What do Musk Turtles Eat And Other Important Information

Last Updated on June 1, 2021 by cmoarz

The common musk turtle is a popular pet choice for many people. However, there are some things that you might not know about these awesome creatures. In this article, we will discuss what they eat as well as other interesting facts!

What do must turtles eat?

Musk turtles are omnivores and eat both plants (vegetation) and animals (insects, worms) as well as various types of fruit. They will eat just about anything they can get! Here’s a list of some of the most common things people generally feed their pet musk turtles:

  • Turtle pellets
  • Fish pellets
  • Leafy lettuce (not iceberg)
  • Algae
  • Frozen peas, corn, and mixed vegetables
  • Mealworms
  • Snails
  • Newts
  • Water plants
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Bloodworms
  • Superworms
  • Tomatoes, Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and other assorted berries
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Bug larvae
  • tadpoles
  • Small amphibians

And the list can go on for quite some time! Surely their diet is as wide and varied as they are.

How big do musk turtles get?

The musk turtles size varies based on a few things: their diet, the temperature of the water they live in, and the size of their tank.

Musk turtles can get up to 12 inches long! The largest recorded musks turtle was about 19 inches long. But that’s rather uncommon – most stay around nine or ten inches in length which is a good size as most people don’t want super large pet turtles.

Can musk turtles live with fish?

Yes! Certain types of fish can happily cohabitate with your musk turtle. There are some things you should take into account however when choosing which fish you wish to pair inside your turtle’s tank.

  • Although often classified as omnivorous, the musk turtle is more carnivorous and will eat fish with long fins but avoid those with short fins. They love to nip at them so keep it in mind when choosing.
  • Fish who like to lounge around too much are easy targets for turtles. An active fish is far less likely to become turtle food.
  • Fish that are very active and move a lot offer fewer attacking opportunities for your turtle to sink its beak into.

Some fish that meet these stringent requirements are:

  • Pictus Catfish
  • Neon Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Certain types of goldfish
  • Suckerfish
  • Any fish larger than the turtle, be careful the reverse doesn’t happen and the fish eats the turtle tho!

Snails can also be added to a turtle tank, as long as they are of the larger variety. Turtles are unlikely to attack and eat snails, although if they get bored they may.

How long do musk turtles live?

Like many varieties of reptiles, Musk turtles are long-lived. They have a lifespan of about 40 years. The oldest common musk turtle recorded was around 70 years old. Fascinating! A lifelong friend to be sure.

How long can musk turtles hold their breath?

Musk turtles can hold their breath for a long time, up to an hour and 15 minutes. They do this by taking in air through the surface of their cloaca with each breath when they need it.

How long can musk turtles stay out of water?

Unlike some other turtle species, the common musk turtle can’t stay out of the water for very long without some moisture. At most 6-8 hours before it starts to have problems. The higher the humidity and with a bit of shade, The musk turtle can stay out of water for longer periods of time. If it’s raining, they can stay out until it stops. All things considered, if the temperature, climate, humidity, and shade are all right, a musk turtle could stay out of the water for months or years.

Do musk turtles need a heat lamp?

They don’t necessarily require a heater if their enclosure is kept at a specific temperature. However, like other reptiles, the musk turtle is cold-blooded and can’t regulate its body temperature internally. So, they need external heat sources to keep them warm and healthy.

So if you are regulating your tank’s temperature they don’t necessarily need a heat lamp, Although they will really enjoy one and you should consider adding one to your setup.

If your climate tends to be on the colder side, a heat lamp will be a must.


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!