Pet Turtles

Pet Turtles appear to be easy to care for. After all, they don’t need walks and they won’t scratch your furniture. However, they are actually fairly complex and have special needs

A pet turtle can live for several decades, but their living conditions and diets must be carefully provided.

When purchasing a turtle you should take the time to find a reputable store that has a knowledgeable person with respect to turtles. Turtles are often caught in the wild to be pets and can come with illnesses. A knowledgeable provider will recognize the symptoms of illness and not sell the turtle.

Once you have selected a turtle, it is important to use a tank that is at least 40 gallons. It must be big enough to provide a land and water area. Fill the tank with de-chlorinated spring water (de-chlorinate by leaving it out for 24 hours before putting it in the tank. Avoid using wood in the tank as it can easily have fungus and mold grow on it.

Place the tank in an area where lighting will be fairly consistent. Your turtle needs about 12 hours of sunlight and it also needs a special UV lamp so it can get enough vitamin D. This is why turtles are known for sitting in the sun in the wild. Also place a simple shelter in the tank so the turtle has a place to get out of the light if it has decided its had enough.

You should keep an eye on the temperature of the tank. During the day the tank should be 25ºC (80ºF) and a night it should be 20ºC (70ºF). Turtles are cold blooded and need consistent temperatures to maintain good health.

If you handle your turtle be sure to thoroughly wash your hands as turtles can carry the salmonella bacteria in their digestive system. It can come and go and they do not become sick from it. Children are especially at risk.

A few more tips:

  • It is important to clean your pet turtles area frequently.
  • If you add vegetation make sure it isn’t poisonous to the turtles
  • Use natural spring water for your turtle's drinking water,
  • Don’t keep the turtle where other house pets can get to it

Please remember that turtles are a long term commitment. They are living and will stay with you for many years to come.

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