I'm feeding my river turtle some carrots and in time it stopped eating them. Are there any reasons why, or things I should look out for? Will it affect my turtle's growth rate?
River turtles, in the family Emydidae, are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and plant materials. There is nothing wrong with giving your turtle carrots as they are similar to what river turtles would normally eat in the wild:
Generally, most species of river turtle have an omnivorous diet that is primarily made up of aquatic plants, grasses and leaves. Many river turtle species also hunt fish and molluscs in the water along with small reptiles and amphibians.
That being said, turtles have different dietary needs throughout their life. Being a captive turtle, you also have to take into consideration that they will not be able to get all the nutrients they would normally obtain in the wild. Therefore, you may want to consider vitamin supplements if you think that your turtle is not getting enough nutrients from its current diet:
Though adult water turtles are considered carnivorous (meat eating), many juveniles are, in fact, omnivorous (vegetable-eating and meat-eating). Water turtles usually change from a mixed vegetable-meat diet to an all-meat diet after the first year of life. Consequently, about 25% of the diet of young water turtles should consist of vegetable matter (seaweed, spinach, broccoli tops and leaves, mustard greens, grated carrot and carrot tops, celery leaves). Addition of carrots (high in vitamin A) to the diet helps prevent swollen eye syndrome.
From the same article, Care of Water Turtles, it also depends on the age of your turtle as to how much he should be eating, and the expected growth rate:
Water turtles can be fed daily or 2-3 times weekly, depending upon their age and size. Rapidly growing juveniles should be offered high-quality food daily, whereas adult water turtles do very well when fed 2-3 times weekly. Under no circumstances should water turtles be overfed. In the wild, the only opportunity for water turtles to overindulge is when they feed on the submerged carcass of a dead animal. Overfeeding captive water turtles causes them to become overweight and fouls the water.
As with any animal, sometimes it just takes a change in diet or a rotation of different vegetables to get them interested in certain types of food again. Some things to watch out for if you feel that your turtle is unhealthy includes:
Sick water turtles may exhibit a wide variety of signs. The signs noted by the turtle owner depend on the specific organs affected. Listlissness, lethargy and inappetence are common in sick water turtles. Weakness is often manifested by reluctance to enter the water.
- A runny nose, swollen eyes, coughing, gasping, and open mouth breathing are common with respiratory disease
- Swollen eyes may also be noted with vitamin A deficiency
- Water turtles that tend to tilt or tip to one side may have pneumonia or air sac disease
- A soft shell is most often the result of a serious mineral imbalance
- Defects involving the shell constitute shell rot
- Excessive straining may indicate bowel obstruction or egg-binding
- Redness of the skin, often accompanied by bleeding, is usually the result of overwhelming internal infection; and represents an ominous sign
Except in the case of slow-moving or easily frightened or defensive species, healthy water turtles usually make strong swimming motions when held out of water. Healthy water turtles have bright, wide open eyes, clear, dry nostrils, and no abnormalities of the skin and shell.
Turtles are relatively slow to develop and grow, as their shells grow with them. If a turtle is getting all of its regular dietary needs, its growth rate should be normal. The important thing is that your turtle does not exhibit any deficiencies or illnesses, which would certainly effect its regular growth rate.