If you ask me, turtles are the ideal pets. They are less needy than dogs and cats, and a lot more lively than fish. With their lively colours and interesting personalities, turtles are a really fun bunch to watch swimming around in an aquarium. And with good care, they can easily live up to 30 years. Considering this, by getting yourself a turtle, you are making a lasting commitment. To keep your turtle happy and healthy, here’s all you need to know.
Aquatic turtles need a water tank with plenty of room to explore. Don’t skimp on size – the bigger the tank, the better. Since your turtle will be spending its entire time there, regularly cleaning the water is important to prevent disease. Additionally, installing a strong filtration system and adding a mix of “friendly” bacteria to the water can help maintain it free from harmful waste. These and similar turtle care products can be bought at any well-equipped pet store.
Lighting and Temperature
Like all reptiles, turtles love to bask and soak in the heat. Considering this, every turtle’s home should include a dry spot on which your pet can bask out from the water. The basking spot should be large enough for the turtle to climb out of the water completely. If the tank is kept away from sunlight, placing a UVA light just above the basking spot can take care of your turtle’s light needs. The temperature of the water should be kept between 22 – 25oC day and night. To keep an ideal temperature, make sure to install a thermometer and an underwater heater.
While diet can vary from one type of turtle to the next, all turtles generally eat insects, fish, and dark leafy greens. When the turtle is very young, it might only stick to a carnivorous diet, and only start eating plants when it’s noticeably grown up. You can get frozen or canned turtle food at any store dealing in turtle care products. Unlike most pets who need to be fed several times a day, adult turtles don’t need food that often. As a rule of thumb, your turtle will need to be fed every other day, unless it’s a baby in which case it should be fed daily.
Turtles aren’t very cuddly creatures, and touching and picking them up isn’t advised unless you really need to, like for instance when cleaning the tank. When the need arises, lift up the turtle by its midsection, not by the legs, and make sure that it stays parallel to the ground. Never rotate the animal with its shell or head pointed downwards as it can cause dizziness and even cause its intestine to twist, which can be fatal.