Can Turtles Eat Crickets? Do They Like It?

Jun 15, 2021

can turtles eat crickets

Today, crickets have a newfound spotlight as a sustainable source of protein as opposed to beef and chicken. This is because every 100 grams of cricket has 69 grams of protein, while the same amount of beef clocks in at 43 grams of protein, and chicken has 31 grams. 

You can find everything from cricket crackers to supplements in the market. I’d tried the chips and actually loved them.

So, can turtles eat crickets? They’re known to eat all kinds of critters in the wild, after all. Find the answer to that and much more down below! 

Can Turtles Eat Crickets? 

Yes, definitely. Turtles are omnivores that will eat any bug they can put inside their mouth. Besides being a delicious snack, it’s an excellent source of protein that is important for a turtle’s healthy growth – especially in the early years. So besides cricket, they also hunt down beetles, caterpillars, slugs, and grasshoppers. 

Here’s a video of sliders munching on crickets!

Can Baby Turtles Eat Crickets?

Yes, baby turtles can eat crickets too. In fact, since they need a protein-rich diet in formative years of life, crickets can make great nutritious snacks.

However, too much protein intake can cause pyramiding, which means elevated and deformed development of scutes. 

Do Turtles Like Cricket? 

Yes, turtles absolutely love cricket. Cricket, alongside other bugs and critters, has been a part of a turtle’s diet in the wild for millions of years. So, they naturally love munching on cricket. 

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How Many Crickets Can I Give My Turtle?

I give around 6 crickets at a time once every week or twice to my turtles. I dust it with calcium and vitamin D3 supplement from Zoo Med

Across several forums, I found owners that give one or two crickets every day to those that provide a dozen every four days.

So, as you can see, it all boils down to a turtle’s species, age, and diet preference. 

For instance, a snapping turtle would naturally need to devour a larger number of crickets than a slider, right?

Can I Give Live Crickets To My Turtles? 

Yes, absolutely. It’s always amusing to watch my turtles try to hunt down live crickets in the water. However, it comes at a cost. Giving live crickets can make quite a mess because they tend to jump around a lot. 

Also, they release this strong, funky odor that can pollute the water for days. And raising crickets isn’t a joke. It can cost you a good sum of money. 

I’ll tell you about a better alternative. 

Dried Cricket For Turtles

So, I always give store-bought, dried crickets. 

Store-bought crickets don’t smell bad since they’ve been freeze-dried. However, they retain more or less the same nutritional value as live crickets. Also, the best part is that they don’t make the water messy. 

Here’s one I routinely buy for my turtles. 

Nutrition Table For 100 Grams Of Cricket 

Nutrient Amount
Calcium171 milligrams
Iron8.7 milligrams
Zinc 6 milligrams 
Fiber 4.41 grams 
Calories121 
Protein13 grams

Are Crickets Healthy For Turtles? 

As the table shows, crickets contain a good amount of nutrients that turtles need, like calcium, protein, and fiber. It’s also rich in biologically available forms of vitamin A like retinol and retinoic acid. So, it’s safe to say cricket is absolutely healthy for turtles. 

Here’s a rundown of why these nutrients are essential for turtles:

  • Vitamin A is critical to maintaining eye and respiratory health
  • Calcium helps to ensure strong, healthy bones and shell
  • Protein ensures overall sound development 
  • Fiber aids digestion 

How Do Turtles Hunt Crickets In The Wild? 

If you’re wondering how on earth can slow-moving turtles hunt down bugs like crickets with lightning-fast reflexes, you’re in for a surprise. Turtles have evolved to have long and flexible necks to hunt down most of their food. 

Although turtles usually keep their neck under wraps of the shell, they can quickly extend it in a matter of a few seconds. This ability allows them to unassumingly reach near the prey and lunge at them before they even know! 

Also, a turtle’s speed in the water is superfast compared to land. So, the chances of hunting down critters in water are quite high. 

What Other Insects Can Turtles Eat? 

grasshopper
Grasshopper

Besides crickets, there are a number of other worm/bug options to feed your pet turtle. Some of them are: 

  • Grasshoppers 
  • Caterpillars 
  • Earthworms 
  • Beetles 
  • Slugs
  • Snails 
  • Red worms 
  • Waxworms 
  • Mealworms 
  • Super worms
  • Crustacean 
  • Insect larvae 

Don’t ever give fireflies since they can be fatal to your turtle’s health. When attacked, fireflies start ‘reflex bleeding’ by producing blood with chemicals that can be toxic to reptiles and birds. 

Final Words: Can Turtles Eat Crickets?

Yes, turtles can and love eating crickets, alongside a range of other bugs, worms, and critters. In addition, crickets make nutritious meals for turtles as they’re loaded with calcium, protein, and fiber that turtles need. 

Since live crickets are difficult and expensive to raise, my go-to fix is frozen crickets that are equally nutritious and delicious for my turtles! 

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rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.