What Do Turtles Eat In A Pond (Your Pond Turtles Guide)

A few years back, I was feeding my fish in the morning and got surprised by two turtles on the other side of my pond. It seemed they’re basking. I was a little busy that day and completely forgot about them. Then again around a week later, I noticed them on a floating woodblock in the middle of my pond.

It looked like they’re planning to live there for a while. So, I was wondering what are they eating from there. Are they feast on my precious pond fish? Consequently, I did some research on turtle’s food habit in a pond.

What did I find about Turtles?

Turtles are one of the oldest reptile groups and more ancient than crocodilians or snakes. Their diet varies highly depending on their living environment. They’re omnivorous (vegetation and invertebrate meat), diet changes according to their age and living environment.

Thus, what do turtles eat in a pond?

Adult turtles mostly eat aquatic plants (floating and submerged), worms, and invertebrates such as snails, insects. Also, they could eat dead marine animals. Some small freshwater carnivorous species feed on different aquatic life and small fish. But juvenile turtles are purely carnivorous, as they need high protein for growth.

With that being said, if you talk about the two different types of turtles separately- What Do Turtles in Ponds Eat? Or, What Do Pond Turtles Eat in The Wild? 

Herbivorous pond turtles feed on pond’s water plants, algae, fallen fruit and leaves, green leafy plants, and vegetables (if available) like lettuce, cabbage, carrots, spinach, cucumber, seeds, flowers, leaves, and stems etc.

And the carnivorous pond turtles feast on insect larvae, snails, worms, small fish, amphibian larvae, crustaceans, dead fish and marine animals, mollusks, frog, shrimp, reptiles, tadpole, sponges, clams, spiders, grasshoppers, carrion, beetles, and crayfish etc.

Throughout the day, pond turtles may require different types of foods. Some species solely dependent on the plants or plant type food, while others may change their food habit during the teenage period, and others become herbivores at they reach maturity.

What Can I Feed Pond Turtles

For a herbivorous, give your pond or pet turtle (plants and plant-based food)

Seeds, Flowers, Leaves, Stems, Aloe vera, Prickly Pear, Hyacinths, Hibiscus Flowers And Leaves, Spinach, Lettuce (Romaine, Red Leaf, And Green Leaf), Endive, Elodea, Bananas, Apples, Strawberries, Duckweed, Parsley, Kale, Green Leaf Lettuce, Escarole, Dandelion Greens, Collard, Greens, Carrots, etc.

For a Carnivorous pond or pet turtle, feed them (meat or meat-based food)-

Super worms, Snails, Krill, Fish, Earthworms, Shrimp, Mollusks, Mealworms, Locusts, Blackworms, Dubia Roaches, Crickets, Crayfish, Bloodworms, Reptiles, Tadpole, Sponges, Clams, Spiders, Grasshoppers, Carrion, Beetles, etc.

Also, there’s some commercial food pack available in the market, which you can give to your pond or pet turtles. But don’t provide those as a staple.

You can also read our another article on- what type of vegetables you can feed to turles, click here. 

How Often to Feed A Turtle Or Pet/Pond Turtle?

If your garden or pond is heavily planted and lots of natural food source available, feeding 3 times a week is fine. Otherwise, you feed your turtle twice a day with a small portion each time. Let them eat for around 15 minutes that should be enough.

Oh, don’t forget to remove the leftovers.

Can Pond Turtles Eat Lettuce

Yes, pond turtles can eat lettuce. They can eat Lettuce (Romaine, Red Leaf, And Green Leaf). So, there’re lots of varieties to choose for you. Just feed anything from this list.

Among all of the lettuce, leafy greens are considered one of the best choices for your little pond buddy.

What Do Baby Pond Turtles Eat

Pond baby turtles eat a combination of aquatic plants and plant-based materials (leaves, seeds, flowers, and stems etc.), and meat-based food (small crustaceans, insect larvae, insects, worms, small invertebrates, and tadpole etc.)

However, baby pond turtle’s feeding habit highly dependent on their living environment and foods availability. Also, the different species have different taste for food.

Are Turtles Harmful To Ponds/ Is It Bad To Have Turtles In Your Pond

No, ponds aren’t harmful to your pond. Even form the biological point of view, there is no harm for having a turtle in a pond, rather than benefits. Yes, they might compete for a little for the food with other pond inhabitants, and some turtle species eat small fish; however, that shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re having plenty of them in your pond.

With that being said, turtles are part of the natural ecosystem, and they are beneficial for the pond environment. They scavenge plant materials, dead marine animals, algae, and remove weakened and diseased fish in a pond, which improves the water quality and pond’s fish health.

This should answer your question, whether turtles are good or bad for your pond.

How To Get Rid Of Turtles In A Pond

Removing turtles become necessary if they are eating your pond livestock or fish in noticeable amount.  Using trap to catch and remove turtles from your pond is a practical and most efficient way to get rid of them. For slider turtles, surface traps should be effective. And, for some soft-shell and snappers, submerged traps are quite fruitful.

However, turtles don’t necessarily affect your fish population. If you notice something is off, check again thoroughly in your pond. You will find a different reason for that.

How To Keep Turtles In A Pond

Use a fence or net to surround your turtle’s pond. Keep them for around 2 feet height that’ll help to prevent them from crawling away or any predatory ground animals.

For the best protection, use something heavy to hold the net, or you could just pitch some part of the net into the ground.

What Do Snapping Turtles Eat In A Pond

Aquatic turtles are omnivorous. However, the snapping turtle’s diet highly dependent on fish. They could eat smaller and healthy fish in your pond besides other marine animals and aquatic plants. So, don’t have too much Snapping turtles in your fish pond.

Winding Up

Pond turtle’s diet varies according to their food availability, species, and age. So, what do pond turtles eat- they eat both fish and aquatic plants in a pond and help your pond’s water quality improvement and fresh.

But, having a large number of turtles in a fish pond isn’t a good idea. So, always try to keep the balance between them. If necessary, catch some turtles using traps and remove from your pond.

Well, that’s all for today. See you on another day with other information for you. Until then, stay safe and healthy.


  1. Will turtles eat fish in my pond?

    […] What Do Turtles Eat In A Pond (Your Pond Turtles Guide) […]

    • Yes, they will. However, depending on the species, it may vary. Such as, red eared turtles are frequent eaters than the Box.

  2. Dubia roaches are the safest, most nutritious food for your pets. Fast, free shipping. Live arrival guaranteed. Start your own colony today.

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