Can Turtles Eat Mealworm? Do They Eat Dried Mealworms?

Can Turtles Eat Mealworm? Yes, you can give mealworms to your turtle as food. Turtles eat mealworms as an occasional treat. It is not right to provide mealworms every time as mealworms contain a high composition of protein. Turtle owners can feed their turtle mealworms to ensure that their pet eats something alive. 

Despite the high salt, fat, and protein levels in these foods, your turtle can consume them twice weekly. You can also stick with a dried silkworm to retain their habit of eating live food that they can hunt in a jungle. Keep on reading if you want to learn whether a mealworm diet is healthy and safe for your turtle.

Types Of Mealworms:

Following are the different types of mealworms that a turtle can eat:

Dried Mealworms

Turtles are considered omnivores. It means that they contain the eating habits of both herbivorous and carnivorous animals. To satisfy their eating habits as carnivores, they eat different kinds of insects. Some of these insects may be dried mealworms. Certainly, turtles eat dried mealworms.

Live Mealworms

Turtle’s natural food consists of live mealworms. In the wild, turtles eat live mealworms to satisfy their carnivorous needs. You can also feed your pet turtle with mealworms so they can get nutrients for their proper development. 

Nonliving Mealworms

Turtles can eat those mealworms which are not alive. They can munch on recently dead mealworms because the decomposition has not started yet. When mealworms have reached the decomposition stage after being killed for a long time, turtles cannot eat them.

1- Freeze-Dried Mealworms

Freeze-dried mealworms are safe for turtles because they are preserved so that no harmful microorganism remains in them. They are readily available in every pet store and the turtle’s favorite food. Along with fruits and vegetables, you can feed the turtle freeze-dried mealworms to balance their diet. 

2- Mealworm Beetles

Darkling beetle is another name for mealworm beetles. These are adult mealworms, and they contain more nutrition than any other type of Mealworm. Darkling beetles are a source of phosphorus and calcium for turtles, and it is a good choice.

What Makes Up A Mealworms Body?

Turtles eat two kinds of mealworms. They are dried mealworms and live mealworms. Following table will show you what makes their body content:

Live MealwormsDried Mealworms
Moisture62% 5%

Mineral content in mealworms (Per Kg)

Following are the minerals in 1kg of mealworms:

  • Calcium: 156mg
  • Phosphorus: 2640mg
  • Magnesium: 620mg
  • Sodium: 225mg
  • Potassium: 3350mg
  • Iron: 20.7mg
  • Zinc: 49.5mg
  • Copper: 8.3mg
  • Manganese: 3.2mg

What are the benefits Of Feeding Mealworms To Turtles?

Following are the benefits of feeding mealworms to turtles:

  • Has micronutrients
  • Turtles love it
  • Great source of protein

Has Micronutrients: Calcium is in low quantities in mealworms but is rich in amino acids, energy, fat, and iron.

Turtles Love It: Naturally, turtles like to eat mealworms. If your turtle has lost its appetite, give it mealworms.

Great Source Of Protein: About 20 grams of protein and 200 calories are present in 100 grams of Mealworm. For the development of turtles’ muscles, protein is necessary.

What Turtles Can Eat Mealworms?

The turtles that eat mealworms are the following:

Eastern Box Turtles – Can Eastern Box Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Eastern box turtles eat both meat and vegetables and are considered omnivores. It is a famous type of turtle. Thus, they eat mealworms as carnivores. Mealworms are very helpful in making their shell strong.

Musk Turtles – Can Musk Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Another type of turtle is the musk turtle, and they are omnivores. It means musk turtles eat mealworms. When musk turtles are at the peak of their growth, mealworms play an essential part in their diet. 

Baby Turtles – Can Baby Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Baby turtles can eat mealworms in small amounts. They should never eat too many mealworms at a time. Additionally, these turtles can eat mealworms occasionally. First, you should have to cut the Mealworm into pieces and then give it to the baby turtle.

Painted Turtles – Can Painted Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Painted turtles are famous aesthetically. Their eating habits make them omnivores, which means you can feed them meat as well as vegetables. They eat mealworms to make themselves carnivores.

Aquatic Turtles – Can Aquatic Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Aquatic turtles become more assertive by eating protein, and their growth optimizes. Marine turtles required meat to fulfill their need for protein. Mealworm contains a high percentage of protein that satisfies this need.

