On the surface, turtles appear to be a low-maintenance choice for a pet. But to ensure that your turtle stays healthy in captivity, you need to take special care, especially when it comes to their diet. So, how do you take care of your turtles while on vacation?
If your vacation is only for 2-3 days, you should not worry about feeding your turtle. Healthy, adult turtles can survive that period without food. If you are away for weeks, it is best to ask someone to feed them once or twice a week. If this option is unavailable, you can buy an automatic turtle feeder.
Properly feeding your turtle is essential to keep them for a long time. And to do that, you need a solid understanding of how a turtle’s diet works, what it eats, how often you should feed it. All this and more are what we are going to discuss in this article.
Can I Feed My Turtle Once a Week?
How often you should feed your turtles depends primarily on their age. If the turtle is still a child, you should try to feed it every day. But keep the meal portions small.
Once grown up, you can decide to feed them once every 2 or 3 days. If you are constantly traveling and can only feed your pet once a week, it will be fine as long as the turtle is an adult. Just make sure that the water is in good condition and the turtle is devoid of any illness.
How Do You Feed a Turtle While You Are on Vacation?
Planning for a long vacation can be stressful enough as it is. But if you have to leave a pet alone in the house while you are away, it will just add to your worry. Sometimes it may threaten to ruin the good vibe and mood of the vacation for you completely. And with a pet such as a turtle, taking them with you is too risky.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your pet turtle does not die of starvation. So, let’s talk about them in more detail.
For a Short Vacation, You Need Not Worry
First, think about how long you are going to be away from the house. As we have already discussed, any healthy and mature turtle can go on for weeks or even months without food. All they need during that time is clean water and plenty of space for basking.
So, if you are taking a break over the weekend, there really is no rush to keep your turtles constantly fed. You just need to feed them well until the time you have to leave. Then you can go enjoy your vacation and your turtle will not even notice the absence of food for such a short period.
A Friend in Need, Is A Friend Indeed
Now, let’s say the upcoming vacation is that week-long trip to the countryside. Or you might be away for work and it can take several weeks before you come back. What do you do then?
Yes, adult turtles will most likely survive several weeks of food deprivation in a clean and spacious tank. But you should not take risks in this case. Especially, if the turtle is only a fledgling or has a history of illness.
The best thing to do in this scenario is to ask someone for help. It could be a close friend or your neighbor. If the tank is small enough, you may even be able to hand your pet over to them while you are away. Afterward, just explain to them the feeding habits of your pet and they can handle the responsibility for you.
If you cannot hand over the turtle, simply ask them to drop by once or twice a week. Give them proper instructions on how much they should feed your pet. Usually, giving them adequate food twice a week will be enough until you return. And if you are worried in the meantime, you can just call and check in with your friend.
Automatic Turtle Feeder
Let’s say you cannot find anyone to hand over this responsibility or you do not want to burden anyone else. In this instance, the simplest solution will be to get an automatic food dispenser for your pet.
These devices come in various shapes and prices. There are plenty of options to choose from in the market. The Eheim Turtle Feeder is our pick. It is a feeder specifically designed for turtles. You can program the time when the food will be released and how often it will do so. Plus, the price is also affordable.
How Long Can Turtles Go Without Food?
One of the big reasons why mane view turtles as low-effort pets, is because they do not need to be constantly fed. But this is not true for every single turtle out there.
Adult turtles can live up to several months without eating anything. In the wilderness, many turtles and tortoises survive extended periods not finding any food. However, we do not recommend you keep your pet turtles starving anywhere near that long.
Baby turtles need a bit more care. They are still growing and as such do not have much of a fat reserve. They can survive for a couple of weeks but that can greatly hamper their development.
Of course, there are other mitigating factors involved here. The overall health of the turtle matters a lot. The one thing that all turtles need is clean water and plenty of space for swimming and basking. If these conditions are met, the turtle can continue to thrive even if it does not get regular food.