Turtles: What You Need To Know

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Written by Gabby Unangst

Buying a new turtle is a lot easier than buying a dog or cat. It still requires set-up and pre-cautions. This article will give you all of the info you need for health matters and set-up. Your turtle actually can be very fun to have, but also can be extremely sick and uncomfortable. You can also a lot of fun. There are many things that you need to know about turtles. But they are very simple to comprehend.

Things to Know

Aquatic turtles can live in a tank or pond, in groups, and with larger fish (they’ll eat small fish). These guys are strong swimmers and need an aquarium that’s at least 55 gallons in volume. It should have a screened lid and a filter. Line the aquarium with gravel, which you can vacuum clean. Your turtle’s habitat should have two thermometers (one for water temperature and another for the dry side of the tank). Hang a heat bulb over the dry side of the habitat if tank temperature dips below 70 Fahrenheit overnight. You’ll want to get a night-specific heat lamp for your reptile friend. Use an underwater heater to maintain water temperature.

Aquatic turtles are most active during the day. If you keep them away from daylight, light their home with a UVA or UVB bulb for 12 hours a day. Your turtle likes to be lifted at the midsection, not by the legs. Keep an eye on kids around your turtle, and always wash your hands before (and after) handling your turtle. Let your turtle settle into its new surroundings for the first three or four days after you bring them home. If you see any of these symptoms, take your turtle to the vet for a check-up: hiding most of the time, minimal eating or drinking, weight loss, swollen joints, discharge from eyes, nose or mouth, skin discoloration.

Comfort Them!

It is better to let your turtles play with toys than playing with them. Turtles don’t like to be handled that much. Providing your turtles some exciting toys doesn’t mean you need to literally buy them. You can even make something on your own! Turtles love to play with an empty shell. These shells can slide across the floor and they like to chase them. Also, you can place small rafts on the tank. Your turtles will get crazy over them. They’ll just push the raft along the water for fun. You can make an obstacle maze for your turtle. it doesn’t need to be a professional type maze. You can make it with daily items like plants, sticks, stones, pits, etc. after making the maze, place your turtle’s favorite treat at the end of it. Now, to get the treat, your turtle will try to figure out how to go through the maze. It is amazing to watch!

Once in a while, you can take your turtle to the yard and let him forage through the ground, enjoy the sunlight. Your turtles will absolutely love it. However, it can be very dangerous so you need to keep a constant eye on your turtles. You can have other live inhabitants in the tank to spice up your turtle’s life. Make sure the other inhabitants are not your prized pets as your turtle can easily devour them. Some ideal turtle mates are shrimp, snail, live feeder fish, insects, tadpole, etc. Your turtle will love to chase after them, and even these can be a healthy snack for your turtle.