What Vegetables Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat

What Vegetables Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

The red-eared sliders are known for the “red-color” streak on both sides of their faces. These aquatic sliders will emerge from the water to bask on logs or rocks.

The red-eared sliders are known for the “red-color” streak on both sides of their faces. These aquatic sliders will emerge from the water to bask on logs or rocks.

When it comes to basking, they are said to stay on top of each other. If they are startled or feel threatened by a predator, they quickly slide off the basking spot and make their way into the water.

For such reasons, they are called the “slider.” The sliders are normally found in Northern Mexico and the Southern United States and are said to grow pretty slowly.

The red-eared sliders can also be kept as pets. But as a pet owner, one should only own them if they have the power to accommodate their requirements for a bigger habitat as they grow.

What Vegetables Can Red-Eared Sliders Eat?

Vegetables are said to be essential for the red-eared sliders, and they should always be included in their diet. But that doesn’t mean you should provide them with the same type of vegetables every day, otherwise, they will get bored.

According to experts, red-eared sliders eat a selective number of vegetables, and you should provide them so that they can stay interested and eat them properly. These vegetables are:


Carrots contain high levels of Vitamin A, making them perfect for the red-eared sliders. But they also contain folic acid, which can harm the turtle. 

Nutritional Table for Carrots

Nutrient Amount per 100g Benefits for Red-Eared Sliders Feeding Recommendations
Vitamin A 835 µg Essential for healthy vision and immunity Feed in moderation
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g Aids in digestion Occasionally
Calcium 33 mg Important for shell and bone health In small quantities
Vitamin C 5.9 mg Supports immune health Sparingly

So, if you have a red-eared slider as a pet, be sure to feed them carrots only twice each week and not more than that.


The red-eared sliders like leafy and dark green vegetables and lettuce are some of their favorites. 

Nutritional Table for Lettuce

Nutrient Amount per 100g Benefits for Red-Eared Sliders Feeding Recommendations
Vitamin A 7405 IU Supports vision, immune and shell health Regular part of diet
Calcium 36 mg Crucial for bone and shell health Include regularly
Vitamin C 9.2 mg Antioxidant, supports immune function Can be fed frequently
Water Content 95.6 g Helps with hydration Can be a staple in diet

It’s also a healthy vegetable, but you should avoid giving them iceberg lettuce. It’s because iceberg lettuce does not have any nutritional value and is viewed as an empty food for the turtle.

Green Beans

Green beans are an excellent option for the red-eared sliders to munch on. As a pet owner, you can leave the beans in the tank, turning it into a delicious and healthy option for your turtle during the day. 

Nutritional Table for Green Beans

Nutrient Amount per 100g Benefits for Red-Eared Sliders Feeding Recommendations
Vitamin A 690 IU Supports vision and immune health Can be fed regularly
Vitamin C 12.2 mg Antioxidant, promotes healthy skin Occasionally
Calcium 37 mg Important for bone and shell health In moderation
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g Aids in digestion Sparingly

Consuming green beans will provide the red-eared sliders with Vitamin K, C, and A, which are extremely beneficial for them.

Bell Pepper

The majority of the red-eared sliders are drawn towards the color red. Because of this reason, the red bell pepper is an excellent option for your turtle. 

Before you give it to them, cut the red bell pepper into small pieces so they can eat it properly. 

Otherwise, you can place a big piece of the pepper, and they nibble on them. The red bell peppers are said to have Vitamins C and A, which are ideal for the red-eared sliders.

Nutritional Table for Bell Pepper

Nutrient Amount per 100g Benefits for Red-Eared Sliders Feeding Recommendations
Vitamin A 157 IU Supports vision and immune system Occasionally
Vitamin C 80.4 mg High in antioxidants, boosts immunity Can be fed regularly
Calcium 10 mg Necessary for shell and bone health In moderation
Fiber 1.7 g Aids in digestion Sparingly

Experts say that the red-eared sliders have a varied diet. They normally feed on small prey and water vegetation when living in the wild. 

They are also voracious eaters because they hunt small amphibians, fish, and even insects.

These sliderss can also consume numerous types of food, making their diet a lot more adaptable within their living setting.

But when they are held in captivity, their diet replicates their omnivorous eating habits. This is something they would normally have when they are in the wild. 

