Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Carrots? Nutritional Value

  • By: Reptilia Planet
  • Date: October 3, 2021
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Red-eared sliders are species of turtles and can make great pets for people of all ages. However, It is essential to focus on their diet to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. Although these turtles are not expensive, keeping them healthy requires proper care.

Like most turtles, the red-eared sliders are omnivores and eat both animal-based and plant-based food. These turtles eat aquatic plants, small fish, and dead meat of frogs, fish, and other insects in the wild.

Pet red-eared slider can eat both insects and vegetables. Most pet owners feed them commercial pellets to maintain their optimal health and growth.

These turtles can eat different vegetables, such as collard greens, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, kale, green beans, parsley, Swiss chard, turnip greens, clover, and dandelion greens.

But, can red-eared sliders eat carrots? Yes, they can, in fact, Carrots are one of the healthiest choices for your red-eared sliders. Which are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, making them delicious treats for your pet turtle.

The great thing is these inexpensive veggies are readily available on the market and you can easily prep carrots and feed them to your red-eared slider in no time at all.

Some people say that one should purchase small individual packs of carrots because they are already prepped and can last longer. For instance, you can use one pack at a time and feed it to your pet slider.

Can Baby Red Eared Sliders Eat Carrots?

Baby red eared sliders have a different diet than the adult ones and are mostly fed with a carnivorous diet because they need proteins for their optimal growth and development.

Baby red-eared sliders can eat carrots, however, you should feed them carrots in moderation because vegetables make 25-30% of their diet.

If you want to give your baby red-eared slider carrots or any other vegetables like squash and leafy greens, they should be properly shredded.

Because animal-based food makes 75% of the diet for baby red-eared sliders, you should avoid giving them too many carrots. Baby sliders usually eat worms, insects, small fish, tadpoles, and snails in the wild.

On the other hand, they will prefer to eat small-size earthworms, wax worms, mealworms, minnows, and crickets. Most pet owners recommend commercially-bred insects and worms because they do not contain parasites.

Even if you want to give them carrots, you should go for individual packs available in grocery stores and pet shops, or you can grow your own carrots in the backyard and give them to your red-eared slider.

Avoid giving your baby slider carrots every day because it will start relying on them as its primary food. Remember, food variation is always a good idea to maintain a healthy balance, and that way, your baby slider won’t depend on one type of food.

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Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Carrot Skins?

Now, there are no reports of red-eared sliders eating carrot skins, however, at the same time, there is no research evidence that says you can’t give your slider carrot skins.

So what does this mean? Well, it really depends on you whether you want to give your slider an unpeeled carrot or a peeled one.

It’s best to say you can feed your red-eared slider carrot skins since they are easily digestible and nutritious. Not only that “but” carrot skins contain a lot of healthy nutrients that can enhance your slider’s overall metabolism.

Carrots do have thin skins compared to other vegetables like beets and potatoes. Some people say that carrot skins contain more nutrients than the inner core, but this is not true.

There was a research study conducted by Tufts University that highlights carrots’ skins contain some healthy nutrients, such as vitamin C and niacin.

The skins do contain more vitamin C than the phloem of the carrot. However, the study shows that a considerable amount of vitamin C is found in the carrot’s intermediate layer.

If you want to give your red-eared slider carrots skin, go ahead. Carrots’ skins are nutritious and safe for your pet slider.

The carrot’s skin also contains other nutrients, such as vitamin A and beta-carotene. It’s suggested you should feed your slider carrots’ skins in moderation. The reason is that most of the nutrients are in the inner core of the carrot.

Xylem is the carrot’s inner core and contains various nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Therefore, you can give your slider pet both peeled and unpeeled carrots.

Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Cooked Carrots?

Many people give their red-eared sliders raw carrots rather than cooked carrots. Because most pet owners think that raw carrots are tasty and crunchy and provide higher nutritional value to their turtles.

In general, red-eared sliders eat both raw and cooked carrots and if your slider doesn’t like to eat raw carrots, give it cooked carrots. There are some red-eared slider owners that believe cooked carrots offer little or no nutritional value.

