Red Eared Slider Food List – Top Recommendations

Meal prep can sometimes be a little boring and tedious, we know that. Which is why we have created a Red Eared Slider Food List, to help you with some ideas on what you can feed your turtle. (Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

Just like humans, turtle get bored eating the same foods day in, day out. So you will need to switch up their diets ever couple of days. Luckily for you we have created a Red eared slider food list so you’ll have to look no further. We’ll highlight all the best live foods, plantations, pellets and vegetables that you’ll need to create a healthy, staple diet for your turtle.

First of all you should know that a turtle needs a variety of foods to stay healthy. But the main bulk of their diets should proteins, and what I mean by this is meat based foods. Buying live food can have its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Sometimes turtles just aren’t fast enough to catch their own food, it’s that simple, so their diets consist of mainly pelleted foods. Turtle pellets are what should make up rough 70% of a red eared slider turtles diet. The other 30% is made up from live foods, vegetables and plantations. 

So after hours of research, here is our top recommendations for a red eared slider foods list.

Best Foods For Red Eared Slider Turtles

  • Turtle Pellets
  • Crickets
  • Earthworms
  • Guppie Fish 
  • Freshwater Aquatic Snails
  • Freeze Dried Shrimp & Krill
  • Carrots
  • Squash 
  • Green Beans
  • Red & Green Lettuce
  • Dandelion Leaves

There are manly other suitable foods for red eared slider turtles, which will be listed at the end of the article. It is also worth mentioning that Red eared slider turtles CAN NOT eat iceberg lettuce, so never offer this to your turtle. It contains too much water for a turtle and will cause an upset stomach. Not only that, it doesn’t offer much nutritional value anyway, so please stay away from feeding your turtle iceberg lettuce. 

But for now, let’s take a closer look at our top recommendations.

Turtle Pellets

Turtle pellets should be the main food source for your red eared slider. The pellets are commonly made with Gammarus shrimp and crammed with vitamins and minerals. These pellets will give your turtle all the nutrients it needs for a healthy diet combining vitamins, minerals, calcium and  proteins. Another great thing about this pellet food is that it floats on the surface top, so they are easily removed if not eaten. 


Yes crickets can be given to your red eared slider turtle as a form of food every so often. Red ears will feed on small insects, and crickets come under this category. As long as the cricket is small enough to consume then your turtle should be fine eating it. Crickets are highly nutritious and easy to digest which makes them a great treat for your turtle. They high in protein which may otherwise be hard to get in a turtles diet. You can also freeze crickets and they will still hold off the goodness inside them, so you can offer these to outside turtles also, without the crickets hopping away.


Earthworms are high in calcium and fat, which makes this food a great treat for your red eared slider turtle also. If you choose to feed your turtle earthworms, then you should do so only 1 or 2 days a week. Earthworms should be bought from a reptile store, or online, as they are commonly fed a reptile friendly diet prior to packing.

Guppie Fish

Live guppy fish can be used as feeder food for your turtle. They may not however feed on these fish if they are getting a constant healthy diet on a daily basis. Usually the pellets, dried shrimp and plantations will be enough. Usually guppies can be added to the aquarium as tank/pond mates, however don’t be surprised if they are eaten eventually. 

Aquatic Snails

Snails are an importantly part of a red eared slider turtles diet, as these are commonly what they would eat in the wild. Aquatic snails can be offered dead or alive. You can buy them both live, or canned from reptile shops or online stores.  Usually snails will have added calcium if bought from reptile stores, as they are commonly very low in calcium by themselves. You’ll need to take this into consideration when monitoring calcium level consumption.

Freeze-Dried Shrimp & Krill

Shrimp and Krill which has been freeze dried is another great food you should be offering your turtle.  Both shrimp and krill belong to a red eared slider’s natural diet, so these should be offered at least every other day. Make sure you buy ‘freshwater’ and not saltwater, as this type is commonly not in reptile diets. Another great thing is that usually they are offered in small and large sizes, so can be offered to both juvenile and adult turtles.


Carrots are another good substantial vegetable to be offering your red eared slider turtle. They’re high in carbohydrates and natural sugars which your turtle won’t commonly get from aquatic plantations. The only thing you will need to do to carrots is to wash them before offering them as food. Sometimes vegetables bought from shops are sprayed in chemicals which may be harmful to your turtle.


This is a vegetable that should only be offered a couple of times a week. Squash is high in vitamins A, C and E which is good for an all round vegetable. It is however also very high in fibre and this is why it should only be offer a couple of times a week. Again this should be removed after a day.

Green Beans

Raw green beans can be offered as a treat for your turtle. Not all turtles will eat green beans as they have an acquired taste, but they are safe to offer. They are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, so they have a wide variety of nutritious mineral values.

Aquatic Plants

Aquatic plants such as Duckweed, Anacharis and Water Hyacinth are great additions to your turtles diet. These plants can be self sustained in the water conditions are okay in your pond or aquarium. Live aquatic plants re great as they can just be nibbled at, as and when your turtle is hungry. They’re high in vitamins and minerals which will help to sustain a healthy and staple diet.

Green & Red Leaf Lettuce

Lettuce can be offered to your turtle regularly. Very similar to aquatic plants however lettuce should be offered in a feeding bowl. The lettuce should only be available for one day, then it needs to be changed. It will most likely become very unappealing to your turtle if its been sat there for a few days. Again, lettuce is high in vitamins and minerals so should be offered most days.

Dandelion Leaves

Dandelions can be offered as part of a red eared slider turtle’s diet every day. They may not eat it every day but it is good to offer it to them. This can however be seasonal if you are growing yourself, however it can also be bought, usually online for delivery. Dandelion leaves are high in vitamins and minerals. These can be grown in a small pot on a windowsill or in a garden.

Other suitable foods for red eared slider food list?

Okay, so these foods we’ll not go into detail with, but these will all need to be offered only a couple of times a week. These foods have high levels of varying vitamins and minerals which is why they should only be offered in moderation. Red eared slider turtles are relatively non fussy eaters, which makes meal prep pretty easy. You should soon get a good idea of the foods they do and don’t like. 

Here is the list of other foods which can be offered to your turtle;

  • Mealworms
  • Bloodworms
  • Crayfish
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Minnows
  • Waxworms
  • Collard Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip Greens
  • Bok Choi
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Watercress
  • Clovers
  • Red & Green Cabbage
  • Savory 
  • Bell Peppers
  • Duckweed
  • Honeydew
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Berries


Well there we have it, everything you need to know to create a healthy Red Eared Slider Food List. We hope our top recommendations help you to decide on some alternative meals for your turtle. Remember to monitor vitamin and calcium intake as too much can lead to health problems, which you really don’t want.

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Red Eared Slider Food List – Top Recommendations

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