Turtles eating Mealworms: Can Turtles Eat Mealworms?

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Turtles are the cute reptiles that belong to the Chordata phylum and Testudines order.

They’re popular both among pet owners and in the wild. A turtle is an omnivore, which means it eats both meat and vegetables.

Today, we are going to discuss whether turtles can eat mealworms.

Turtles eating Mealworms: Can Turtles Eat Mealworms?

One of the things that turtles seem to enjoy is feeding them with mealworms. However, there are some restrictions for this to work. 

Mealworms can’t be a regular part of your turtle’s diet, as they provide just enough nutrition for the animal. Mealworms work best as an occasional treat and should be given only when needed.

Taking a closer look at the different types of worms, let’s explore whether they are safe for turtles.

Dried Mealworms:

Turtles are diverse animals and they have both carnivorous and herbivorous eating habits.

They satisfy their carnivorous eating habit with different kinds of insects and worms, including dried mealworms.

Turtles can certainly eat dried mealworms.

Live mealworms:

Turtles in the wild live off a diet of live mealworms. As such, you can let your pet turtle indulge on this delicious and nutritious snack too.

Mealworms that are not alive:

Turtles typically cannot feed on mealworms that are not alive. Turtles can eat mealworms that were recently alive, but they can’t stomach them if they have reached the decomposing stage.

Freeze-dried mealworms:

As you read more, your knowledge grows. It’s your turn to make a splash in the world of pet shop owners.

With that in mind, check out this closely-guarded secret that will make the turtle jump with joy: freeze-dried mealworms can be found at pet stores.

We’ll keep things short and sweet– it feeds pet turtles! They are perfect for meeting their carnivorous needs, as they are packaged carefully and safe for turtles to eat.

Mealworm beetles:

Mealworm beetles technically go by another name, darkling beetles. A darkling beetle is the adult form of a mealworm and contain more nutrients than other types of worms.

Mealworms are a good food choice for turtles because they contain adequate amounts of protein.

Mealworm beetles can be a temporary fix for turtles since they are not allowed to consume them all the time.

Mealworm beetles may be beneficial to turtles in the short term, but they are not a permanent solution.

Are Mealworms Good For Turtles?

For a productive and healthy pet, what is the best type of food?

Turtles eat mealworms as an occasional part of their food diet. They are a healthy mixture of protein, fiber, and fat, and turtles need them on a relatively rare basis.

Turtles can only eat mealworms for so long; eventually you’ll want to find something else to feed them.

Mealworms are high in cysteine and methionine, which are both crucial for turtle wound healing and keeping their livers healthy. Cysteine is also essential for turtles’ natural growth.

Mealworms also have a high concentration of protein, with 66% of their body weight being protein.

As turtles are herbivores by nature, mealworms can’t be an everyday part of their diet. However, they make a great occasional treat!

What Turtles Can Eat Mealworms?

When animals are in the wild, you can find lots of different types of animals. We’ll take a look at some today, including turtles.

Box/Eastern box turtles:

Box turtles are omnivorous, so they can eat salads, vegetables, and meat. They can certainly eat mealworms as part of a carnivorous diet.

My pet turtle has a strong shell because of the mealworms he eats.

Musk Turtles:

The musk turtle is another different species of turtles that are omnivorous in nature. Thus, the musk turtle can definitely eat all forms of mealworms.

Mealworms can be an important part of a musk turtle’s diet during its peak growth period.

Baby turtles:

Feeding baby turtles too many mealworms is not recommended. A diet of only mealworms could be unhealthy for a baby turtle. They can eat them occasionally as an occasional food, but in small amounts.

It’s important to cut the mealworms into pieces so that baby turtles can eat them easily.

Painted Turtles:

Painted turtles are best known for their colorful patterns. But they aren’t just pretty on the outside!

Their food habit makes them omnivorous. They eat both meat and vegetables. For their carnivorous needs, painted turtles can consume mealworms.

Aquatic turtles:

Aquatic turtles need a protein-rich food to carry their needs. Mealworms can provide them with the protein they need which can make their growth faster and stronger than before.

Snapping Turtle:

In addition to their large size, snapping turtles are also known for their erratic behavior. They are believed to be the largest available water turtle living in the USA.

Among snapping turtles’ favorite foods are mealworms, and provide them with much-needed protein.

Red-eared slider turtles:

Young red-eared slider turtles typically crave mealworms more than adults do. So young red-eared iders can eat mealworms and adults.

How Many Mealworms Should My Turtle Eat?

Turtles are omnivorous animals. That means they need to eat both plants and other animals.

That’s why the daily diet of a turtle should include both plant-based and animal-based foods. 

Your turtle’s diet can be supplemented with mealworms from time to time. Your turtle shouldn’t only be fed mealworms. 

Along with other foods, give your turtle three mealworms at a time. Depending on how big your turtle is, you may want to separate the mealworms into several pieces so that they are easier for your pet to eat.

Remember, your turtle shouldn’t be fed mealworms on a regular basis. They work best as an occasional snack and not as regular food.

Turtles eat a different meal every day to make sure they’re getting their needed nutrients.

When Feeding Turtles Live Mealworms, How Do You Do It?

Turtles have different dietary needs, so the best way to feed them will depends on the type of turtle. Here are two common methods that might work for your turtles.

Float them in the water:

Some people like to put live mealworms into their turtle tank. After opening the worms’ cage, some turtles will swim up to eat them.

To offer this as food, many owners put the worms in the water and let the turtles come up for a bite.

If your turtle do not eat the floating live mealworms, then it may be that they are not hungry or they are not interested in eating them in the water.

Put them in a bowl:

To feed live mealworms to your turtle, mix some into the other items in the food bowl. Some turtles only eat once a day. And this is a great time to get your pet to eat some of them too!

What kind of worms do turtles eat?

Turtles are occasionally able to eat some kinds of worms. These worms include:


Turtles like to eat silkworms because they contain a high amount of calcium, which can help their growth and development.


Butterworms also have a high amount of calcium, which is more than any other edible insect for turtles. Without a doubt, butterworms should be added to the list of food for turtles.


Bloodworms are also full of calcium. Calcium is essential for the growth and development of young turtles. Bloodworms can be a wonderful occasional treat for turtles.


Mealworms are a high-quality source of protein, fiber, and fat. Turtles are omnivores, so they can consume the mealworm occasionally. In particular, young baby turtles require mealworms to develop.


The waxworm is best for turtles who need some extra fat. Worms will satisfy the turtle’s appetite for fat.


Omnivorious turtles need to eat both vegetables and meat. Earthworms can provide the latter for them, by being on the diet occasionally.


Turtles need an ample supply of Cricket insects to remain healthy.

The natural growth and development of a turtle can depend on the intake of protein and calcium from Crickets, which is why it’s important they’re offered daily.

Final Thoughts

Mealworms can be eaten either live or freeze-dried by turtles, but they should only have three at a time.

It is crucial to remember that turtles are omnivorous animals and need meat in their diet too.

Feeding mealworms to turtles every day won’t provide them with the balanced diet they require.


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