“This is because of high heat during the cooking process, which affects the vegetable’s internal structure”

“But” bear in mind that this is a misconception because carrots contain fat-soluble vitamins that are stable against high heat. In simple words, boiling has no impact on these nutrients in carrots.

On the other hand, high heat during the cooking process breaks down the carrots’ cell walls to free up more vitamins and minerals, providing more nutritional value to your red-eared sliders.

The cooking process can also increase the amount of calcium in carrots. That’s why you should not stop giving your slider-cooked carrots. If your slider does not like eating boiled or roasted carrots, you can feed it raw carrots. However, it is safe to say that both raw and cooked carrots are beneficial for your pet reptile.

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Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Carrot Leaves?

Carrot leaves are bitter, and most people associate bitterness with toxicity. Leaves are edible and do not cause any harm to your red eared-slider. So, your slider can eat carrot leaves.

Many people give their sliders carrot leaves, and these turtles happily eat the green part of carrots.

Human beings often avoid consuming carrot leaves due to their bitterness, “but” this is not the case with turtles because they eat almost all leafy green vegetables.

Your red-eared slider should eat carrot leaves in moderation. Be careful when giving your baby red-eared slider carrot leaves as it requires more proteinaceous food than a plant-based diet.

(Note: carrot leaves do not cause any harm to your baby slider).

As mentioned above, you should maintain a well-balanced diet. Besides carrot leaves, you can give your slider leafy greens, such as kale, dandelion, mustard, bok choy, collard, and other greens.

The important thing is to choose veggies that have appropriate calcium to phosphorus levels. Shred the vegetable properly before you feed your red-eared slider carrot leaves.

That way, your slider won’t have any problems digesting the leaves.

Can Red Eared Sliders Eat Carrot Tops?

Carrot tops provide a significant nutritional value to your red-eared slider. So, yes, your slider can eat carrot tops. The tops are also a great alternative to most leafy green vegetables.

The tops have a bitter flavor, so you can combine them with other leafy greens to balance the taste. Remember, there is no evidence that turtles can’t eat bitter parts of the carrot.

However, you can find out this by performing a small experiment, which would require you to give your red-eared sliders carrot tops.

If your slider eats the tops, continue feeding it this part of the carrot more often. If your pet refuses to eat the tops, it might be due to the bitter taste.

There is a need for thorough research because most owners want to know about carrots’ efficacy for their red-eared sliders.

Carrots’ tops also contain nutrients, like vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and phytonutrients. The exciting thing is that the carrot’s tops contain six times more vitamin C than the roots.

theguardian.com

People grow carrots in loose soil, which makes the tops sandy. That’s why you have to wash the tops thoroughly before giving them to your red-eared slider.

The tops usually contain more parasites than the root because they grow above the ground. So it is recommended that you purchase organically grown carrots as they are free from pesticides, insecticides, and other microbes.

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How Do You Feed Red Eared Slider Carrots?

Most often, an adult red-eared slider would commercially prepared pellets. It is easy to feed pellets to your red-eared slider as you have to drop a few pieces in the aquarium. But, what about veggies like carrots?

First, you need to buy fresh carrots from the vegetable market. Bring the carrots home and run them under cold water to remove dirt, dust, germs, and chemicals.

If you want to feed your red-eared sliders carrot skin, then cut off the carrot’s top and bottom tips and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.

You can use a kitchen knife if you don’t have the peeler. Be careful while peeling the carrot skin with a knife. Avoid taking too much of the inner core with the peeling.

Use a grater to shred the carrot properly. Feed your red-eared slider a few pieces of shredded carrot. If your slider gobbles up the pieces at every feeding, you can increase the portion with a few more pieces of shredded carrot.

If your slider does not finish its food, it is vital to remove the carrot pieces from the tank. Like other vegetables, carrots can get slimy in the water tank.

Feed your red-eared slider in a separate tank. The purpose is to maintain the hygiene of the main tank.

You can keep the main tank clean, free of food particles, and other types of waste by moving your red-eared slider to a separate water tank.

The aquarium should contain 20 gallons of water for a baby red-eared slider and 50 gallons of water for the adult one. Because red eared sliders are aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles, they tend to swallow food with their heads underwater.

