How Long Can a Turtle Go Without Eating Food? [Useful Tips]

Turtles can go for up to 90 days without eating. However, due to external factors such as size, age, temperature, and diet, the amount of time can vary.

The turtle prefers water temperatures of 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, the outside temperature should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Your turtle may perish if you do not do so.

How Long can a Yellow Belly Turtle Go without Eating?

If they’re adults, going without food for four days shouldn’t be a problem. If they aren’t eating for a few days, waste should be reduced as well, so if you do a water change before you leave, even if you don’t use a filter, the water should be fine until you return, as long as you do another water change as soon as possible after you return.

If the water quality was good, there were no fights, and the filtration, UVB light, and basking light were all working properly, the turtles could do quite well. Last but not least, there would be a problem with the food.

When you get home, the lighting and temperature, as well as the water quality, will have a greater impact on their health and condition. They can go up to five months without eating during winter brumation.

I’m more concerned about the other aspects of husbandry that could be causing issues. This is a care sheet created by Anna, an Expert with whom I collaborate. It should help you get the turtles back on the right track. Joan

The Floating Tank

A baby slider should have a tank that is at least 15 gallons. The turtle will need a 60 gallon tank by the time it is 3-4 years old, so get the biggest tank you can at first. A large RubberMaid tote can also be used.

That’s not as attractive as a tank, but it’s a lot less expensive. Make sure the tank has both a land and a water area. Place the basking light at one end of the tank to prevent the entire tank from becoming too hot.

The water should be twice as deep as the turtle’s length. You’ll need four inches of water if the turtle is two inches long.

Temperatures and the Area for Sunbathing

Turtles require specific lighting and must be kept warm. Inadequately heated air and water can cause fungal and respiratory infections, as well as unhealthy shells. Turtles require a basking area where they can dry off, get out of the water, and bask in bright light.

The tank’s ambient air temperature should be around 75°F (24°C), with the basking area being even warmer. A lamp that can take a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb should be placed over the basking area (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for reptiles).

If you live in an area with farm stores, a metal light fixture designed to keep baby chicks warm can be purchased for a few dollars.

However, don’t buy the bulb that comes with it. In the basking light, you’ll need an ordinary incandescent bulb.

Work lights similar to these can be found in hardware stores.

The temperature in the basking area should be kept between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (29 and 32 degrees Celsius). To be sure, use a digital probe thermometer.

The temperature can be adjusted by raising or lowering the light fixture.

The lights that come with aquarium covers are not appropriate for turtles. You’ll also need a submersible aquarium heater to keep the water between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (26 and 28 degrees Celsius).

UVB (Ultraviolet) Light

It is critical that you purchase an additional light that emits UVB rays. A good brand to look for is Reptisun 10.0. If you go with another brand, make sure it contains UVB rays. Take the word of the pet store employees with a grain of salt, and read it for yourself.

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The terms full-spectrum, DayGlo, sunGlo, UV, and UVA are not interchangeable. This is something I’m emphasizing because it’s critical to your turtle’s health. Because your turtle won’t be able to produce vitamin D without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop.

Vitamin supplements aren’t a good substitute for good lighting. MBD is a disease that kills you slowly and painfully. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months or they lose their effectiveness, even if they appear to be in good condition.

The light from a window is insufficient because the glass filters out the majority of the rays that turtles require to stay healthy.

Turtles require calcium to prevent MBD. Placing a cuttlebone in the tank is the simplest way to provide it. Cuttlebones can be found in pet store bird sections.


Water quality is extremely important to turtles. Even if you change the water every day, harmful chemicals can still be present. It is critical to have a good filtration system. Even with a filter, water changes are required.

No filter can keep up with the amount of waste that turtles produce if the tank is too small.


When it comes to feeding, pet stores frequently provide inaccurate information. Only 1/4 of the diet should be made up of commercial foods. Another quarter should be made up of animal products (cooked meat, earthworms, canned cat food).

The remaining half should be made up of plant-based foods (dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.).

Every day, feed the hatchlings. Turtles over the age of three should be fed three times per week. Gout and kidney failure can be caused by overeating.

ALSO SEE: Why do Turtles Bite Each Other?

How Long Can a Turtle Go Without Eating Food

What Happens If a Yellow-Bellied Turtle Doesn’t Eat for 1 Weekend?

This is most likely the most common length of time that yellow-bellied turtles are left alone at home without food. And, fortunately for them and their owners, if a turtle does not eat for one weekend, nothing bad will happen to it.

So, if you’re planning a weekend getaway, don’t be concerned about your turtle; it will be fine.

