What Do Turtles Eat | Turtles Diet

This article demonstrates you as to what do turtles eat. Not many aquatic animals have a diet that coincides with these animals. Turtles are fascinating creatures, liked by almost everyone. However, on the negative side these species are facing significant decline especially across North America. Turtles find broad appeal with humans, in sharp contrast to their reptilian cousins, snakes and lizards which are repeatedly feared or reviled. These marine animals have long been admired for longevity and growth.

What Do Turtles Eat

As a group, turtles occupy all the traditional vertebrate trophic positions as herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. The study of turtles diet took place in 1989 in which the feeding habits of more than 257 turtles were examined in Ernst and Barbour. The study concluded that more than 37% are omnivores, 30% carnivores, and 33% are regarded as herbivores. The North American turtles (Chrysemys picta and Trachemys Scripta), being the opportunistic feeders, are mostly omnivores with a catholic diet. Turtles digest several vertebrates and invertebrates and also algae, stems, leaves, fruits, aquatic vascular plants, and terrestrial leaves. Leatherback sea turtle are akin to feed on jellyfish which makes it distinctive among other marine animals. These types of turtles predominantly feed on soft-bodied organisms including cephalopods and tunicates. Similarly, the hawksbill turtles are known to feed on sponges. Tortoises and the green sea turtles are considered to be completely herbivores.

There are few species that rely on mollusks for feeding purposes. Females map turtle is one of them. One of the unique facts about the turtles diet is that some species, in their young age, are carnivorous; however, they turn out to be herbivorous as they grow up. Turtles normally stalk their prey or actively seek it out, but some may lie in ambush. After taking hold of the food or prey, turtles tend to slit it by their sharp beaks and forefront claws. If the food is big, turtles swallow it in parts; however the small morsel is swallowed in a single attempt.

Apart from the eatables, leatherback turtles also ingest non-eatables like plastic bags that float on the surface. This is why the population has been dramatically declining. These turtles cover great distances while traveling across Pacific. This migration usually takes place from their nesting in Indonesia towards the California jellyfish. Since plastic bag resembles too much with that of jellyfish, leatherback turtles tend to eat it. One-third of leatherback turtles are known to ingest plastic bags. Some species have been known to die due to ingestion of small debris because these marine debris are non-digestible.

What Do Turtles Eat | Video


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