Even though you can’t do much in the way of interacting with a turtle, children and adults seem to be fascinated with them, resulting in many households having them as pets. Most everyone knows how to care for a dog or cat but turtles are a new ball game for most beginning pet turtle collectors. Due to this, it is important to be knowledgeable about the care & feeding of pet turtles before you decide to get one.
While these creatures can be great pets for children, you have to be aware that only specific species such as the box, sliders, mud and painted turtles are kept as pets. Different types require special treatment, accommodation and diets which should be understood before deciding to take one home.
The main thing you need to know about pet turtles is what type you are going to get as this will determine their living area. Aquatic turtles need lot of water with little land while land turtles need lots of land with just enough water to drink from and occasionally take a dip in.
Here are some tips on the best way to care for them:
Provide sufficient living space. This will depend on how big your turtle is and how many you have. If you have an aquatic turtle then a tank or aquarium large enough to hold a decent amount of water, roughly 30 to 40 gallons. You will need to provide some areas where they can get out of the water like a flat rock, plants or something similar. You will need water filtration because the turtles will eat, sleep and defecate in the water. With a land turtle you will need a cage with dirt and a small pool or container of water. They will drink from this and might take a dip.
Make sure you have adequate lighting, moisture, shade and clean water depending on whether you pet is indoors or outdoors. You can take your land turtles outside with maybe a fenced area on your lawn. Make sure you do have shade for them as well as water.
Make an effort to separate living space into water and land areas. If you have room this would be good for either type of turtle.
Ensure that your hands are properly washed after taking care of your turtle because they carry a type of bacteria known as “salmonella” which will make you ill. Always keep smaller children from touching turtles.
Suggestions for feeding your pet
In the beginning it might seem like an easy task to feed this pet, because you are probably thinking of giving it scraps or leftovers from the dinner table. However, just like other reptiles your turtle will require a diet that is healthy and well balanced, so you should not simply provide them with a few carrots or perhaps lettuce now and again.
Because turtles can be omnivorous, carnivorous or herbivorous you’ll need to determine what type your turtle is. No matter what type they are you must give them food rich in Vitamin D3 and calcium. If your pet is carnivorous they will be able to eat fish, shrimp, bugs, earthworms, crickets and insects such as snails, while the herbivores can eat carrots, dandelions and blackberries. If they are omnivorous they will eat both types of food. Keep in mind that their stomach size is roughly the same dimension as their head. For this reason the quantity of food eaten must be sufficient in order to fill up their tummy.
Ultimately, the key to maintaining turtles as happy and healthy pets for many years is to provide them with proper care and the appropriate food. Although turtles aren’t playful like dogs or cats they can prove to be very interesting and fun to study.