Caring for a Pet Turtle

Turtles hold a lot of fascination for children and perhaps your child has twisted your arm and you’re considering finding a pet turtle. The first thing you will need to ask yourself is if you want a turtle for 20 to 30 years, because this is how long they will live for in captivity. Turtles are easy to care for, but they do need to have daily tending, as turtles can die in captivity if their needs are not met. Just because they are slow doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important on a daily basis as a cat or dog. Here are some pet turtle care tips and how to take care of a turtle.

How To Take Care Of A Turtle

Housing

Unless you are building an elaborate outside enclosure, your turtle will require room to swim and exercise. Red Sliders are the most popular pet turtle and they are active swimmers. Your tank will need to have an area where the turtle is totally submerged in water, an area where it can hide when it doesn’t want to be in the open, and also needs a basking area where it will sun itself under the basking lamp you provide; your turtle needs to bask because it prevents a buildup of fungus and helps to regulate its body temperature. The basking area should be around 85-90F in the day and 70F at night.You may like to provide a filter for the water otherwise you will have to change the water daily. You can’t use straight tap water because it needs to be dechlorinated. All you need to do is leave it out for 24 hours, but that means you will need to find a place to do that as well; using spring water is ideal.

Feeding

A turtle’s diet consists of turtle pellets that need to be high in vitamin A and calcium for good eye and shell care. You can also feed your turtle carrots, lettuce, bananas, and strawberries. Feed your turtle a live fish at least once a week, to make it get some exercise because turtles like to hunt. Keep a bowl of fresh water in there for your turtle to drink too, as the swimming water is contaminated with urine and feces. Do not feed your turtle table scraps, it requires a balanced diet.

Health

First and foremost for your health, ALWAYS wash your own hands after handling your pet turtle. You run a huge risk of contracting salmonella.

A healthy turtle is one that has a hard shell, bright eyes and no fluid coming from its nose or mouth. Often problems are caused by vitamin A deficiency, so putting a few drops of cod liver oil on its food every now and then helps ensure their dietary needs are met. Algae may grow on its shell, so you may need to clean the water more often, or spend less time with the lamp on, which encourages the algae to grow. Its beak and claws may have to be trimmed by your vet.

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Categorized as Pet Care

By Jessica

Jessica is a passionate pet lover and veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. Her blog serves as a reliable source for pet health advice, ranging from preventive care to handling emergencies.