Natural Food Animals
Live mealworms, waxworms or earthworms mixed into canned or pelleted food should encourage your turtle to take a bite. Earthworms are a box turtle favorite and a highly nutritious food in their own right…they can comprise 25% or so of the diet. An occasional pre-killed pink mouse is usually a great hit with box turtles, but is not a necessity.
Canned Snails and Insects
Canned insects and invertebrates offer an excellent means of increasing dietary variety while adding to the attractiveness of commercial turtle foods. Box turtles avidly consume snails and slugs in the wild…canned snails are nearly always well-accepted by pets. Canned silkworms, grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms should also be offered.
Fruits and Vegetables
Commercial diets should also be supplemented with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, pears, berries of all kinds (berries are a favorite, but should form only a part of your pet’s salad), cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms and others. Sweet potatoes are usually a favorite. Avoid bananas, as turtles often eat these to the exclusion of all else, and they are not a natural food item.
Vitamins, Minerals and UVB Light
A vitamin/mineral supplement should be provided once weekly for adults, three times weekly for youngsters.
Box turtles should always be provided with a source of UVB radiation (via a fluorescent or mercury vapor bulb ) so that they can properly utilize the calcium that is contained in their diets. Please see my article on Reptisun UVB lamps for further information.
Wood turtles can be fed as described above; although some individuals can be picky feeders, they tend to accept a wider range of foods than do most box turtles.
Please see my article Providing a Balanced Diet to Reptile and Amphibian Pets for further information on reptile and amphibian nutrition.
You can read about ongoing field research projects involving box and wood turtles in the Northeastern USA at http://www.turtleconservationproject.org/projects.html.