What Happens If a Yellow-Bellied Turtle Goes a Week Without Eating?

If a yellow-bellied turtle goes a week without eating, nothing bad should happen, but if this happens on a regular basis, minor health issues may arise.

You could theoretically leave your yellow-bellied turtle without food if this happens only once or twice a year, but if it happens frequently, you should make sure your turtle has some extra food in the tank, such as plants or fish, or that someone comes over once or twice a week to feed your turtle.

After we’ve gone over what happens if you leave your turtle without food for an extended period of time, we’ll go over what you can do if you have to leave your turtle alone at home, so don’t worry, I’ll go over that as well.

What Happens If a Yellow-Bellied Turtle Goes Two Weeks Without Eating?

While the difference between one and two weeks without food is significant for humans, it is not for yellow-bellied turtles. As in the previous example, leaving your turtle without food for two weeks will have no effect if it happens only once or twice.

However, if this happens more frequently, it will have a serious impact on the turtle’s health.

What Happens If a Yellow-Bellied Turtle Isn’t Feeding for a Month or More?

If a yellow-bellied turtle goes for a month or more without eating, the first thing it will do is move less to conserve energy. As a result, the immune system will cease to function, and infections will begin to appear.

If a pet yellow-bellied turtle hasn’t eaten in a month, it will either try to escape the tank in search of food or hide from potential predators because it will be weak and unable to defend itself.

Another thing that will occur is the turtle’s growth will come to a halt. The body will reroute vitamins, minerals, and energy that would have been used for growth in normal circumstances to keep vital functions running.

While there may be a few more things to say about what happens if a turtle doesn’t eat, I believe the general idea is clear.

How to Feed Your Turtles While Away

First and foremost, make sure that the water in your turtle tank is replaced before you leave. Make sure it’s completely full so the animals can climb out.

As previously stated, it would be preferable if you had someone come over and look after your pet while you are gone. If you happen to get one, make sure you write down specific instructions on how to feed and care for the turtles.

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Don’t forget to include instructions for what to do if something goes wrong.

Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone to leave behind. You can still get away with it and go on vacation.

Before you leave, try putting some live goldfish in the tan and seeing how quickly your turtle consumes them. You can leave about 10 tiny goldfish in the aquarium for a week if they only eat one or two.

For small turtles, you need to verify that they can eat tiny goldfish. If they can’t, you’ll need to find another option.

If none of these methods work, you may want to consider temporarily entrusting your pets to someone else. This would be better for the young turtle, who needs to be fed and cared for on a regular basis.

You can still bring your pets with you on your trip if possible.

Factors that Influence a Turtle’s Ability to Survive Without Food

Though all turtles can go without food for a short period of time, the length of their fast is determined by a number of factors. Here are a few examples.

  • Clean Water Availability

Water is necessary for turtles’ survival, just as it is for any other animal. These creatures require clean water to drink and swim in. Turtles can survive for several weeks without food as long as they have access to water.

This would force the animals to burn their fat reserves and lose weight without causing them any harm.

In fact, in the wild, where climatic conditions are constantly changing, this frequently occurs.

Turtles, on the other hand, would quickly dehydrate and die if they were not given access to water.

  • The Turtle’s Age

Without food, mature turtles can live longer than young turtles. Young turtles, in particular, require a lot of energy to grow, whereas adults require very little. As a result, pet owners should not be concerned about leaving fully grown turtle pets alone for a few days.

Juvenile turtles, on the other hand, would not survive more than a few days without food if left alone. They would undoubtedly perish.

  • The Turtle’s Condition

Without a doubt, an adult who has been well-fed and strong will be able to go for 5 to 6 months without food. A healthy adult turtle can comfortably survive on body fat reserves for several weeks as long as water and a basking area are available.

A sick animal, on the other hand, is already weak from the illness and may not survive long without food. Instead of leaving your pet hungry while you’re away, hire someone to look after it while you’re gone.

  • Your Turtle’s Species

There are over 356 different species of turtles in the world. Surprisingly, these species react to food scarcity in different ways. If you want to keep one as a pet, you should first consider their species.

A box turtle can live for a very long time once fully grown. It’s possible that this isn’t true for all other species.

In addition, the red-eared slider turtle has a long lifespan.

In other words, the larger an animal is, the longer it can go without eating.

The length of time a turtle can go without eating is also affected by the temperature.

The body’s metabolism speeds up as the temperature rises. As a result, the turtle will require more energy.

Their metabolism rates are low during periods of low temperatures, and the animals require little energy to survive.

