Can Turtles Eat Bloodworms? What You Must Know

Are you looking to add a bit of variety to your pet turtle’s food? What about bloodworms – can turtles eat bloodworms like other aquatic pets? Let’s find out.

If you have a pet turtle, you must know they enjoy eating bloodworms. However, only a few people know that one should only feed bloodworms to the reptile once or twice a week. 

So, yes, turtles can eat bloodworms but as an occasional treat. Continue reading about the benefits, risks, and more on this topic.

Can Turtles Eat Bloodworms

Are Bloodworms Good for Turtles?

Bloodworms are tiny worms that live in fresh or salt water but are also commercially available in frozen worms on the market. 

They are called bloodworms because they are red and also exude a liquid of the same color whenever they feel threatened or disturbed. 

Commercial bloodworms, such as larvae of midge flies or the genus glycera, are the most readily available in the market. 

They are available as frozen blocks in pet stores and can be fed to many types of fish and turtles.

Bloodworms can be included in every turtle’s diet, whether carnivorous or herbivorous. 

They are a good food source for turtles since they are rich in protein, fat, and iron. Besides, turtles love to eat them and enjoy their taste. 

Are Frozen Bloodworms Better Than Live Food for Turtles?

You should always put frozen bloodworms in the feeder or fish tank rather than live food. 

The main reason why frozen bloodworms are beneficial for all types of turtles is that they have a lower risk of the presence of bacteria or parasites. 

Bloodworms can live in polluted water and might be filled with all sorts of bacteria, which may harm your beloved pet turtle. 

Another reason bloodworms in frozen cubes are preferable is that they do not carry that stinky odor that live worms are filled with. 

Can Turtles Eat Bloodworms

Are Frozen Bloodworms Better Than Freeze-Dried Bloodworms for Turtles?

You can choose either of them; both have pros and cons. Many people prefer frozen bloodworms because they retain more nutrients than freeze-dried worms. 

Frozen bloodworms also have high water content, which keeps your turtle hydrated and hence healthier. 

Frozen ones also have a more authentic texture than freeze-dried bloodworms and are, thus, more natural food for turtles.

Freeze-dried bloodworms, however, are a better choice when ordering online since they are easier to handle due to their low water content. 

They are also comparatively less messy in the water tank and are more value for money, considering frozen worms are about 80% water. 

How Many Bloodworms Should I Feed to My Turtle?

You can feed frozen bloodworms to your turtle in the tank once a week. 

Bloodworms are more of an occasional treat rather than a full diet. They do not form a balanced diet for turtles. 

They are undoubtedly one of the best sources of protein, but they are also relatively high in iron so they can be harmful to turtles. 

The most you should give your turtle in one week are two frozen bloodworms and nothing above that. 

Turtles enjoy a good variety of foods, including feeder fish or shrimp, so you shouldn’t restrict their diet to bloodworms only. 

Moreover, turtles enjoy eating bloodworms, and you don’t want them to form a habit. 

These creatures are pretty temperamental, and soon you will find them pouting about any other food that you give. 

How To Feed Bloodworms to Turtles?

There are two main ways to feed bloodworms to your turtle – thaw them outside and then put them in the turtle tank, or drop the frozen cubes directly into the tank. 

However, both methods have their own merits and demerits. Let’s discuss both methods in detail. 

The thawing method 

The procedure involves thawing the frozen worms in a dish and then releasing them in the tank. 

The good thing about using this method is that the thawed worms look more alive when dropped in the tank. 

The con of this process is that once thawed; bloodworms can turn messy in the tank, making it difficult for the turtle to catch. 

It can give rise to bacteria which can negatively affect the growth of the reptile. The left-out or missed worms can also lead to algae and moss growth inside the tank or on your turtle. 

The direct method 

The thawed method works well with small tanks and filters. If your turtle’s tank is considerably large (if it can hold 50 gallons or more), we recommend you drop the worms into your turtle tank directly. 

The main benefit of dropping worm cubes in the tank is that it is easy for the turtle to eat the food. Additionally, your pet may also prefer the frozen texture of the worms. 

How To Keep Blood Worms Alive

However, the frozen cube may cause trouble for the turtle since they are cold-blooded. Therefore, their tank should always be maintained at an optimum temperature.

To solve this con, you should always feed only a few blocks of worms. If you feed them multiple frozen bloodworms at a time, it will lead to health problems in the future. 

You may choose any of the above two methods but make sure to drop the blocks into the water and let the turtle eat them. 

If you give them worms on land, they may choke on them. Dropping them in water will help the turtle digest the worms easily. 

Which Turtles Can Have Frozen Bloodworms?

Most pet turtles are omnivorous; that is, they can eat animal and plant food sources. So, almost all pet turtles (including baby turtles) can have frozen bloodworms. 

Painted turtles, box turtles, musk turtles, red-eared, wild turtles, etc., can have frozen bloodworms. 

However, the quantity of worms depends on the tolerance level of each category of a turtle. 

For example, box turtles can quickly become sick after eating a large number of frozen worms. Hence, they should not be fed more than one worm at a time. 

On the other hand, the red-eared turtle largely depends on protein as their food source from a young age. Therefore, bloodworms are an excellent food source for them.

They are primarily carnivores and can easily digest bloodworms. 

Can Turtles Eat Bloodworms

Where To Buy Bloodworms in the Market?

The best way to purchase frozen bloodworms is by ordering them online. You can order freeze-dried bloodworms from Amazon for as little as $5. 

The package is shipped straight to your address, but you can return it if the worms aren’t up to the mark. 

One drawback of ordering them online is that the frozen cubes may melt on the way. In such cases, the package cannot be returned because, technically, there is nothing wrong with the product. 

If you don’t want to deal with melted cubes of bloodworms, you can purchase them from a nearby pet store or local market.

You must also remember never to refreeze the delivered bloodworms since they will lose their nutrients that way. 

Also, freezing the frozen bloodworms will cause them to lose their original flavor. As a result, your turtle may find the worms less tasty than they usually are. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you feed bloodworms to turtles?

Yes, you can feed bloodworms to turtles but give them to it as an occasional treat, that is, once or twice a week. 
If your turtle consumes frozen bloodworms regularly, it may suffer from indigestion and other problems.

Can I feed my turtle frozen bloodworms?

Frozen bloodworms are an excellent addition to the turtle diet, but you should only feed them to the turtle once a week. 
They are rich in protein, fat, and iron, and turtles enjoy their taste. They also provide 26 Kcal/100-gram energy. 

Can I feed bloodworms to the red-eared slider?

Red-eared sliders are primarily carnivores and, thus, feed on worms, shrimps, aquatic snails, saltwater fish, crickets, waxworms, bloodworms, silkworms, etc. 
So they can easily feed on bloodworms and other high-protein foods. 

Can turtles eat red worms?

Almost all types of turtles eat red worms and enjoy their taste. However, not all of them can eat the same quantity of bloodworms at a time. 
So, you must research before feeding them to your pet turtle. 

Wrap Up 

You can easily buy frozen bloodworms online or in your local market to feed your turtle. 

However, you must always gather complete information about the quantity and types of worms for your turtle. 

Make sure you do not feed too many bloodworms to your pet because it can cause health problems for them.

If you have more to share on this topic, feel free to comment in the comment section. 

Thank you for reading!


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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