Originally Posted by WingedWolfPsion
Yes, mud turtles are primarily carnivorous...but, that just means that turtle pellets aren't ideal for them either, because the pellets were designed for sliders, which eat a lot of plant matter. Koi fish are also omnivorous, and eat a lot of plants.
Best option would be to feed him calcium-dusted insects, fish (select fish--silversides, tilapia, or guppies, but not goldfish or rosy reds), and chopped worms. All of the carnivore bits from a slider diet, without the greens. They do need some plant matter, but they're picky. Spirulina algae wafers are reportedly accepted by some species of mud turtles.
I would suggest that the closest you can come to a correct diet would be following the recommendations for other species of mud turtles, such as this one:
Turtles eat lots of things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8rU-bLYM7Y
(sorry, that always makes me laugh, it's so surprising).
The pellets I tend to feed (except RES ones/koi ones on occasion just in case he DOES need vegetable matter) are shrimp pellets, my koi pellet recommendation was for owners of RES and similar species. I know that koi and RES are omnivores and that mud turtles are mostly carnivores
. I just mean that I don't know the staples they eat in the "wild". There are occasional random websites with diets but none specific to the species and none with citations. I'd guess worms and insect larvae for the most part but I don't know. Definitely no fish, mud turtles are awful at catching them...much worse than RES
I'm considering cutting out the carnivore pellets entirely but not until I can find some good mud turtle diet research (I'll look into finding papers about similar species like you suggested
) and have done a nutritional analysis (which means I'll have to update my spreadsheet to be more reptile-friendly, ha, as my snakes and garg are nowhere near as complicated and reptile food sources were never added).
The caresheet suggested that that species of mud turtle eats plenty of vegetable matter in the wild, which is interesting. That's part of what makes me think that their nutritional needs are not identical. I can occasionally "trick" my turtle into eating anacharis and duck weed but he often spits it back out
. I don't think he considers plants to be a food source at all (and he definitely doesn't eat algae like the 3-striped apparently does). The only way to get him to eat spirulina is by feeding turtle food sticks that have it as an ingredient
His favorite foods are earthworms and freshwater mysis shrimp so perhaps those could be staples.
I wish I could go observe them in the wild. I tend to joke that it's a mystery they survive at all with their intelligence (or lack of) and failure to capture food (even drowning crickets)