How Long Can Baby Turtles Go Without Eating – Tips On Feeding A Baby Turtle

Dec 19, 2020

How Long Can Baby Turtles Go Without Eating

Unlike fishes, turtles are easier to maintain and look after. Just get a large enough tank to hold one, and you can keep him happy with some basic care tips. Of all the carefree actions you can do, feeding them is easier than most pets. You can even go on a vacation if you know how often they eat and when they hibernate. There are several tips on the internet about how to feed to a turtle, but little to no information on how long can baby turtles go without eating.

That is why I have done research on my own and asked a few of my turtle keeping friends on how long can baby turtles go without eating. And here’s what I found out.

How Long Can Baby Turtles Go Without Eating?

A baby turtle needs lots of protein and nutrients in its food to grow. Therefore, their body can only go without eating for a week. After a week of not eating, their body becomes weak, and they can die from famine.

Also, the baby turtles will not have formed the hibernating abilities in its early months. So you shouldn’t leave your baby turtle without food, not even only for a few days.

Along with food, a baby turtle needs water too. Without water, your baby turtle will not last even for a week. If you have a baby box turtle that you have kept outside water, then place a bowl of water for him if you are leaving your house for the weekend.

However, it all depends upon the turtle breed too.

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How Long Can Baby Turtle Go Without Water?

Baby red-eared slider
Baby red-eared slider

Together with food, a baby turtle needs an ample amount of water for both swimming and drinking. If your baby turtle can go for days without food, then in case of water, it’s only a fraction of duration that your turtle can go without water.

Baby turtles can go without water for a couple of days. Their level of thirst and need for water depends upon the temperature and humidity. If the temperature is low and the humidity is high, then your baby turtle will survive a couple of days more. 

How Do You Know If Your Turtle Is Hungry?

If your turtle is reaching for the bowl, plate or place where you usually keep their food when serving, then it means that your turtle is hungry. Baby turtles will do it often as they get hungry faster than adult turtles. You need to check their plate often and have to refill as they are full of energy and need food regularly. 

Other signs can be a turtle hitting over his tank’s wall or cage wall. Turtles do it because they are hungry and when they think that beyond the wall will be food to quench their hunger.

If you want to avoid your turtle banging over the wall and like to know whether your turtles are hungry early then, you need to put foods dispersed in its living area.

Put foods in areas in corners where it seldom goes. When your baby turtle is hungry, then it will scavenge foods in those areas and nibble on whatever food it finds. This way you will know if your turtle is hungry and you will know when to refill its food.

How Do I Feed And Look After My Baby Turtle On Vacation?

Turtle hatchlings
Turtle hatchlings

As I said earlier that a turtle needs little attention and care, so you will have enough time to go on a vacation. However, when you are keeping a baby turtle, it needs regular food and care (not daily).

Adult turtles can go for months without eating, so if you are planning a vacation, then you need not worry about leaving him alone. But we are talking about baby turtles. So, here’s what you can do to feed your baby turtle while you are on vacation.

Fiber-Rich Diet

Your baby turtle’s diet should be nutritious and should keep them full. A baby turtle requires lots of protein from the start to develop a healthy shell. Provide your baby turtle fiber-rich foods, which shall keep them full and won’t be hungry right after eating.

Ask Someone To Look After

Your baby turtle will need food every couple of days. So, ask your neighbor or trusted friends and families to check once every three days. Write a detailed instruction on how to feed and when to feed him. Also, write how your turtle shows signs when he is hungry, or he is distressed.

For UV rays, if you have a room that gets enough sunlight, then you need not worry too much. But, if sunlight doesn’t enter your room often, then you need to get a Light timer for your turtle tank. Turning on and turning the lights off in your turtle tank daily is too much to ask from any friend. So, it will be best to get a light timer.

Changing Water

Waters in open-air aquariums get evaporated quickly. Fill up your tank before leaving for vacation. If the water evaporates while you are away, then your baby turtle will find it hard to climb to the basking spot.

Water should be filled to the full so that your filter won’t get broken by the time you return home. A turtle needs clean water to feed and remain healthy. Changing the water frequently will help him in healthy growth. Ask your friends to fill in water whenever they come for feeding your baby turtles.

Follow these two things, and you can enjoy your vacation feeling assured that your baby turtle is healthy and happy back home too.

How Often Do You Need To Feed A Baby Turtle?

An adult turtle can survive for months, but a baby turtle will be full of energy and will require more food to eat than an adult. For feeding a healthy diet, you need to feed every day with rotation to provide him with a comprehensive diet.

What Should A Nutritious Diet Of A Baby Turtle Contain?

Foods that are rich in nutrients, protein and calcium should comprise in a baby turtle’s food. Fiber is the best option for your baby turtle, as this will keep their voracious appetite in check.

Feed him veggies that are low in oxalates as oxalate-contained veggies will take out extra calcium from your turtle’s body. Veggies like Bok Choy and Broccoli are some veggies that are rich in nutrient and low in oxalates.

Baby turtle period is the stage where your baby turtle shows carnivorous instinct. They will consume every meaty product in this stage and will consume veggies less. Protein is equally necessary for baby turtles to grow. It is the macronutrient which keeps your baby turtle energized and provides him with all the required energy to swim and grow. For protein, you can feed him feeder fishes like guppy, killifish, mosquito fish, bluegills and bass. Insects like earthworms and other crustaceans can be a tasty protein provider for your baby turtle.

Do Baby Turtles Hibernate?

baby turtle
baby turtle

Yes, baby turtles hibernate, but a captive turtle will have lesser chances of hibernating. A turtle only hibernates if the temperature is too low or food is scarce in its habitat.

Fortunately, captive turtles will have all the required conditions for them to survive without struggling. In the wild, turtles and even baby turtles go into hibernation. So, you need to regularly feed and maintain a tropical climate for your baby turtle so it doesn’t have to go into hibernation.

Later, your baby turtle will grow into an adult and will eat less. Sometimes, they will hibernate for months and months. You need not worry when they hibernate because they will use minimum energy to survive. Scientifically, they will have a lower metabolism rate and will hibernate.

Final Words: How Long Can Baby Turtles Go Without Eating?

Turtles can go for months without eating. But a baby stage in a turtle’s lifespan is a crucial period, as they need lots of protein and calcium for their growth. In this stage, they need to consume as much as they can, and they will do that. A baby turtle needs to eat daily, as they are most active during this period. It’s a sign of worry if your baby turtle isn’t hungry or has lost its appetite.

Relevant Topics On Turtles:

What Can Turtles Eat From Human Food? Avoid These Food

Do Turtles Change Color – Reasons Behind Why They Lose Color

Do Turtles Like Music? The Science and Myths Behind It

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.