About Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles?
The Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis) is usually a species found solely in the state of Alabama. In fact, it is the official state reptile of Alabama.
Their head, neck, and legs are often marked with yellowish stripping. And as you might have guessed from the name, their belly, or plastron, has a tendency to possess a redish hue on it. There may also be dark markings occasionally.
These colorings are especially intense in adolescents.
Where Can Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles Be Found?
Before we dive into what do Alabama red-bellied turtles eat, we first must understand their habitat. Generally speaking this turtle enjoys freshwater canals, lakes, bayous, and swamplands. Overall they prefer shallower waters.
This turtle species was once common through the entire lower part of the flood plain of the Mobile River system in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama. Possibly at times, as far north as southern Monroe County.
However camping sites, and off-road vehicles have all but destroyed their last known large scale nesting sites. Camp lights, human disruption, and high noise is believed to be causing heavy reproductive failure.
What Do Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles Eat?
You’ll find that Alabama red-bellied turtles tend to prefer a plant based diet.
In The Wild:
These kinds of turtles are referred to as herbivores and since they are generally seen in small rivers and ponds, they have a tendency to stay with low lying vegetation including:
Aquatic Plant life, Eel-Grass, Hydrilla, Brushy Pond-Weed, etc.
Although, they’ve been known to also eat Crayfish, Bugs, and small fish.
In The Home:
Although endangered, Alabama red-bellied turtles have been seen to become pets for various reasons.
When thinking about what they eat as pets, you will find that most of the same items found in the wild can be a part of a pet turtles diet. You are able to feed them:
Earthworms, Lettuce, Carrots, Moss, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Algae, Fruit, etc.
It is critical to remember that, similar to most aquatic turtles, Alabama red-bellied turtles don’t always get 100% of the needed nutrients in the food they eat. Due to this it is wise to do your very best to include a multi-vitamin supplement within their meals.
In captivity Alabama red-bellied turtles will readily eat many of the commercially accessible aquatic turtle foods as well.
That being said, it’s always best if you provide your pet turtle with as varied a diet as possible to ensure good health and proper nutrition.
Things To Avoid When Feeding Alabama Red-Bellied Turtles?
As with every pet, you should ensure that your Alabama red-bellied turtle will be as healthy as possible. Additionally you want to make certain your household is as healthy as it can be at the same time.
Here are a few helpful tips to balance the both of best worlds.
No Fried Foods: Avoid giving your turtle any sort of oily food. No fried potatoes, donuts, onion rings, etc.
No Sugary Foods: No candy, chocolate, or other type of sugary foods. As well as being unhealthy for a turtle, these kinds of foods tend to be hard and can pose a choking hazard for your little friend.
No Dairy Foods: For example milk, cheese, butter, etc. Turtles do not have the necessary enzymes to properly digest lactose.
No Sharing Foods: Avoid sharing foods or snacks with your turtle. Many turtles, like most aquatic animals, carry salmonella bacteria. Salmonella does not affect them as it does humans.
No Kissing: No seriously, don’t kiss your turtle. Although they are certainly cute while they are young or small, they carry salmonella and the last thing you want is to become sick from your turtle.
No Dirty Hands: Whenever you handle your turtle be sure you wash both your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap.