Caring for your turtle is a fun and rewarding way to bond with your new pet. Turtles might not be fluffy and cuddly, but they are still pretty cute!
With some basic knowledge and understanding, looking after your turtle is actually very easy. Here are a few turtle care essentials.
Setting up a terrarium
When it comes to housing your turtle, the more space the better. You’ll probably want to look at getting a terrarium for your pet, with plenty of water and access to land.
It’s important that your turtle’s water is kept clean at all times so you will need a good filtration system. If the water is not clean enough, your pet could be at risk of an infection.
The water needs to be changed every few days to maintain a hygienic environment for your turtle. It’s also good if your turtle’s terrarium is positioned so it gets some direct sunlight to help with shell development. Make sure your terrarium has a thermometer inside it so you can maintain an even temperature for your turtle.
Feeding your turtle
Turtles live on a diet of insects, fish and leafy greens but the specific diet for your pet will depend on their breed. You can buy canned and pelleted turtle food along with freeze-dried mealworms at pet stores.
You won’t need to feed your turtle every day, unless they are very young. Usually four to five times a week is enough. You’ll also need to supplement your turtle’s diet with calcium twice a year, which you can dust over their food.
Caring for your turtle
Turtles can live for around 20 years if they are cared for properly. The most important thing to remember is to maintain a clean environment for your turtle with frequent water changes. It’s also very important that you maintain the terrarium at the right temperature.
There are a few common health conditions that can be a problem for turtles. These include:
- Vitamin A and calcium deficiencies
- Respiratory diseases
- Shell infections
- Shell fractures
To keep your turtle in optimum health, keep an eye out for any indicators of illness, including swollen eyes, shell discolouration and food avoidance. If you notice any of these signs you’ll want to take your turtle to a vet specialising in reptile care.
Baby turtles require a bit of extra care so if you do get one from when they are little, keep in mind you’ll need to devote a lot of time in the early days. Baby turtles need to be fed up to twice a day, and they should have plenty of space to move around in. Make sure their water isn’t too deep, as they are still learning to swim. An inch deeper than the width of your turtle’s shell is a good rule of thumb.
Turtles make wonderful pets and are a great fit for anyone who is a reptile enthusiast. As long as you’re able to dedicate a bit of time to looking after your turtle, you can enjoy your pet for many years to come.