How long can Painted Turtles go Without Eating

by | Jul 31, 2022

Painted Turtles without Eating

Eventually, every turtle owner will have to leave their Painted turtles alone at home for some days or maybe a weekend and will leave the owner with many questions like: should I feed the Turtle more before I leave, or how long can my Painted Turtles go without eating? 

So, how long can painted turtles go without food?

Let’s answer the question.

How long can Painted Turtles go without Eating

Your painted Turtle can go up to 90-days (3 months) without eating. This amount will depend on size, age, environment, and diet. 

While Painted Turtles can go for long periods without eating, it is not beneficial. 

Let’s look at what happens when your painted turtles don’t eat for a weekend, a week, and a month.  

What happens when Painted Turtles don’t eat for a weekend

A weekend is probably the most time owners leave their turtles at home without food. 

Leaving your Painted Turtle for a weekend is safe, and nothing terrible will happen during that time. 

If you plan to leave your painted Turtle alone for the weekend, you have nothing to worry about; your pet turtle will be fine. 

What happens when Painted Turtles don’t eat for one week

If this is a one-time thing, your painted Turtle should be fine. But if it becomes a regular thing, then little health problems can start. 

Ensuring this happening not more than twice a year is advisable. 

If you have to leave your Turtle alone without food more than twice a year, then you have to make other arrangements like going a little more plant or fish in the tank or getting a friend or neighbor to check up on the painted Turtle and feed it. 

What Happens when Painted Turtles Goes Without Eating for 2- weeks

Like with one week, this can be okay if done once or twice a year. But if it becomes something that has to happen regularly, it can severely affect the painted turtles. 

A painted can go without food for two weeks without significant damage, but I will not recommend that. 

What happens when Painted Turtles don’t eat for more than one month

If you don’t feed your Turtle for more than one month, it will start moving around less to conserve energy. 

At this point, its immunity will also stop working and consistently get infected. 

If it is hungry, it can also start looking for ways to leave the tank or hide somewhere because it feels too weakened to defend itself from predators. 

Also, the vitamins and minerals in its body, which are essential for growth, are diverted to the body to keep vital functions and organs working. 

Except during hibernation, leaving your painted turtle home without food for over a month is a bad idea that can pose an unintended health risk to the Turtle.

How long can Painted Turtles go without clean water?

In addition to feeding provisions for your painted turtle in your absence, you must also think about water. If they eat, they will also need to drink water. 

Water is essential for painted turtles because they don’t have saliva to help them swallow food, so they depend on water. 

Without saliva, the water also helps them properly digest their food. 

Painted turtles always need access to clean water – to swim in and drink. 

So, you may wonder – what water do they drink? Painted turtles drink the same water in which they swim. And yes, it is the same water they poop in. 

Therefore, you will need to ensure their water is always clean.

If you don’t want them to drink contaminated water, you must clean it at least once every two weeks. 

I recommend you clean or change the water once every two weeks. 

You should change the water if you think the water is filthy before the two weeks.

What happens if you don’t clean/change the water in 2 weeks?

As I said, the ideal time to change their water is once every two weeks. So, if you are going to be away for two weeks, your painted turtle should be fine.

What happens if you don’t change the water in one month?

If you are going to be away for up to a month, you should make provisions for cleaning the water. 

If you don’t clean the water, your Painted turtle will drink the contaminated water and can fall sick. 

The best solution, in this case, is to get a Turtle water filter. 

The water filter will help filter and clean the water in your absence. Just ensure the filter can work appropriately for your tank size. 

What to do if you have to leave your painted turtles at home for an extended period

If you need to leave your painted Turtle at home for a long stretch, there are methods you can use to ensure your Turtle gets his diet while you are away. 

You can employ all these methods or pick the best ones for you. 

Aquatic plants: 

One of the things you can do to make sure your painted Turtle doesn’t go hungry in your absence is to add some aquatic plants to the tank. 

Painted turtles are omnivores, which means they can eat meat and plants. Without meat, they will feed on the available plants in the tank. 

The only problem with this is that the water will get dirty quickly when the painted Turtle bites the plants and leave crumbs in the water. 

Besides that, this is an excellent way to plan for your Turtle. You can get these plants at pet stores. 

Feeder Fish: 

Another solution is feeder fish. Feeder fishes are fishes kept in aquariums as pets. 

You can use them as food for your painted turtles, so they go without eating if you are away.

However, you must be careful of the type you get, as not all feeder fish are suitable for your painted Turtle. 

You can use fishes below for feeder fish: 

  • Killifish, 
  • Platies, 
  • Guppies, 
  • Crappies, 
  • Bass, and 
  • Mosquitofish. 

All you need to do is buy them and put them in the tank. Like plants, you should also expect to come back to a messy tank. 

Automatic food dispenser: 

The best solution to this can be the automatic food dispenser. 

You can automate this dispenser to release food to your painted Turtle as much as four times a day. 

It has a downside, too, as it can only hold a limited amount of food. 

If you have to be away for an extended period, the best thing to do is to get someone to come over and fill it every month. 

I recommend you get the Eheim Turtle Feeder. This model can even release double or regular serving. You can order it from Amazon. 

Get someone to come over: 

Getting someone to look after feeding your Turtle while you are away is one of the obvious solutions, but it also has its downside. 

If the person coming over doesn’t own a turtle, they may not know how to give the Painted Turtles the proper amount of food. 

Some people would throw as much food into the tank as possible. 

You should write the measurement and amount of food to be given on a sheet of paper and ask them to follow the instructions.


It isn’t uncommon for painted turtles to go a couple of weeks without food. 

They do this occasionally in the wild, but it can hurt their health in the long run. 

If you must leave your painted turtles alone and without for extended periods, you should provide alternate means of feeding them in your absence. 

About Me

Hi, I am Sarah! At Amado Pets we are passionate about pets and love sharing our knowledge and research with you. We strive to be the ultimate resource for you to learn all that you can about caring for your pet!