Raising a pet turtle isn’t a walk in the park. As with any other animal you might want to care for, you need to be aware of a set of tips and tricks before deciding to enroll in this adventure. It might seem tempting choosing a turtle simply because it is considered one of the low-maintenance species that can be raised and kept indoors with little to no effort on the part of the owner.
The fact of the matter is that things aren’t as easy as they might seem at first glance. These pets have different needs compared to others, and that’s why it is a good idea to do your research before anything else.
Decide on a breed
Red-eared slider turtles and box turtles are to be preferred if you want to make sure that you are capable of caring for them and conveniently keep them indoors. Sliders are somewhat more common compared to box turtles but they are also a bit bigger seeing how babies measure approximately four inches in size and adults can reach eleven inches. By comparison, adult box turtles can reach about six inches in length.
While you might tend to think that these size-related aspects do not matter at all, in fact, they do make a difference when correlating the size of your turtle to that of the enclosure.
Consider the enclosure and the lighting
Your turtle’s home can vary depending on the species you are raising. Terrestrial and aquatic turtles obviously have different needs. Reading this article might be of some assistance if you want to make sure that you provide the right care for an aquatic turtle. If the climate of the area you are living has temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 degrees, you probably have to place the habitat in an outdoor pen.
When it comes to lighting, a crucial factor you need to take into consideration is the fact that turtles are reptiles, and are, therefore, cold-blooded. A beneficial practice is to ensure that the tank is fitted with a basking spot where the turtle can get warm if it needs to. The temperature of the water should be about 10 degrees lower than that of the basking spot, and the latter should have a temperature of no less than 85 degrees and no more than 95 degrees. UVA and UVB lights are to be preferred.
The dietary needs of pet turtles change as they grow from babies to adults. While the protein needs of babies are significantly higher compared to those of adults, you need to know that the latter also eat plants while in the wild. Krill, snails, grasshoppers, and crickets make great foods, but you can also add some cuttlebone for a bit of extra calcium to your turtle’s diet.
As for providing the right amount of minerals and vitamins coming from vegetables, it is recommended to utilize dandelion leaves and lettuce provided that you avoid the iceberg variety as it has no nutritional value.
Common do’s and don’ts
The golden rule to owning and properly caring for your turtle pet is to get it from a captive environment. This practice will ensure that it is accustomed to living in an artificial habitat. You can also adopt from a local organization as long as you make sure that it is used to an enclosure that you will have to provide.
Releasing the pet turtle into the wild is heavily frowned upon, particularly if it is not its natural habitat. Besides, you could cause environmental problems if it is not a native species to the area where you will let it go.