Painted Turtle Not Eating: Possible Causes and Solutions

Painted Turtle Not Eating

If your painted turtle has suddenly stopped eating, it is important to determine the cause as soon as possible. From health problems to improper care, there are a number of potential reasons why your turtle may be refusing to eat. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common causes of painted turtles not eating and suggest solutions so you can get your turtle back on track!

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Reasons why your painted turtle not eating:

There could be several reasons why your painted turtle is not eating. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes:


Too much change in the turtle’s environment can lead to stress. If you have recently moved your turtle to a new tank, introduced new turtles, or made any other changes to their surroundings, this could be the cause of their appetite loss. To reduce stress levels, try to keep their environment as consistent as possible.

Poor water quality

Painted turtles are very sensitive to water quality and even a small change can make them sick. If the water in their tank is dirty, has too much chlorine, or contains any other harmful substances, your turtle may stop eating. Test the water regularly and perform regular partial water changes to keep the water clean and fresh. Using a good quality water filter can also help.

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Improper diet

Painted turtles need a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. If their diet is not properly balanced, they may become sick and stop eating. Painted turtles are very picky and easily get bored with the same food. Try to feed your turtle a variety of foods including pellets, live food, vegetables, and fruits. You can also offer occasional treats like insects, worms, fish, or shrimp.

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Painted turtles are cold-blooded creatures and their body temperature depends on the temperature of their surroundings. If the water in their tank is too cold, they may stop eating. The ideal water temperature for painted turtles is 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to regularly check the water temperature and make sure it stays within this range.


Painted turtles need access to natural sunlight or artificial ultraviolet B (UVB) light to stay healthy. If they are not getting enough light, they may become sick and stop eating. Place their tank in a room with plenty of natural sunlight or use a UVB bulb designed specifically for reptiles.

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If your turtle is sick, it may stop eating. Some common illnesses that can cause painted turtles to stop eating include respiratory infections, shell infections, and turtles viruses. If you think your turtle is sick, take them to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

Calcium deficiency

Painted turtles need calcium to stay healthy and grow properly. If they are not getting enough calcium, they may become sick and stop eating. Feed your turtle foods that are high in calcium such as dark leafy greens and pellets that contain calcium. You can also offer them a cuttlebone or mineral block to chew on.


Painted turtles are known to hibernate in the wild when the temperature gets too cold. If your turtle is trying to hibernate, it may stop eating. To prevent this, make sure their tank is kept at a consistent temperature and provide them with a basking spot where they can go to warm up under the heating bulb.


Painted turtles are less active in the winter and may eat less during this time. This is normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about as long as your turtle is still eating some food.

Related Article: Do Turtles Eat Less In The Winter?

Not willing to eat/ not have an appetite

Sometimes painted turtles refuse to eat because they are already full or simply not hungry. This is normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about. In such a situation you can observe your turtle and it should be active and doing what it does daily. Give your painted turtle some time and it will start eating again. However, if they still not eating then there might be an underlying health issue. Try to observe your painted turtle for any other changes in behavior or appearance that may indicate a health problem and consult a veterinarian accordingly.

If your painted turtle has stopped eating, don’t panic! There are several possible reasons for this and there are also several things you can do to get them eating again. But before that try to figure out the cause of their appetite loss and then take the below steps to fix it.

How do I get my painted turtle to eat?

If your painted turtle has stopped eating, the first thing you need to check is its basking spot. Painted turtles like to bask in warm areas so they can digest their food properly. If the basking spot is not warm enough, the painted turtle will not be able to digest its food and it will eventually stop eating.

Another possible reason why your painted turtle has stopped eating is because of poor water quality. Painted turtles are very sensitive to water quality and even a small change can affect their appetite. Make sure to do regular water changes and use a good filter to keep the water clean.

Other than these you can try feeding your painted turtle a variety of foods. Add insects and worms to their diet. Try to change the pellet to a different brand. Giving your turtle live worms to eat would be a good idea as well. Some painted turtles also like to eat vegetables and fruits. You can try giving them small pieces of lettuce or apples.

Make the environment less noisy and stressful for your painted turtle. A painted turtle that is stressed will not eat properly.

If your painted turtle is still not eating, then it might be time to take them to the vet. There could be a health problem


When painted turtle stops eating, it simply means something is not right with them. It could be health-related or it could be something to do with poor husbandry. If you have a painted turtle that has stopped eating, take a look at the possible causes and solutions mentioned above. With a little bit of investigation and care, you should be able to get your painted turtle back on track!