Pet Turtle Care Basics

Pets & Animals Blog

Reptiles are popular pets for a reason. They are generally easy to care for, and unlike cats and dogs, they are hypoallergenic, making them the perfect pet for children who are allergic to more traditional pets. A turtle is low-maintenance and a good choice for kids. They may not be cuddly, but they offer adorable facial expressions and willingly interact with their caretaker. Here is what you need to know to care for your turtle.

What Kind Of Home Does A Turtle Need?

Unlike a tortoise, which spends the majority of its time on land, a turtle spends most of his time in the water. Therefore, a turtle requires a turtle terrarium. A terrarium is basically an aquarium that can hold water, but it is set up so that part of the aquarium also provides dry "land."

Turtles grow, and they live a very long time. With that in mind, it is best to get as large an enclosure as you can. A typical 10-galon tank will not be large enough to provide a healthy and happy life for your turtle. According to Reptiles Magazine, a 30-gallon tank is the absolute smallest size you should have for a turtle that is up to 6 inches in length. The tank size requirements go up from there as the turtle's expected adult size increases.

Turtle terrariums need a good water filtration system. Just as a fish aquarium gets dirty, so does a turtle terrarium. The water needs to be changed frequently as well as the filter cleaned. 

Turtles also need a home that has a heat lamp. Reptiles are cold-blooded, which means their metabolic systems will slow down if they become cold. A heat lamp will allow your turtle to maintain his preferred temperature by himself; he will simply come out of the water to bask himself as he sees fit. It is also important to place your tank near a window so he can get natural sunlight. This is important for the development of a healthy shell.

The terrarium should have plenty of water, and the ends should be built up with rocks and other tank décor that rises above the water line. This will provide the turtle plenty of room to explore and relax on dry land when he wants to.

What Do Turtles Eat?

Turtles are omnivores, which mean they eat both meat and vegetables, although some turtle species eat only meat when they are very young. Discuss their current with whomever you purchase your reptile from. Small comet goldfish, mealworms, and dark, leafy greens are the best options. You can also get pelleted turtle food if they have been raised on it and are accustomed to this as a food source, but be sure to provide fresh vegetables. Broccoli, collard greens, and kale are good choices because they are high in calcium, which is necessary for maintaining shell health. 


19 April 2017

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