Are you set on keeping turtles as pets? Congratulations! Now, set your mind on the basic essentials your pet turtle will certainly need which will be tackled in this post.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you are ready for a long-term commitment to providing happiness to this little reptile. When tended with proper care, turtles as pets can live for several decades, and at times they can even exceed their expected lifespan. In general, it can live for an average of fifteen to as long as fifty years in captivity.
Which turtle pet to choose?
Which turtles make the best pets? It is important to know the kind of turtle species you have acquired. Here is a quick guide on popular types of pet turtles available in pet shops.
Turtles that grows bigger
- Red-eared slider
- Wood turtle
- Map turtle
- Western painted turtle
Small pet turtles that stay small
- Musk turtle
- Mud turtle
- Spotted turtle
- Diamondback terrapins
- Box turtle
- African spurred tortoise
- Indian star tortoise
- Hermann’s tortoise
- Russian tortoise
- Shelled box turtle
Choose the species that fits well with your lifestyle and your place.
This video shows a video of Norman Soule from Cold Spring Fish Hatchery showing us different species of turtles: https://www.marthastewart.com/924615/world-turtles-101
Pet turtle requirement: House
Turtles as pets can be housed in a variety of enclosures.
- Waterland tubs
A waterland tub is an ideal habitat specifically designed for turtles. It has both land and water areas and can be kept either indoors or outdoors.
- Aquariums or Tanks
An aquarium should have the capacity to hold between 20-30 gallons.
Pet turtle requirement: Water access
Both turtles and tortoises need access to water that is safe for drinking and an area where they may comfortably stay.
Aquatic turtles should be provided with a lot of water that allows them to swim around. It is common for turtles to outgrow their first enclosure. Ideally, a 55-gallon water should be the minimum amount of water for one adult turtle. There are other species that need larger tanks.
On the other hand, tortoises can be provided with only shallow water areas. These areas serve as their bathroom as well as a place to cool down.
Pet turtle requirement: Land access
Both turtles and tortoises need land access. As for aquatic turtles, they only require less land area that will only allow them to dry off and bask under the light/heat of the incandescent bulb. Moreover, there are times when they need to come up on land to explore or lay eggs. As for tortoises, they need larger land areas as they apparently spend most of their time on land.
Pet turtle requirement: Lighting
Access to light is necessary for turtles. Two types of light should be provided. One should provide heat, whilst the other provides UV lighting.
Know that different turtle species require different temperatures. Ask your vet or the breeder for the exact wattage. As cold-blooded species, turtles need external heat sources to keep them in good health condition.
UVA and UVB lighting allow turtles to process vitamins and nutrients as well as calcium. When not provided, the turtle may likely acquire metabolic bone disease.
Pet turtle requirement: Filtration
To keep your turtle healthy, make sure to provide clean and fresh water. Tortoises can be provided with submersible filters in the water. You may also use a shallow bowl, but the water should be changed daily.
When there is no filter, water should be changed every day or two. A weekly change of water can be done when using a small submersible filter. When using a canister filter, a monthly changing of water is required. Larger areas that are designed to be self-sustaining ecosystems only require cleaning every couple of months.
Pet turtle requirement: Food
There are different brands of turtle pellets that are formulated to satisfy their nutritional requirements. These are available in most pet stores.
“How often should I feed my pet turtles?”
How often do baby turtles eat? A hatchling should be provided with food once a day. They are likely to eat any food accessible to them. As such, bear in mind not to overfeed hatchlings. Once they have grown to a few months old, you may switch their mealtime into feeding every other day. Adults can be fed two to three times a week. Turtles also enjoy vegetables and fruits such as apples, strawberries, bananas, pears, and leafy vegetables. Just make sure to provide fresh food.
Pet turtle requirement: Basking area
A basking area serves as a place that allows them to regulate heat. Provide tortoises with a certain light or heat emitter placed in a certain spot. As for aquatic turtles, provide them with anything that can function as a floating dock or island in the tank.
Still thinking on which turtles to purchase? Click here for more options. Read more of our blog posts for more pet care tips.