More from Myrtle the Turtle
SFC: Brussels sprouts. To her, they’re like M&M’s, she gobbles them up.
MRB: Is there anything you’ve found that she doesn’t like?
SFC: That’s a good question. It’s funny; sea turtles tend to go into what we call a “fast” every couple years, where their appetite goes way down — even Myrtle’s — to a point where they eventually are not eating for several months at a time. That correlates with the breeding seasons. It’s at a time in their life where they’d be traveling and not have access to food, usually immediately beforehand they’re eating a lot. Myrtle is just about to go into that fasting period too, so the only time she doesn’t like any of the produce is when she starts going into that fasting mode. Its funny, she’ll go off certain things first. She first starts rejecting the red peppers, then the carrots, then the broccoli, then the lettuce, and then Brussels sprouts. The last thing she clings to is the fish and squid. She loves the stuff she really shouldn’t have too much of, like us. Very much like us. And eventually she loses interest in that. But she will take food from us; we make sure that she eats a little something everyday, but literally, it might just be a couple shrimp or something. But she won’t come to her feeding station: it’s not worth the effort to her. So that’s the only time that we would actually go to her and feed her. Otherwise she’ll come to us. She makes it well known when she’s ready to eat.
MRB: Again, I always thought she was an herbivore, because when I’ve been here, that’s what I’ve seen her be fed.
SFC: Right, that’s what you see. She eats a very small amount of protein, about three-quarters of a pound of protein a day, which is split into two feedings. It consists of low-fat items like squid and shrimp, and maybe a couple of pieces of pollock, some sort of low-fat fish. And that’s it for the most part, and she gets a vitamin. She also gets some omnivore gel, which is great — that’s just packed with nutrients. It’s a great way to get food in, get the right nutrients into captive animals.