A lot of people don’t realize until owning one that turtles aren’t silent creatures. We don’t typically expect our reptiles to be particularly noisy, and a turtle’s calm disposition and general laconic pace of life makes us think of them as quiet creatures.
They don’t bark or yelp when to let you know how they’re feeling.
In fact, turtles are as noisy as one of their favourite foods in the wild: crickets.
Their sounds, though different and not common, have range. Some sound like motors, some do indeed bark like dogs and some others even sound like humans belching.
And sound is a big part of how they catch their favourite snack.
In this post, we’ll go over whether or not it’s wise to feed your turtle crickets as well as discuss the methods a turtle has naturally developed over the course of evolution to make them excellent cricket predators.
Do turtles eat cricket? Yes, turtles eat cricket and they are perfectly safe for them. Due to crickets being high in protein, we recommend it feeding once a week.
Are Crickets Healthy for Turtles?
Crickets are a very healthy snack for your turtle, providing a lot of the essential vitamins and nutrients your turtle needs to grow big and strong.
Crickets contain a lot of the protein a turtle needs, as well as a good deal of calcium necessary to keep their shell strong.
How Do You Feed a Cricket to a Turtle?
Freeze-dried crickets are always an option, but they won’t be much fun for your turtle. This is what they do in their natural habitat, and you’re trying to recreate that environment in their tank as much as possible.
So it’s recommended, when you can, to go with live crickets.
The only reason freeze dried crickets might be preferable is that live ones are more expensive, and it can be hard to catch enough for your turtle by yourself, as well as keep them alive before feeding time.
Turtles love chasing crickets around their tanks, it awakens something natural in them. It’s also excellent exercise for them.
The smaller and younger the turtle, the more they’ll enjoy the hunt. But you don’t want to give young turtles too much protein too fast.
Once to twice a week are all the crickets your turtle will need. This is also why turtle pellets are not the best option for a young turtle, as they’re loaded with protein.
If you do decide to feed your turtle live crickets, it’s recommended that you “gut-load” them for a few days before putting them in the tank.
Place them in a container for a few days with a bit of cricket feed (purchased at any pet store). Throw in a moist sponge from which they can feed.
Cricket feed has calcium, which when consumed by the cricket, will be transferred to the turtle.
Just make absolutely certain the container you keep them in is well-sealed. The last thing you want is to escape and start making a racket in your home.
But freeze-dried crickets are always an option if that sounds too much work.
They have just as much protein, and you can sprinkle some calcium powder on them before placing them in the tank.
How many crickets you feed your turtle will depend on its size.
Small turtles should have no more than two a week. Medium-sized turtles can go up to five, while larger turtles can have as many as ten.
How Do Turtles Catch Crickets?
How indeed? You’ve seen how fast your turtle moves compared to a jumping, wild insect like a cricket.
It’s just not believable that something so slow could catch something so fast.
It’s surprising, like seeing someone you think is out of shape perfectly execute the tango. But turtles have a natural evolutionary hunting sense that makes them capable of catching crickets quite well.
You wouldn’t think they’d have it in them.
But turtles can be surprising creatures.
A turtle’s diet in the wild is actually full of things you would not expect them to be capable of catching, such as worms, grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles.
After all, the classic tale of The Tortoise and The Hare, the entire intended lesson was that, though slow, the tortoise is much more competent and efficient at applying himself when he needs to.
The reason turtles are so competent at hunting turtles is due to their extended necks. Usually, turtles keep their heads close to their shells, ready to retract quickly if necessary.
But some species can extend their necks out up to six inches. And they do it very quickly, easily striking an unsuspecting cricket.
Crickets are also not very tuned in to what’s going on behind them, having no visibility in their rear.
So they’re quite easy to silently sneak up on.
Furthermore, while land turtles are often slow, aquatic turtles are amazingly talented swimmers.
The red-eared slider is known to reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. Thus, they can easily sneak up on a cricket sitting near the waterline.
Turtles don’t need to eat many crickets. Too much protein can be a bad thing, especially when they’re still growing. Just one or two a week should be enough until they’re a little bigger. But it can be difficult keeping them alive separately for long periods between feeding time, and the risk of escape is not appealing.
For those worried about such matters, freeze-dried crickets are always an option. Your turtle will get the same protein and calcium, especially if you had some powder.
However what they’ll miss is the thrill of the hunt.
Ultimately, it’s up to you which kind of crickets you offer to your turtle, though live ones would please them much more.
Can you feed live crickets to turtles?
Absolutely. In fact, they prefer live crickets. In the wild, turtles often enjoy hunting crickets, and they have natural evolutionary abilities that they’ve developed over time that helps them do it very well.
Freeze-dried crickets provide a lot of the same vitamins and nutrients, but you may have to add calcium powder. Ordinary, live crickets are able to be fed, like a fattened goose, before being offered to your turtle.