Do Turtles Eat Worms?

Turtles are one of the oldest living creatures on the planet, and as such have learned to adapt to a varied diet that allows them a lot of choices where they get their nutrients. 

One of the best ways a growing turtle can acquire the protein it needs to grow is to feed them worms.

Snails and other small insects are also a terrific treat.

More important than the protein, as they get older, turtles will enjoy the primal thrill of hunting a smaller animal. 

You’re trying to recreate their environment in the wild as much as possible, after all, and that should include allowing them the freedom of the hunt.

But if you have an issue with feeding your turtle another living creature, you can easily purchase already dead ones. 

The moral and ethical issues surrounding feeding live worms to turtles are personal to everyone, but if you really want your turtle to enjoy themselves, feeding them live worms from the store is a great way to please them. 

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the benefits of feeding your turtle worms as well as how best to feed them. 

Do Turtles Like Worms?

As you can see from video above, Yes, turtles love to eat worms, and they’re a great source of protein for your little friend.

However, you do have to be careful what worms you feed them.

It may seem like a good idea to round up all the worms you see in your yard to save money. 

But if you do any gardening, your hard has likely been sprayed with some kind of pesticide or chemical, and that means the turtle is at risk of ingesting it through the worm.

Turtles should never ingest pesticides, even their leafy greens should be all natural. 

Some worms in your yard may have parasites that could cause serious health problems in your turtle as well. 

So as much as turtles like to eat worms, it very much matters where you’re getting them. The best idea is to purchase them from a pet or feed store. 

How Do Turtles Eat Worms?

Most turtles have very powerful jaws that can snap a turtle in two.

Aquatic turtles are known for being messy eaters, tearing their food to pieces and leaving particles of it in their enclosure.

So if you have an aquatic turtle, don’t be surprised to see tiny worm pieces floating in its water after feeding time. 


If, for some reason, your turtle doesn’t seem interested in eating worms, they may have a parasite that would need to be treated immediately.

But when you first bring your turtle home, especially if it’s a rescue, it might be a little shy and not eat anything you offer it. 

Worms are actually a great way to make them feel more comfortable with you. Feeding them worms will please them and establish some trust with you moving forward in your relationship. 

Worms typically entice any turtle to eat. 

Worms are a great source of protein for any turtle, and they will love hunting them down if you can get them live.

If you can’t however, dried worms still offer a lot of the same nutrients that your turtle needs to survive.

They’re also a great way of establishing trust around nervous, new turtles, as few turtles can resist a helpless little worm floating in their water. 

Now, it’s understandable if you have some ethical problems feeding a live worm to your turtle.

However there’s no law against it,

and it’s a very natural part of a turtle’s life.

If the whole point of owning a turtle was to recreate its environment in the wild as accurately as possible,

then why not go all the way?

It’s important, however, if you are going to feed your turtle any kind of worm, that you don’t feed them too much.

At any age, too much protein can be a bad thing for their health.

It’s also incredibly important that you source your worms, don’t just pick them from your backyard where harmful chemicals may have gotten into the worm waiting to be transferred to your turtle. 

But worms sure are a favourite of turtles, and they’ll be forever grateful if you offer them a couple of worms once or twice a week.

Not only will you be giving them the healthy snack they require, it’s also a delicious one they’ll enjoy.


Can I Feed My Turtle Worms?

Just as turtles out in the wild like to eat worms, domesticated turtles enjoy them as well.

It can be a little unethical for some, uncouth for others, but there’s really nothing wrong with it.

There’s certainly no law against it, as there’s no laws on the books protecting worms’ rights. 


But again, it’s critical that you source your worms properly. It sounds a little silly, but knowing that they haven’t been exposed to any chemicals is very important to the health of your turtle. 

Why Do Turtles Eat Worms?

Turtles are omnivores, they rely on a lot of different kinds of food to survive in the wild and to give them the necessary nutrients, vitamins and protein to live healthily. 

Some turtles are mostly vegetarian, but ultimately they’re all omnivores because they need the protein, especially when growing.

It’ll depend on the kind of turtle you have whether or not they really love eating worms.

One of the most fascinating things about turtles is how particular they can be, and how they each have their own personalities. 

So if your turtle doesn’t seem too keen on worms, try offering them other sources of protein. Grasshoppers and crickets are always an excellent selection, though with both you run the risk of them escaping and making a racket in your house. 

But chances are, your turtle likes worms.

Perhaps you just haven’t found the right worm for your friend to enjoy. 


What Kind Of Worms Do Turtles Eat?

There are many different kinds of worms, as there are many different kinds of turtle.

And each species of turtle enjoys a specific kind of worm more than others.

Here’s a list of worms and what turtles enjoy them most. 

Do Turtles Eat Earthworms?

Earthworms are the most common worm given to turtles by owners, and they’re enjoyed by most species.