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Carrots Nutritional Value

Red-eared sliders have a diet very similar to the yellow belly slider and can eat veggies like parsnip, and carrots to maintain good health. Carrots are a rich source of vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, and biotin.

Lack of vitamin A can cause a wide range of diseases and reduce your red-eared slider’s quality of life.

Vitamin A is associated with improved vision and eye health. Because carrots contain higher vitamin A levels, they can stabilize and improve your red-eared slider vision.

In contrast, a lack of vitamin A will lead to loss of vision in red-eared sliders.

The common symptoms include red, swollen, and puffy eyes. In that case, you must take your red-eared slider to the veterinarian for treatment. If you ask the Vet, he or she will tell you that the lack of vitamin A is the main reason behind this condition “hypovitaminosis.”

Nutrients In Carrots Per 100g

Nutrients In CarrotsPer 100g
Vitamin A835
Vitamin C5.9 mg
Vitamin E0.661 mg
Thiamine0.067 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.274 mg
Riboflavin0.059 mg
Choline8.8 mg
Niacin0.982 mg
Potassium321 mg
Magnesium12 mg
Manganese0.142 mg
Calcium33 mg
Zinc0.24 mg
Protein0.93 g
Iron0.3 mg
Fat0.25 g
Carbohydrates9.57 g
Arginine0.091g
Glycine0.047g
Energy41 kcal

Carbohydrates

In general, carbohydrates provide a significant amount of energy to turtles. Carbs are present in a variety of food items, including vegetables. Carrots are mainly composed of carbohydrates and water.

Carbohydrates contain both starch and sugars. Glucose and sucrose are the main sugars found in carrots. Carrots are a rich fiber source, and a medium-sized carrot (60-70g) provides 2-2.5g fiber.

Carrots have a lower glycemic index, which does not increase blood sugar levels. On the other hand, they do provide a lot of energy to your red-eared sliders. Raw carrots have a lower glycemic index than cooked ones.

Fiber

Fiber, in general, is a nutrient found in vegetables and fruits. The natural diet of most turtle species is high in fiber. Although it is essential for turtles’ health, an excessive amount of fiber intake can cause swelling of the digestive tract.

There are no established nutritional requirements for fiber in different species of turtles, including red-eared sliders.

Carrots contain a soluble fiber known as pectin that can lower blood sugar levels in the body and slow down the digestion or assimilation of starch and sugar.

A medium-sized carrot contains 1.7g of fiber, which is relatively a lower amount, meaning it won’t cause any digestive problems for your red-eared slider.

On the other hand, lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose are insoluble fibers found in carrots. Research shows that insoluble fibers promote digestive health and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal conditions, like constipation.

Minerals

Beta carotene is an essential mineral found in carrots, which is converted into vitamin A by the body. As mentioned above, vitamin A and beta carotene help promote vision in red-eared sliders and boost the immune system. Vitamin H, also known as biotin, can help metabolize protein and fats.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin K1, which improves circulatory health and plays a key role in bone development. A high protein diet and nitrogenous waste can cause renal failure in turtle species, although more research is needed on this subject.

The kidney removes nitrogenous wastes and maintains nutrients like potassium, sodium, and bicarbonates. Carrots are a good source of potassium and vitamin B6, a substance that can convert food into energy.

Carrots are also an excellent source of different antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and anthocyanin. Alpha-carotene plays a crucial role in the body, and most often, it is converted into vitamin A.

As mentioned the benefits of vitamin A for red-eared sliders. Lutein is found in orange and yellow carrots and can improve vision. Lycopene is a useful antioxidant found in red carrots and can improve cardiovascular health.

Conclusion

So there you have it, if you own a red-eared slider then you know it’s safe to feed them carrots. However, if you have baby turtles make sure you shred the carrot so it’s easier for them to eat.

Also, make sure you don’t overfeed them carrots. As good as they are too many can have the opposite effect as your turtle requires other foods to have a healthy balanced diet.

You can try feeding them cooked carrots but if you notice that the turtle is not really showing any interest then this is a good sign that they don’t like it and you should refer back to raw carrots.

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