Can Turtles Eat Ants?

There’s no easy way to put it, nature is a battlefield.

Each species is looking out for themselves, and they’ve adapted various evolutionary abilities to protect themselves as well as make them better predators.

It occurs at every level of the food chain – foxes and rabbits, sharks and fish and yes, even something as small as the ant has certain ways to defend itself. 


Turtles seem as though they  would be a natural predator to ants.

And, for the most part, they can be. But ants are a force to be reckoned with in large numbers.

So while turtles do regularly often eat ants in the wild, too many and the ants can overpower the turtle. It almost makes the venture not worth the trouble.

Just be clear

Turtle can eat ants and its quite common for them to eat them in wild. However, they don’t provide many nutrients for turtle to grow healthy and strong. There much better alternatives for turtles than ants.

In this blog, we’ll go over the reasons why turtles should not get into the habit of eating ants, particularly if they are in an outdoor enclosure where ants can easily get to them. 

Can Ants Kill a Turtle?

Turtles can kill ants incredibly easily, often with one snap of the jaw or swallow.

But too many ants can overpower the turtle. Or, if the ants are of a particularly dangerous species, they are automatically dangerous. 

If you’ve ever been on a picnic and left your food unattended for more than a few minutes, you know how quickly ants can gather in number and get into everything. The same is true of a turtle in the wild. 


Fire ants are a particularly dangerous species for turtles.

They can even kill something as big as a tortoise, and if they don’t succeed in killing it, they can seriously harm it through bites.

Red Harvester ants are also a threat.

Carpenter ants can be dangerous, but are generally more of a nuisance. 

So if you have an outdoor enclosure for your turtle, it can be an especially dangerous place for your turtle if you don’t proof it correctly for ants. 

What Type of Ants Can Turtles Eat?

Obviously, you don’t want to offer your turtle any fire ants, but there are some ants that are safer, if you can control their numbers, to eat. 

Standard black ants are the safest, however you really don’t want them to get overpowering for your turtle.

It’s honestly best to avoid feeding them ants altogether, as they can get much more protein from other species like grasshoppers and worms that can’t bite back. 

Also read – > Do Turtles Eat Worms?

Do Baby Turtles Eat Ants?

Baby turtles are particularly vulnerable to ants in large numbers. Occasionally, an ant may get in and the turtle will eat it. 

But ants can easily overpower and injure or kill a baby turtle. It’s best you keep ants away from baby turtles. 

Ants may be a nice occasional treat for your turtle should one happen to find a way into its enclosure, but you don’t want to get into the habit of feeding any turtle ants.

Ants have evolved, just as turtles have, to make them capable of defending themselves from predators, and they will attack if threatened. 

It’s also especially dangerous to keep a turtle outdoors, where he can’t be monitored, without proofing the area for ants.

To properly do that, you can use chemicals, but it’s better to go for natural solutions like hot water and cinnamon. Chemicals will get rid of the ants, but they can also harm your turtle. 

Overall, it’s best to keep ants away from your turtle. They don’t provide nutrients in enough quantity to be considered a healthy treat, and the risk is too great. 

F.A.Q.

Do Box Turtles Eat Ants?

Box turtles rely on a lot of vegetation and protein, however ants are not a part of their diet. In fact, ants can present a particular risk to box turtles and should be avoided at all costs. 

Do Painted Turtles Eat Ants?

Painted turtles can eat ants, and often do in the wild. In your home, however, it’s not advisable to feed your painted turtle ants. T

hey aren’t missing much, as ants don’t provide them any real nutrition. 

Do Snapping Turtles Eat Ants?

Snapping turtles, like painted turtles, have no issues eating ants in the wild, but they are still at war with them in nature.

An ant will do what it can to defend itself, often calling on its brothers and sisters to attack.

This could well kill even the biggest turtle. 

Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat Ants?

Red-eared sliders are aquatic turtles, and aquatic turtles rarely come across ants unless they’re drowning in the water. So they aren’t really a part of their diet. Red-eared sliders are also a rather large species.

Eating an ant may seem like small potatoes to them, and they certainly won’t be getting the nutrition they need from ants. 


There’s also always an element of danger that comes with feeding ants to turtles.

In short, you don’t normally want to do it. 

Also read

Do Turtles Eat Ducks

Do Turtles Eat Snails

Do Turtles Eat Crickets?

Can Turtles eat Shrimp?

Do Turtles Eat Flies?

 

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