Snapping Turtles – Can Snapping Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Snapping turtles are more extensive than ordinary turtles and are famous for their abnormal behavior. They seem to be the most significant type of water turtle in the USA. Snapping turtles eat mealworms as a favorite food. You can feed them mealworms to meet their need for protein.

Red-Eared Slider Turtles – Can Red Eared Turtles Eat Mealworms?

Young red-eared slider turtles are carnivorous and become omnivorous when they become adults. Adult red-eared slider turtles eat mealworms less than young ones. Red-eared turtles of all ages eat mealworms.

can red eared sliders eat mealworms

Are Mealworms Good For Turtles?

Mealworm is a collection of vital nutrients for turtles that contain fat, fiber, and protein. For this reason, fishes and reptiles often eat mealworms. Mealworms are not a regular diet for turtles. You cannot feed mealworms to your turtle daily but can provide them twice a week. 

Cysteine and methionine are essential amino acids that are present in mealworms. Methionine wounds the heels of turtles rapidly and keeps their liver healthy. Cysteine is necessary for a turtle’s natural growth. Sixty-six percent of protein is present in mealworms, so it can not be turtle’s regular diet.

How Many Mealworms Should My Turtle Eat?

Turtles are omnivores that eat both meat and vegetables. Your turtle needs both animal-based and plant-based food. Mealworms should always be an occasional food. But your turtle should not eat mealworms every time. 

You can give three mealworms to your turtle with other food at a time. If your turtle is a baby, then you should have to cut the mealworms into several pieces. It will always help to remember that your turtle should never eat mealworms on a regular diet. 

How Do You Feed Live Mealworms To Your Turtles?

You can feed mealworms to turtles in the following two ways:

Float Them In The Water

Putting mealworms directly into the turtle’s tank is a good way to feed mealworms to your turtle – some turtles prefer this method. Floating mealworms will attract turtles, who will eat them if they are floating near the surface. Your turtle may not be hungry yet, or may not want to eat mealworms in the water if it leaves the floated mealworms. 

Put Them In A Bowl

Turtles require food once per day, so when your turtles seem hungry, you can feed them mealworms. You can mix the mealworms with other food in a bowl and give it to your turtle. If you do not have a dedicated bowl to feed your turtle, you can use a flat tray as an alternative. 

What Kind Of Worms Do Turtles Eat?

The following can be a mealworm diet for turtles:


Turtles like to eat silkworms, a meat-based food for a turtle. A large amount of calcium is present in silkworms, which helps in the development of turtles. 

Butter worms

Butter worms are insects that contain a large amount of calcium. It will provide more calcium to your turtle than any other worm. So you can add butter worms to your turtle food without any worry.


Bloodworms are rich in calcium. Young turtles require calcium for proper growth. It would prove to be a fantastic food for your turtle.


Baby turtles get proper physical growth from mealworms. Mealworms have a lot of fat, fiber, and protein as your turtles are omnivores, so that you can feed them mealworms occasionally. 


Waxworms are also rich in fat that will provide fat to your turtle. Your turtle can try it as an occasional food.


Can Turtles Eat Earthworms? Turtles eat both meat (especially snails) and vegetables because turtles are omnivores. Your turtle can fulfill their need for meat by eating earthworms.


Turtles can eat cricket daily. Cricket can help develop turtles because it contains a lot of calcium and protein. Protein is necessary for the growth of the fleshy part of the turtle, and calcium is needed for healthy bones and teeth.

Can Turtles Eat Red Wigglers?

Red wigglers, also known as red worms or earthworms, are a staple in the diets of many aquatic turtles. They are an excellent source of protein and can help to enrich the diet of your turtle. Your turtle may become ill if it eats too many worms at once because the worms contain some toxins.

For about a month, you should feed red wigglers one or two per day. You can then use the remaining worms as a treat for your turtle after feeding time. If you have more than one turtle, it is suitable to feed each one its own worms so they do not compete with each other for food.

Final Words

Do turtles eat mealworms? You can feed mealworms to your turtles but not regularly. As omnivores, turtles require meat in their diet so that mealworms can be used occasionally as a food source. A turtle should eat three mealworms at a time. Turtles can eat both freeze-dried and live mealworms.

You may also like: Do Box Turtles Swim

Spread This Post:

Hey, I've done my Ph.D. in Marine Biology. I'm a turtle enthusiast and have been owning turtles for the last 22 years and dedicated to sharing my experience to help you in pet turtle upbringing.