Turtles are able to survive for two to three years without eating. A turtle is known to have survived for 30 years after being trapped in a box, but it is possible this turtle occasionally ate passing insects. Turtles can go into a state of suspended animation known as brumation.
Turtles maintain fat pads they can draw energy from when food is scarce. They also have slow metabolisms under normal circumstances and require little food. Pet turtles are often fed only every three days.
Many turtles go into states of brumation during cold periods. Pet box turtles are noted to frequently go into states of brumation over the winter months.