. Aquatic turtles especially enjoy hunting and many turtle owners provide them with live fish and insects to chase.

Can my turtle eat food made for people?

A. Don’t feed your pet turtle any processed snacks made for people. Stick to fresh vegetables, fruits and only foods that are made for turtle consumption.

Will my turtle eat from my hand?

A. Yes. Captive turtles aren’t nearly as shy as their wild cousins and most will eat readily from any food source available. Use caution, however, as an accidental bite from a hungry turtle can result in a painful pinch.

What are the best turtle food and treats to buy?

Top turtle food and treats

Best Omega One Adult Turtle Sticks

Omega One Adult Turtle Sticks

What you need to know: Packed with great ingredients, this healthy food is a favorite of aquatic turtles.

What you’ll love: Four out of the first five ingredients in this food are protein sources such as salmon, herring and shrimp. It is formulated for cleanliness to keep your tank’s water clean and your turtle’s waste at a minimum.

What you should consider: This food is marketed as a floating pellet, but some buyers find that much of it sinks to the bottom of the tank.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top turtle food and treats for the money

Best Fluker Labs Aquatic Turtle Medley Treat

Fluker Labs Aquatic Turtle Medley Treat

What you need to know: This blend of natural foods is a great supplement to your aquatic turtle’s diet.

What you’ll love: With only mealworms, crickets and shrimp listed as ingredients, you can be sure that your pet isn’t eating any needless filler with this treat medley. It mimics your turtle’s natural prey and contains no artificial colors.

What you should consider: This is to be used as a treat only, not the bulk of your pet’s diet.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Mazuri Tortoise Diet

Mazuri Tortoise Diet 

What you need to know: These pellets provide mess-free nutrition for vegetarian tortoises.

What you’ll love: With hay listed as its first ingredient, this food is ideal for grass-eating tortoises from dry parts of the world. It contains no artificial ingredients and is high in vitamins A and E.

What you should consider: Buyers report that some tortoises show little interest in this food, especially when fresh veggies and fruits are readily available.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.