Young sliders need a carnivorous diet because they require much more protein to develop and grow.

As they keep growing, the protein needs to lessen and is replaced by vegetables. Adult sliders, in their natural habitat, eat a lot of aquatic plants, such as:

  • Water Lettuce
  • Anacharis
  • Water Hyacinth
  • Azolla
  • Duckweed

But the adult sliders will only consume meat if it’s available for them, and they do not require much protein like before. 

On the other hand, for the meal frequency, juvenile and baby red-eared sliders must have a regular feeding schedule, and the adult one must be fed 2 days or 3 three days.

Even though they do come across to explore and bask, they always eat food in water because they are aquatic turtles.

How To Introduce New Foods To A Turtle’s Diet?

Introducing new foods to your turtle’s diet can be a challenging yet vital aspect of ensuring their health and happiness.

As responsible turtle caregivers, it is crucial to understand the proper methods of dietary diversification. This section will guide you through the steps of safely and effectively introducing new foods to your turtle, ensuring a balanced and nutritious diet.

Research the Food: Before introducing any new food, research its suitability for red-eared sliders.

Start with Small Portions: Introduce the new food in small quantities, mixed with familiar foods.

Monitor Your Turtle’s Health: Observe how your turtle reacts to the new food, both behaviorally and physically.

Gradual Integration: Slowly increase the proportion of the new food over several feedings.

Maintain a Balanced Diet: Ensure that the new food complements a nutritionally balanced diet.

Seek Professional Advice: When in doubt, consult a veterinarian specialized in reptile care.

Vegetables That are Harmful for the Red-Eared Sliders

Now, you know the type of vegetables these red-eared sliders consume. But if you’re planning to have one as a pet, you should also know about the vegetables that are “NOT” right for them. They are:


Chard contains a high level of oxalic acid [700mg for every 100g]. This acid is found in many types of leafy vegetables and is said to block out calcium absorption. 

Strong calcium intake is essential for the bones and shell of your red-eared slider. So, it will be better not to provide your turtle with chard.


Spinach is another vegetable that contains oxalic acid. Feeding your red-eared slider with spinach once or twice every week will not cause any negative effect on them. 

But the long-term effects can be extremely dangerous for their bone and shell consistency. So, instead of giving them spinach, you can replace it with another vegetable like lettuce or carrot.


The Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage fall under the “Brassica Family” that can block or prevent the absorption of iodine. But that doesn’t mean your turtle cannot consume cabbage. 

Make sure that you don’t provide it to them in huge amounts. Otherwise, it can damage their Goiter and Kidneys.


Avocados contain “Persin,” an anti-fungal element that is toxic for most animals, including the red-eared sliders. 

It should not be a part of the red-eared slider’s meal because the toxicity can lead to multiple health issues for the pet.


Rhubarb is a complete “no-no” for your pet’s red-eared slider because it blocks calcium absorption.

The Common Feeding Errors You Should Know About

Turtles, along with various other animals, are said to move slowly after eating. They commonly use a common technique when they regurgitate the food just to escape quickly. 

But these aquatic turtles will regurgitate their food when they are handled too early after eating.

That’s why it’s suggested that you wait at least 5 hours before handling them. This gives them a lot of time to digest their food properly. The 5 hours are enough to make the turtle feel vulnerable. 

Another mistake that many pet owners make is overfeeding their red-eared slider. When the turtle weighs over 6 pounds, it’s clear that it’s eating way too much. Several other signs of obesity are:

  • Shell disfigurements
  • Bloating
  • Lethargy

Obesity can also lead to various health-related problems, such as:

  • Heart problems
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease

Be sure to follow a proper meal plan for your pet’s red-eared slider so that you can avoid overfeeding them. That way, you can prevent conditions like obesity from taking place.

Final Thoughts

Red-eared sliders are omnivores, which means they consume both meat and plants. As they keep growing, they will not require much protein and will eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, bananas, apples, lettuce, etc.

But to make sure that they follow a proper meal plan, all adult red-eared sliders must consume 70% of plant matter and 30% meat. The juvenile and baby sliders should follow a 50-50 diet of plants and meat.

Feeding your turtle on time will keep them in excellent health and also help them have a healthy weight. 

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