Are you keeping terrapin pets at home? Or are you about to buy or adopt one? A terrapin is a species of fresh or brackish water turtles and has seven subspecies. Below are five common types of terrapins that are popularly kept as pets:
- Box turtle
- Red-eared slider
- Diamondback terrapin
- Painted turtle
- Map turtle
At present, its numbers have considerably grown in, Asia, USA, and UK. SEA LIFE Manchester calls for people to regard having pet turtles as a serious dedication. Know that this little creature requires as much attention as our furry friends. It should be treated as part of the family and not only as part of the routine where you need to feed it.
“Global warming and the resulting rise in temperatures across British waterways is leading to abandoned terrapins breeding and growing in population,” said Alan Kwan, the centre’s lead curator. He added, “This alien predatory reptile is having a damaging effect on British pond life.”
If you are sincere about keeping a terrapin, use this article as your terrapin care guide.
How big do terrapins grow?
A baby terrapin may look adorable with its tiny little carapace and gentle appearance. However, do not buy one without considering how big it can grow or how much space you can spare. Females are relatively larger than the males. Females can grow at the maximum size of 25 cm, whilst males can grow at 21 cm.
Terrapins as pets
Are terrapins good pets? It is important to learn their ways of communication. Do not be surprised if your turtle is exhibiting these behaviours:
- Hits another terrapinThis is the male’s way of initiating the female for a mating session. During initiation, the male can be seen hitting a female and biting her legs and neck. You may only separate them when it is necessary to prevent injury.
- Digging It is common for female terrapins to dig or scrap the ground using their rear legs. This means that the females are trying to create a laying site to lay her eggs. Male terrapins may dig as well to find food.Tip: If a terrapin eats stones or pebbles, it is a sign that it has mineral deficiency.
- Burrowing or hidingA terrapin that tends to burrow and hide in the soil and loses its appetite is a turtle preparing for hibernation. This especially occurs during the autumn season. However, if this happens in other seasons, this may be an indicative sign of other health illnesses.
- Swimming forward and backwardTerrapins swimming forward and backward can be perceived as if they are trying to look for an escape. However, it could mean three things:
- They are not comfortable.
- They are checking out their new home.
- A female could be preparing to deposit its eggs.
- A complete withdrawal of limbs on its shell.This signifies that it is alarmed of something. If there is nothing wrong with its surroundings, it is best to leave it alone to give some time to recover.
Terrapin tank setup and maintenance
As mentioned, terrapin turtles are expected to grow larger. That being said, it is likely to outgrow its first tank.
- Terrapins need large tanks that provide them with a space to roam around. The ideal tank should be filled with a hundred gallon of water.
- The tank should have both water and land. Provide stones that stick out like little islands, which are good spots for your little terrapins to bask in the sun.
- Provide the tank with a heat lamp. It should have a 40-watt bulb containing UVA and UVB waves. It should be at least 10 inches away from the basking area.
- Keep down the tank’s temperature between 77°F and 86°F.
- Avoid using soap and water upon cleaning the tank as it can be harmful to your terrapin turtle. Instead, buy products that are specifically made to clean turtle tanks. There are several products that are available in most pet stores. When using a water filtration, be sure to occasionally scoop floating debris off the tank.
What do terrapins eat?
Terrapins are omnivores. As such, aside from dried commercial terrapin food, you may provide them with a good meal of water snails, earthworms, fruits, and vegetables. Other types of meat that include chicken, pork, beef, and fish can also be given.
How often should you feed a terrapin? Adults are fed every other day. A terrapin turtle is also prone to weight problems or digestive troubles. It is best not to overfeed it and to remove excess food by scooping it with a net.
Further, vitamin D3 and calcium are the vital nutrients a terrapin should be provided along with UV lighting. You may ask your veterinarian for the right dosage.
Terrapins can live for as long as fifteen to twenty years. Be sure that you are ready to fully commit as a pet parent for these creatures before getting one. Did you find this terrapin care tips helpful? Check out more of our pet blogs that may be of help!