Red-eared sliders, box turtles, snapping turtles, painted turtles and aquatic turtles all can be fed a few earthworms. 

A snapping turtle’s jaws are so powerful, they can rip the worm in two in one snap. 

Painted turtles are less likely to eat earthworms, but will, as they aren’t a natural part of their environment. 

Again, earthworms can easily get sprayed with pesticides, so it’s important that you know where they come from to protect your turtle from any potential illness. 

Do Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Mealworms are often a favourite of turtles around the world.

You can purchase them dried at a petstore, however live mealworms offer more nutrients. Mealworms are a particular delicacy for aquatic turtles, who in the wild live near them by the freshwater. 

But if you’re a pet owner, despite lacking some nutrients, it’s better to buy them dried at a store for safety reasons. 

Do Turtles Eat Bloodworms?

Bloodworms take their name from their carnivorous habits.

They prey on other worms, using four hollow jaws and a venom gland. If they bite humans, it can be incredibly painful.

Bloodworms are typically hunted by large, aquatic turtles that can easily take them on. 


Otherwise, you can purchase them dried at a pet store, and they contain a great deal of necessary nutrients your friend needs.

You don’t want to feed your turtle live ones. They can bring harm to both you and your turtle. 


Do Turtles Eat Waxworms?

Turtles quite enjoy waxworms, but for the wrong reasons. Waxworms have a high fat content, so they should only be given as an occasional treat. Making waxworms a regular part of their meal would destroy whatever meal plan you’ve decided on for your turtle.

Do Turtles Eat Silkworms?

Silkworms are another favourite of turtles.These worms are incredibly tiny, and are often swallowed whole. A lot are concerned that feeding them live silkworms will cause them to bite the turtle’s intestinal system, but they don’t actually do this. 


They’ll be very dead by the time they reach the turtle’s intestines.

The only problem with silkworms is the cost. Silkworms make a very fine cloth material, as you know, so they don’t come cheaply.

As much as your friend may like to tear into them, your budget may not allow it. 

You’ll also be tasked with growing the silkworms yourself, which can be extremely demanding when you’re already trying to care for a turtle. 

How Many Worms Do Turtles Eat a Day?

A turtle requires between 12 and 14 percent of natural protein.

The percentage can vary depending on what kind of turtle you have as well as the habitat enclosure you’ve set up for it.

It’s important that you never overfeed your turtle, but given that turtles can be either very small or incredibly large, what overfeeding means can be hard to determine. 

Too much protein can cause unexpected health problems for your turtle.

And you should always strive to give your turtle a varied diet or mainly vegetation.

Turtles tend to get a lot of nutrients from greens, as well as other plant life. 

So given those parameters, worms and other protein-based foods should be given only once or twice a week as treats, and never a part of their regular diet.

This should keep your little friend perfectly healthy, and he’ll enjoy every time he sees you coming with a bag of them. 

Can Baby Turtles Eat Earthworms?

Baby turtles are cute, but surprisingly lethal to other creatures.

Not to humans, obviously, but to prey smaller than them, they’re like tiny assassins.

They also carry a lot of illnesses like salmonella, so in a way they can hurt humans, but accidentally. Regardless, it’s best to keep children away from them. 


A baby turtle’s diet should be primarily composed of vegetation and commercial food. And you should mainly be focusing on the vegetation side of the equation.

You want to give your baby turtle some protein to help it grow, but high doses of protein can cause serious health issues as it gets older and bigger. 

If you are going to offer worms to your baby turtle, be sure to do so in incredibly small doses. Never try to feed them long, stringy earthworms.

The longer they are, the more protein they’ll contain. Instead, offer them smaller worms like waxworms and mealworms. The smaller the better. 

Pet stores often have tins of worms made especially for baby turtles.

This is your ideal option for giving your little friend a weekly treat. 

Can I Feed My Turtle Worms From Outside?

Turtles eat worms in the wild, so it makes complete sense to take the worms I find in my yard and offer them to my turtle.

But it’s not quite the same thing. Turtles in the wild are not typically living on private or commercial property.

Some may wander on accidentally and gobble up a few worms. 

If they have, then they are at risk of ingesting seriously dangerous pesticides and chemicals, just as they are in your garden.

Bringing in worms from your yard can mean bringing in worms loaded with toxic substances that you or your neighbour has sprayed on the lawn.

It’s much safer to just buy worms from a store, where you can ask where they came from. 


Do Snapping Turtles Eat Worms?

Snapping turtles often enjoy worms, though you wouldn’t think so.

Due to a snapping turtle’s size, worms seem too small a treat for them to enjoy, but long, stringy earthworms are a favourite of the snapping turtle.

Their jaws are incredibly powerful, and they will rip them to pieces, so you might want to feed them the worms outside of their enclosure. 

Also read

Can Turtles Eat Ants?

Do Turtles Eat Crickets?

Can Turtles eat Shrimp?

Do Turtles Eat Snails

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