How Long Can A Baby Turtle Go Without Eating?

Baby turtles can survive for up to 90 days without food (3 months). The baby turtles, on the other hand, are infants who require constant care.

The early stages of a turtle’s life are extremely important. It’s at this point that they’re primarily in need of nutrients for growth and development.

The nutrients in fresh green apples will help them live longer. Regardless, it is generally recommended that baby turtles be fed on a regular basis – usually once a day – because they are still developing and require additional nutrients and minerals.

How Long Can a Pet Turtle Live Without Food?

Pet turtles can go for long periods of time without eating.

There have been cases of pet turtles surviving for a year without food, but this does not mean that you should abandon them. Pet turtles can go for long periods of time without eating. Water is extremely important for your reptiles’ overall health.

Similarly to humans, these reptiles require accurate water measurements for hydration, digestion, and proper absorption, as well as other vital physiology indicators.

How Long can a Pet Turtle survive without water?

Water is essential for pet turtles to survive. It is a basic requirement for them. They require water not only for hydration, but also for swimming and better food processing. In fact, in their current situation, pet turtles are unable to eat without water.

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For example, if your pet is not in good health, you should not leave your turtle alone.

How Long Can A Box Turtle Go Without Eating?

Box turtles can survive for a short period of time without food.

The Box turtle can go months without eating, but only 12 to 24 hours without water. Box turtles are delicate creatures, and the length of time they can go without food or water is determined by a variety of factors. A box turtle can go without food for a short period of time if it is near fresh drinking water.

It must be warm in the enclosed area. The box turtle will go into hibernation if this does not happen.

Box turtles are commonly found in forests and are used to test pets. Their enclosed spaces, temperature, and diets must be ideal for them to thrive. They are housed in the walled-in area. Because it is a permanent feature, it must be filled with fresh fruits on a regular basis.

In addition, the ideal temperature for box turtles is between 77 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh fruits and vegetables must be included in their active diet. They are sensitive creatures who are easily focused by change.

The safest way to keep your turtle is to consistently provide enough food and clean water.

How Long Can a Red-Eared Slider Turtle Go Without Eating?

The Red-Eared Slider can go 3–4 weeks without eating. In addition, they can hibernate for up to three months without food. However, assuming the red-eared slider turtle is half a year old or younger, these conditions, as well as food, are required; otherwise, it may not live for a month.

The red-eared slider turtle is dependent on the various variables we investigated, such as age, access to clean water, relaxing region, heat light, and UVB. You must ensure that it is solid and free of any previous medical issues.

How long can a baby Red-Eared Slider go without eating food?

The turtle cannot survive without food at the Survival age.

From a few days to seven days, baby red-eared slider turtles can stop eating. They are unable to survive without food at that stage of development and growth, and will starve after a few days.

How long can a Baby Yellow-bellied Turtle Go without eating?

The baby yellow-bellied turtles are unable to go for long periods of time without eating. They should be given a lot of food because they are infants. Adult Yellow-bellied Swallows can be left without food for up to four days.

As a result, four days without food should not be too difficult for them.

If your turtle hasn’t been seen in a while, you should change its water or the temperature of the water. They become strong and developed as a result of the temperature.

As a result, if they are fully developed, they may be able to go without food for an extended period of time.

How Long Can A Baby Musk Turtle Go Without Eating?

Newborn musk turtles are called baby musk turtles. In order to gain energy, health, and profitable growth, the turtles should be fed every day when they are young.

As a result, they can go for a few weeks without eating, but they will die in the meantime because they are baby musks who have not yet fully developed and do not have enough energy to go without food.

Furthermore, baby musk turtles ate apples and lived in the water.

To live inside, baby musk turtles should be given plenty of apples and clean, pure water.

How Long Can A Baby Snapping Turtle Go Without Eating?

Snapping turtles are one of the reptile species that can go for long periods of time without eating. They can last up to six months. However, this is mostly true during the colder months of the year, when the temperature isn’t conducive to food processing.

So, if it isn’t yet wintering season, don’t deprive your snapping turtle of food for more than seven days in bondage.


Finally, keep in mind that healthy adult turtle pets can go months without eating. Regardless, they should always have access to clean water.

These reptiles, like humans, require water to maintain normal physiological processes. Because the animal is not hibernating, it would be impossible for it to survive without water for an extended period of time.

The age of your turtle will determine how long it can survive starvation.

Human diseases can be spread by pets. As a result, whenever you come into contact with the turtles, food leftovers, or their water tanks, wash your hands in soapy water. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before handling the animals to avoid spreading germs.

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