Do Turtles Eat Worms?

do turtles eat worms

Turtles are not very picky when it comes to eating food. They have evolved so that they eat and digest anything in the wild. Like humans, turtles also require a diet rich in protein and other nutrients.

Being omnivorous animals, turtles in the wild fulfil their needs by hunting small insects and plants. On the other hand, pet turtles are more delicate, so they need more care. Pallets are the number one preference among turtle owners for their turtle’s well being. However, in the wild, turtles do not get any fancy food items. Instead, they depend on insects, worms and plants.

Now you must be wondering if you can give your pet turtle worms? But do pet turtles even eat worms? Let’s dive deep and find out the answers to all these questions.

Related Article: Do Turtles Eat Snails?

Do turtles eat worms?

It is completely normal if you have found your turtle eating worms. Turtles love to eat worms. In the wild, worms and insects are the most common food source for them. Worms are rich in protein and other nutrients essential for your turtle’s growth. 

There are several benefits of feeding your turtle with worms. It is even more beneficial for baby or juvenile turtles as they need more protein than adult turtles. Some of the common benefits of worms for turtles are:

  • Worms are rich in protein, calcium and amino acid, potassium and other nutrients which help your turtle grow.
  • Worms are easier to digest and act as an instant source of energy. 
  • Nutrients from worms help turtles repair their body tissue. 
  • In the wild, turtles rely on worms for food. It is their natural diet, so it has almost everything needed for your turtle.
  • Turtles love to eat, and they beg for food when hungry. In those hungry times, you can give them worms as snacks. This will improve their relationship with you.  

Related Article: Do Turtles Need Calcium?

Do turtles like worms?

Turtles are omnivores and so are comfortable eating plants and worms. Turtles usually love to eat live worms as their movement fascinates them for hunting. Turtles also like to eat snails, algae, and other small insects, apart from worms. 

Turtles can eat a variety of worms. Some of the worms that your turtle would love are:

  • Earthworms
  • Mealworms 
  • Silkworms
  • Bloodworms
  • Red Wigglers 
  • Waxworms 
  • Red worms 
  • Butterworms
  • Grubs
  • American Nightcrawler 

You can also give your turtle larva of insects and worms. However, take utmost care of what you are feeding your turtles. If alive, any worm with sharp teeth or legs could get stuck in the turtle mouth. To avoid any such situation, try to feed small worms to your turtle. Also, you can give them frozen or dead worms, which are readily available in the pet shops.

How many worms should a turtle eat a day?

As an experienced turtle owner, I would suggest giving 2-3 smaller size worms once a week. Worms are high in protein, so don’t give your turtle too much of it. Rather go for pallets as they contain all of the essential nutrients required for your turtle.  

Turtles require a balanced diet with all essential nutrients. Giving too much protein will lead to health complications and even lead their shell to go pyramid. 

Are worms good for turtles?

In the wild, turtles rely on worms and other aquatic insects for their food. It is safe for them to eat worms. However, giving your turtle worms all the time may cause them to develop certain health complications. 

In certain situations, turtles could even start to ignore other foods given to them. This is not very good for their overall development. Turtles need a nutritious diet, and just eating worms could no way replace leafy vegetables or pallets.  

Though worms are good for turtles, it is not advisable to give them regularly. Instead, try to give 2-3 worms once a week. Also, do not give large-sized worms as they might not be able to swallow it properly.  

Do turtles eat dead worms?

It is completely fine to give your turtle dead worms. Turtles love worms even if they are dead or frozen. However, turtles love to chase live worms due to their hunting instincts. They prefer hunting it themselves. It gives them more thrill, and it also is a nice exercise for them. 

While it is difficult to find live worms, dead worms are a great option as they can be found in any pet shop. Worms are healthy for turtles, and if given in a moderate quantity, it helps them in their growth years. 

Can Baby Turtles Eat Worms?

Yes, you can give worms to your baby turtle. They will love it as it is their natural diet. Baby turtles have more protein requirements than adult turtles, so worms are greatly beneficial for them.  

However, before giving your little buddy the treat, make sure that the worms are small in size. Also, ensure that worms are not collected from a land where fertilizer has been spread. Fertilizers are bad chemicals, and turtles could handle them. Baby turtles are even more vulnerable to these harmful chemicals. To avoid any mishap, always buy worms from a reputable pet shop. 

Can I feed my turtle worms from outside?

Yes, all worms are delicious and healthy for your turtle. However, while picking worms from your yard, ensure you have not sprinkled fertilizer or pesticides there. Worms can carry pesticides and fertilizer on them. Turtles are very delicate, and these chemicals can cause food poisoning to them.

Worms could also carry parasites on them. These parasites can make your turtles sick if they go alive in the turtle stomach. As a pet owner, you should always check for worms before giving them to your turtle. 

Can turtles eat mealworms?

Mealworms are excellent for turtles. These are rich in protein, fiber, potassium, iron and other nutrients. It is recommended to give turtle second stage mealworms. These mealworms are perfect in size and healthy for your turtle.

If you pick mealworms from your yard, it would be even better to gut feed them before giving them to your turtle. By gut feeding, you are making them more healthy for your turtle. You can feed them with oats, potatoes, carrots, and apples. 

I use pre-packed dried mealworms as these are easily available and packed, especially for reptiles. You can check non-GMO Dried Mealworms from below. These mealworms are 100% organically raised and free from any fertilizers. These are the second stage mealworms and are fed wheat bran and fresh vegetables only.

Non-GMO Dried Mealworms

Can turtles eat earthworms?

You can feed earthworms to your turtle but on one condition that if you have not used fertilizer or pesticides on the land, they picked from. Earthworms live inside the soil, and there is a possibility that they have been exposed to these chemicals. These chemicals could cause food poisoning to your turtle. 

One much safer and easier way to get earthworms is from your nearest pet shop. Dead earthworms are easily available in pet shops. These are specially packed for reptiles and grown in a safe environment free from fertilizer. Below is the link of dried organically grown earthworms available on amazon. Check out the link if you want to order for your turtle. 

Wormy Worm’s Natural Dried Large Earthworms for Turtles


Worms are beneficial for your turtle. It has all the essential nutrients required for your turtle. While worms are a turtle’s natural diet, you need to ensure that they are not exposed to fertilizers or pesticides. These chemicals may cause food poisoning if your turtle eats them. I would highly recommend using packed worms which are easily available online and at your nearest pet store. These worms are specially grown for reptiles while ensuring no fertilizer or pesticides. Although worms are a great food for turtles, they should not be given more than once a week. Worms are high in protein, but in the case of overfeeding, it can cause health complications. Also, giving worms to your turtle more frequently will make them picky, and they might lose interest in other food like vegetables and pellets.