A turtle is one of the most fascinating pet you can own. They might be slow, but they are fun to have around. However, they aren’t very complex animals, and they have a very specialized set of needs. They aren’t like dog pet or cat pet. If you as the owner, do not meet this specialized need, they may not only die or have a poor quality of life, but they can transmit unwanted diseases to you and your loved one. So before you start looking for one, or give your child’s plea to having one, it is more than important you know some basic facts about owning a pet turtle.
Turtle housing necessity
As far as their housing requirement a large enclosure is better, whether terrestrial or aquatic. Most aquatic turtle, for instance, are active swimmers, so a big enclosure is necessary. Many people prefer a glass aquarium. If you start with a young smaller turtle, get a small tank, but make sure it increases in size as the turtle grows. Other pet owners prefer plastic tubes designed specifically for turtles available in hardware stores. Whatever your choice, one secret of keeping a turtle is clean water and a good filtration system. Always keep decoration of glass aquaria to a minimum because many turtles will destroy any attempts at aqua-scaping, but if a bare-looking tank is not appealing to your specification, feel free to decorate it, so long as you do frequent cleaning. Terrestrial turtles require an outdoor pen, with high walls and probably with a top to ward off their predators.
Lighting is one of the most neglected or misunderstood aspects of turtle care. Turtle requires proper lighting for proper growth. Without it, your turtle will be at an elevated risk of health problems such as shell growth, hyperparathyroidism, and short life span. Remember that they are reptiles, so they need different temperature zones to be able to regulate body temperatures.
A well-balanced diet when it comes to turtles is the key to success, but keep in mind that their dietary needs change as they mature. Frozen and freeze-dried pellets are just fine, but you can always supplement this with insects, worms, grasshoppers and small fish.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Always buy captive-bred turtles because they are already adaptive to captivity, and there are fewer chances of diseases, and they may be accustomed to commercial turtle foods.
- Turtles are messy eaters, so their tank will need more filtration than would be needed for fish.
- Do not collect animals from the wild, because many states restrict such collections, and many wild species are endangered, therefore, illegal to collect.
- There aren’t that many risks of having one as a pet, but there is a high risk of salmonella if you do not take care of them properly. If you have a child under 5, the elderly or even people with lower natural resistance to diseases, avoid a turtle as a pet.
- Turtles should always be handled when necessary. Frequent handling can be stressful to them.
Turtles do not require the same maintenance of walking, petting, grooming as pet or dogs, but they still need a lot of attention. They have long lifespan, so be prepared to have a friend for the next 20 or 30 years. Choose the right one, obtain it from a reputable source, and be willing to commit time and money to take care of it, and you and your new companion will live long and happy together.